Tea for Tuesday: Just Peachy II

This is part II of my journey to finding a good, traditional, southern, peach tea. I made the real stuff, here, using Lipton or Luzianne tea and real peaches. But in this post I investigate using only flavored tea bags to make peach tea.

In my search, I purchased gobs of peach-flavored tea bags thinking that one of them would yield enough peachy tea flavor to make a good, classic peach tea without harming any fruit in the process.

Sadly, I was unsuccessful. Mostly.

You’d think:

Tea + peach = peach tea. No problem, right? It didn’t exactly turn out that way, though many of teas yielded something yummy. And they all call themselves peach and are tea. Or are they?

The rundown of suspects:

Bigelow, Perfect Peach

Lipton, White Mangosteen Peach

Celestial Seasonings, Country Peach Passion

Lipton, Peach Mango

Celestial Seasonings, Sleepytime Peach

Bigelow, Green Tea with Peach

English Tea Shop, Ginger Peach Tea

I’ve also tried some loose-leaf teas, but I’ll stick to tea bags for this blog post.

Bigelow, Perfect Peach

I should have known this wouldn’t taste like classic peach tea from the fact that the label said “herbal.” It has no actual tea leaves. So it lacks tea flavor. It has a nice peach aroma and some peach flavor, but it’s mixed with cinnamon flavor too. It claims to taste like peach pie. It might, if you use a lot of cinnamon in your peach pie. That said, it is pretty yummy. It is a nice alternative to the classic apples and cinnamon tea. I can see myself drinking more of this as the days get cooler this fall. So yum, but not classic peach-tea yum.

Lipton, White Mangosteen Peach

It’s like they got it right, but then they said, “wait, no. Instead of  traditional tea-flavored peach tea we’re going to swap out the black tea leaves and replace them with white tea leaves. Won’t that be nice?”

Wait. What?! Black leaves matter! (Did I just go there?)  And on top of it, I just noticed that it’s a green tea, yet they call it white. They need to get their colors correct. I have nothing against white or green tea, and this actually has a really pleasant peach taste. I’m not sure what a mangosteen is (maybe it’s what’s white), but it doesn’t mess up the peach. It can stay. I just miss the classic tea flavor it might have had if it used black tea leaves. That said, I like it, and I’m on my second box. That’s saying something. I just have to ignore the fact that it’s not the tea I was looking for.

Celestial Seasonings, Country Peach Passion

I knew going into this one that there would be no tea flavor because Celestial Seasonings is an herbal tea (or tisane) company. I was hoping for a solid, country peach flavor though. This one tastes mostly fruity to me. Fruity and herbal with some peach flavor. That’s about it.

Lipton, Peach Mango

This has peach flavor. And it’s not bad. It also has mango flavor and a good bit of hibiscus. I like mango and hibiscus, so I like this one. But it turns out it is also an herbal tea, so it doesn’t actually taste like the tea part of peach tea. I may or may not have known this when I purchased it.

Celestial Seasonings, Sleepytime Peach

I knew this one didn’t contain any tea leaves. It’s an herbal Sleepytime tea, so no caffeine. I was hoping for more peach flavor. I probably knew it wouldn’t have much, but it was on sale, and I was deeply entrenched in this peach-tea obsession. I was bad. It’s more herbal tasting with spearmint and lemongrass and a little bit fruity. It’s like drinking Sleepytime tea right after you took a bite of a peach, but you already finished eating the peach. It’s not a bad bedtime tea (if you need to use it up).

Bigelow, Green Tea with Peach 

This one has some of the same problems that the White Mangosteen Peach tea has. I don’t get a classic peach tea flavor because it uses green tea instead of black. That said, it has a pretty good overall flavor. It somehow manages to taste like peach and pit fruit without tasting especially fruity. I like it. It’s it tastes like green tea with peach (so the name is super fitting), but it doesn’t taste like a traditional southern peach tea either.

