I’m not sure how I feel about this one, which is in all probability unsurprising as I have a long, long history of disliking licorice. I suspect that this probably deserves a much better rating than I’m giving it, in fact, but I’m having trouble hopping over the mental hurdle of ‘oh no, licorice’.
I was more worried before I opened the packet than I was afterward, actually. The smell wasn’t so strong that it punched me in the face, but it was still strong enough to leave me wondering why I was going to pour hot water on top of it at all. I sort of dumped the entire packet into my glass infuser cup, and watching it brew I realized that there are a ton of twigs in this blend. It’s not a very pretty blend at all, and there are more than a few fannings drifting around the bottom of my cup right now. Assuming that’s the non-tea stuff, though.
I was pretty gratified to find that the tea, once brewed, stayed soft and unassuming on the licorice front. The taste of the white tea — which brews to a pretty silvery-gold — reminds me of the silver needle I have from Adagio. Every sip has a little bit of licorice, but it’s…very mellow, and reminds me more of the background note of licorice you can sometimes get from bagged ‘medicinal’ teas, like the Yogi teas, for instance…it’s drinkable even for someone who viscerally rejects the strong scent of licorice. It does create a sort of weird feeling on my tongue and soft palate, though; not numbness, per se, and not a coolness like mint, but something that makes me think of both of those things on a much smaller scale.
I confess that I’m sort of baffled as to where to rate this. The rating should probably be considered very soft.
Sadly, there’s not any better place for this, so I’m just going to write about it here.
This cup is so win: http://www.teavana.com/Tea-Products/Tea-Cups-Mugs/Glass-Tea-Cups/Yves-Glass-Tea-Infuser-Mug.axd
There are only two points of potential annoyance: the first is that stuff sometimes gets stuck in the little glass vents. I find that a toothbrush and about a second-and-a-half of effort are enough to take care of that…I never spend any time standing around struggling to get them cleared out. The second is that occasionally you have to pause your pour to allow the water to vent through when the tea is small enough to clump against said vents, but again…10 extra seconds doesn’t really bother me. Your mileage may vary. I use this thing constantly. I definitely use it more often than my iron teapot; almost every cup of tea I make is a new flavor, so I feel like there’s less fussing, and it means I get to see the tea brew…and they get nearly the whole cup to unfurl in. The lid that comes with it flips over to make a pretty good infuser-saucer between steeps. Plus, it’s all glass, so it doesn’t retain any smells or flavors and I don’t have to worry about chemicals leeching out of plastic bits into my hot water. Not a bad deal for 15 bucks. I like it so much that I ordered two more.
True, it ain’t no sorapot (where the heck is my sorapot, btw? It still hasn’t come in!), but for 16 oz. of tea brewed for a steep-voyeurist and a minimum of effort it’s a good choice.