Watermelon Lime Green Tea from The Tea Guys

watermelonlimebasilTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy:  The Tea Guys

Tea Description:

Sweet-as-candy watermelon is paired with the subtle peppery-sweet flavor of basil, and the spice of cracked pink peppercorns, all folded into a base of smoky green tea. The result is a sophisticated and refreshing cup that will surprise and delight you.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I really thought that Watermelon Lime and Basil Green Tea was an herbal that I was shocked  when I looked up the product page for this tea that it is actually a green. I saw nary a leaf in my sample package when brewing up this tea iced. I would feel bad that I used boiling water for my brews, but all I could see was chunks of dried fruit.

The chunks of fruit smelled absolutely yummy, though. It was like a lime popsicle married a fresh watermelon. It’s been getting hotter and hotter as summer begins to actually set in the rocky mountains. This tea is perfect for the oncoming heat wave. Tossing the big ‘ole chunks into my infuser, I came across something I have yet to encounter in any tea, seeds! Like, legit dried watermelon or pumpkin seeds. I have yet to see the merit of these seeds in the taste of the infusion, but I may be missing something subtle that my tastes buds just cannot catch.

When the tea cools, I taste a pool party in my mouth. The lime popsicle is joined by a watermelon Jolly Rancher that takes me back to the playground. Some people may be put off by the candy like flavor that dominates this tea, but I am all for it. I love iced teas that taste like candy. It’s pretty much Kool-aid without the calories. Sometimes a person just needs juice tea!

Despite being mislabeled as a true tea and not delivering, I enjoyed this icy cold brew a lot more than I thought I would. The seeds did not deter me from relishing in the watermelon-y goodness.

Honey, I Dew White from DAVIDsTEA

Honey I dewTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

In Vietnam, melons are a sign of good luck. In Chinese medicine, they’re said to help cool the body down. Around here, we think they’re just about the tastiest fruit around – especially when you pair them with fresh, delicate white tea. With fruity hints of pineapple and mango, this melon-packed blend is refreshing, juicy and naturally sweet. The best part? This tea was named by our customers! Is there anything they can’t dew?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s very refreshing to see another permanent white tea blend on the DAVIDsTEA walls; I’ve been complaining for months about the dwindling amount of permanent white teas – I’ve even suffered some losses that were more emotional than I’d care to admit (Coconut Grove, Sweet Strawberry, and Big Apple…). At least a lot of seasonal blends for Spring featured a white base, and one of the Mother’s Day blends as well.

And not going to lie, the fact this was named by DT’s customers (and has such a cute name) is really appealing as well; I find I’m definitely more drawn in to wanting to try a tea when it has a unique name, even if the ingredients/flavor pairings aren’t that unusual. Let us put an end to the “Earl Grey Creams” and “Jasmine Greens” that every company seems to have a version of; give yours a neat name, and make it stand out!

I’m doing this one iced; yes, iced and not cold brewed. I don’t often have the means to do iced tea because I don’t actually have ice at my place. We don’t own an ice tray, and I don’t have the freezer space in my little apartment for larger bags of ice. I know it could be easily remedied by buying an ice cube tray but I always forget; so iced tea is a special treat for me provided by being in the right place (err, chef’s kitchen) at the right time.

My initial thought when I tried this was of Trident’s Watermelon Twist gum – the sugary, candy sweet watermelon top notes were pretty identical. I was expecting something both more mellow and, based on the name, more in the line of Honeydew so I was a little taken aback but once I got accustomed to the taste I found it really enjoyable. Contrasting that, the tail of the sip was a lot more natural tasting once the sweetness has subsided, and definitely a lot more honey dew than watermelon. I like the layers of melon that this one has. Almost like Trident Layers? That’s a bad pun, sorry.

The body of the sip is interesting too; somewhere in between where the watermelon eases up and the honeydew takes over there are a lot of very strong apple notes and some very vague mango and pineapple notes. I’d say they mostly create a tropical fruit vibe rather than make an impact as unique, stand-alone flavors though.

This was really enjoyable, and I think quite different from any other white blend that DT is currently offering, let alone any of their current blends. I really, really like the way they do Honeydew flavors; I’m thinking in particular of Honeydew Mate and Cool Cucumber (two seasonal blends). I loved both quite a bit (I still have some Cool Cucumber), and they definitely honed in on that awesome honeydew flavor. While DT’s watermelon can get too sweet or artificial, honeydew is a flavor they have successfully nailed. If you’re a fan of either of those two blends I absolutely 100% recommend giving this one a shot.

Watermelon Barley Herbal Tea from Lupicia

WatermelonbarleyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy: Lupicia USA

Tea Description:

Aromatic six-rowed barley produced in Japan flavored with fresh watermelon. Limited flavor just for summer.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Tis the season of iced tea and delicious summer fruit! Nothing says ‘summer’ to me quite like mugicha (which is roasted barley tea, traditionally sipped on iced as cold as my heart.) and fresh, sweet, and messy watermelon. Lupicia’s Watermelon Barley tea sounded almost too good to be true on their website, I just had to bite. I’m hoping that the hype I have built up in my brain lives up to this fantasy blend.

The combination of roasted and toasted barley with fresh and juicy watermelon sounds like it could be either really great, or really awful. The only way is to drink this tea and find out!

Upon opening the bag, the sachets inside are large and offer a tiny hint of what I am about to brew. The main scent on first whiff was the roasted grain smell, rich and full. Cloyingly sweet in the background is the fruity watermelon. I didn’t let myself investigate further, I was dying to sink my teeth into the brew. I attempted the cold brew in 2 cups of cold water for 4 hours, simply out of laziness. This resulted in the toasty flavor of the barley becoming a little too overpowering for the watermelon to handle. I could only taste a whisper, it might as well have been regular old mugicha.

