November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In the spirit of the month, instead of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I’m going to write a short review every day, up to a maximum of 300 words. Think of it is NaNoReMo (National Novel Review Month). This month I’ll do short reviews of books, varieties of tea, and even individual short stories as the mood strikes. So read on!
Tonight’s review is of yet another tea from 52Teas that’s part of my untouched backlog. When a tea friend of mine asked to try some, it gave me the kick I needed to drink some today so I could see how I liked it and whether it would be a good fit for her. So, tonight I give you Sweet Caramel O’Mine black tea.
I opened the packet, hoping to be hit with the same burst of sweetness that I encountered a while back with the Pancake Breakfast blend, but no dice. I was expecting a thick, creamy, sweet aroma. Instead, I got something vaguely sweet (probably the calendula petals, because it had the same sort of high, back-in-the sinus cavity character as something I noticed in the Pancake Breakfast tea, which also contains calendula), but mild and light.
In fact, if I hadn’t known up-front that this was a flavoured tea, I would have been surprised if someone told me so. It’s that mild in terms of flavouring; the tea leaf itself dominates.
Speaking of which, the leaf also looks pretty similar to the Pancake Breakfast tea, with a smattering of calendula petals sitting among thin, twiggy, blackish-brown leaves:
I steeped 1 teaspoon in just-boiled water for 3.5 minutes and then let the brew sit to cool down and develop character. Immediately after pulling the steeped leaves out of the liquid, they smelled citrusy and peppery.
After sitting for a bit, the liquid was a rich, orange-red:
The scent was still mild, but the taste was surprising – not a lot of caramel, but I did sense smoke and pepper. Considering I wanted caramel, this was kind of a disappointment. I’ll give the rest of Sweet Caramel O’Mine to my tea-friend in the hopes she’ll enjoy it.