English Tea Shop, Ginger Peach Tea

I actually purchased this one at a Mashalls (or T.J. Maxx), so who knows if I’ll ever be able to find it again. But I had to try it. It was only about $4 for 60 tea bags. And it turned out to be pretty darn yummy. It actually uses black tea leaves so it tastes like there’s traditional tea in it. It has a nice peach aroma and some of that comes through in each sip. This would be quite a win … except that it also has ginger in it. It’s fairly similar to Republic of Tea’s Ginger Peach Longevity Tea. I’ve purchased that one several times too, and it is very good even though the ginger makes it a gingery peach tea instead of just peachy. So it’s almost classic peach tea! But not quite. Another one so close in my search for classic peach tea using only tea bags.

A Little Success

So after sampling each individual tea, I tried mixing them all together and adding an extra bag or two of classic black tea (because clearly that’s part of the equation) and voila a pretty darn good tea! I’d leave out the Sleepytime tea because it’s a bit too herbal. But the others resulted in something quite good. The cinnamon and ginger were softened by all the other stuff, so those flavors became a nice accent flavor while the peach and tea flavors shined through. Because normally I don’t add 7 or 8 tea bags to a cup when I make tea, I find I can simplify this combo by using a traditional black tea like Lipton or Luzianne plus Lipton’s Peach Mango or White Mangosteen Peach. Simple. And yummy. A bag of  Ginger Peach or Perfect Peach add a nice twist of spice when I want something different. Sweeten to taste and enjoy!

Copyright 2016 Debora Kapke (but feel free to share as long as you link back and give credit).

Tea for Tuesday – Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme

On this fine Tuesday before Thanksgiving I’m reviewing Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme flavored white tea.

I chose Apricot Vanilla Creme because I recently reviewed Teavana’s 2015 Limited Edition seasonal tea called Joy which is also an apricot-flavored tea. Let’s compare. (Tazo teas were also on sale here, so there’s that too.)

I taste a gentle apricot flavor along with some vanilla and then classic subtle white tea once it steeps for a few minutes. White tea can taste a bit grassy and bitter if steeped for too long. This got only slightly bitter. 

Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme is much more delicate, in both flavor and color, than Teavana’s Joy apricot-flavored tea. Since Joy also contains black, oolong, and jasmine green teas, it has a lot more punch in several areas — tea strength, caffeine, color, and floral notes. The apricot flavor is more pronounced in Joy too (at least the first time you steep the leaves). Sweetener will help bring out the fruitiness in both.

While I can brew at least two good cups of Travana’s Joy, Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla seems good for only one nice cup. That is not a bad thing if you don’t want to leave soggy tea bags sitting around. Your family might thank you. Or if you brew tea at work, you might find Tazo fits the bill nicely.

Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme lists only white tea and natural flavors on the ingredient list. It gives no specifics on what “natural flavors” are used which seems to be the norm for flavored teas.

I was able to purchase a box of 20 bags of Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme for about $3.49. Teavana’s Joy costs about $9.95 for 12 sachets. You can also purchase Joy as a loose-leaf tea or have it brewed by the cup at Teavana or Starbucks (as they serve a limited number of Teavana teas). Depending on how you use the tea, that price difference could be huge. Brewing more than one cup from each Joy sachet definitely helps, but it’s still more expensive. (It looks like Teavana is starting a Black Friday sale, so you may be able too get Joy 2015 for less. I’ll have to explore that some.)

Drinking Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme is a much more relaxing experience than drinking Joy 2015. The all-white tea means lots of antioxidants and very little caffeine. I could drink this any time of day (though it’s not much of a wake-me-up tea). The soft vanilla offers a soothing familiar creaminess that makes for a nice overall experience with balanced fruity taste.

 

(This post is also for NaBloPoMo. It’s my 20th post for that.)

Mango Sunny Passion from Capital Teas, a Mini Tea Review

It’s getting to be a good time of year for hot beverages. Not that I don’t like them year round, but cozying up with a fragrant cup of yum as defense against the chill of autumn or winter is especially enjoyable.

