4
drank Red Raspberry by Harney & Sons
1311 tasting notes

I think this was the one that Fleurdelily sent me.

Initially I had a little happy when I saw this, because I like berries in general in tea. I just had the one bag and that turned out to be lucky because when I went to make it, I had not seen that it has hibiscus in it.

I cannot abide hibiscus. It tastes like blood. All metallic and sour. Ew.

At first I had a small suspicion when I poured water on it, and it immediately started bleeding a strong, bright red colour. However, while this is a tell-tale hibiscus sign, I have learned that it’s not the only ingredient to do that.

Not until now when I came to post did I see the truth of the matter.

And even if I hadn’t, I would have found out by the aroma. Let’s just say that this does not smell like any raspberry I am willing to eat. It’s all sour and ugh. Luna the Cat appears to agree. This aroma does not give me very high hopes for the flavour.

No, indeed not. It doesn’t taste like a raspberry I am willing to eat either. It doesn’t taste like raspberry at all! It’s just all sour and hibiscus-y. I can’t drink this without making a face, and trust me, I have tried my very best here.

Which leads me to a bit of a rant, frankly. American blends with berries seem to be loaded with hibiscus nine times out of ten. I have even seen people here on Steepster marvel at the fact that berry-flavoured blends without hibiscus even exist. What’s with all the hibiscus, people? It does not taste like berries! Berries are not sour by definition and not all berries taste the same, so if you take the trouble to actually use berry flavouring alongside the hibiscus, why do you insist on making it taste uniformly tart with hibiscus? Do you even have tongues to taste with?
It is possible to make something berry flavoured without letting it even stand next to a hibiscus flower. As far as I can tell this is largely an American phenomenon (do-doo-dodo-do), and I have never ever seen a European fruit or berry blend that contained hibiscus, while still claiming to be a plain fruit blend. Ever. Never ever ever.

Now I realise that this is a raspberry herbal and that implies that there are different sorts of things in it that aren’t tea. Raspberry leaves and raspberry flavouring, this I expected. But rosehip and hibiscus, just to make it red and tart, oh so very tart indeed, this I don’t understand. Does raspberry not taste sufficiently like raspberry on its own?

So chalk this down as a massive disappointment from someone who has been curious about raspberry leaf for sometime and believed she was going to try it at last. I don’t need to try hibiscus. I know what that tastes like.

I’m sorry, Fleurdelily but this one was just not for me at all. To be frank, even if I had seen that it contained hibiscus, I would probably have tried it out anyway because you never know when something otherwise unpleasant suddenly shows up in just the right combination. I had that experience with rooibos that was sent to me and it completely turned my opinion of rooibos upside-down. Just ask Cteresa. I suppose I’m vaguely hoping that the same thing might happen with hibiscus, but I’m not really super-optimistic about it.

cteresa

Amen, sister. And yes I can vouch about your convertability :) but thing is, with rooibos, if you start just with the plain rooibos base even before adding flavours, you can see a lot of difference in quality. I compare it to wine, some of the rougher nasty stuff is undrinkable. Some of the better stuff is wonderful, smooth and with body. So I think people can be converted to good rooibos, particularly with good flavours if they had never had really good rooibos before, just because it is a different thing.

With hibiscus, if there are grades and quality differences to appreciate, that is beyond me. I can only notice the hibiscus. And it overpowers almost everything (only exceptions I can think of are this very weak french tisane from a supermarket´s own brand and Yumchaa´s Adventure). Though I admit much as I hate hibiscus, I found an exception, there is a very hibiscus very fruity tea which I love as an iced tea.

I think hibiscus is rather a trend. Say 10 years ago, the fruit teas around all seemed to be linden (lime? tilleul?) based – it was traditional here, and a lot of french tisanes still are based that. Though problem is, those are weak! I think Celestial Seasonings and their zinger teas were the first which showed up with it, so yeah maybe it is an american trend. But even now I see a lot, a lot of teas with hibiscus – twinings pink box blends (Almost all horrible. raspberry&echinacea is the least horrible, but not enough raspberry at all), whittard has some, ahmad´s, almost all boxed supermarket no-caffeine teabags which are not the traditional plain tisanes (camomile, mint, lemonbalm, linden, etc) have hibiscus. And buying tea by the weight a lot of times sellers do not even know or care. I always ask to check and the look, smell, color of the tea is almost always a giveaway.

And something I find as horrible, though a bit more subtle – chicory in herbal tisanes. Chicory goes fabulous with coffee. But with tea, not so much! Lipton is even adding it to “plain” tisanes, lemon balm tea (a lovely, clean herb) and they had 2% chicory and it tastes muddy and musty, horrible – there must be some control pannels somewhere telling them to get tea ticker or darker or something. Nevermind the taste!

Angrboda

I don’t think I’ve ever had chicory. Not that I know of anyway. If it’s a coffee-esque sort of flavour, then I probably won’t like it. Coffee-flavoured blends were rather in a while ago and I can’t for the life of me understand why. Anybody who has tried making tea in a thermos that has been used for coffee knows that it’s NOT a good combination. Not even when you actually like coffee! Ugh, even accidentally putting a coffee thermos lid on a tea thermos can ruin the contents.

cteresa

Chicory is one of those coffee-replacement thingies. But one which IMO goes really well mixed with real coffee and/or this rye drink. I think it´s a pretty old frugal thing – some of my favorite old fashioned tea shops which also sell coffee sell these several mixes, chicory, and rye and mixes of the two. And Nestlé sells and keeps on selling these coffee-cereal mixes in our market – Mokambo, Tofina, Bolero, all about 20% coffee with cereals in different mixes. And Ricoré is still pretty popular in France I think!

