I discovered this tea when I was browsing a Teavana shop wondering if they even had anything that wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet and candied. I like lighter teas for the most part, and I love sour cherries and cranberries, so this one caught my eye. I was initially wary of the candied fruit in the description, but decided to give it a try. I loved it.
When I went back to buy more, I didn’t try any in the store — just ordered an enormous refill and went home as usual. It tasted different (I didn’t realize until later that it was because they came up with a new blend), and it ended up on my back shelf for a month or so.
Recently, I’ve pulled this out and started drinking it again.
The smell in the canister is very medicinal and sharp — very similar to cherry cough syrup, like others say. It actually reminds me of the sharp scent of a codeine cough syrup I once got prescribed. It’s not a pleasant smell, in my opinion.
The first few times I brewed this, I used water at boiling temperature (because I’m lazy and I don’t really have tools to measure water temperature in my office right now) and let it seep for about two minutes. The resulting flavor was pretty awful. It was sharp, bitter, and unpleasant.
Thankfully, I was being extra lazy that day and rebrewed another cup from the same leaves. That cup turned out exactly how I wanted it to taste — sour, floral, without being too heavy, sweet, or bitter.
For some reason that gave me the idea of rinsing or awakening the leaves, much like an oolong tea. The next time I brewed it, I gave that a shot — heating the pot first, then adding the tea leaves, then adding hot water. I rinsed the leaves for about 10 seconds, and drained them. Then I added water and brewed it for 1 minute (the recommended brew time is 2 minutes). That turned out pretty good.
The next time I tried it, I did the same rinsing routine, but this time tried mixing the hot water with a little bit of cold before adding it to the pot (to reduce the water temperature), and I tried brewing it for even less time (45 seconds). This turned out even better: the taste is tart and fruity, without being bitter or astringent, and the scent carries cherries, cranberries, and roses.
I wouldn’t drink this if I were looking for a white tea — the fruitiness completely drowns out any traces of the white tea flavor. But for a sour, tart tea, this is pretty much the bee’s knees, as long as you take extra care when brewing it. If the tartness is too much, you can add sugar and it will balance out some of the sourness; I often do this when offering this tea to my friends or family.