Smoky Bacon Flavored Black Tea from 52Teas

smokybaconTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Smoked Lapsang Souchong blended with imitation bacon bits and all natural bacon flavor.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I was a little bit apprehensive to try this Smoky Bacon Flavored Black Tea from 52Teas, to be completely honest.   I had seen one review of this and the taster said that it was so bad that she had to go brush her teeth after drinking it.  That’s bad.  Funny … but bad.

So, I worried about whether this would be a tea I’d like.  I mean, I love bacon.  Seriously, it’s one of my favorite foods.  And the moment I saw that 52Teas had offered a maple bacon tea way back when (for the week of November 16, 2009 – wow … time flies!) I was buying it as quickly as I could.  That became my very first purchase from 52Teas.

But, with my prickly history with Lapsang Souchong, I was really unsure if this was a tea that I’d like.  But, when a “Bacon package” was offered as one of the rewards on the recent campaign fundraiser that 52Teas had, I decided to choose that as one of my rewards.  I figured, hey, if I don’t like it, hopefully, I’ll find someone who does and I’ll send it their way.

And, I’m enjoying this.  There is more Lapsang Souchong flavor than there is bacon-y flavor, and I’d like there to be more bacon.  I think that a slightly lighter base (perhaps a blend of Lapsang Souchong and a Keemun and a little bit of Ceylon to soften things up a bit?) might have offered a less robust background so that the bacon flavors could develop more.

However, I am enjoying this.  I’m wondering how it will taste when I combine this with some of the maple bacon tea.  I’m thinking yummy.

I brewed this the way I would brew a Lapsang Souchong, by first giving it a quick rinse and then steeping it for 2 1/2 minutes.  I added a pinch of Kosher salt and about half a teaspoon of turbinado sugar to the brewed tea.

The result is a strong tea that has a good amount of smokiness, but it doesn’t completely overwhelm the bacon-y goodness.  The sugar brings out some of the sweeter notes of the bacon, and the Lapsang Souchong does give this a nice “smoky bacon” kind of flavor.  As I said before, I’d like more bacon-y goodness, but bacon is almost like chocolate as far as I’m concerned:  more bacon = better.

Overall, a really enjoyable cuppa.  It’s difficult to compare it to other bacon teas because as far as I know, there aren’t any other bacon teas out there with which to compare it except for the bacon teas that 52Teas has created:  Maple Bacon (after I wrote this review I found a better way to brew the tea and I’ll be doing a follow up review for this blog sometime in the near future), Chocolate Bacon, and Pineapple Bacon Rooibos.  Of these four bacon teas, I think I enjoyed the Chocolate Bacon one best, then again, I’m a chocoholic who loves bacon.

By the way, yeah, I’m aware of the “bacon” teas that some of the Adagio customers have custom blended, but those aren’t bacon teas that have been made with bacon flavoring, instead, they’re teas made with Lapsang Souchong and other teas that are supposed to trick the taste buds into thinking that they’re tasting bacon.  Nice idea, I suppose, and I haven’t actually tried those so I don’t know how close to the mark they are.

But I do know that this tastes like smoky bacon to me.  As the tea cools slightly, I notice an almost “burnt” kind of flavor to it, kind of like the edges of the bacon that got a little too done.  But I like my bacon crisp so it works for me.  A good bacon interpretation.

Jalapeño Tea from ManTeas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  ManTeas

Product Description:

Here’s our premium Indian black teas blended with real freeze-dried jalapenos and natural jalapeno flavor! Man up and get some while you can. This is a limited edition blend!

Taster’s Review:

This was a tea that for the longest time I was too intimidated to try.  In fact, I was so intimidated by it that I didn’t order this – it was a gift from a tea friend!   And like so many teas that have intimidated me in the past, I regret that I did not try this sooner.  It really is incredible!

The flavor is not so much “spicy-hot” the way you’d expect a jalapeño to be, although it does have a heat to it that develops as I continue to sip.  The way I’d describe this as more of the fruity essence of the jalapeño pepper, with an embracing warmth that offers a hint of peppery kick toward the end of the sip.  This isn’t the pickled jalapeño pepper flavor that you might find in a jar on the grocery store shelf – this is more true to a fresh jalapeño pepper that you might find in the produce section of the market.

And the black tea is not to be counted out here – it provides a delicious base for this tea.  It is a robust blend of Blue Mountain Nilgiri and Assam teas.  I like the way the flavor of the tea and the flavor of the pepper is balanced in this cup – it is a very harmonious combination.  The only thing that I can’t help but wonder is how a pinch of Lapsang Souchong might affect the taste.  I think that the smokiness of the Lapsang Souchong would add a delicious savoriness to the cup.

As it is, though, I really am enjoying this tea far more than I ever expected to.  As I said before, I was a little afraid to try it – not because I dislike spicy food, because I actually love it.  But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t proceed with caution when trying something that will no doubt be spicy.  And this is a spicy tea, it just isn’t over-the-top with a burning heat to the palate kind of spicy.  It is a savory-spicy that develops into a very-warm-spicy flavor, imparting a delicious heat that lingers on the palate.  It really is delicious and just goes to show that I shouldn’t judge a tea before I try it.