As a big fan of Peet’s Tea, in those iconic tea tins and their no nonsense approach to tea, I am still getting triggered by the thought or mention of the Mighty Leaf versions of their iconic teas, in the wanna-be Teavana styling! #TRIGGERED On the plus side, the Peet’s Tea Guru Eliot Jordan is running the Mighty Leaf show.
But I’m not triggered when it comes to teas that are original to Mighty Leaf 🙂 Their “Organic African Nectar” is probably my favorite Mighty-native herbal tea blend. A review of that coming later!
Anyway, I’ll save those rumblings for another time. This post is a review of the Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean tea, in nicely stitched tea pouches. I really like how this tea tastes hot, the blend of their vanilla with the mild black tea is a nice treat early in the morning. However, the vanilla flavor comes from two sources: vanilla bits in the pouch but also unspecified “natural flavor”. So if you are avoiding natural/artificial flavors, you have been warned!
I really like this hot, but not iced. It’s not a milkshake 🙂
I don’t recall any other vanilla black tea that I like, but I’m saving a couple of these so I can compare them if/when I find one worthy…
As you can see, there are three ingredients. Tea leaves, the controversial for some unspecified “natural flavor”, and vanilla bits. The vanilla flavoring at Peet’s is done really well. It’s not that obnoxious vanilla flavor you find in most mass market foods.
Per the verbiage on the container, these are Madagascar vanilla beans. I went through the box with a fine toothed comb, I did not find any clues as to where the tea leaves are coming from. If I had to take a wild uneducated guess, I’d say maybe Sri Lanka? It’s not as bitter when overbrewed as Assam, but not as smooth as Chinese tea.
The white faux-stitching on the red background matches the stitching of the tea pouches. A nice touch for fans of tea box design 🙂
The instructions on the box recommend a four minute brew. I typically do anywhere from 4-6 minutes in boiling-ish water. It does start getting a bit “bitter” if over-brewed, so if you are sensitive to that, pay attention to the time.
Another thing I do sometimes is give it two western brewing sessions. The first one is 3-4 minutes to get the most of the vanilla flavor, while the second one is longer and more black tea with only hints of vanilla.
Gaiwan street cred with that tea ring 🙂 Or a reminder to have a baking soda bath for them. Or try the method recommended in this 12 minute Mei Leaf video.
The pictures don’t do them justice. I forgot to use a different background, the camera’s white balance is getting confused by this combination 🙂
As you can see, the tea pouch is not bursting at the seems, so it is a good match for the included tea leaves:
LIBERATING THE TEA LEAVES
The tea pouch is so nicely stitched I almost felt bad for destroying it, but these are the sacrifices that must needs be made to the altar of Tea Blogging 🙂
The picture below is one pouch emptied on an upside standard gaiwan lid (around 2.5 inches diameter):
And these are the tea leaves after infusion. As you can see, they expand, but not to the point where they outgrow the tea pouch
I haven’t noticed a significant difference in the flavor brewing in the tea pouch or when “liberating” the tea leaves and brewing them western style. Given the size of the leaves and the pouch, it’s probably not a surprise.
Since it is a flavored tea, I did not attempt gaiwan brewing.
The vanilla beans dominate the design of the packaging…
OPENING THE CONTAINER
There are two ways to officially open the box. A tear out up top, or a dispenser-style push-in at the bottom. Flexibility is good 🙂