It is time again to visit the land of Bangladesh, specifically the region of Teatulia where Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate creates their tea. Last time we covered Teatulia's 'pure teas' meaning this little feature is all about the herbals and blends, so let's get started!
Tulsi Infusion Tea
In this little teabag we have a blend of Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Black Tea, a simple blend that has one of my favorite ingredients in it, I absolutely love Tulsi! The aroma is a blend of the herbaceous bordering on savory with notes of pepper and basil and a nice sweet blend of malt and honey. Black tea and Tulsi mix really well in my mind, it has a balancing act. Brewing the tea brings out the briskness of the black tea and more of the peppery notes from the Tulsi, it smells quite good.
The taste is also quite good, it blends the peppery and herbaceous notes of the tulsi and gives it a savory tone, after the initial Tulsi burst it transitions into briskness from the Black tea. The finish is malty and a touch of honey, the aftertaste leaves the mouth a little tingly and tasting like basil.
Earl of Bengal
Next up on the tasting adventure is Earl of Bengal, a blend of Bergamot and Black Tea, I made this when resident Earl aficionado was home, so he got to help me taste, and by help I mean he split the cup with me. The aroma of the teabag is pretty much all citrus all the time, the sharp slightly lemony aroma of the Bergamot is so potent, I only detect the tiniest hint of malt. After steeping, the tea is a perfect split between Bergamot and malt, one does not overpower the other, and at the finish there is a tiny hint of cocoa.
The taste is distinctly malty with a mild Bergamot taste. There is a hint of tannins and it is quite brisk, the Bergamot, even though it is fairly mild is present throughout the entire sipping experience, it is lemony and goes well with the malty black tea. I did find myself wishing it was stronger in the Bergamot department, and of course Ben wanted lots of Bergamot, but his love of that citrus goes into insane levels, so maybe take his opinion with a grain of salt.
So, I opened the little plastic bag expecting the usual blast in the face of peppermint, but there was none, cautiously I stuck my nose close to the bag and still there was pretty much nothing. Only a hint of mintiness and a tiny bit of herbaceous notes, like sage, it does not smell like any mint that I am familiar with. Brewing the mint brings out just a tiny bit more of the mint smells and more of this odd green herbaceous tone. It is like someone took a mint plant and removed all of the mint and just left the herb.
I am a bit apprehensive, I love mint, I drink it a lot for nausea, headaches, and clearing my sinuses, it is one of my favorite teas to drink in the summer and I love having different mints in herbal blends. This tea does not look or smell like peppermint, it does not taste like peppermint, in fact I would go as far as to say this might be the worst mint tea I have ever had. But I am also intrigued by it because it does not taste like mint, I honestly feel as though someone is trolling me! It tastes like a blend of very old mint, sage, pepper, and spinach. I did not like this tea, but I think it might be because it does not taste or smell like what I expect it to, if I was given this blind I might like it, if anything this tea is a lesson in never go into a tasting expecting something to taste or smell a certain way, it can color your opinion of things.
Another tea I was a bit apprehensive about, I love lemongrass in food and I can kinda tolerate it in tea blends when I feel it belongs (no idea, but for a while it seemed that lemongrass was in everything, drove me crazy) but just straight lemongrass as a tea, never had it! Giving the bag a sniff I was pleased, I love the way it smells, I used to wear lemongrass oil as my signature 'smell' in high school. It blends crisp lemons with a touch of savory, it makes my mouth water the same way that savory citrus dishes (and salted lemons) do, it is the slightly green undertones that really make lemongrass work for me. Brewing the tea does not really change the aroma, it is still richly lemony and green.
Ok, here is the big moment, and...ok, I was not expecting that! It is sweet, lemongrass is actually sweet! I was expecting it to be herbaceous and savory, but nope, it is like mildly sweet warm lemonade, I almost always find lemonade too sweet, so this is pretty delicious. Expectations man, subverting them can be awesome or it can be gross, this time it was awesome! I like you lemongrass, I am sorry I shunned you in tea before, from now on, you and me are bros.