Welcome to a new month of tea! This month on Teatime Tuesday the tea is going to be green, in honor of the coming springtime and a certain March holiday that just so happens to be associated with the color! (As a St. Patrick’s Day baby, I got a lot of green gifts as a child… can you believe it actually isn’t my favorite color? But I admittedly do love me some green tea!)
Today I’ll be comparing two different apple-flavored green teas! The first comes from a sampler I picked up from Steepers in Campbell, California on vacation (the same shop where I picked up that excellent Creme au Caramel Rooibos), Granny Green Apple.
The ingredients weren’t listed on the packaging or the website, but the taste is described on the website as “hints of sweet caramel and apple pieces adds to the lightly astringent green tea.” The green tea used is Japanese Sencha-style green tea from the Hunan province. Dried pieces of apple are very apparent in the blend, but honestly, from both a visual inspection and a taste test, I couldn’t detect any hints of caramel in the blend, so I believe this tea likely doesn’t actually contain caramel and is therefore Vegan-friendly, despite the flavor text.
The tea has very nice quality sencha leaves and big chunks of dried apple, so its scent was very much that of green tea and dried apple. I used a teaspoon of leaves and water brewed at a lower temperature of 175 degrees F and steeped for three minutes. The tea steeps into a golden yellow color, rather than the “granny green” one might expect from the name.
The scent of the brewed cup made me think of green tea with a dash of apple juice, but the taste isn’t as strong as that. Rather you get a nice cup of quality green tea that has a bit of a sweet fruitiness to it, with just a bit of a tart apple aftertaste; the apple tones don’t overpower the drink. I didn’t detect so much as a hint of caramel in scent or taste, and don’t think it is present in the blend at all, despite what the website might say; if a caramel apple taste is what you are looking for, then the next green tea I’m featuring today will be more to your liking!
Since the quality of the green tea leaves was quite good, they held up well for several resteeps, but just like the fruit herbals I’ve tried, the fruit itself just doesn’t resteep at all, so the apple flavoring was shot after the first steep. I did notice the green tea seemed to pick up a bit of lingering sweetness from the leftover apple, but that was it; the apple flavor was gone after that first steep. But if you like green tea for its own merits and don’t necessarily need it flavored, the sencha leaves lasted for several more cups of green tea from the single infusion.
This tea costs $7.30 for 2 oz. or $14.30 for 4 oz. which makes it one of the more affordable teas I’ve found.
The next apple-flavored green tea on the list is from the Spice and Tea Exchange, Autumn Apple Crisp. I picked this one up when I was on vacation in San Franciso last October, when it was one of their seasonal teas.
The ingredients are gunpowder green tea, apple pieces, cinnamon, rosehips, natural creme brulee flavoring, red safflowers, and rose petals. So unlike the last tea, this tea does have some caramel flavoring added, with that creme brulee flavoring! They describe this tea as a “full-bodied gunpowder green tea combined with a festival of fall flavors; apples, cinnamon, and creme brulee, for a warm, smooth brew reminescent of an apple crisp.”
This tea smells absolutely amazing! Opening the package really does smell like caramel apples! You can see that there are a lot more apple pieces in the leaves compared to the other tea, as well!
I brewed up a cup of this on a Saturday morning shift at work (and yes, that is nearly the full regimen of geek paraphernalia I keep on my desk; the My Little Ponies are on top of my monitor and thus not in the image!) It steeps up into a caramel-yellow color, and smells even better brewed! I can attest this to the fact that two of my coworkers walked into the office and immediately went, “What is that smell? I smell something sweet. Is it maple?” I explained I’d made a tea and it had creme brulee flavoring in it, and they went “Ooooooh, that must be it!” Then they immediately went, “Man, the smell of that tea makes me want apple pie!” Then I laughed and said, “Well, you know what? The name of this tea is Autumn Apple Crisp!” So hand it to the people who scented this tea, they must have really got that Apple Crisp scent down if my coworkers olfactory senses wanted apple pie smelling it across the room!
Since I made this at work I was unable to use temperature-controlled water for the green tea, but I did give it a three minute steep as I usually use for green teas. This tea tastes strongly of caramel apples, and is really tasty! I also found that the flavoring of this tea held up quite well to resteeping, which surprised me! It was, of course, a bit weaker, but there was still the distinct presence of the caramel apple tones, and increasing the steep time to five or six minutes on subsequent steeps helps. I’m really impressed with this one!
Granted, it is a lot more expensive than the other tea, at $6.95 for 1 oz (so pretty much the price for 2 oz of Granny Green Apple is the cost of 1 oz of this!). And what is the cost for a bigger bag? I have no idea. Because it is a seasonal tea, it has been removed from Spice and Tea Exchange’s website and is impossible to order until next fall.
…You know how I feel about limited time seasonal teas, tea shops?
Ya. Like that.
In any event, if you don’t mind spending more, Autumn Apple Crisp is definitely my favorite of these two. Or if a caramel apple experience is what you are craving, then you are only going to get it from Autumn Apple Crisp. But given the fact that Autumn Apple Crisp is only available for a very limited time of the year, Granny Green Apple isn’t a bad alternative to tide you over, especially if you aren’t partial to the caramel and just want a bit of an apple zing to your green tea. And if you just want a better deal, then the Granny Green Apple is definitely the way to go!
To carry on the spring theme, here is my coloring choice for this teatime, with a little spring bouquet of flowers. I did this with mixed media, using gel pens, marker, and colored pencil for the banner at the bottom.
Thanks for joining me for another teatime!