Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tradition Barley Tea

I am a big fan of Tradition's teas. They make quality products, and I always get a little bit excited when I find a new kind of loose leaf tea sitting on the shelf in Tradition's definitive, glossy box. I was just recently introduced to barley tea for the first time a few weeks ago, and despite having initial hesitations about the concept, I found that I really like it. Naturally, when I found this during a routine trip to the Asian market, I seized the opportunity and grabbed a box off of the shelf.

For those unfamiliar with the product, the picture on the front of the box is actually a bit misleading, as the tea bags are not simply filled with barley grains as depicted in the image. Instead, each bag contains a fairly even mixture of barley grains and black tea leaves, as shown in the horribly lit photograph below. Some more traditional barley teas are prepared by simply stewing barley seeds in hot water to release the flavor, just as you would with "conventional" tea leaves. Tea bags containing ground barley seeds can also be found as a method of preparing individual servings of the tea. Ironically, Tradition has decided to break from the routine by combining the tastes of whole barley seeds and fresh black tea.

Tradition's barley tea has an excellent flavor. The black tea tastes very fresh, and the barley seeds add a slight grainy taste to the bitterness of the tea. Although barley does not have a particularly strong taste, its flavor is very distinct, and is certainly present amongst the black tea. This is a good thing, though, as the two stark flavors act as mellowing agents for each other, and both of their distinct aromas combine smoothly into one pleasantly mild and natural taste that leaves the palette feeling clean and refreshed.

Although I have a hard time imagining a tea-drinker not enjoying Tradition's barley tea, I would say that this may not be the drink for everybody. Those who do not enjoy the taste of natural, earthy grains are not likely to find great pleasure in this beverage. While I still encourage those who harbor hesitations towards the drink to give it a try, I'd definitely say try it before you buy it. I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of all sorts of grains, and I really found a lot to enjoy about this tea. I would say that it's one of my recent favorites, and I definitely offer it my recommendations.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 2.8 grams [20 bags/box]
Price: $3.49

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