This week’s tea review is brought to you by Sheila O’Flanagan’s “Stand by Me” which appears in most of the photos 🙂 (and is also a great book).
Source: Bought from Tea Palace. No idea where the tea itself comes from (this is one of the things that Tea Palace don’t necessarily tell you … which is part of why I’m starting to think I won’t buy from them again). Tea Palace’s description is: “Smooth Caramel is a delicious blend of black tea with real pieces of caramel and a hint of vanilla.” which is true, but not quite as useful as I’d like … what kind of black tea?
Cost: £4 for a sample caddy (which is the size I have in the photo), £7.50 for 125g, £10.75 for 200g (and a few other options if you want it in a tin / gift bag / etc).
Ethics: No info, really. Previously when I posted about a Tea Palace tea I got a comment back saying that they were ethical, but as far as I can see there’s still no information (not even a “hey, we’re ethical”) on their website.
Aha, I spot a bit of caramel!
Brewing Instructions: I used 1 teaspoon of tea, and brewed for precisely 3 minutes with water that was just-below-boiling. I have a faint memory of overbrewing/scorching the tea in the past, so was cautious about the water temperature. This cup turned out beautifully 🙂
Appearance: C commented “honey” while it was brewing – it starts off really light and golden, but deepens significantly. It’s rather pretty:
Nose: This tea smells beautiful. Golden and caramel-ly, but not sugary or over-sweet. I suspect you have to make sure that you get a caramel piece in each cup to get this to work.
Taste: I think I’d describe this as a medium-bodied black tea (are there proper categories for this)? There’s a lovely hint of sweetness but not too much, and I suspect that there’s some Assam in the black tea blend because it has that slight hint of maltiness, although it tastes lighter than Assam. It’s very pleasant – which it should be, really; I decided to buy it because I sampled it in-store and really liked it!
Food match: This tea goes really well with chocolate buttons. I guess that’s not surprising, as it’s caramel-flavoured … it’s probably also not very sophisticated. But it is very tasty.
Although this is a rather lovely tea, I don’t think it’s one I’ll buy again after my sample caddy runs out. The caramel bits don’t stay distributed evenly throughout the tin of tea (after all, how could they?), so you can easily get cups without any caramel in them, which isn’t great (although you can substitute with sugar, which is okay).
In terms of developing my knowledge of tea, I’d like to know what teas I’m drinking from which parts of the world – so when I do start buying tea again (I’ve been trying to drink down my stash a bit …) I think I’m likely to go for particular teas from particular areas, which also rules this one out.
What do you think? Have you had teas with sugar-based flavourings built in?