The smell of the dry tea is absolutely heavenly and very strong… I could almost start eating the tea with a spoon.
And among the rooibos leaves, there are small pieces of fruits and dried entire small berries (round very small ones – dark color but original color difficult to identify on the dried fruit).
After brewing, the color is a bright brownish red and the smell o so fragrant.

The taste was also very strong, very mellow fruity but with a surprisingly tart flavor. I absolutely did not expect this bittersweet, tart, almost sour taste from the smell; I do not find it unpleasant but I’m sure it might offend the buds of other people.
I spend quite some time trying to figure out what it might come from: I believe it comes from the berries. At first, without any reason but the size of the berry (and my quick assumption), I assumed they would be blueberry or gooseberry. But this was not the taste of such fruits – as it was more tart than tangy, for a gooseberry and not as sugary fruity enough for blueberry. After some thinking, I finally realized those might be a different kind of berries, not so much used for “direct” consumption (think picking raspberries from the bush and eating them instead of filling in the bucket) than for “transformation / use as an ingredient”. And then sloe berry (berry from the blackthorne; prunelle in French) came to my mind. Maybe it was cranberry but I’m not so sure about that.

I’ve had it a few times and am still surprised by the taste at each new brew. I cannot really make out my mind about it. Strange!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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I’ve started drinking much more tea quite recently, almost completely quitting espresso for it!
I’ve been introduced to high quality tea by one of my best friend, MF Marco Polo addict since more than 20 years. I’ve only rarely bought tea-bags since then, preferring the quality-price ratio of loose leaves.
I drink my tea natural, without any milk, sugar or sweetener. I only add honey when a sore-throat is coming along.
I usually either brew a large pot at home or resteep my leaves at the office. I cannot seem to learn to master the use of a gaiwan in an elegant and not clumsy way…
My tea preferences :
- I really like flavored black teas, with a preference for fruity flavors, from a tangy Earl Grey to a real fruit smoothie-like tea. I’m trying some single origin unflavored blacks from time to time but always end up having trouble to finish them. I usually do not really enjoy the strong breakfast teas.
- I do not like chai or teas with strong spice flavors. Strange considering I really like spicy food, but not what I drink.
- I am quite afraid of pu-erh and lapsang souchong, though I probably have never drunk any real good ones and I’m quite sure it can make a huge difference… A few years ago, I had been introduced to scotch whisky and can definitely attest that you cannot say you don’t like whisky, if you’ve only drunk blended stuff and not tasted yet single malts. I hope to get the same happy discovery for those teas.
- I discovered very good oolong, without going through the step of drinking bad-one first, and really enjoy it, especially with a meal. I’ll definitely try some flavored oolongs in a near future.
- I’ve just started discovering white teas, which feels very delicate. The only problem is that those can be awfully expensive…
- I also really like rooibos which I discovered a few years ago while searching for low-theine/caffeine teas that I could drink at night without suffering from insomnia.
- As with green tea, we’ve had a long-standing difficult relationship. I’ve occasionally had some that were real smooth, refreshing and so very many that turned bitter very quickly. And I cannot stand a bitter tea.
- As for jasmine tea, I used to like it but have indeed drunk too much of some bad quality bitter brew, and now I even have problem finishing the high-quality pearls I bought in Beijing.
- Yerba Mate: I’ve had some in one blend and am quite convinced that I would never like that as bitterness is one of its main characteristics. I’ll try to avoid it like the plague.
- Herbal tea: I used to drink more or those before discovering rooibos; finding good ones is unfortunately really difficult – even in organic shops, the herbs sold are far from great.
I loathe artificial flavoring of any kind in any beverage or food.

I’m quite opiniated and try to leave room for further improvement and better discoveries, which explain why I haven’t rated any tea in the 95 and above range.
Teas above 80 are among my favorites
Between 60-80, I could or could not give them a second chance or recognize that they are made with high-quality ingredients though their taste does not please my buds.
Around 50, it starts to be rather bad and a not so pleasant experience to drink.
25 to 40+ cover low quality products that I manage to drink when nothing else is available.
Below that, it’s really vile and basically almost undrinkable IMHO.

Location

Singapore

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