Gourmet Root Beer/52Teas. . ..

When I cut open my package of Gourmet Root Beer tea, the first thing I saw was a beautiful, WHOLE star anise. The first thing I smelled was ROOT BEER. That really needed to be in all caps because that is how it smelled. This wasn’t the scent of cheap, off label root beer. This was the rich, full scent of a craft root beer that would be poured from a frosty brown bottle, foaming into a thick and frothy head in your glass, filling the air with the scent of pure vanilla and anise. Perfection.

The blend contains black tea, sarsaparilla root, cloves, star anise, licorice root, vanilla bean, and natural flavors. Licorice root has not only a distinctive aroma but leaves a distinctive flavor and texture in the throat after you swallow. I really didn’t know that there was licorice root in this until I looked at the ingredients, because it was such pure root beer taste that the licorice root individuality didn’t stand out from it. It simply sweetened the tea to the point that a guest, who takes no sugar in any tea or coffee, remarked that this was a very sweet black tea.

I wasn’t satisfied with just trying it hot. The heat index today is 102F. That’s 39C. That’s inhumanly, ridiculously hot. I wanted to see if I could make an ice cold bubbly root beer with this. I put four teaspoons of leaf in seven ounces of water that was 200F then steeped for two and a half minutes and strained it. I poured this over 3/4 cup sugar to make a root beer simple syrup.

Even though it was still hot, I just couldn’t wait to try my experiment. I filled a twelve ounce glass about a third of the way up with ice and poured three tablespoons of the root beer syrup over the ice. Then I filled the glass the rest of the way with pre-chilled Perrier for the bubbles. I pronounce it DELICIOUS.

It was a fun experiment and I can’t wait for hubby to get home and try it. My daughter sniffed it and said she expected it to smell like cream soda but it really did smell like root beer to her. It is really good, and doesn’t have sodium benzoate like most soda. I added the sugar without thinking because that is how you make simple syrup, but if you wanted to cut your sugar intake, I bet this would be still be good with just the sweetness of the licorice root that is already in the blend. Or you could easily make the simple syrup and just add cold water if the carbonation isn’t important to you, but I was trying to replicate actual root beer.

If you love root beer, give this a try. It is not in stock at the time this review was written, but 52teas is all about keeping an ever changing offering of new blends and they do rotate the favorites back around now and then.

Now have fun with your tea and experiment!

 

 


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Description

This tea is no longer available

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Carrot Cake Pancakes/52Teas. . . .

I have come to expect some pretty astounding combinations of flavors from 52Teas. It is almost like people wake up from a dream where their favorite foods collided and they call and say, “Hey, how about making up some….” and this time it was Carrot Cake Pancakes.

When I saw the name I thought it was just a mash up of someone’s favorite foods, but I have since heard that there are such baked goods available in different forms here and there. They are real, people! REAL!

So let’s give it a go!

This is a really brisk black tea base, fairly strong. It is strong enough to carry instructions to only steep for 2 1/2 minutes. After the black tea, I really taste the spices first. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg…and then comes maple syrup on the back. It isn’t sweet, though. That is the strange part to me, that I taste maple but not sugar. I don’t usually add sugar to my tea and I am sometimes disappointed to find that a vendor has added to a blend, so I am glad this isn’t already sweet. If you like sugar in your tea, this would probably taste like maple syrup, but for me it tastes like maple without the sugary taste, which brings it across as deep, dark, and lightly smokey.

When it cooled, the spices seemed to get stronger and the black tea a little milder, though the brisk affect is growing as I continue to sip.

Then, just for you guys, I decided to try it with sugar to see what it would taste like. And now it tastes like a mulled tea for Thanksgiving or Christmas, with lots of black tea heft!

I think this would be really good paired with sweets, which I don’t usually do, preferring to serve a strong but plain tea with sweet or rich foods. Otherwise I would serve it when I want a rich and full tea experience when I am distracted and need to focus, perhaps at work, rather than serving it as a soothing, contemplative cup.


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Gingerbread Brulee/52Teas

I found a super simple recipe to make tea infused hot chocolates and I have been making them since. 10/10 would recommend this recipe by Savvy Eats which can be found here.

I have tried this with A Quarter to Tea’s Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding, Bird and Blend’s Monkey Chops and this time I am using 52 Tea’s Gingerbread Brulee. Each time has been delicious and distinctly flavored by the tea.

