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Oolong? Really? Okay, it might be in here somewhere. The chunks of food in this tea blend are the largest yet—even from Teavana. Seriously, the elderberries are HUGE.

To prepare this brew, I followed my usual strategy with the “cornucopia of edibles” beverages from Teavana, pouring the entire one ounce envelope into my spice grinder and pulverizing it all to powder before infusion in a large glass Bodum French press cylinder.

Elderberries were the largest presence, both visually and in taste. Now I am wondering about the wisdom of using whole elderberries. Does anyone else grind their chunks of Teavana food before infusing? Otherwise it seems to me that most of the flavor would be trapped inside, with only the surface area making contact with the water.

The result of my preparation was not very good without sugar. In fact, without sugar I found it somewhat distasteful. So I added a huge dose of sugar, and then it seemed more like a strong elderberry juice, or perhaps closest of all to Sambucol elderberry syrup. Hopefully this brew will also be good for my immune system…

To me, this beverage bears no resemblance whatsoever to tea—whether oolong or any other sort. It’s potable, but I will not purchase it again.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 30 sec
CharlotteZero

I would never grind a tea up before brewing. I’m pretty sure that the “food” items in tea are usually added more for visual effect and/or to make the blend cheaper, per weight, to produce. I’m pretty sure that the people who do the blending/flavoring for Teavana assume that the tea will be brewed as is and adjust the ingredients and flavors accordingly. But what I would most worry about would be releasing flavors from a parts of the “food” that aren’t supposed to be infused, like in the case of the elderberries where you may be grinding up the seeds which would release a bitter flavor. This is just my take.

sherapop

How fascinating! So do you think that I am turning my Teavana beverages into fruit juice, etc. by using this approach? My concern is that the tea in these blends is so far down the list that it won’t even be detectable. But you seem to be suggesting that if I don’t grind the gigantic chunks, then the tea will be more noticeable. Is that right?

CharlotteZero

I believe you would taste more of the tea flavor if you don’t grind up the ingredients first. However, I’m not one to tell anyone how to prepare their tea. I don’t think there is a truly “right” and “wrong” way to enjoy tea. I think it’s best to experiment to find out what tastes best to you. Personally, I like doing side-by-side comparisons of different teas and brewing techniques.

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CharlotteZero

I would never grind a tea up before brewing. I’m pretty sure that the “food” items in tea are usually added more for visual effect and/or to make the blend cheaper, per weight, to produce. I’m pretty sure that the people who do the blending/flavoring for Teavana assume that the tea will be brewed as is and adjust the ingredients and flavors accordingly. But what I would most worry about would be releasing flavors from a parts of the “food” that aren’t supposed to be infused, like in the case of the elderberries where you may be grinding up the seeds which would release a bitter flavor. This is just my take.

sherapop

How fascinating! So do you think that I am turning my Teavana beverages into fruit juice, etc. by using this approach? My concern is that the tea in these blends is so far down the list that it won’t even be detectable. But you seem to be suggesting that if I don’t grind the gigantic chunks, then the tea will be more noticeable. Is that right?

CharlotteZero

I believe you would taste more of the tea flavor if you don’t grind up the ingredients first. However, I’m not one to tell anyone how to prepare their tea. I don’t think there is a truly “right” and “wrong” way to enjoy tea. I think it’s best to experiment to find out what tastes best to you. Personally, I like doing side-by-side comparisons of different teas and brewing techniques.

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A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):

http://sherapop.blogspot.com/

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