The next day I wanted to make it right. I knew it was just a user error on my end, and I needed this tea to taste differently than it had when I brewed it cold. So, I used one pyramid type bag in 16oz. of freshly boiled water. Steeped for 5 minutes then chilled in the refrigerator. When I brought it out the next morning and huffed the liquid, I was met with a satisfyingly sweet smell. The watermelon! Drinking it throughout the day was greatly refreshing. The watermelon was so very melon-y, juicy, thirst quenching. It leans on the side of becoming candy-like in flavor, but stays true to the actual fruit. The barley is still the forefront, but not obnoxiously so. The brew as a whole tastes like grilled watermelon, in a good way. (which is a great thing to try for your next barbeque, by the way!) Probably my new favorite go to easy iced tea for the summer!

Watermelon Splash Tea Blend from Bluebird Tea Co.

watermelon_splashTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green & White Teas

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tisane Description:

A refreshing blend of green and white tea bursting with juicy melon and fruit flavours. A truly spring time tea, fresh and fruity and totally mouth-watering over ice. Watermelon Splash is the perfect tea blend for sipping in the sunshine.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

This Watermelon Splash Tea from Bluebird Tea Co. isn’t just a “spring time” tea but it’s a wonderful summer time tea too!

I admit that I was a little dismayed to see that hibiscus is one of the ingredients, and even more dismayed to see the hibiscus in the blend as I measured it into my tea maker, but, really, the hibiscus adds very little to this blend except for a slight pinkish hue that embraces the whole ‘watermelon-y’ sort of theme of the tea.  The texture is light – not at all syrupy the way hibiscus can be in a blend – and the flavor is not overly tart.

There is some tartness to this though, and not just from the hibiscus, but also from the lemon peel.  But I think I like these tart notes, because they contrast in a pleasant way with the sweetness and add an uplifting brightness to the cup.

To brew this blend, I used a lower temperature (it’s a blend of both white and green teas, and in blends like this, I generally yield to the lowest temperature, in this case, I’m yielding to the white tea brewing requirements) of 170°F.  I know that a lot of people will tell you that 160°F is the way to go with white teas, but, I have found that adjusting that temperature by 10 degrees will provide a much more flavorful cup of white tea without any bitterness or sign of scorched tea leaves.

I steeped this for 3 minutes and the result is a flavorful cup that is lightly pink in color, looking a bit like the liquid at the bottom of a bowl of cut-up watermelon.  In other words, it looks like watermelon juice.

The tea smells like a medley of fruits.  I can smell watermelon, coconut, pineapple and citrus.  The first few sips were more lemon-y than they were watermelon-ish.  After about two sips, I could start to pick up on the coconut and pineapple flavors.  It wasn’t until I reached mid-cup that I started to note the watermelon flavor.

The base of white and green teas is light and crisp and buttery smooth.  I don’t get a strong “grassy” note, but I do taste the fresh “leafy” taste that is distinctly green tea.

The tea notes are best described as background notes.  They aren’t very prominent flavors amid the fruit flavors.  I can barely taste the white tea, but it lightens the cup in a way that benefits the overall beverage.  It adds this refreshing, cool taste that is just as distinctly white as the aforementioned fresh leafy taste is distinctly green, even though the cup does not scream out “white tea” or even “green tea.”  While these flavors are not abundantly ~clear~ in the cup, this blend would not be the same without either of these two teas in it.  They add something flavorful to the cup, it is just not as distinguished as the fruit notes.

I found myself enjoying this cup.  I do wish there was a stronger, more obvious watermelon note to it, but I really do like the combination of flavors.  It’s a great way to quench the thirst.  Good hot but much better iced!

Picnic in the Park Oolong from 52Teas

Picnic-in-the-Park-OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:  

This week has been crazy.  I can’t believe it’s Friday night and I’m just posting the Tea of the Week.  Well, better Nate than lever… Here’s a fun new blend inspired by a suggestion from my wife.  It’s a nice Fujian oolong with freeze-dried strawberries and watermelon, strawberry and champagne flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Every year when my birthday comes around, I send a message out to Frank that I expect a really exciting tea for my birthday.  Unfortunately, I don’t think ahead enough to give him enough time to really THINK about the exciting tea that he’s going to create for my birthday.

So the tea that ended up being released during the week of my birthday was the Strawberry Banana black tea … and while I ended up really enjoying that, I wasn’t all that excited about that tea, so when this tea was announced for the week following, I considered THIS to be my birthday tea.

Next year for my birthday, I hope that Frank will be releasing a new tomato tea.  Right, Frank?

This tea is simply YUM!  And … it really does taste like a picnic in the park!  I taste the strawberry and the watermelon and the champagne notes, as well as the soft, creamy notes of the green Oolong tea.  There is a really good balance of flavors – the Oolong isn’t overpowered, and I taste about equal parts of strawberry and watermelon while there is just a hint of champagne “bubbly” dancing around on my palate.  Nice!

It tastes really good hot … but I like it even better as an iced tea.  And because it’s an Oolong, a little bit of the tea goes a long way – a couple of teaspoons produced a half gallon pitcher of delicious, flavorful iced tea!  Seriously yummy refreshment!

Before I forget … Frank (the chief Zoomdweebie at 52Teas and Southern Boy Teas!) is trying to raise funds to attend the ASD Trade Show in Las Vegas in a matter of weeks.  This will boost his visibility and potentially put his product into the hands of those who can get his business off the ground!  Please consider helping fund his Kickstarter campaign so that he can set up a display at the retail trade show!