Welcome back for the final week of “Green Tea March,” tea fans! This week I’ll be sharing two different pomegranate-flavored green teas!
The first comes from Art of Tea, and is one of their award-winning blends, Green Pomegranate. I purchased a sampler pouch of this tea, which is only $5 on their site and is large enough to make 3-5 cups of tea.
The ingredients of this tea are organic green tea, organic black tea, organic rosehips, organic raspberries, and natural flavors. The tea has a lovely tart raspberry scent to it, which is so strong it is a bit hard to make out the scent of the green tea leaves.
This tea is also available in “eco pyramid” style teabags, which I received a free sample of in my order. The bags are individually sealed for freshness, and unlike typical bagged tea in grocery stores, they are filled with full looseleaf tea and the leaves are given lots of space in the bag design for expansion in the tea water.
I decided to do something a little different for the preparation of this tea, so rather than use the eco pyramid teabag or my Apace Loose Leaf Tea Strainers, I wanted to try out making a pot of “freely steeped” tea (my coworker Katie swears by it, and that is how the tea was prepared at the afternoon tea service I had on vacation in San Jose, California, at Lisa’s Tea Treasures). I’ve always been a bit remiss to try it myself because of oversteeping, but I thought, why not give it a try? Teatime Tuesday has always been about trying new things, and I really wanted an excuse to show off this absolutely gorgeous Japanese ceramic teapot my mother bought me as a gift years ago. I truly treasure it… which is probably why I hardly use it!
There is just something about Japanese artisanship…
These little ceramic teapots takes ages to heat on a stovetop (and American stoves get so hot they can cause the bamboo handles to singe just from the heat… I’ve had to replace mine before because of that!) so I actually heat my water to 175 degrees F in my electric kettle, splash a little into the ceramic teapot to heat it up and then dump the water, add the dry tea leaves, and then add the hot water from my electric kettle to the ceramic teapot and cover it with the top to let the leaves steep.
Brewing tea this way, you’ll have to pour the tea through a strainer. I don’t have a nice tea strainer, so I use an old tea ball that works pretty awful as a tea infuser (leaves way too many floaters in the cup!) as my strainer; I just open the ball up and pour the tea through the mesh and it works great to strain anything that makes it past the ceramic spout.
The tea steeps into a dark golden color, and smells very fruity. The taste is not as strong as you’d imagine from the scent, but it is very pleasant; it is sweet going down with this tangy fruit finish on the back of your tongue. I get a bit more of the pomegranate notes in the tart and tangy aftertaste, but feel the dried raspberry added to the leaves makes more of a first impression. The green tea is very flavorful, so I don’t really taste much of the green tea leaves in this blend; I’d say this is a good choice for those that normally don’t like the taste of green teas to try out.
A few pro tips I’ve noticed after a few different goes with this tea… it does not oversteep well at all! This is definitely a green tea that you will only want to steep for three minutes — and only three minutes! — or it will taste bitter! (You can trust me on this one! Tested and proved!) Because I am a terrible multitasker and can easily forget how long I’ve left my tea steeping, I’ve recently discovered that Google has a built-in timer — just Google “timer” and it will pop right up and you can set it for the steep time you prefer! Very handy if you are sitting at your computer with your steeping cup of tea (as I usually am!) Ergo, doing a full ceramic pot with free-steeping leaves was a failed experiment for me — without a friend to share with, after my first cup my tea was already going bitter. This particular tea is very particular about a short steep time!
However, it holds up to resteeping amazingly well! I typically find that fruit flavors are sucked dry after a single steep, but not this one! That sweet, tangy fruity taste is great after several resteeps! So feel free to resteep those leaves! (I don’t add any time for the resteeps for this one, though; honestly, it doesn’t even need it!) This means you’ll really get some use out of that $5 sampler, and if you decided to spend $17 for a 4 oz. bag (the next available size) that quarter-pound of tea would last you a very long time!
Another tip with this tea is that it expands a lot, so be careful not to use too much leaf in your infuser! I usually use a lot more leaf than is suggested because I like a really flavorful brew, but with this tea, doing so caused me floaters using my Apace Loose Leaf Tea Strainers, which has never happened to me before, and when I inspected the strainer, I saw that the leaf had expanded well up to the top inside the strainer, so I probably needed to use just a tad less leaf. I used a teaspoon and a half, so I probably should have left it to the recommended teaspoon.
This tea includes green tea, hibiscus, orange peel, chamomile, pomegranate flavor, raspberry flavor, citric acid, and matcha.
This tea is, of course, ground leaf, but I will say that of the “market tea” brands, Stash is one of my preferred brands (the other being Celestial Seasonings). I find most bagged green teas abysmal, but this one is actually pretty tasty!
It steeps a lot darker (likely on account of the hibiscus), but it does taste strongly of raspberry and pomegranate. Of course, the flavoring in this blend is artificial, while in Art of Tea’s blend, the raspberry comes from dried raspberries and only the pomegranate flavoring was artificial, so that obviously makes a lot of difference in the two blends; one is organic, the other cheaper and manufactured, but you get what you pay for. But if you want an inexpensive and easily accessible way to get an idea of what a raspberry pomegranate green tea tastes like, this isn’t a bad route… if you like it, then I would highly recommend then trying out at least the sampler from Art of Tea! The difference between looseleaf and bagged tea becomes quite striking once you are used to it!
You may notice my swank (and, I’m sorry to say, horribly permanently coffee-stained!) coffee cup. I actually painted that myself at a “do it yourself” ceramic shop here in town! I fear it might have gotten too much use because I’m starting to get terrible tea-rings from it now, but I’m so attached to it! I obviously painted it with a St. Paddy’s theme because of my birthday (and I’m unoriginal). Here is a better image of it:
My coloring this week is this glossy bird, done entirely in gel pen. I’m really hoping I can get my scanner to work in the future, as my camera and lights just don’t handle well with the metallic and glitter shines from my gel pens, but until then… *sigh*
Thank you for joining me for another month of tea! Next month will be Anything-Goes April, so who knows what I’ll review? (I’m not even sure yet, hahaha!) But I have created a Tea Inventory, so feel free to peruse at any time (it’s also available on my Teatime Tuesday Table of Contents) and make suggestions! What are your favorite kinds of teas? Are there certain types you’d like to see more of? I did a ton of tea shopping over my vacation in Portland, visited a lot of shops I’ll be showing off in the future, and my Mom, Dad, and sister all gave me giftcards to buy tea for my birthday, so I’ll be able to keep the tea flowing here for quite some time! Huzzah!