I'm on the hunt for the greatest possible iced black tea for restaurants. I find myself at a crossroads here because the focus of Wendigo is the rare, extreme, and weird world of tea and many (all?) of the finest teas we have discovered involve at least a small amount of tea brewing skill and decent amount of brewing time for commercial use. Currently our Bigfoot Black Tea makes an bold and unique hot tea and a smooth iced tea but it does take a bit more finesse than a high traffic may be able to handle.
Someone needs to do something about making great iced tea easy for restaurants. Currently the average American restaurant iced tea at best tastes like nothing and at worst like some old dirty water. This bums me out because as a society we are caring more about what we consume from craft beer and coffee to organic or natural based diet and still accept shit-tea simply because it is easy.
So I am trying to make it as easy as possible for consumers to get a pure unflavored perfect cup of iced tea as possible in a restaurant setting and will share my journey as I find and experiment with brewing techniques along the path to the perfect easy cup of iced tea.
The criteria this tea must meet is-
1. Easy to brew
2. Tasting OBVIOUSLY better than all other iced teas
3. Dark color (color directly impacts the perceived flavor... weird right?)
4. Unflavored pure black tea with no silly shit added
5. Reasonable enough cost for restaurant use
6. High caffeine content
7. Low astringency
Taste Test -
I find myself on a path I never expected. CTC teas tend to be of lower quality but are extremely easy to brew. I have found some unique kinds of CTC that have qualities that may be needed. I feel like I need to learn more about this and taste variations on CTC teas to completely discount it. This CTC Red Thunder I have come across is pretty cool.
Brewed hot it has a rich malty taste with very little bitterness. Once cooled though the malty flavor becomes way more subdued. This tea steeps up a dark red color and strong unique flavor within a few seconds though... I have never seen a tea do this before.
I enjoyed this tea but don't think it is as high quality as I would be willing to have on the Wendigo Tea roster and only meets a few of the requirements for the perfect iced tea. Good try Red Thunder but not quite good enough.