Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Teatourist - December 2017

Magic & Mischief: 'A sensual selection of unforgettable flavours, full of wonder.' Sounds good, Teatourist, let's do this! This month we have 2 black tea blends, 1 white tea blend, 1 rooibos, 1 fruit, and 1 herbal. Hopefully something for everyone to enjoy.

Amarettea by Tugboat
Black tea, almond, vanilla, flavouring.
I like a good tea pun, and this one plays on Amaretti, for its almond flavouring. This is an excellent dessert tea, and one that I would happily serve to guests at a decadent dinner party. I tried it both with and without milk, but I prefer it with, as it becomes sweeter and more mellow. The almond and vanilla notes are perfectly balanced, and come through strongly. I could become a little bit addicted to this tea, but sadly it’s now all gone! A note on labelling: I can definitely see some blue petals (cornflower?) in this blend, but they’re not on the ingredient list on the info card, or on the listing on Tugboat’s website. Someone might want to check out this labelling, as it’s important to know what’s actually in a brew.

Cranberry Sauce by Parched Tea
Rooibos, rosehip, raspberry & cranberry pieces, lime leaves, natural flavours.
I've said before that I'm not a big rooibos fan, so any rooibos review comes with that caveat. I brewed this for 6 minutes (of the recommended 3-7 minutes) but it still tasted rather watery and weak. My second brew I left for 10 minutes, and this was far more acceptable to my tastebuds. I was expecting it to be tart, but it's not, not at all. It doesn't really taste of anything specific actually, just a general fruitiness with a sweetness that comes in under the rooibos. I imagine that it might be a hit for you if you like fruit infusions, or rooibos. I didn't actually dislike it, but it's not one I would drink again.

White Christmas by Nothing But Tea
White tea, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, rose petals.
I don't have much luck with white tea. Possibly it's too subtle for my tastebuds; possibly I just get it wrong each time. I was excited by this one, and then, inevitably, disappointed. I was careful to brew it at the recommended temperature, and for the correct amount of time, but to me it still just tasted like hot water that had once met some ginger. Left to brew longer it went bitter. I re-steeped, as suggested on the info card, and varied the brew time, and this brought out the spices more, but overall I found it lacking in flavour. An observation from Debbie, one of my taste-testers: "I feel like there's almost too much going on here. You know when you mix all the colours together and get brown?" Yes. Indeed.

Christmas Cake by Bluebird Tea Co.
Ceylon tea, cloves, orange peel, spruce needles, cinnamon, vanilla and almond pieces, snowflake sprinkles, flavouring.
This is the second tea this month that I've had to flag up as being under-labelled in terms of ingredients. This one contains 'snowflake sprinkles', and yes they are very pretty, and they melt into the tea upon brewing, but what are they actually made of? Do they contain milk? Because if so, that's an allergy note, and also makes this tea unsuitable for vegans. Do they contain sugar? Because that's going to affect people with certain medical conditions. Look: this is my unimpressed face. But aside from all that, how did it taste? Well, it has a tempting marzipan and cinnamon scent, and really was pleasant enough in a mild spiced-chai kind of way, but I fail to see the point of the spruce needles, and overall, for me, it didn't quite hit the spot. Sorry Bluebird: just call me The Grinch.

Mulled Wine Infusion by Rutland Tea Company
Hibiscus, rose hip, apple, orange peel, almonds, cinnamon pieces.
Well now. This is a thing. Thick and fruity, with a brew time of ten whole minutes, this is an excellent alternative to mulled wine. It hits the tongue as sweet, and then suddenly sharp, but the tartness is followed by a flow of cinnamon notes, and the whole thing comes together beautifully. It tastes very red! You could add sugar or honey if you find it too sharp, but for me it was just right. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting festive flavour without the alcohol, and I would happily buy a big bag and serve it up to all my friends.

La Beauté by Pacifique Herbal Infusion
Quince, ginger, apple, carrot, lemongrass, spearmint, mallow, verbena, cranberry, cornflower blue.
This is an intense burst of flavours. What I got first of all was the punchiness of the spearmint and lemongrass, and then the warmth of the ginger and the sweetness of the fruits comes through. The info card describes it as 'vibrant', but I might go so far as to call it 'alive', as its flavours move and change. There's a suggestion here to add a little gin to make a refreshing cocktail, and I can see that this might be rather appealing.

Complimentary Brew Buddy: Chocolate Orange Fudge by Fab Fudge
'Handmade intensely deep chocolate fudge swirled with the profound zestiness of orange.' I snuck a piece of this, and it was wonderfully creamy but without being sickly. Heads up that this company also stocks a whole range of vegan fudge, which looks absolutely mouth-watering in their photos!

Some hits and some misses this month, but always pleasing to try new teas.
You can still order this box, or any past Teatourist box that you fancy, so check out my reviews of previous boxes and see if there's something that you like.

Teatourist have also given me a special discount code for 30% off your first box when you start a monthly subscription: just use the code FOXGLOVE30 at the checkout. I don't get commission for this, it's just a treat for you. 

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