This is a tea that grew on me. I got it as part of a Christmas gift last December and I wasn’t sure what to think. I often find cranberries too tart for me and a tea named after (and packed with) them just didn’t sound like it would be a good idea. My fears proved to be true the first time I tried it… it just wasn’t what I was looking for. But then I had another cup (it was the only tea handy at the time and I’d rather it than plain hot water) and it got better.
It’s a very visually appealing tea, there’s lots of color and the berries and anise really stand out, making it a somewhat rustic looking tea. But those berries… they’re large, heavy and end up throwing off any kind of measurement, both in the store and at home. I found that I had to over “leaf” this tea to get the full flavor effect and since the berries weigh much more than the rest of the ingredients you have to purchase a fairly large amount to get enough tea.
That said the aroma of the dry tea is quite nice. The tartness of the cranberry is offset by the sweetness of the star anise and apple. You can just catch hints of the cinnamon mixed in with the safflower, both of which help to round out the scent profile. I didn’t find it to be overly done with anise either (I’ve run across some teas that end up overdoing this particular spice… it’s usually not a good end :( )
When steeped the liquor becomes a lovely clear golden shade which retains the cranberry scent. The hints of cinnamon and safflower are still there but the notes from the anise and apple become quite muddled. Overall I found the tea to have a fainter scent profile than some other fruit based teas that I’ve encountered.
The flavor of the tea is quite interesting too. The cranberry is distinct but not overpowering, and it’s tartness is smoothed out by the addition of the anise and the warmth of the cinnamon. The safflower really starts to stand out now as well. The remaining ingredients aren’t distinct enough to really pick out but they contribute to an overall flavor profile that is subtle, smooth and much sweeter than I was expecting… There are hidden depths to this tea that really cause me to sit down and think about it rather than just having it as an aside.