Tea of the Week for November 6, 2017: Warm Maple Cream Houjicha/White Tea Blend!
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Tea Description: When it comes to writing these tea descriptions, I try to recall what my inspiration was to create the blend. That's proving a little difficult at the moment, because I really don't recall what it was that inspired me to create this blend. I knew I wanted to create a white tea & houjicha blend. I wanted something that works well with the sweet, smooth yet toasty flavor that comes with this combination of tea leaves. My first thought is "Maple!" because - well, I love maple. Do I need to explain or is because maple a good enough explanation on it's own?
Earlier this year, I crafted a "Maple Forest" blend that was houjicha & white tea, in that case, it was a shou mei white tea. This time around, I am using an air-dried "Moonlight White" (or Yue Guang Bai) which has a softer flavor than the more assertive shou mei and I think I like it better than the shou mei. I like the way the lightness of the Yue Guang Bai unites with the houjicha for a flavor that's both sweet and toasty as well as a smooth, silky texture. And I went heavier on the white tea than the green this time around - so that the roasted flavor from the green tea was more of an accent note rather than a strong flavor profile.
Despite the difference in white teas here and the lighter touch of houjicha - I wanted something else to make this stand out as a distinctly different blend from the Maple Forest so I decided to add some spice. Why not, right? So, I added some cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg for a little warmth and because of the smooth, silky texture of this blend, I decided to add some creamy vanilla notes to the Maple.
This is a deliciously maple, creamy, cozy kind of tea experience! Very yum!
ingredients: white tea
organic ingredients: roasted green tea, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean & natural flavors
I really loved the Maple Forest tea from earlier this year, so I was pretty excited to taste this - even though it is different from the Maple Forest in several significant ways, it is still a chance to enjoy the flavors of maple and roasty-toasty tea!
As I mentioned in the tea description above, I went lighter on the houjicha and a little heavier on the Moonlight White tea - because I wanted the houjicha to be more of an accent flavor rather than a really strong, assertive note. I figured with the lighter flavor, the vanilla wouldn't be overpowered and the gentle warmth from the spices would be more distinct.
This is the kind of tea that evokes thoughts of curling up under a fluffy blanket - perhaps while sitting next to a crackling fire in the fireplace and reading a good book. Hopefully a cup of this tea will be nearby in that scene!
to brew: I know I've recommended this more than once and you might be tired of hearing it already (or reading it already), but to get the most out of this tea, you really need to give it a good shake to redistribute all the ingredients. As I was measuring it out, I found that the houjicha wanted to filter its way down to the bottom while allowing the white tea to shake its way to the top of the pouches. You want a fair distribution of both teas in each measurement! You also want to make sure you get some of the spices in each measurement too!
So after you've given it a good shake, measure out 1 1/2 teaspoons (to 2 teaspoons) of leaf to 12 ounces of hot water (heat it to 180°F) and let it steep for 3 1/2 minutes. strain and let the tea cool for about five minutes. You might want to add a pinch of sugar to enhance the spices.
I like this tea best when it's hot, so don't let it cool down too much!