I’m happy to have found Mango Sunny Passion tea from Capital Teas. The name may imply it’s nice for spring or summer, but I’m enjoying it here in October just fine.

This is a green and white tea blend with mango, pineapple, and yellow rosebuds. No added flavoring or artificial flavorings are listed as ingredients.

The crisp taste of green and white tea comes through nicely – a floral, fruity, light tea with brightness and light astringency. This isn’t a grassy or vegetal green. I can taste some mango and pineapple but these are not overpowering so I can still taste the tea. Some fruity teas might as well be fruit juice they’re so fruity, but this is well balanced.

Abundant sage greens and silvery hues are dotted with light yellow fruit bits and rosebuds to make this a visually lovely tea.

I brewed it as I would a white tea. The liquor is light as one might expect from a white and light green tea. So far, a second steeping is just as flavorful as the first. Hopefully it will hold up well for a third.

I’m excited to be trying teas from Capital Teas as they’ve opened a shop that’s easy for me to visit. I’d rate Mango Sunny Passion right up there with some of my favorite Teavana white tea blends from years past.

Mini-review: Silver Yin Zhen Pearls from Teavana

Teavana’s Silver Yin Zhen is a nice little white tea. Pearl teas are fun ’cause of the whole unfurling process — adds visual enjoyment and reminds me that I should relax like the little pearls in warm water.

The flavor here is fairly classic white tea. I’ll preface by saying that I tend to like white teas a little stronger and, in fact, enjoy a wee bit of bitter. I brewed for longer than the recommended time of 4 to 5 minutes, but at a slightly cooler temperature.

First steep: I let it go to about 6.5 minutes because it didn’t really look like the pearls had unfurled much, and I like the unfurling. 3 or 4 minutes would probably be nice for folks who like a lighter tea because there was some bitterness in that first brew. It was light in color with a pit-of-the-fruit type of flavor (not fruit flavor, but that slightly astringent, slightly woody flavor of the actual pit of a peach or cherry). I enjoy that. After tasting plain, I added a bit of sweetener and this brought out the light florals while minimizing the bitterness.

Second steep: About 5 minutes. Similar, without the bitterness, less astringent. A bit fruitier. I imagine it would have been stronger if I hadn’t steeped the first cup for so long. The leaves are nicely relaxed yet not limp — they’re dancing or doing yoga.

Third steep: Also nice, I let this one steep a looong time ‘cause I got distracted. It didn’t get bitter. Still a really nice cup of white tea. With sweetener, the floral notes are still present.

I’m not sure that there will be much flavor for a fourth steeping of these leaves. Folks who like a lighter tea who don’t steep as long can probably get a very nice fourth and even fifth cup out of Silver Yin Zhen Pearls. Instead of throwing away these leaves, I’ll make a flavorful blend by adding a fruity herbal or rooibos to what is left just to get a wee bit more out of the little dancers.

I purchased Silver Yin Zhen Pearls from Teavana during their after Christmas sale. I don’t know if I’d purchase again at full price. Love those pearls though!

http://steepster.com/teas/teavana/6473-silver-yin-zhen-pearls?post=155337

Shanghai Orchid, white tea by Teavana: a mini review

This lovely flavored white tea from Teavana is a delicious combination of floral and fruit with neither overwhelming the other. Since actual orchids come in many fragrances—from oppressively floral to spicy or even no fragrance at all—it always irks me a bit when flavors or smells are described as “orchid.” I’ll forgive this one. I’m going to say that orchid in this case is floral without being specifically jasmine, rose or other easily recognized specific flower. It’s a lovely balance with a hint of tart sweetness from the fruit. There was a pleasant amount of astringency. Refreshing! Flavor was excellent through three infusions. I could definitely drink this on a regular basis.

http://steepster.com/teas/teavana/16400-shanghai-orchid