Thursday, August 23, 2007

Coffee Flavored Tea?

On Teachat today there was a bit of an ongoing discussion about the validity or usefulness of coffee flavored tea. There was a general consensus that one or the other was great, or as Mary put it, "Having one or the other is vastly preferable to trying for a pale imitation of both." But there was one person who passionately argued for it.

"There are so many varieties of tea," she said (I think its a she), "and someone to drink each of them." Good point.

So I got to thinking how would they make such a thing. No company would probably make a serious attempt at producing a high quality coffee flavored tea, just some BOP and coffee extract or flavoring tossed in a teabag.

As much as I dislike flavored teas, I have always had more respect for ones that were made with "real" ingredients. I don't want to drink a blueberry tea, but if I did, I'd prefer one that was using dried blueberries as opposed to an extract. So I decided to take that approach, which required a quick jaunt to the store.

I don't know much about coffee other than drinking it, so from this point it was all guess work. We were out of my preferred choice, Colombian, so I went with Organic Guatemalan instead. For some reason I didn't want to grind it (which it turns out might have yielded better results), so I decided it to chop the whole beans with a knife.

Now there was the question of tea. Should I use a malty Assam or Dian Hong or something else. This person seems fond of oolong, and I just got some shui xian that I thought would compliment the coffee. Maybe it didn't have to be a "pale version of both." The shui xian had a thinner body with a strong chocolate presence. Chocolate and coffee, that should go together.

It didn't. The first attempt was a failure. I used 2.5 g of chopped coffee beans and 3.5 g of shui xian for a 150 ml, and all I got was a slight finish of coffee. It seemed that maybe the coffee needed to be ground to release the flavors. I don't have a grinder, so I took some more beans and made do with a cutting board and a heavy jar.

I was only indulging a whim, so I was unwilling to waste any more shui xian on it, so I used a qi lan instead, something I could easily replace. Unfortunately, still no luck. It seems that Mary was right. For it to taste like coffee, it will inevitably over power the tea, and vice versa.

Oh well, I am only out about a dollar's worth of tea and coffee. A small price to pay for a reminder to be open-minded.


Salsero said...

Is there no end to your insane urge to experiment!

(Still some part of me thinks it should work out somehow.)

Anonymous said...

first of all, yes i am a "she", my name is sara. second- wow you really did your research! i haven't picked up on the chocolate flavor of shui xian yet... maybe your taste buds just pick up on different things than i do. i also do not have the knowledge or patience to make my own blend of coffee flavored tea as it would be more of a science than just blending 2 or more teas together so i'd just by a coffee flavor tea, but thanks for trying it:) maybe it isn't all it's cracked up to be. but until i try it, i will remain hopeful.

Mary R said...

Man...that whole thread left a bad taste in my mouth. I was trying to be nice to her and sort of head off any thing like this or this...there was already enough snarkiness going on about her posting habits I didn't want her to further dig herself in...but I think I came off as a raging bitch. And now I feel like a wretched troll.

It certainly did cheer me up to see your experiment, though. I can't say I would have been open-minded (or willing to sacrifice any decent tea to the cause!) enough to try something like this, but I loved your earnest attempt at it. I wonder if any ratio would ever work? It seems like to have good coffee, you need to brew it strong, and to appreciate a tea 'strong' sort of makes everything moosh together. Oh well...I've wasted far too much energy on this tonight.

Ooh! But I did find a factoid in my googling I did want to share with you: I found small mention that this was actually a sort of cult favorite tea in Japan. Apparently they take green tea (hopefully bancha!) and mix in a few coffee grounds, throw it in a tea sac and call it something like kohiocha or kohicha. Crazy...

Space Samurai said...

It looks like Mary has provided me with my next experiment, just as soon as I get my hands on some bancha. I wonder if houjicha would work....

and just fyi, kohi means coffee, so it translates into coffee tea.

Surely I have some houjicha at work.

ankitlochan said...

i would think that CTC and coffee would go well, just like people mix chicory with coffee - i dont think its a bad try - u never know which taste would actually make you feel good. a strong assam wholeleaf would also be a good answer. black tea with coffee - will try it tomrow - lets see what happens.


Jamie D. said...

*shiver* as a passionate coffee-hater (can't stand even the smell), this experience made me immediately want to retch. That said, kudos to you for experimenting...I guess someone has to do it!

Space Samurai said...

At work today I had some Timor Aifu coffee from Bean tree that was really quite good that had a thinner body, and I thought it might have yielded better results.

It seems that coffee/tea combinations are floating around in a variety of forms, but I remain skeptical.

Anonymous said...

This can be done and it is in Sri Lanka where locals use coffee flowers. I haven't tried it though.

Flavored black tea said...

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Anonymous said...

I'm a coffee guy who recently discovered tea.

You write: "For it to taste like coffee, it will inevitably over power the tea, and vice versa." this is true but also where your experiment is flawed.

Aroma is very important to coffee, and if you can add the aroma of coffee to tea you will have something most would consider "coffee flavored tea".

Unfortunately, this means that you will have to use a distilled essence of coffee rather than brewing it with the tea.

I have added a liquor-style coffee essence to brewed tea; it tastes like tea with a caramel added, but has a distinct floral-coffee aroma. It's as close as I have found to marrying both beverages together.

Vili said...

Omg as a coffee enthusiast this make my skin crawl a little bit but I can see how there would definitely be different uses. It's sad your blog has not been active for a while

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teaqueen said...

I'm gonna make my own brand of coffee flavoured tea and I will be AMAZING