Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amazingly, I am still going through my birthday teas from Special Teas. I was in the mood for something a little different, so I thought I would try their Vanilla with Finest Madagascar Vanilla. This is a black tea, with pieces of vanilla and vanilla flavoring added. They call for 2 teaspoons of the tea per 6 oz. Cup brewed for 2-3 minutes in boiling water! So I do, wondering if it will be too strong!

The dry leaves are black, in assorted sizes and I can't tell which is tea and which is vanilla. It smells wonderful, like the best of vanilla puddings – creamy and somehow sensuous. There is also a distinct whiff of cherry. There is not, however, that wonderful fresh tea scent. Thankfully, the tea is not too strong or tannic and it does taste of vanilla. But I don't really like it. It is pleasant and it is not bad, I just don't like it. On the whole, after several different vanilla teas, I think I just don't like it – they never seem to live up to expectations. I think I may try making my own, as I just happen to have some vanilla beans. If I do, I'll let you know the result.

I was still needing some tea, unflavored this time, so I got out my Upton's Arya Estate Autumnal Darjeeling, which I have reviewed before. I love Darjeeling teas and this is a particularly nice one. I started up my Darjeeling road with the second flushes. These are perhaps what one could call a late spring/summer tea. I tried first flushes for a bit but thought them too astringent and then I found the rounded winy Autumanls, which I drank almost exclusively for a bit. However, as my palate has grown, I have developed much more fondness for both the first and second flushes, so now I have a whole year of great Darjeelings to look forward to.

It is interesting to me to see how my tastes keep altering over the years. For example, I used to love Black Currant and now, I can't stand the smell. I find that I often go back to a tea I didn't like or only moderately cared for to see how it strikes me now. However, I have never really liked fruity sweet teas or vanilla ones, so I think I can give them all a rest and not feel guilty about them. One of these days I am going to try Gyrokuro again, though. Maybe after I have had more green teas and appreciate them more.
The picture is that of the bishop's chair in Ravenna's cathedral. It may be in a beautiful spot, but it doesn't look too comfy.


Margaret Studer said...

How disappointing that it didn't taste like tea. I think that a strong black tea with a hint of vanilla is heavenly. You could add just a drop of very high quality vanilla to a cup of your favorite black tea. That will provide a cup of tea that is mostly tea with just a bit of vanilla. Or you could combine a black tea with a good quality vanilla herbal. There are some good rooibos with vanillas out there. The names of them escape me at the moment.
I've enjoyed Bigelowe's vanilla chai from time to time, but unfortunately it only comes in bags. (Sometimes I am just feeling to lazy or hurried to mess with loose leaves and a teapot.)
I'm sorry that you had a negative experience with your vanilla tea. I hope the next one you try is better.

Jason Witt said...

I think I'd like vanilla in tea, as Margaret suggests here. It's interesting that you liked the smell so much but the flavor didn't pan out. That can happen with tea, and sometimes it doesn't smell good but tastes better.

Marlena said...

Both of those are true. I am going to try the drop of vanilla, but I really want to try the vanilla bean brewed in the water I do the tea with.