Let’s Go Bananas! Banana-Themed Teas

Tea with bananas?  That’s crazy, right?  Or maybe it’s just crazy delicious.  Let’s take a look at five banana teas I’ve tasted lately.

Grilled Spiced Banana from A Quarter to Tea – Let’s get started with the weirdest banana tea I’ve come across.  Not only does this blend feature bananas, but it also uses smokey flavors to convey the “grilled” part of Grilled Banana.  Brewed, this tea is shockingly creamy, much more like banana creme brule than any overpowering smoky lapsang souchong.  The hint of smoky adds a nice savory note to the sweet banana, like the tasting the sweet-salty shell of fried ice cream.  This is a total underdog combination of flavors, and they really come together.

Banana Peach Green from 52Teas – This green tea is smooth and sweet, with some very forward peach flavors on the smell and taste. The creamy, tropical banana comes through on the aftertaste, rich with real-fruit flavors.  No banana-candy flavors here.  The nuttiness of the tea makes the aftertaste of this blend feel smooth and comforting, like banana bread.

Bananas and Custard from Bluebird Tea – This tea can seem mild at first, with little fragrance in the dry leaf, but when this green tea is brewed at the right temperature, something magical happens.  When brewed this tea truly smells and tastes like banana cream pie.  It nails the fruity, starchy banana flavor, and the creamy-yet-tart vanilla custard.  The gentle nuttiness from the green tea helps keep this centered, but there are plenty of banana-crazy dessert flavors to go around.

Banana Split from A Quarter to Tea – There’s a lot going on in a banana split, there’s vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream, and sauces like marshmallow or pineapple, and the bananas and whipped cream of course.  This white tea is sweet with strawberries but creamy with bananas and has a touch of the starchy, real-fruit banana flavor.  This blend is sweeter than the others thanks to all the strawberry, but who wouldn’t want to taste an ice-cream-themed tea?

Monkey Chops from Bluebird Tea – Wow, what a name!  Monkey Chops has a tart ceylon black tea base with added vanilla flavoring and banana pieces.  Even without milk this brew has plenty of creamy notes and smooth banana flavor, strong enough to compete with the bold black tea base.  This would be amazing with a splash of milk or a dash of cinnamon sugar.

Love them or hate them, banana teas don’t come along every day so it’s worth getting a little crazy and giving them a try!


 

Bananas! Black Tea from 52Teas

BananasTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Lots of people have commented on our banana tea blends in the past. We’ve used banana in a few blends inspired by banana pudding, bananas foster and even banana bread, but I thought this week we would really go bananas and just go with an all out banana tea. We’ve blended our Pettaiagala Extra Long Leaf OP black tea from Sri Lanka with real freeze-dried bananas and organic banana flavors, and this, my friends, is bananatacular! It’s bananaramic! It’s enough to leave you humming the Batman theme– “Nana nana nana nana nana nana… Batman!”

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

While I was sipping this Bananas! Black Tea from 52Teas, I wasn’t thinking of the Batman theme, I was thinking that this sh** is Bananas!  B-a-n-a-n-a-s!

And it definitely IS bananas.

And unlike so many of the various banana flavored teas out there, this doesn’t taste overly candied.  It doesn’t taste like banana runts (I hate banana runts) and it doesn’t taste like banana (insert any other banana flavored candy here).

What it does taste like is black tea and banana.  It’s a little on the sweet side, like a sweeter banana – perhaps one that has been lightly sprinkled with sugar and caramelized under the broiler.

The black tea is really nice here, it’s a rich, robust black tea.  Somewhat astringent at the tail, but not too astringent.  There are even hints of a slightly bitter intonation.  I think that the bitterness and astringency helps this blend because it cuts through some of the sweet notes and makes this more like black tea and banana rather than an artificial banana flavored candy with hints of black tea in the background.  The hints of bitter and astringency offer balance to this cup.

I really enjoyed this.  I brewed a large pot of it so that I could have some served hot and some iced, and I like it hot and cold.  I think that if you’re going to drink it hot, I’d recommend letting the temperature drop to a drinkable temperature.  In other words, pour the cup and let it cool for about 4 – 5 minutes before you start sipping.  This is long enough to let the temperature drop but it’s still nice and hot.  The wait time allows the flavors to develop in the cup and it really gets the bananas going BANANAS!

If you like bananas, this tea will have you singing like a minion.

OYGFIB? (Orange You Glad Frank Is Bananas?) Rooibos Blend from 52Teas

OYGFIBTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

Orange you glad Frank is bananas? It’s true, I might be a little crazy. That twinkle in my eyes could very well be the sun shining in through my ears. But hey, my insanity might just be a great gift to the tea-drinking world. Like this week, in which I’ve created this awesome blend of caffeine-free African Rooibos with freeze-dried oranges and bananas and organic flavors. It’s a lip-smacking, tongue-tickling, tangy sweet treat. So again, I’ll ask, orange you glad Frank is bananas? Get yours today.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

This OYGFIB? (which translates into Orange You Glad Frank is Bananas?) Rooibos Blend from 52Teas tastes a lot like a smoothie.  A warm smoothie, since I’m drinking it hot, but, the flavors of orange and banana together really remind me of a smoothie.

