|"There really is a faintly smoky taste to the tea that merges well with the maple toward the rear of the sip in particular. It's well done, though I will admit that I'm hankering to try the Russian Maple, which sounds as though it's the real McCoy of the smokey maple flavor."|
I’d like to open this review by mentioning that Shanti Tea, a Canadian tea company, has a really accessible and well thought out website. I say that even though there’s a liberal use of symbols rather than words on the website, which might under some circumstances seem clunky or confusing. I really enjoyed the large thumbnails that accompanied each tea – allowing the purchaser to get a real feel for the lay of the leaf, so to speak.
If only smells could be incorporated into the website! This particular offering is a very appealing one in terms of scent, particularly if you are a maple syrup fan. The leaves of the tea are big, fat and twisty (oolong) and are shot through with bright orange safflower petals. The scent is a really knock your socks off variety of maple – so intensely maple that it almost tasted sweet.
I infused a heaped teaspoon of leaf in 205 degree water and allowed a three minute steep that could very safely have gone for four minutes. The leaf base is a heavily oxidized oolong tea and has a taste that is somewhat toasted and vaguely smoky. Shanti offers this blend also with a Lapsang base, so you can really pick your flavoring. If you are looking for a solid, smoky tea underlaying your maple flavor, go with the Russian Maple. I didn’t find this smoked maple to be very smoked in flavor. The maple, which was very very strong in the scent, is really nice in the tea itself. It’s present and permeating in every sip but the flavor is more maple and doesn’t come across as artificial in taste. I like it, especially with a bit of sweetener, though I liked the second infusion sweetened better than the first. Adding sweetener with the full strength of the maple flavor was just edging toward over the top so you might consider how sweet you like your tea and you might prefer saving your sweetener for round two if you aren’t crazy about super sweet.
One of the things I like about this tea is how well suited the oolong seems to be with the maple. There really is a faintly smoky taste to the tea that merges well with the maple toward the rear of the sip in particular. It’s well done, though I will admit that I’m hankering to try the Russian Maple, which sounds as though it’s the real McCoy of the smokey maple flavor.
I definitely liked the second infusion better on this one. The maple is toned down a little, I liked the way the tea took a bit of liquid stevia. I found the smoky flavors to be just hint like. The maple flavor seemed to really have merged with the oolong and this was a good pairing. Overall, I found this to be a nice treat of a tea, especially in the dead of winter. If you are looking for a strongly smoked flavor in your tea, try out the Russian Maple. It sounds intriguing and promises a truly smoky flavor. If you are content with a hint of smokiness, this will probably please you very much.
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