At first I wasn’t inspired by this tea – when I opened the tin, the dry leaves didn’t have much aroma, either of tea or of the flavorings. Once brewed, the dark amber colored liquid has more aroma, mostly of cantaloupe melon, but still the flavor is very mild.
What makes this tea really come alive is the addition of lemon and sugar – the lemon brings out the lichee flavor (lichee is a small citrus fruit) and the sugar brings out the cantaloupe flavor. Better yet was adding a bit more sugar and then icing the tea – white tea makes a great iced tea, because you can drink more of it than of black tea, so you can take huge gulps of your white iced tea without too much caffeine or tannin. I drank about a quart of this after cleaning up one room of a house we’re putting up for sale, and then went and made more!
Dr. Tea’s describes this tea as:
Because this tea tastes so good iced, it occurred to me to try and make a sorbet out of it. Well, really more of a water ice or Italian ice than a sorbet, but then, it’s difficult to tell where the line is between them. I’m sort of a seat-of-the-pants cook, so this recipe is rather imprecise, but here it is:
White Tea Melon Ice
Brew up three cups of Dr. Tea’s Lichee & Cantaloupe White Tea, strong (let it steep for about twice as long as usual). Stir in 2 tablespoons white grape juice and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Now add 1/4 cup sugar, dissolve thoroughly, and taste: if it tastes sweet enough, add another 2 tablespoons of sugar – you need to over-sweeten it because it’s going to be frozen. If it’s still not too sweet, keep adding 2 tbsp. of sugar at a time until it is just too sweet. Now put it in your 1-quart ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Most ice cream makers stop when it’s still a bit soft, so after the ice cream maker is finished, spoon it all into a bowl and put it in the freezer.
To serve this as a palate-clearing ice between courses of a meal, scoop it into cordial glasses or shot glasses with a small cookie-dough scoop, about one ounce per glass, and serve as is. To serve this as dessert, buy a jar of lichees in syrup (available at larger supermarkets and most Asian grocery stores). Scoop half a cup of the sorbet/ice into each serving glass (wide-mouthed wine glasses work nicely) or bowl, then top each serving with a couple of the preserved lichees and a couple of spoonfuls of the syrup from the jar. Add a sprig of mint to each serving.
Note: artificial sweeteners do not have the same effect on fruit flavors that real sugar does; this has to be done with real sugar, or it tastes wretched.