When I poured my first cup of this tisane, I could smell the distinct aroma of the woody rooibos.  Since I’m not a big fan of the taste of rooibos, that scent worried me a little bit, but, the first sip changed my mind.  This is tasty.

The bright citrus-y notes of orange are what I taste first.  It is sweet and tangy, but not too tart.  The banana is a little less distinguished.  I can taste another fruit in this, but I can’t say that it tastes definitely like banana.  When I take a casual sip, it tastes like orange blended with a nondescript, bland fruit that lends a little bit of creaminess to the cup.  Not a bad taste … but again, I can’t say that it tastes like banana.

But when I slurp the tisane, then the banana comes through more distinctly.  With the aeration of the slurp, I notice a pleasing balance between banana and orange.  Sweet, and yes … still a little creamy, and tangy.  Fruity!

It’s an enjoyable tisane.  Not my favorite from 52Teas, but I like it and I’d happily drink it again.

Bananas Foster from 52Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Here’s a flavored black tea you can really sink your teeth into. Made with our new, improved black tea base, freeze dried bananas, organic cinnamon and the essences of banana, vanilla, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and a touch of rum. This tea is a real treat. Just don’t try to flambe it.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when 52Teas announced their Bananas Foster blend.  I LOVE bananas foster!  Definitely one of my top three desserts.  Creme Brulee narrowly edges bananas foster out as the winner there … and come to think of it … Hey Frank… a creme brulee tea would be really amazing, don’t you think?  Maybe a chocolate raspberry creme brulee.  Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, creamy custard taste, with some bits of sugar brittle in the mix … YUM … my mouth is beginning to water from just thinking about such a tea.

(If you’re wondering… cupcake would be my #3 dessert.  But not just any cupcake.  I want a fresh, delicious, fluffy cupcake … preferably from Sweetest Thing, which is my favorite cupcake place that I’ve tried thus far)

OK… but, today I’m talking about bananas foster.  Specifically this Bananas Foster flavored black tea from 52Teas.  And… how amazing is this?  It is so good, people!  I think even if you happened to be someone who did not like bananas (I know that my SororiTea Sister, TeaEqualsBliss, does not like bananas), I think you would enjoy this tea, because really, it’s not all about banana.

In fact, banana isn’t really the strongest flavor that I taste.  I taste the black tea – the good, solid tasting black tea blend that forms the base of this tea.  It tastes rich and delicious, with a dry astringency that builds slowly.  It is a flavorful black tea that would be delicious on its own, but, is made even more tasty with the addition of cinnamon, banana and the other flavors.

The cinnamon is the next noticeable flavor, but even though it is a strong cinnamon note, it isn’t an overwhelming one.  At the start, the cinnamon is at its strongest, those first couple of sips when the tea is at its hottest, I noticed cinnamon but very little of anything else.  It wasn’t a hot or spicy cinnamon, it was a smooth, sweet kind of cinnamon note, and if I really focused on what I was tasting, I’d taste the vanilla and banana softening the cinnamon, and I’d taste the hints of rum and butter in there too.

The cinnamon doesn’t overpower the flavors, it doesn’t overpower the tea.  And once the tea cools slightly (still hot, just not quite so hot), I notice the cinnamon beginning to meld in a really beautiful way with the flavor of sweet banana and a creamy vanilla note, as well as the other flavors of this decadent dessert tea.

I taste notes of butter and sugar here that hints toward an overall caramel taste.  It doesn’t taste syrupy or overly sweet the way some caramel flavors can taste.  Instead, the taste sort of gives a nod to a caramel-like note that is harmonious with the other flavors.  The rum is similar to the butter and sugar notes in that it doesn’t taste like it’s obviously rum.  Instead, it’s more like an insinuation of it.  It doesn’t attempt to inundate the taste buds, instead, it tantalizes them with hints of flavor.  The caramel-y rum notes seem to emerge a bit more as the tea has cooled a bit, but, even as this happens, I notice that the tea does not become all about these flavors.  Even when different flavors begin to reveal themselves, a certain balanced harmony remains.

And that really sort of summarizes what this tea is about for me:  harmony.  It isn’t a “knock you over the head with flavor” kind of tea – even when the cinnamon is at its strongest at the beginning, and I think in this case that’s a good thing.  Since there are so many different elements to the dessert, but all flavors manage a very harmonious bite that features every element; this tea that was inspired by the dessert needed to be equally as enigmatic with its delivery and it is.  I taste all the notes, and they come together in a very delicious way without one flavor overpowering the cup.

Another amazing tea from the Willy Wonka of Teas:  Frank from 52Teas!