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.

Bourbon Chai Blend from Vintage TeaWorks

Bourbon_ChaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Vintage TeaWorks

Tea Description:

Inspired by the rich flavors of Kentucky Bourbon, this chai tea is blended using a beautiful Sri Lankan black tea, organic cinnamon and star anise.  We then wrap our blend in honey creating sweet and spicy treat. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yeah, I know I’ve said it quite a few times:  I’m not much of a drinker of alcohol.  I prefer tea.  (That might appear obvious!)  So, I’m not sure what it was about this Bourbon Chai from Vintage TeaWorks that prompted me to order it as soon as I could when I heard about it.  Maybe it was because I’ve tried the other blends from this company and I was very impressed with them, and so when this tea was announced, it was one that I added to my must try list immediately!

The first thing I noticed about this new blend from Vintage TeaWorks is that they’ve changed their packaging (or at least, they have different packaging for this chai).  The wine-inspired teas from this company that I’ve tried came in tubes that resembled wine bottle tubes.  This chai is packaged in a shiny gold tin that was wrapped with a removable paper label that has been wax sealed in place.  Cool!

When I opened the tin and the inner cellophane packaging, I could see that the tea was kind of wet-looking and sticky, as though the tea had been marinated with soaked in honey!  The tea smelled of bourbon and spice with a distinct sweet note.  As the tea brewed, I could smell more of the spice notes developing.  The brewed tea smells lightly of bourbon and strongly of spice.

This tastes amazing!  It tastes spicy, but not in a hot sort of way.  It’s more like a spicy-sweet kind of taste.  It tastes warm and cozy, with a strong spice note.  The spices offer a very harmonious flavor.  I don’t notice one spice attempting to compete with others.  I taste notes of each spice, but one note doesn’t attempt to overpower others.  It’s a very congruous tasting tea.

The black tea is also easy to distinguish in the sip, and it tastes rich and satisfying.  And what I like about these teas from Vintage TeaWorks is that they’re incredibly creative.  They “recreate” the flavors by which they’re inspired, rather than being an ‘alcohol’ infused tea.  Here, Vintage TeaWorks has recreated the flavor of bourbon using spice and honey, and this tastes what I’d imagine a bourbon that has been infused with a chai tea might taste like.  This is a very comforting cuppa!

As I sip … I can feel the warmth of the bourbon and the spice tickling the back of my throat.  It reminds me a bit of when I used to drink whisky (I liked Jack Daniels and Pepsi, although I usually went heavier on the Pepsi than the JD) – the warmth here reminds me of that slight “burn” that I’d feel at the back of my throat from the whisky, although this is a gentler heat than that burn ever was.  I think I like this better than the JD and Pepsi … not just because of that gentle heat but because this IS tea and I can taste the tea and spices too.

A really wonderful cup of chai!  I drank it with a half a teaspoon of turbinado sugar to accentuate the spices.  I didn’t add milk or cream though … and I think that this tastes lovely as a non-latte chai.  I think it would also be tasty as a chai, although the dairy might soften the bourbon-like flavors a bit.

Bourbon Vanilla Tea from Kusmi Tea

VanillaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Kusmi Tea

Tea Description:

Those who have a sweet tooth will enjoy this Chinese black tea flavored with Bourbon Vanilla from Madagascar.

We suggest to enjoy this tea during the afternoon. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Bourbon Vanilla Tea from Kusmi Tea is a tasty vanilla flavored black tea – very smooth and sweet and satisfying!

I like that it’s a Chinese black tea used for the base, because it makes for a very solid, rich tasting background of flavor.  It is smooth, not overly astringent, and not at all bitter.  It has a robust, malty tone to it that melds quite nicely with the sweet, creamy vanilla flavor.

The flavoring is not overly strong here, and while some have commented that this tea is not vanilla enough, I would disagree with that.  I like the level of vanilla flavor here – it’s not overwhelming, it’s not hitting me over the head – but then again, this is vanilla and I think it should be a softer, more subtle flavor and should take a more sophisticated approach.  It shouldn’t be too strong.  It should allow the flavors of the tea to be explored, not coat the palate with a heavily creamy taste.

It is silky and creamy, but, it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the Chinese black tea.  I like this, it would make a great afternoon tea (as suggested in the description above), or it would make a nice dessert alternative.

Strawberry Mint Julep White Tea from 52Teas

Strawberry-Mint-JulepTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

This week’s tea is a sweet blend of hay-like shou mei, freeze-dried strawberries and fresh cut peppermint and spearmint along with organic strawberry, mint and bourbon flavors. It reminds me oddly of my grandmother’s house, where she kept a small garden of mint and strawberries on the side of the house.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Zoomdweebie’s fundraising campaign to reopen the Tea Bar here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  This Strawberry Mint Julep White Tea from 52Teas is really tasty!  The delicate flavor of the Shou Mei works really well with the sweet-tart taste of the berries and the crisp, refreshing flavor of the mint notes.

The white tea is sweet and has a vegetative hay-like taste to it.  There is also a light, crisp taste to the tea that works really nicely with the fresh minty notes of the spearmint and peppermint.

The mint is probably the most pronounced flavor of this cup, but, I like that it’s not dominating to the point of overpowering the other flavors.  The strawberry notes come through, as does the subtle tones of the white tea and just a hint of bourbon also reveals itself in each sip.

And while I’m not generally a big fan of alcohol, I do like that this tastes a bit like a cocktail.  I actually like that I can taste the booze (without feeling the effects of it!) because the bourbon flavor works well here.  Perhaps that’s because it’s not an aggressive taste … it is sort of off in the background, allowing me to enjoy the other flavors while not letting me forget that it’s there.

This is nice served hot (let it cool off for just a couple of minutes after pouring the tea) but as I type this, I’m also in the process of brewing up a half gallon pitcher of it so that I can have this iced tomorrow afternoon.  I find that this tea gets better as it cools.  I’m liking it better and better with each sip!

I know that I’ve been talking a lot about the 52Teas fundraising effort to reopen the doors of the Zoomdweebies tea bar … but, let me say it again … if you can, please help out this small business!   We can always use more places to enjoy tea!

Whisky White Tea from David’s Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  David’s Tea

Product Description:

Love unwinding with a glass of whisky after a long work day? Here’s a version you can sip at the office all day long. With white Bai Mu Dan, sweet pieces of peach, macadamia nuts, and a big hit of smoky whisky flavour, this rich blend might just replace the bottle of bourbon you have stashed in the back of your desk. Of course, spiking it with an extra splash of whisky wouldn’t hurt.

Taster’s Review:

I am not a big fan of liquor in general, but, I do find myself rather fascinated with liquor flavored teas like this Whisky White Tea from David’s Tea.

The scent of the brewed tea has a very strong whisky scent and the flavor is remarkably smooth.  Overall, it’s a very delicate cuppa, from the soft Bai Mu Dan base, to the hint of whisky flavor, and a whisper of peach and sweet nutty undertones.  I like that I can taste each of these components distinctly, and yet everything is very light and refreshing and nicely balanced.

This is really delicious served hot or on the rocks.  This is an excellent way to unwind after a hard day at work … even while you’re still at work!