For Halloween, let’s brew up some unique tea blends using existing teas. Over the next four weeks, we will walk you through the craft of blending tea while creating four new blends to enjoy. So grab your measuring spoons, cup and infuser and join us on our blending adventure.
1st Recipe: Strawberry Jasmine
This blend is a mix of our Strawberry Oolong and Jasmine Green teas. Generally a tea blender would not opt for this mix as the density and size of the two teas are not similar, so the possibility of separate in the final storage container is rather high. Separation has to be considered as it leads to an inconsistent flavor on a cup by cup basis. So this is a blend you would make by the cup as opposed to making it in a large scale.
In crafting this blend, we choose to favor having a stronger Strawberry flavor with a Jasmine highlight. Picking a flavor to focus on is critical in making a tea blend. Ironically, if there are too many flavors in a blend it becomes hard for the drinker to figure out what they are drinking, which leads to confusion and a nonoptimal tea experience.
Recipe for Strawberry Jasmine – 12oz Cup
3 tsp (flat) – Strawberry Oolong
1 tsp (flat) – Jasmine Green
Steep for 3 minutes in 175°F water.
2nd Recipe: Caramel Apple
This blend combines our Dulce de Leche and Apple Blossom teas. Pretty routinely you will find that flavored teas are inspired by other food combinations. When building a blend on a known flavor it is important to think about what components are in the flavor and is there a dominant flavor characteristic. For Caramel Apple, the caramel is dominant with a slight apple finish. So you will notice that in this recipe, if you want more apple, adjust the Dulce de Leche down and the Apple Blossom up. Much like our last recipe, this is a blend to make by cup as the Dulce de Leche is rooibos based, making it very small and dense, while the Apple Blossom is puerh based, making it big and lite.
Luckily, this blend combines teas that require boiling water and have the same steep time, so no adjustment is needed there. If you have not had puerh before, we would highly recommend you drink some Apple Blossom on its own. It is a great introduction to puerh and its earthiness, without being overwhelming.
Recipe for Caramel Apple – 12oz Cup
2 tsp (scant – less than full, think 90-95% full) – Dulce de Leche
1/2 tsp (flat) – Apple Blossom
Steep for 5 minutes in 208°F water.
3rd Recipe: Almond Joys
When aiming to recreate a known flavor profile, in this case a famous candy bar, the goal is to find the balance in the flavor. Sure, a cup of tea will not contain the sweetness of the candy bar, which gives you some flexibility in what flavor to amplify. So feel free to play with the ratios to highlight either the chocolate or the coconut of this combination. We combined our Chocolate Almond Fantasy and Coconut Oolong to make this cup of tea. If you need that sweetness as well, add your sugar after you brew.
Blending with nuts is a tricky business, first you need them cut into the right size to roughly match the size of the tea leaves and then you need to factor in their shelf life. Slivered nuts have no where near the shelf life of tea. A good black tea can easily stay fresh, when stored correctly, for 5 years. Slivered nuts, on the long side, might have 1 year, but are more likely going to start to turn bitter at 6 months. So if you like teas with nuts in them, drink them frequently and do not save them for the future.
Recipe for Almond Joys – 12oz Cup
1 tsp (round) – Chocolate Almond Fantasy
1 tsp (flat) – Coconut Oolong
Steep for 4 minutes in 195-200°F water.
4th Recipe: Bourbon Peach
This recipe is a little more complex as we blend together 3 teas, including the smoky Lapsang Souchong. The good news is the teas we are working with are all black, have the same density, and shelf life. So this can be blended in a larger batch and stored. So Bourbon Peach is a blend of our Georgia’s Peach, New World Vanilla and Lapsang Souchong.
If you have not had a cup of Lapsang Souchong, add this to your tea bucket list. The original Lapsang Souchong teas come from Wuyi in the Fujian province of China and are pine smoked. Currently, you can also get cedar smoked tea from the Anhui province of China that sometimes also gets called Lapsang Souchong. Obviously, they won’t smell or taste the same. You can read more about this historic tea in this blog post. Just know that when working with a smoky tea, less is more.
Recipe for Bourbon Peach – 12oz Cup
1 tsp (flat) – Georgia’s Peach Tea
1 tsp (round) – New World Vanilla
1/4 tsp (flat) – Lapsang Souchong
Steep for 5 minutes in 212°F water.