Thursday, April 12, 2007

Garden of Eden from Art of Tea

Scent in package: Very fruity, like a mango ceylon, but with more Papaya
Brewed in: Tea for one, tea filter bags
Steeping: 6 min@212 degrees, 4 min@212 deg., 5 min@ 212deg.
Cup: Trusty café mug

No matter how good intentions are, I inevitably over-steep at least one cup of tea per week. Here at work, any number of interruptions can occur at the precise minute I need to deal with my tea, and then I end up with a bitter cup. I normally drink it anyways, unless for some reason I just absolutely can’t stand to.

So the first time I brewed this tea, I over-steeped it, and ended up with a very bitter, tart cup (tart from the burnt fruity flavors). It was unpleasant, but not undrinkable, and I finished off the cup, beating myself up the whole time for over-steeping it.

Yesterday morning, I steeped the perfect cup at around 4 minutes…and it was very good. Smooth, fruity, sweet, and overall enjoyable. The Art of Tea site states that this is their iced tea blend, and indeed, it did taste better the longer it sat and cooled (I’m a sipper – it can take me several hours to finish a cup). It definitely lives up to the scent in the package, and I think it will make a lovely iced tea this summer. All that said, while it was marginally better than another mango ceylon-type tea I’ve recently tried, there really wasn’t much to make it stand out as “spectacular”. I couldn’t really taste the papaya that I smelled, and overall, it’s just kind of boring.

This morning, I over-brewed another cup (got distracted by actual work) at 5 minutes, and even just a minute over it was bitter again, though not as bad as the first cup, obviously. It’s drinkable, and has more “depth” to it than yesterday’s cup, but as expected the over-brewing kind of kills the nice fruity undertones that come into play for a 4 minute steep. It needs attention while brewing, to make sure it doesn’t overstep, so I think I’ll take it home and save it to use there with my triniTEA (so the timing is automatic), probably for iced tea this summer (it’s intended use anyways).

It’s moderately priced at $7.00 for 2 oz….can’t complain about that, since my favorite tea for icing is $8.50 for around 2oz. So if you’re looking for a good iced tea at a reasonable price, check this one out…but watch the steeping time very carefully!

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