Hey there, tea fans! Are you feeling just peachy? Well I hope so, because this week and next week I’ll be brewing up and icing the many different peach teas in my collection! This week we’ll be taking a look at three different peach-flavored teas, and next week we’ll take a look at two more! It’s a Peachapalooza, perfect for a cool fruity drink!
First up we’ll compare two peach white teas!
First up is Machu Peach-u, a white tea blend by TeaSource. This tea is available for $5.34 in a 2 oz. bag or $9.87 in a 4 oz. bag, and 1 lb. bulk bags are also available. The 2 oz. bag, pictured above, is very affordable (many tea sites have samplers for $5!) I actually tried this tea initially at my local coffee house, Twin Beans, and believed at the time it was a green tea, only discovering after Twin Beans stopped carrying it and I went to order it from TeaSource that it was a white tea!
This tea contains white tea, freeze dried peaches, peach flavor, and calendula petals. The vegetal scent of the white tea leaves have a very strong peach aroma! Just the scent of this tea leaves the impression that it will have a very strong peach flavor!
For white tea, I use the same settings on my kettle I use for green teas, so I heat my water at 175 degrees F and steep for three minutes. The tea steeps into a light golden color and smells absolutely peachy! It has a rich, peachy taste, and one of the reasons I easily mistook this tea when I first sampled it at Twin Beans as a green tea is because you don’t actually taste the tea at all, it is so flavorful! So if you are looking for a full-flavored peach tea, this tea is excellent! This tea has a natural sweetness from the fruit flavor, but I personally like it with just a dash of sweetener, because I think that really brings out the sweet fruity flavors even more; it’s up to your personal preferences!
Since this is a white tea, I decided to prepare this iced as a cold brew, and since cold brewing seems to be rather unpopular amongst iced tea drinkers, I figured I would show step-by-step just how simple it is! I tend to make small cold brew batches that I can drink quickly, so I prepare a quart at a time (four cups of water). You will need tea (I of course prefer looseleaf, and white tea, green tea, and oolongs work best for the cold brew method!), a measuring cup for the water, a vessel to steep your tea (I like these snap-top style 1-litre Mason canning jars, which hold a quart of water and will steep the leaves great while sealing all other fridge scents out of your tea), and a measuring spoon to measure out your leaf.
Your mileage may vary, especially depending on the tea leaf, but place either one heaping tablespoon or four teaspoons of leaf into the bottom of the jar (I tend to use four teaspoons). Don’t use any more than that or you can get bitter iced tea! (Tested and proved!)
Use the measuring cup to add four cups of water (1 quart) to the jar, and seal the lid of the jar. Now place the jar into the fridge! Some cold brews are ready in as little as 6-8 hours, but I prefer to just let mine steep overnight.
Here is the Machu Peach-u the next day, after cold-steeping overnight! Doesn’t it look great?
Now it’s time to strain the tea! Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the leaves from the tea. If you have very fine tea leaves (for example, a very fine black or rooibos), I’ve found a coffee filter can work wonders. Do be careful if you need to use a coffee filter, however, since the tea will “pool” a bit on top before the liquid filters through, leaving the fine leaves on top… just pour slowly and work with the coffee filter carefully! For larger leaf, a fine-mesh strainer by itself should be fine, and not leave any floaters in your iced tea. For this particular tea, I only needed the mesh strainer.
Voila! A beautiful pitcher of iced tea. It’s best to drink it within a day, so if you want to keep it longer, store your strained tea back in your sealed Mason jar. It will keep a bit longer when it is tightly sealed.
I have to say, this tea iced was fantastic! I really loved the Cinnamon Orange Black tea from last week, but this tea is a top contender for my favorite iced tea thus far! It has such a crisp, clear, refreshing taste, with such a delightful strong peach flavor! Again, I like to sweeten up the tea a bit with some liquid sugar, which really brings out the flavor, and even doing so it still has this amazing zingy tart peachy aftertaste that is absolutely perfect! This iced tea actually reminds me of a fine peach cocktail or wine cooler… granted, I haven’t been able to drink either in well over a decade because of my migraines, but that is the impression and memories the flavor and composition brings to me, and I absolutely love it! I may never drink this warm again, because I simply love the iced experience way too much. It’s such an affordable tea, and cold brewing it is just so easy!
This actually happened to be the first white tea I ever purchased and tried. I asked the sweet lady that worked there for a recommendation, because I’d never tried a white tea before. She asked if I liked flavored teas or blends or pure teas from estates, and I told her I definitely preferred flavored blends, so she recommended this tea. It was $9.40 for 1 oz. (pictured above), so it was pretty pricy (granted, I had also done shopping at Spice and Tea Exchange that weekend, where their 1 oz. packages are typically $6.95 a piece, so I didn’t think too much of it… I figured that must be the norm for white tea and I wanted to try it).
While I am all for supporting small local shops, this tea appears to be wholesale from English Tea Store, and if you are interested in purchasing it online, you can get a much better deal online there, which offers a small sampler size for around $3.00 (always nice to sample, right?) and a 2 oz. bag for $5.99, as well as a few larger bulk sizes.
This tea is a blend of white tea and peach and apricot natural flavors. It is described as “reminiscent of premium second flush Darjeelings with a light fruit finish.” The leaf has a stronger vegetal smell than the Machu Peach-u tea, mixed with a fruity peachy-apricot aroma.
