Who doesn’t love a cup of tea? Readers from countries other than England? Well, that’s your loss. As our favourite hangout the Tea House Theatre puts it – “Water and bread can so easily become tea and toast”. I’m largely decaffeinated still, as a result of that perma-feeding baby, but I do enjoy the odd cup of fruit tea. I’ve always been fond of Twinings, seeing as they’re based in Andover and some of the best people come from Andover. So, when Twinings offered to send me some teas to review, I couldn’t resist. I assembled a crack panel of tea-tasting experts, who we’ll call X,K,C and D for the purposes of this exercise and, of course, I chugged a few cups down myself, while watching Calamity Jane. And here are the results.
First up: Raspberry and Dragonfruit Sensation
I liked this one – I am always up for a nice fruit tea. It had a lovely, fruity smell and a good colour. And it tasted like raspberry. Not sure I could taste the dragonfruit, but then again I’m not sure what dragonfruit is…
Team D said “The pink tea was almost nice but the undertone of Kool-Aid was bad news”. Team D are from Canada, so they understand about things like Kool-Aid. I interpret that as meaning it was a bit too sweet and fruity, but that’s just a matter of personal taste.
C, meanwhile, knows about these things and brewed it up two different ways, once with the teabag staying in and once with it being taken out. And she said:
“I loved the smell of the teabag for this one, smelled a bit like sherbet which is always a good sign in a fruit tea. The colour was rich and red and the aroma once brewed was pleasant though not as strong as I was anticipating from the teabag (teas do this to me a lot, I think I just have to lower my expectations as far as scent goes). The flavour was fruity and tangy, refreshing and clean. I liked this a lot. When I brewed it with the bag in I liked it even more, such an intense fruity kick. Really lovely stuff.”
Next up was Camomile and Maple Sensation.
Now, this tea didn’t get the best reception. Team X said it tasted like “Warm polluted water” and Team D said it “tasted of sticks but smelled of maple” – the promise of maple was there, but it didn’t deliver (bear in mind that Canadians are very precious when it comes to maple). I must admit, I struggled to drink this one – there was just something a bit odd about it. I’m guessing it’s a bit of an acquired taste.
C was the sole positive voice on this one, preferring it to the Raspberry & Dragonfruit: “This one is a bit of a shock, I always expect camomile to be a gentle tea and the maple syrup makes it much stronger. The flavour is also much more intense that the aroma suggests which increases the shock factor. Once I’d got over that though I really liked this one. There wasn’t a lot of difference in flavour between brewing methods though the colour did deepen from pale to dark gold. It has a rich, creamy full flavour that made it feel a bit like I was drinking toffee ice cream! While this isn’t something I would drink if I was looking for the relaxing properties of a cup of camomile it does manage to be relatively soothing, refreshing and warming. I would definitely buy some if I wandered past it.”
But the breakaway hit was Double Mint Sensation
Team K and Team X, both of whom are pregnant, loved it. Peppermint tea is good for fighting that miserable pregnancy heartburn, although I’ve heard some say it’s not great to drink too much towards the end. Team X said it “exceeded expectation” and Team K said it was “really nice”. Meanwhile, Team D described it thus: “The mint one is really good. I can feel it go all down my throat. Clears the sinuses. Great tea if you like your mint to be minty”
I liked it too. It was refreshing without being overpowering, just the way a mint tea should be. A clear winner all round!
Disclaimer: Twinings provided me with the tea free of charge for review. All opinions remain honest and my own (except the opinions of my tasters)