Today wound up being about trying new teas, which is never a bad thing. I think I’m gonna take some older ones that I either have in large quantity or am expecting more of from Black Friday orders and drink those tomorrow, though.
Anyway, I went to McQuarries today though – which was a completely unexpected trip. I’m not really totally enthused by that store – today was my second time going, and I had the same sales lady as last time that made me feel incredibly stupid and just seemed to be in a totally bitchy mood. I had asked about finding some good, fruity tisanes for cold brewing and she just very coldly told me “tisanes are herbals” and offered no advice. Umm, thanks? Mind you, this is the same lady who basically belittled me for inquiring about King Tut’s Lemonade last time, which had been discontinued (however, they don’t regularly update their website and it’s still listed there, so I had no idea of knowing that).
I asked a lot of questions about ingredients, since any of their new blends aren’t listed on the website (due to lack of regular updating) and there are no listed ingredients either on their storage/display containers or on the packages they sell their tea in. She seemed pissed to have to answer my questions, though. Smeh.
For whatever reason, I’m intricately drawn to teas with alcoholic beverages in the titles – which makes NO sense since A) I don’t drink and haven’t in over two years (technically I’m still under the legal drinking age), and B) even when I was drinking, the types of ‘alcohol inspired’ teas I go for are not the types of liquor I drank. So there’s that…
I didn’t actually look at the ingredients booklet they have in store when I got this, which maybe was a bad idea. I made sure to VERY CLEARLY specify I did not want anything with ginger or raisins, but looking at the leaf for this blend I see what looks like raisins; I’m hoping I’m wrong and it’s just other dried fruits though. I am also seeing a bunch of hibiscus, but that’s not necessarily bad.
In regard to smell – this is so incredibly strong and powerful smelling. When I was drinking Creamy Eggnog earlier I had the sealed packet of this sitting on my kitchen counter, and from the kitchen I could still faintly smell this. It reminds me of DAVIDsTEA’s Guava Cadabra in that I had a sample size of that one in a ziploc bag and no matter what I did it always smelled intensely of guava, and whatever I put it next to managed to pickup the same smell on its packaging – I’ll be sure to carefully store this.
I kind of get hibiscus, but I also get an overwhelming sense of grape and strawberry (grape is not making me feel too good about the raisins) – and it’s weird because there IS this fermented alcohol like quality to the smell, but it also just sorta reminds me of sugary Kool-Aid. I’m vaguely reminded of rum and there’s a vague creaminess – but it’s kind of odd and not really all there.
Because this is so strong smelling, I cautiously only used 1 1/2 tsp. instead of the 2 tsp. I’d normally use for an all fruit blend. This went into 8 oz. of boiling water, and was steeped for five(ish) minutes. The liquor is actually this really beautiful dark red/purple colour, and it gives off a strong aroma of fermented type wine, is sorta “rum-y”, and has this nice strawberry cream smell too.
Taste wise, the hibiscus because quite prominent and really sour, but is countered sort of well with the taste of strawberry (I almost get weird rhubarb types notes too), and a more noticeable rum type of taste in the back of the sip and aftertaste. And there’s IS a creaminess to it, though I’m not finding it super pronounced. Basically this is initially tart and sour strawberry which awkwardly transitions to a more fermented/rum-y type of taste with some creaminess. I actually think I’d enjoy this quite a lot if it DIDN’T have that super sharp kind of tang from the hibiscus at the first bit of the sip – it’s the kind of tang that hits the sides of your tongue (does that even make sense) and takes a longer time to sort of fade away.
Next time I have it hot, I’m actually going to use even less leaf (1 tsp. probably) and a shorter steep time. I am really interested to see how this cold brews though, seeing as that’s why I bought it anyway. And, to be fair I did try the one I thought I’d like the least first. The other tea I bought today is called Fig Rose and I think I might like that one a lot better.