24 April 2016

YumCha iced tea - but with a twist! (By @NLi10)

Following on from last Sunday's Iced Tea review we have another today - but where as that tea was in bags this is in bottles!

This isn't that unusual - we have lots of Lipton and tea drinks on the British shelves now so we can't be too accused of being behind the times. Except that we so totally are.  You see most of those are made with powdered tea - like the instant tea you get in the pound shop. If you ordered tea from a cafe or bar and they used instant then you'd get upset - even when making tea at festivals you get to take the teabag out yourself!  Why then do we put up with inferior iced teas?

I don't - I drink Mr. Kang, the fab import that seems to come in larger and larger bottles that get cheaper every time I get some.  There are other similar versions that say 'made from brewed tea' on the back and I can really taste the difference.

YumCha appealed to me as it's like a pop version of making the tea hot then cooling like we did last week.  Turns out it's possibly even better than that.

First up we have the Jasmine.  In it's imported tea-bag form this is my go-to afternoon work tea.  I have it most days and pick up around 60 bags per trip to Day-In supermarket in Birmingham.  This is essentially a green tea but in a cordial form, and it is magnificent!

Maybe it's because I drink more decaf at home, but having this when I get in from work has fast become a ritual.  It's like I'm getting cravings! I'm not sure why - there is very little added to the tea but it's a really pleasing drink.  I'm thinking of getting a bag of ice for work and taking this in.  I haven't had chance to try any of these as a hot drink yet, but as we already have teabags for that I think that trying them over ice is much better for this review.

The other two bottles are of similar quality but have different flavours.

The Lemon Ceylon is fruitier (no surprise) and lighter than the Jasmine - as it's made with Ceylon Tea, but as you are making your own portions up it may just be that i was not heavy handed enough.  These drinks do reward you for stirring them - the thick syrup like contents have a habit of settling if not mixed well.  I'm not going to have a problem finishing this and may keep this one at home to let guests try.

The drink pictured is the Moroccan Mint.  I think this is the one I like least out of the three - and the only I'd be tempted to let someone else have custody of, but I think it's possibly the one that will work the best warm.

Again it's a dark tea base  (this time gunpowder - which I've never been a fan of from loose tea as I tend to over-brew) but with a nice minty aftertaste.  Unfortunately it's just not what I'm looking for in an iced tea.  This flavour was a total revelation to me in Morocco and I've been loving the odd cup of it ever since, maybe I need to drink it like they do and add more syrup and a touch of sugar.  Don't get me wrong - if you were given any of these by a cafe then you'd be happy to pay.  

This is about £4 from "delis, farm shops & Amazon" which works out at around 12p a cup and is comparable to decent teabags.  It shouldn't be too hard for me to find more of these to write about once I've finished the ones I have - across three bottles that's 100 portions of tea!  There are Earl Grey (my winter evening tea of choice) and sour plum which I'm yet to experience.

The tea-bag idea was nice for at home and a great way to make cheap complex tasting drinks by the pitcher.  I think these are perfect for the solo drinker, and would be amazing in a cocktail bar.  If I had to choose between all the iced drinks from both weeks then I'd take the Jasmine over the others, but that's no big surprise.  Strong tea with a hint of sweetness and a botanical overtone is pretty much my perfect cup of tea - hot or cold!

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