I use the same steeping instructions for the Machu Peach-u tea for this tea, since they are both white teas. Honestly, when I first tasted this tea, I found it extremely unpleasant… it just came across way too vegetal to me. Don’t misunderstand, the peach and apricot flavor notes come out wonderfully in the blend, but there was something about the flavor of the tea itself I found off-putting, and honestly, I wanted to believe that maybe white tea just wasn’t “my cup of tea.” But obviously that isn’t the case, as I’ve sense tried other white teas (I mean, I love that Machu Peach-u blend listed above!) so there was just something about this white tea that just… didn’t work for me. I tried warming up to it several times, and each time, just never really cared for it much. I was looking forward to reviewing it so I could finally clear it out of my home.
But you know what? That cup pictured above I actually enjoyed more than any other cup of it I’ve ever made previously. I don’t know if I’ve just gotten much better at making tea than before (hmm… was I still using a microwave back then, I wonder? Because if I didn’t even have a temperature control kettle yet, oh goodness, that would make a huge difference!) or if my palette has just expanded so much from all the tea-drinking I’ve done over the last year that now, those vegetal notes just seem so minor. I’m not even sweetening it, and… ya. Ya, you know what? I take it back. I don’t like this tea near as much as Machu Peach-u, I will give it that, but I don’t hate it anymore. And when I first tried it, I hated it, guys! I had a hard time finishing a cup. My opinion has changed that much! This is actually a pretty good tea. My preference for a really sweet, peachy white tea is still Machu Peach-u, but if you want more of an apricot flavor, or more of the pure vegetal notes of the white tea itself, then Peach Apricot White is actually the better choice. This is purely up to what your personal preferences and tastes are, and getting a few samples and seeing what your own mileage is may be the best course. Obviously proper preparation, and sampling lots of tea types can really make a difference when it comes to enjoyment of a tea though! I can personally attest to that!
I made a pitcher of this iced, and during the straining process, apparently a few tea leaf floaters made it into the pitcher from the mason jar, which caused the tea to go a bit dark… Oops. Hopefully it is still okay…
Was I brave enough to still drink it? I tried this, so of course I was! Actually, it tasted fine. It wasn’t even bitter like my failed attempt at the Strawberry Oolong, so it wasn’t over-leafed or anything! The flavor was very much like the warm tea… in fact, I was surprised how well the flavor translated to an iced brew! It still had biting vegetal white tea taste, but with those apricot and peach notes. I think I understand why they compare it with a second flush Darjeeling, because it does sort of remind me of those pure estate black teas that sort of naturally have a sort of “peachy” or “apricoty” note to them, only this feels a bit lighter to me. I actually like this tea better iced than warm!
Since this was a white tea, I cold brewed it using the same method used above. It’s super simple, and if you like pure black teas that do have those apricoty/peachy notes, you might want to try getting just the sampler size of this, hot brewing it, seeing what you think of the overall flavor profile (do you find it too vegetal?) and if you like it, then this may be a great choice for a summer cold brew. If you want a really sweet and really peach-tasting iced tea, however, go for the Machu Peach-u white tea! It cold brews fantastically and tastes great!
Our final tea for today is Lychee Peach, an award-winning black tea from Art of Tea. They offer sample pouches for a mere $5 (pictured above), 4 oz. bags for $17, and larger bulk bags in 8 oz. and 1 lb. sizes.
This tea is made from organic black tea, safflowers, and natural flavors. Art of Tea claims the tea is infused with the essence of lychee and peach and it steeps to “a sweet, fruity cup with notes of apricot, osmanthus and ripe pear.” The leaf smells great! I used to be hooked on lychee gummy candies from Japan, and the tea smells just like them! I imagine if someone weren’t familiar with lychee, they would smell apricots or pears. It’s a lovely aroma!
I steeped this tea for five minutes using boiling water, and it brews into a quite dark, full-bodied black tea. The cup has a subtle fruity peach scent, but the taste is where it really comes out! The tea has lovely crisp notes of lychee, peach, and apricot that play on the surface of the tongue with each sip, but they aren’t so strong as to overpower the black tea. I find the flavor is enough I can drink this unsweetened, which brings out more of the black tea, with just a bit of the fruit tones, but if you want to emphasize the fruit tones more, adding just a bit of sweetener does a marvelous job of bringing those tastes front and center in the blend! I really enjoy this tea… it’s a bit different than other peach tea blends I’ve tried, much darker with more body, but at the same time, still with a tender and delicious flavor!
I decided to go with a hot steep for this tea, like I did for the Cinnamon Orange Black (which turned out so well). It is such a full-bodied black, I felt that would do well for the flavors (if I had more than just a small sampler size, though, I would feel inclined to experiment and try a hot wash with a cold steep! I really love this tea and will probably order more, and once I do, I will definitely try that out!) So this batch was made entirely from brewing and steeping in boiling water for five minutes, and then chilling.
One thing to note from doing this is the Mason jar will go through a vacuum seal effect from the changing water temperature, and force has to be used to open it after the chilling. If you are a weakling like me, you might want to steep in half the neccessary hot water (for example, if you are making a quart of iced tea, steep four teaspoons of leaf in 2 cups boiling water, then add 2 cups cold water to the mixture), or simply leave the Mason jar on the counter open for a while to cool off a bit after steeping before putting on the lid and placing it in the fridge; I plan to try this next time to help lessen the vacuum seal effect! Goodness, I’m learning so much making iced tea this summer!
Needless to say, with a bit of leverage and force, I was able to pop back open the jar and get into the tea, and it was amazing! It had a very full flavor that tasted like the hot brew, only nice and chill and refreshing! The black tea had that nice full taste, but the fruity tones of the lychee and peach were still quite noticeable (especially with some nice liquid sugar added to the iced brew). This is a very good iced black tea for those that want a nice, dark tea with a bit of a fruity flavor that is complimenting without being too overwhelming.
Next week we’ll look at a few peach herbals, so stay tuned!