Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tuscan Apricot tea

I tend to be a purist about tea. That means no sugar and no milk for me.  So far, I have drunk tea for its own sake and enjoyed it. I believe that ultimately, tea tastes very good by itself: not necessary to add anything. That said, I also believe that some flavors, natural perfumes or processes can help bring other tea qualities that you normally don't get. For instance, there is the very popular Earl Grey, the smoky Lapsang, the toasty Genmai or the pungent Puerh. These, and similar ones, are just one step removed from the original taste and I feel one can be happy by not straying too far from home base. Safari hunting is not required for tea.  Get too far away, and you may no longer be drinking tea at all.  I'm amazed at the tea shop at some of their offerings. There are blends like Blueberry Bran Muffin Rooibos or Winter Fresh Mint Caramel Toffee Silver Needles (I'm making these up, but aren't there mixes similar to these?) and sure enough, when you take a look inside the tin , there are a hodgepodge of bits and pieces and flowers and who knows what else in there. I must say that they do smell good, and they probably taste that as well, but they are not my cup of tea (wink wink). They're just too far removed. If you happen to like those, carry on, nothing wrong with you; I won't burn you at the stake or anything. It is just that I like simpler tastes.

Despite that, not too long ago I wandered from my comfort zone just a bit. At my favorite tea shop, I was looking for something new, and among the suggestions I smelled the perfume of apricots. This one caught my attention above all others. From what I previously said, you may safely assume that I am unsure of those teas that have bits and pieces mixed in. This apricot tea has those in small quantity, but it smelled so good that I bought a couple of ounces. And very cheap too! From its appearance, it has dried flowers, dehydrated fruit and your standard black tea. I don't think it has any extra essential oil in it. The smell is fruity and flowery, but not cloying at all. The underlying smell of tea remains hidden under the bouquet. I prepared myself a pot. Due to the added contents I correctly added in more weight than with pure black. It brewed fairly quickly; in about 4 to 5 min. it was ready for drinking. The taste was very fresh, with apricots all around. Still, no cloying sensations, but very far away sweetness. The black tea flavor now sprung lending roundness to the brew, but still under the apricots. I was taken.

I would recommend this tea almost anyone including you, unless you positively hate scented teas. If you're a milk and sugar guy or gal, you might want to check it out as it might give you richly rounded, milky cream results. For the iced tea lovers, I'm not all that sure, because I suspect it would taste too much like bottled commercial offerings once ice is added.

On the downside, the brew can turn unpleasant if you let it oversteep. Also the leaves do not lend well to a second brewing, so you'll have to be mindful in both cases. Caffeine wise this one packs quite a punch; I'm regularly tolerant, but this one makes me woozy after a whole pot.

Check with your local tea merchant for it. If ordering online, apparently this Canadian site has the same one as mine. It is both cheap, pleasant  and uncomplicated.


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