Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
This week’s tea of the week is a real gem. I am enjoying a big icy stein of it as I write this. I’m sure it’s good hot too, but as an iced tea, it’s amazing. A friend of the family is over visiting and he insists it’s “like a carnival in your mouth.”
Learn more about this tea here.
This is the first tea blended with 52Teas new black tea base. As some of my more frequent readers may be aware, the previous black tea base used in 52Teas’ blends has sometimes come across as somewhat harsh with astringency and even sometimes bitter, depending upon the flavors with which it was blended. Some flavors worked very well with the previous base, others did not.
I even had to come up with my own set of steeping parameters for that base: 200°F for 2 minutes in my Breville. Now, you might think that 12 degrees hotter water shouldn’t make all that much difference, but in the case of the previous black tea base used by 52Teas, it certainly did.
Anyway, all of that matters not. This review is about the NEW black tea base that 52Teas has crafted, as well as the first tea of the week that it was used to create: Cotton Candy flavored Black Tea! YUM!
I love cotton candy. It is definitely one of my favorite amusement park treats, and one of those things that stirs up happy memories from my childhood. It’s one of those treats that really needs to be made fresh, because the packaged stuff that is readily available now in grocery stores and such just doesn’t taste the same. So I was THRILLED about the idea of cotton candy flavored tea. And if anyone could pull off this flavor in just the right way, Frank from 52Teas could.
And he did! This tastes like cotton candy. Or rather, it tastes like someone dropped some cotton candy into my cup of delicious, fine-quality black tea and allowed the goodness of the cotton candy to become one with the tea. Because, although I do taste cotton candy, what really stands out to me with this blend is not the flavoring, but how well the flavoring has become assimilated into the black tea base.
This tea offers such a seamless taste. And I think that the new black tea base has as much to do with that as the flavor does. The black tea base here is good and strong, providing a very solid background of flavor that is rich and robust. It has a malty tone, as well as a freshly-baked-goods kind of taste to it, and together with the flavors of cotton candy, it is very pleasantly sweet with a hint of caramel-y goodness to it.
But more than that, this tea is not aggressively astringent or harsh the way that 52Teas previous base sometimes was. It doesn’t have the bitterness of the previous base, which was also present occasionally and was especially noticeable if I had brewed it at boiling water instead of the aforementioned 200°F. This does have a slight drying astringency toward the tail, but it is nothing compared to what was previously experienced with the previous blend, and anyone who has tried the previously released flavors probably knows just what I’m talking about.
Now, I’m not saying that the previous blend was bad … I quite enjoyed it in many different blends. I just happen to think that this one is so much better. That one was good, this one is really good! And this particular blend – Cotton Candy – is amazingly delicious. A must try from the 52Teas collection!
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!