You start by cold brewing 1-1.5 teaspoons of tea in 1 cup of milk. The recipe says to do this for 20 minutes which I followed the first time and had a flavorful drink. Since then, I have set the cold brew up earlier so it steeps for longer just so I can get more flavor (usually I leave it cold brewing anywhere between an hour and 6 hours). It probably isn’t necessary for it to sit that long but it makes me happy. I also usually double the recipe, using 3 teaspoons of tea for 16 ounces of milk.

When the milk is done cold brewing I get to preparing the drink on the stove. If I doubled the milk, as I did with this hot chocolate, I also double the recommended cacao powder and chocolate chips, but still only use the one tablespoon of sugar. I tend to use either a 1:1 mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips, or just milk chocolate chips. I have salted caramel chips that I think I will try one time just to change things up but this particular hot chocolate was made with all milk chocolate chips because that was what was most easily accessible.

Now that I am drinking this hot chocolate, I think all milk chocolate chips was the right way to go. This tea is so true to gingerbread but the kind you’d make at home that isn’t overly processed or sweet. That means it is heavy on the ginger and has a richness from the molasses. That depth is balanced nicely by the sweet and creamy milk chocolate, a balance that might have been tilted more to bitter if there was semi-sweet chocolate in the mix. Not that that would have been particularly bad, just more adult and sometimes you just like the nostalgia of a sweeter, creamier hot chocolate. And nostalgic this is because it essentially tastes like I made gingerbread cookies and then let one just melt into my hot chocolate. So. Good!


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Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Description

This tea is not available but click below for blends that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Blackberry Custard Tart Green Tea/52Teas. . . . .

I have seen a lot of praise for 52 Teas banana flavoring. There is also a lot of amazement over the 52 Teas coconut, which never seems to go bad no matter how old it gets. What you don’t hear a lot about is the 52 Teas blackberry flavor, which is a shame because it is awesome!

I had a cup of 52 Teas’ Blackberry Dumpling tea not too long ago and it was delicious. However, I had only a one-serving sample so after finishing that mug I was left with a blackberry tea void…until I remembered that this tea, Blackberry Custard Tart Green Tea, was part of the most recent 12 Teas of Christmas box.

While green tea is not typically my favorite, I am still smiling as I sip this because, like Blackberry Dumpling, the blackberry flavor is once again the super delicious star of the mug. There is the faintest vegetal note from the base but mostly it highlights the fresh and juicy flavors of the blackberry. I am not getting too much custard or tart but it is there, light and subtle and adding just a twinge of creaminess. Probably also keeping things on the sweeter side.

52 Teas just nails some flavors and blackberry is one of their more underrated skills. This is yet another delicious blackberry beverage, even if it doesn’t quite capture its namesake.


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Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for blends that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

China Bancha/Herbie Organic. . . . .

This is intriguing! Bancha usually refers to Japanese tea, specifically the second harvest from the same tea bushes that produce sencha. Bancha is considered to be an every day tea grade rather than something to reserve for special occasions, so I am drinking this as my after brunch cup.

This tea is harvested in China but is processed like Japanese bancha. The leaves are not terribly long – not like Hou Kui – but they are similar in that they are pressed flat. They are quite dark green in color.

The steeped tea is a rich gold color, not pale at all. It looks a lot like apple juice! My first sip gave the impression of mint, but the more I drink, the more I realize it is a very light briskness that builds over time. It is not creamy, buttery, or very vegetal. It is not sour when sipping. There is a bit of mineral flavor. By halfway through the cup, my tongue is feeling rather dry. And dry makes you want to drink more.

As is so often true of brisk tea, the follow up to the sip is a slight rising sweetness. There is only a hint of that here and it seems to come and go, being the most noticeable in the very back of the throat. Once the aftertaste establishes itself, though, it does linger well.

With its palate cleansing tendencies, I think this is a tea I would serve with or immediately after a meal. It is not a favorite for me, as I tend to like highly vegetal or buttery green tea, but is the sort of thing my daughter loves.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Herbie Organic

Description

Green tea produced by combining the best Chinese and Japanese tea making traditions. Grown on the northern side of the River Yangtze at altitudes of up to 250 meters, pressed and long leaves give this green tea light and gentle taste and a mild character.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!