As always, a visit to Janet’s left me with a grin on my face and a slightly lighter wallet. If you’re in Victoria and haven’t stopped in to Janet’s Special Teas in Sidney (on Beacon Ave), you don’t know what you’re missing! Janet, the owner, is a total hoot, and treats everyone like family. She’s truly passionate about the tea she sells and offers generous sample pouches for $1 (with enough leaf for at LEAST 3 cups). She’s even been known to bring in teas that she wouldn’t normally carry for customers who request it, so don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t see what you’re looking for.
But on to the tea itself. I LOVE orange teas, and orange juice. Which is funny because I can’t stand oranges (but I’ll happily eat a whole grapefruit) or creamsicles. But I do make my own “creamsicles” every summer, using tea and condensed milk. And that’s actually the main reason I picked up 50g of this tea.
I generally make my creamsicles out of DAVIDs Orange Blossom rooibos, but after experimenting last year, I found that rooibos just doesn’t make the nicest popsicles, it’s just not strong enough. So when my lovely hostages, I mean tea companions, asked to sniff the Dolce Orange, I couldn’t resist grabbing some to play around with. I brewed up some double strength when I got home, then split it into two parts. I added 2 TBSP of condensed milk to one part, and 2 TBSP of vanilla simple syrup to the other (when making popsicles you really do need to add sweetener. The extreme cold of freezing the tea cuts a lot of the flavour, and the sweetener helps to highlight the flavour of the tea and make it pop despite the coldness, without being overwhelmingly sweet). Poured into popsicle molds and put them in the deep freeze overnight. Wehn I finally crawled out of bed at 2pm, and despite the below freezing temperatures outside, I grabbed one of each pops and tested them. The creaminess of the vanilla in the tea, mixed with the smoothness of the black base, the pops really didn’t need the condensed milk! I prefer them with just the vanilla syrup, actually. In fact, next time I’ll cut the syrup in half and do just 1 TBSP.
Of course, after testing the popsicles, I had to warm up, so I made a cup of this hot. And by cup I mean my 750ml teapot-sized-mug, haha! 2 heaping tsp (so close to 1 TBSP I guess?) to 750ml of water, steeped for 2.5minutes at 175F. Beautiful orange liquor with a sweet and creamy scent very much like melted creamsicles. First sip was pure orange goodness with a bit of vanilla left on my breath at the end of the sip. As it cooled I got more vanilla notes, and a slightly malty black note as well. Janet mentioned Sri Lanka, but I don’t remember if she was referring to this or to the back based Sidney Sunrise (which I also picked up even though I have a bit of the rooibos base left. The black base just smells nicer, though I’ll keep the roobios based blend on hand for the sake of having a tasty caffeine free option. but I digress.), but I almost wonder if the base to this one is an assam?
I’ll definitely be popping over to the shop on Friday on my way to see the pony (since he’s boarded literally across the highway from Janet’s shop, so when he’s going good and steady in the cart I want to attempt to drive him over and tie him to a post outside her shop, haha) to get more, both for drinking and for popsicle making. This may be my favourite non-spiced orange tea, very slightly beating out the blood orange pu’erh I keep on hand.
Flavors: Cream, Malt, Orange Zest, Vanilla