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Recent Tasting Notes
The more I drink the Pukka nighttime infusions, the fonder I become of them. The herbs used strike me as very good, in addition to being organic. Yes, it’s filterbag dust, but it seems to be much fresher than the standard grocery store fare. I especially the blends such as this one, Relax, which contain chamomile and oat flowering tops.
The fennel is low-key enough in Pukka Relax not to ruin the blend, as it often does, in my experience. Here the flavor of the fennel is undeniable (both sweet and wild fennel seed are listed among the ingredients), but the licorice root makes the elixir a bit viscous and sweet, and the chamomile is also in high enough proportion (18%) to mitigate the “fennel effect”, for lack of a better phrase!
It’s not that I dislike fennel, but it is so strong that it tends to hog the stage! I recently tried the Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Italian Chamomile, for example, where the fennel acts a bit like a rowdy drunk at an otherwise peaceful and civilized party. Fortunately the chamomile in Relax is of high enough quality and also in high enough proportion to be able to serve as a sort of chaperone to the rambunctious fennel.
An induction based on two cases: Pukka appears to be better at herbal blends than at black teas—at least in the filter bag format (which they misleading term on the box “sachets”). I still find this characterization somewhat problematic and misleading. These are filter bags, not pyramidal (or otherwise) sachets. It would be one thing if the company were based in France, where ‘sachet’ often means ‘filter bag’. But Pukka is in the UK, so they ought to have someone on the staff who is fluent in English and is aware that the term ‘sachet’ now means—at least in the English-speaking world—a different format, usually containing larger leaves and offering close to a loose-leaf brewing experience.
These are filter bags. The ingredients are good, so the tea brews up pretty tastily, but let’s call a filter bag what it is: a filter bag! Fortunately, there is no claim anywhere on these boxes or envelopes of herbal infusions (as on the black teas which I reviewed a while back) that the contents of the “sachet” are whole leaves. Just the facts, ma’am: Pukka puts fannings in filter bags and houses them in beautiful packaging, oversized but nicely designed and colorful boxes which could really accommodate 30 rather than 20 bags. The larger box suggests that the contents will indeed be whole-leaf sachets, not filter bags. Earth to Pukka: Fannings are not whole leaves, and filter bags are not sachets.
Okay, I think that I’ve made my point. This tisane is pretty good, if you are looking for a licorice-laced fennel and chamomile blend in a filter bag. The infusion tastes fairly fresh to me. One reviewer seems to think that marshmallow root smacks of Stevia, but to me, the sweetness of Relax appears to derive primarily from the licorice root.
I intended to do a steep-off chez sherapop tonight between Pukka Love and Tazo Rest (three syllables each, plus a rose connection, too!). However, as I compared the two brews side-by-side, I realized that it was like comparing apples and oranges. They are really quite different, despite some overlapping ingredients.
Love is more about chamomile than anything else. It’s a nice blend with lots of other flowers as well, but 25% is chamomile, and it does dominate.
Could I really go an entire 24 hours without any tea-esque beverage sipped hot? It almost happened today, because though my top-floor space is fully equipped with an air conditioner (which I grudgingly acquired, though now I am grateful…), the living space downstairs feels like a sweat shop!
My solution: take a shower, and then sit in front of the air conditioning until I feel cold. Now I am sipping a bedtime glass of Pukka Love. This is a decent chamomile blend. I stand by my earlier rating, though I still do not taste much in the way of rose. The chamomile itself is very and tasty, and there is a thickness and slight sweetness to the brew—though nowhere near Tazo Rest, which is more like sugary roses somehow.
I consider Pukka Love to be a successful filterbag because I am pretty sure that this blend would taste about the same brewed from a sachet or perhaps even loose. The bright yellow hue of the liquor is the first clue that the chamomile is fresh.
Love is a genuine like for me.
Tonight’s bedtime brew was Pukka Love. Lots of vibrant yellow chamomile is in full evidence in this ever-so-slightly sweet blend. (That would be the licorice root…)
I now consider Pukka Love to be the much less sweet second cousin of Tazo Rest, although from the other side, it could be compared to Harney & Sons Yellow & Blue or other chamomile and lavender blends. In the case of Pukka Love, the lavender is rather low-key, but still discernible. A nice change of pace from straight-up chamomile soliflores—there is lots of chamomile here as well!
I was not at all impressed with the Pukka black teas I tried a while back, but this chamomile blend, Love, is rather tasty. I actually picked up a box at the grocery store because it seemed to be a rose petal tea. The company’s description on the front of the box is:
organic rose, chamomile & lavender flower tea
That ingredients “summary” suggested to me that rose would be the dominant flavor, which is not true at all. In fact, rose is one of the last ingredients listed in the full line-up, which also boasts limeflower, elderflower, marigold petal, and licorice root, all in higher concentration than the rose (5%).
Nonetheless, the chamomile (25%) is very nice, so I’d recommend this blend as a chamomile, not a rose infusion. It really tastes nothing like Tazo Rest or Numi White Rose, both of which showcase the rose above all.
The liquor brews up initially the beautiful bright yellow of fresh chamomile buds, and then it becomes more golden. The licorice makes the blend slightly sweet, and the lavender also is detectable, though this is very far from Yellow & Blue or any other chamomile-lavender blend I’ve tried.
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Flavors: Anise, Licorice
I ended up going for a walk to Whole Foods today and spending money on things I didn’t really need. Well, I did get food but I didn’t need more tea that’s for sure. ;-)
It’s strange that the Whole Foods near my work does not have any Pukka teas at all, but the one closer to my house has a smaller assortment of teas and a lot of the Pukkas. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while. It’s definitely gingery and intense. I’m sure I must have had galangal before in Thai food but I couldn’t really tell you how the flavor is different than ginger. There’s licorice in here too, the tea doesn’t really need it but it provides a bit of sweetness. Also this has a bit of turmeric in it, not enough to really make the tea yellow however. This is definitely a warming and spicy tea! I wish Pukka had a variety pack so I could try some of the individual offerings without having to buy an entire box.
I don’t love it, but I think it will be good to have this one around for my achy body which still feels like that of a 90 yr. old arthritic woman. I am healing a bit more every day!
I think I’m the only one in my family who really enjoys the taste of licorice. I like it, fennel, anise … basically anything with that sweet bite. I’m also a sucker for a chai, so the combination of fennel with cardamom gives me basically exactly what I want for an easygoing pick-me-up.
This was a tea I bought specifically to help with some stomach upset. Licorice root is great for calming, and the combination of it and fennel can really help if you’re having digestive issues.
When I don’t feel like a jolt of caffeine just yet, this is what I have.
Flavors: Cream, Licorice, Wood