PGB Black Tea from 52Teas

PGBTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

As difficult as you might imagine it would be to replicate a Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster here on Earth, particularly since the only ingredient we could obtain here would be the olive, it is an even MORE difficult task to create a non-alcoholic tea inspired by the drink. BUT I think we have succeeded in creating something awesome. Here’s our awesome premium black tea base blended with organic lemon-, brandy-, bourbon-, sherry- and red hot cinnamon flavors, cinnamon chips, lemon balm, lemon myrtle, lemon verbena, lemongrass, some chili pepper flakes and a TEENY touch of cayenne pepper to give it that little extra bit of BITE. Instead of an olive we added a tiny touch of organic maraschino cherry flavor for sweetness. I’m sure my creation can’t hold a candle to the awesome concoction from the fertile imagination of Douglas Adams, but I’m pretty sure it will put a smile on your face anyway, and now you can offer your guests a cuppa PGB.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

OK, I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn that 52Teas’ tea of the week was this PGB which – for those of you unfamiliar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – stands for Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.  It’s one of my favorite movies.

I still haven’t read the book.  I have the book, but I just haven’t taken the time to read it yet.  I plan to do that soon.  As in eventually.

At the same time, I was a little afraid of the tea.  I mean … I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to have my brains smashed in by a slice of lemon that’s been wrapped around a large gold brick.  As amazing as that sounds, I just thought that might be something that’s a little like skydiving:  it sounds fun.  But jumping out of an airplane doesn’t sound like something I should do.

But I decided to summon up the courage and brew some of this tea and try it.  Even if it meant that I would soon feel as though I had my brains smashed in a brick of gold that’s been wrapped in lemon.

At first the tea starts out rather mellow.  But after about three sips, I start to pick up on FLAVOR.  A lot of it!  I taste cinnamon and notes of citrus, a hint of chili pepper.  It’s sweet and spicy and fruity.  The description states that there are flavors of brandy, bourbon and sherry in this, and I’m having difficulty discerning specific alcohol flavors in this.  This could be that I’m either not very good at determining alcohol flavors because I’m a tea-totaler, or it could be that these alcohol notes meld into the background, behind the stronger flavors of black tea, cinnamon, citrus and zesty pepper.

I REALLY like this concoction.  It’s different from any tea that I’ve tried before but it’s also similar enough to things that I’ve tried in the past that it doesn’t taste weird to the point of being off-putting.  It’s a good weird.  Kind of like 52Teas.

As I continue to sip, I’m picking up on a delicate sweetness from maraschino cherry.  It’s a really nice contrast to the low and slow burn that I’m getting from the red hot cinnamon/natural cinnamon and cayenne and chili pepper.

The spice is the best part of this because it’s not TOO spicy.  This isn’t one of those hot-cha-cha kind of spicy teas that becomes too difficult to drink because the spice is overwhelming.  It isn’t sending me to the kitchen for a drink of ice water to cool the mouth.  I’m not in need of a bite of yogurt to tame the zesty flavors that are dancing around in my mouth right now.  It all works together very well.  It’s warm and it’s – as I said before – a low and slow kind of burn in the back of the mouth and toward the back of the throat.

This is the kind of drink that I’m going to want to turn to when autumn arrives and there’s a cool crispness to the air.  It’s just warm enough to give me that all-over sort of warm feeling that I would get if I just drank a shot of whiskey but without the flavor of whiskey in my mouth.  That’s a big bonus for this tea-totaler.

I really like this.  It’s definitely a suitable tribute to one of my all-time favorite movies.

Revenant Oolong Tea from Pelican Tea

revenantTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Pelican Tea

Tea Description:

An earthy but delicate habanero-infused Seschung Oolong tea with organic mint and pan-toasted brown rice. This is a favorite when I’m not in the mood for something sweet, but definitely in the mood for… something*.

*Something in this case may be anything.  Spooky.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Whoa!  This one has got some kick to it!  When I read the label and it said “Moderately Spicy,” I didn’t expect quite so much heat!  Not that I’m unhappy with it, I like the spice level.  But, for those of you who tend to be sensitive to spicy things, don’t be fooled by the word moderate.  This one is warm.

But after the first two or three sips of WARM … the heat becomes more subdued (or maybe it’s just that the taste buds have adapted to the heat) and now it’s more like a pleasant warmth at the back of the throat.  So, don’t let those first two or three sips scare you, once you get past that point, then you can sit back and really enjoy the complexity of this tea.

Because yes, it’s spicy, but, there’s so much more to this tea than just heat from the habanero pepper.

First, we have the roasted flavor of the Se Chung Oolong tea.  The delicious roasty-toasty flavor melds beautifully with the pan-toasted rice, and the delicate smoky notes of the Se Chung accentuate the spice of the habanero.  I love the way the roasty-toasty, the smoky and the spice taste together.  It’s a well-conceived flavor combination.

Then there is the mint.  Given how well the other three components – Oolong, rice and habanero – seem to work together, one might think that the mint is a bit out of place in this blend.  But, I like the touch of mint.  Mint can often become a bit too aggressive in a blend and wind up giving off a toothpaste-y sort of taste, but, that didn’t happen here.  The mint is strong enough to be tasted but not so strong that it overpowers the other flavors.  Instead, what it does here is come in to offer a cooling, crisp note to the warm, toasty and smokin’ flavors of the other ingredients.  It’s an interesting and creative contrast to the warm flavors.

Since this IS an Oolong, I decided to take it for another infusion.  The second infusion was – surprisingly – a little spicier than the first.  This surprised me; I expected the heat to wane a little with the second infusion.  The roasted and smoky notes of the Oolong as well as the toasty rice notes seemed to soften somewhat.  I think I preferred the balance of the toasty, smoky and spicy notes of the first cup over this, where it seems that the fiery notes of the habanero are stronger than the flavors of the Oolong and rice.  It’s still delicious, just different.

The mint is a little stronger in this second infusion too, so with this cup, there is more balance between the mint and habanero flavors rather than with the warmer notes.  It’s more like a balance between the crisp, refreshing notes of mint and the peppery heat.  Still a tasty cup of tea, and certainly worth the resteep!

This is a really fascinating blend from Pelican Tea!

Pan Asia Green Tea Blend from Harney & Sons

panasiaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons

Tea Description:

A delightful blend of Chinese Bancha and big Chrysanthemum flowers that create a light, clean tasting delight.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  We haven’t yet celebrated our Thanksgiving because my husband works every Thursday, and it’s next to impossible for him to get the day off, especially if Thursday happens to fall on a holiday.  So, we always postpone our Thanksgiving for a day when the whole family can come together, and this year, it happens to be this coming Tuesday.

But as I sit here, contemplating my Thanksgiving feast menu, I am sipping on this Pan Asia Green Tea Blend from Harney & Sons.  It’s sweet and light, with a refreshing floral note.  The background is slightly grassy.  It’s a delightful tea to drink as I’m trying not to get stressed out over holiday plans.  It’s keeping my nerves in check!

Overall, the flavor reminds me of springtime, and that’s certainly a welcome memory as it is quite cold outside right now.  Brrrrr!  I am finding this tea – served warm – to be very soothing and calming and helping me to forget that chill outside, and the stress that I’m feeling on my insides!

Of course, this tea would be splendid served iced too.  The texture is soft and the flavor sweet, and the chrysanthemum adds just a hint of sharpness to the buttery smooth notes of the Chinese Bancha.

It’s not too floral and not too grassy.  There’s a really enjoyable balance of tastes.  A nice, relaxing cuppa.