The full name of this tea, according to the canister, is “Memories of South Africa Rooibos Citrus Spice”. That’s right, Canadians, it’s an effort by your friend and mine, President’s Choice. Given that the “Memories” collection is usually a matter of seasoning, dressing, and sauces, it may make you a little leery of the company’s efforts to branch into tea. If you have your doubts, you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I am – this is a very good blend. It’s also very tricky to find it in stores, so your best bet is to order it online via the President’s Choice website.
The packaging claims that this is a “Flavourful red tea with a citrus scent and a blend of sweet, fragrant spices.” Ingredients include rooibos leaves, spices, camomile flowers, a little soybean oil, orange peel, rose petals, orange flowers, peppermint leaves, lemon verbena leaves, safflowers, cornflowers, and lemon peel. Normally when a blend has that many ingredients, they’re at odds with each other, and the resulting flavour is confused and indistinct. What I would like to know is what those mystery “spices” are. I would have sworn that there’s some ginger in the mix, because the taste crackles and the overall effect is very warming – but without being really earthy. The floral and citrus ingredients play off of each other beautifully, so it’s neither pucker-inducingly sharp nor sleepily mellow.
It’s difficult to describe this tea without resorting to emotional analogies. It’s bright, rather optimistic, calm, pleasant tea. It’s like the friend you want to sit with you while you talk about the disaster you’ve made of your life, and who says exactly the right thing to bring you out of your funk.
I find this to be a perfect morning blend. It’s no caffeine shot-in-the-arm to pry your eyelids open against their will – but it’s a nice deep breath, a steadying hand on your shoulder, a soothing but firm voice saying: “You can get through this. And at the end, you can have a nap and stay in your pyjamas as long as you want. And I will not judge you. But first… the world.”