Chicory is nice but not in tea. I think Celestial Seasonings (who I blame for hibiscus!) uses it on a lot of their herbal things, when they want to go for something darker more desserty type drinks

Angrboda

I believe chicory was used as a coffee stretcher or coffee replacement during the Occupation in the second world war, actually, now that I think of it. I knew it was ringing some kind of bell. Just wasn’t until you said ‘replacement’ that it fell into place.

cteresa

Yes, I think chicory and rye and barley were all mixed with coffee to make it “stretch”. And carob was used to make chocolate stretch or total chocolate replacement. The coffee mixes have always been popular even when coffee is abundant and probably cheaper, in a homey way, it´s not such strong coffee and for the taste, lots of people like those mixes. Carob is traditional in a part of Portugal and is even fashionable (it can be great or awful. It´s a really subtle flavour, but the problem is that carob is rather dry so people can not just dump it on a recipe). And nowadays a lot of these things are found out to have health benefits!

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Comments

cteresa

Amen, sister. And yes I can vouch about your convertability :) but thing is, with rooibos, if you start just with the plain rooibos base even before adding flavours, you can see a lot of difference in quality. I compare it to wine, some of the rougher nasty stuff is undrinkable. Some of the better stuff is wonderful, smooth and with body. So I think people can be converted to good rooibos, particularly with good flavours if they had never had really good rooibos before, just because it is a different thing.

With hibiscus, if there are grades and quality differences to appreciate, that is beyond me. I can only notice the hibiscus. And it overpowers almost everything (only exceptions I can think of are this very weak french tisane from a supermarket´s own brand and Yumchaa´s Adventure). Though I admit much as I hate hibiscus, I found an exception, there is a very hibiscus very fruity tea which I love as an iced tea.

I think hibiscus is rather a trend. Say 10 years ago, the fruit teas around all seemed to be linden (lime? tilleul?) based – it was traditional here, and a lot of french tisanes still are based that. Though problem is, those are weak! I think Celestial Seasonings and their zinger teas were the first which showed up with it, so yeah maybe it is an american trend. But even now I see a lot, a lot of teas with hibiscus – twinings pink box blends (Almost all horrible. raspberry&echinacea is the least horrible, but not enough raspberry at all), whittard has some, ahmad´s, almost all boxed supermarket no-caffeine teabags which are not the traditional plain tisanes (camomile, mint, lemonbalm, linden, etc) have hibiscus. And buying tea by the weight a lot of times sellers do not even know or care. I always ask to check and the look, smell, color of the tea is almost always a giveaway.

And something I find as horrible, though a bit more subtle – chicory in herbal tisanes. Chicory goes fabulous with coffee. But with tea, not so much! Lipton is even adding it to “plain” tisanes, lemon balm tea (a lovely, clean herb) and they had 2% chicory and it tastes muddy and musty, horrible – there must be some control pannels somewhere telling them to get tea ticker or darker or something. Nevermind the taste!

Angrboda

I don’t think I’ve ever had chicory. Not that I know of anyway. If it’s a coffee-esque sort of flavour, then I probably won’t like it. Coffee-flavoured blends were rather in a while ago and I can’t for the life of me understand why. Anybody who has tried making tea in a thermos that has been used for coffee knows that it’s NOT a good combination. Not even when you actually like coffee! Ugh, even accidentally putting a coffee thermos lid on a tea thermos can ruin the contents.

cteresa

Chicory is one of those coffee-replacement thingies. But one which IMO goes really well mixed with real coffee and/or this rye drink. I think it´s a pretty old frugal thing – some of my favorite old fashioned tea shops which also sell coffee sell these several mixes, chicory, and rye and mixes of the two. And Nestlé sells and keeps on selling these coffee-cereal mixes in our market – Mokambo, Tofina, Bolero, all about 20% coffee with cereals in different mixes. And Ricoré is still pretty popular in France I think!

Chicory is nice but not in tea. I think Celestial Seasonings (who I blame for hibiscus!) uses it on a lot of their herbal things, when they want to go for something darker more desserty type drinks

Angrboda

I believe chicory was used as a coffee stretcher or coffee replacement during the Occupation in the second world war, actually, now that I think of it. I knew it was ringing some kind of bell. Just wasn’t until you said ‘replacement’ that it fell into place.

cteresa

Yes, I think chicory and rye and barley were all mixed with coffee to make it “stretch”. And carob was used to make chocolate stretch or total chocolate replacement. The coffee mixes have always been popular even when coffee is abundant and probably cheaper, in a homey way, it´s not such strong coffee and for the taste, lots of people like those mixes. Carob is traditional in a part of Portugal and is even fashionable (it can be great or awful. It´s a really subtle flavour, but the problem is that carob is rather dry so people can not just dump it on a recipe). And nowadays a lot of these things are found out to have health benefits!

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Bio

Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
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Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
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Bio last updated February 2014

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