Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Our goal with this blend was to create something that was distinctly Minnesotan with additions like Minnesota Wild Rice and north woods juniper berries, while still feeling decadent and rich for a tea lover like Lady Gaga. Vanilla bean and generous saffron make the brew rich, full and sweet without overwhelming and heavy-handed cloying artificial sweeteners.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I saw that this was a limited-edition blend created to honor Lady Gaga’s visit to Minnesota, I knew I had to try the tea. Not because it’s a tea created for Lady Gaga, but, because it is a limited-edition tea! I am a sucker for limited-edition because … well, they’re limited. I like to know what I might possibly be missing out on, you know?
And I’m glad that I decided to buy a sampler package of this tea! It’s lovely!
Reading the ingredients list, one might think that this is a wild twist on the classic Genmaicha … and yeah … there are some similarities, but this is WAY more than just your average Genmaicha!
It’s a delightfully aromatic and sweet cup with notes of vanilla. I am also picking up on a gentle, warm ‘pine-like’ resinous flavor from the juniper berry. The rice gives it a smooth, nutty flavor. I don’t taste a heavy ‘vegetal’ flavor with this tea although I do taste notes of edamame. I’m getting that an umami sort of taste here that I attribute to the green tea.
At the start, I don’t taste a lot of saffron flavor, but I can definitely smell the saffron when I lift the cup to take a sip. It’s beautifully fragrant! As I continue to sip, I can taste the saffron notes beginning to develop, although I must admit that saffron is not a spice I have a lot of familiarity with (it’s a seriously expensive spice!) but I do taste subtle hints of it here.
I taste the rice and the vanilla most prominently and these two together give the cup an almost “rice pudding-ish” sort of flavor. By the time I reach mid-cup, I can pick up on more of the green tea flavors – it tastes sweet and savory and lush without tasting overly “leafy” or “green” or “vegetative.” The nutty notes of the rice intensify by the time I’ve reached the bottom of the cup.
I find myself in agreement with the last sentence of the above description … the vanilla and saffron make this a rich, full, and sweet without needing to add sweetener and yet the sweetness is not an overpoweringly, cloyingly sweet taste, so I would recommend adding sweetener very cautiously and only after you’ve tasted it first, you may find that you don’t need it at all!
This is also a tea that offers multiple infusions. I steeped the leaves three times and got a really pleasing flavor each time I steeped it. The second infusion was a little less “creamy” and “full” than the first cup, but it was still very satisfying and deliciously rich. These later infusions offered more nutty flavors and a little more green tea taste than the first did, and I think these flavors are worth exploring!
A really good blend. I recommend getting some of this while the getting is good because the website says that the quantities are low!