First tea battle!
So, I feel like I need to give a short explanation before I go on with the review. I’ve had, for the last 3 years, the aim of trying all of the teas from DT, buying at least 25g of each (usually 50g) to give them all a true shot at impressing me. I finished the endeavour about two months ago, and I was totally thrilled about the achievement (so was the staff at my local DT, lol). But all along, I’ve been doing it with the goal of building, afterwards, a 32-teas cupboard with my own “permanent collection”, that is, all my favourites. Narrowing it to 32 is REALLY difficult, and sometimes, it’s not worth taking up 2 different spots for 2 teas that fill the same “role” (that is, when I feel like having one, I usually don’t mind having the other instead). Sooooo, this is why I am making tea battles (exciting, right?! I think it is!), where I brew 2 teas side to side, compare them, and choose a winner to be part of my collection of 32 teas.
Today’s contest is: Kanpe Tea vs. Sleigh Ride
I always felt like these two teas were essentially the same, both being very tart from the hibiscus, as well as fruity and spicy and comforting and sort of juicy. I LOVE both, but it certainly isn’t worth having both at hand as they are so similar. Going into the tea battle, I did feel like Sleigh Ride had an advantage, having it linked to fond memories. Comparing them side to side really made the differences more apparent:
- Kanpe is really an in-your-face tea, the flavour is bold, very bold, and rich. Right away, you get a huge amount of sweetness, and a huge amount of tartness. Yum! I know hibiscus haters are a plenty, but I love it! Behind all that sweetness and tartness, you can definitely pick up the fact it’s very fruity, yet it’s really difficult to point to specific fruits, it just feels tropical. It’s also a little spicy, with a hint of cinnamon. But that only adds depth to the prominent sweetness and tartness, which compliment one another in a very balanced way. Maybe it actually is a little too sweet, but that doesn’t keep me from craving one more sip after each of them! It is very slightly astringent. Not enough for it to be unpleasant, but I’d do without that hint of astringency.
- Sleigh Ride is surprisingly (well, it surprised me anyway) a bit less bold. As similar as it is, I see big differences now. What you get right away is the hibiscus: it’s very tart. Probably, not more than Kanpe, but all of the spotlight goes on the tartness, since it is not nearly as sweet. However, after the initial hit of tartness, the spices are very prominent, especially cinnamon. I think I can taste what the popped rice adds to the mix, and I like the additional dimension, but it gets a little lost in all the rest. It’s also fruity, but the spices are really what I naturally concentrate on after the tartness has passed. It has the hint of astringency that Kanpe had as well, so on that level it’s a draw.
Comparison: While Kanpe is so sweet it is almost too much, the in-your-face sweetness compliments the in-your-face tartness so well that I can’t help falling in love with every sip. Sleigh Ride is awesome, but feels a little empty on that level compared to Kanpe. The additional spice taste gives it a few extra points, but that won’t do it. I think Kanpe is a keeper. Sorry Sleigh Ride, I love you nonetheless!
Winner: Kanpe Tea! Yay!