Firewater from Pelican Tea gets its name from the addition of hot habanero peppers to the tea. But hot peppers aren’t the only unusual ingredient, this solid black tea also has toasted brown rice, an ingredient that is usually found in green tea genmai cha teas.
I always like to get a whiff of my tea leaves before I brew them, but I was a little nervous about sticking my nose in the bag this time. Would I get a noseful of hot peppers and run away sneezing like in the cartoons? Well, I got lucky, this tea smells savory and earthy and a bit like baked bread from all the starchy brown rice, but no burning or sneezing.
I let the leaves steep and took in the scent of the brewing tea. Still no bite of spice, just more toasted cereal tones from the rice, and a robust black tea. Taking a sip, I finally get a glimpse of the hot peppers. At the back of each sip there is the slightly smoky, chipotle flavor of habanero peppers, and a warm burn of capsaicin down my throat. It’s not so spicy as to be unpleasant, but it is definitely a distinctive experience. All the forward flavors of the tea focus on the nutty, roasted rice.
This would be a great tea for those who like rice in their tea, like in genmai cha. Or this would be a winner for those of you who like the spicy soup sipping broth products out there. The brown rice and earthy black tea take over most of the flavor palette in this tea, but the passing flame of hot pepper spice with each sip makes this something special.
All in all Firewater is a really unique blend that would be a fun gift for any lover of all things hot and spicy.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Pelican Tea
The original Pelican Tea, and an instant classic. Habanero-infused Orange Pekoe black tea and toasted brown rice contribute to an unpretentious blend that’s as comforting as it is spicy.