I genuinely believe that hibiscus is the work of the devil, to the point where I approach any fruit or berry tea containing it with a certain degree of trepidation. Or maybe it’s more like resignation.

Given that hibiscus and rosehip are the top two ingredients in this tea, I should be feeling pretty grumpy right now. Even I have to admit, though, that this tea smells fabulous dry. Like wine gums. I am rather concerned, though, that a tea named “Red Berry Fool” actually contains a decidedly limited range of berries. One, to be exact — elderberry — and right at the bottom of the ingredients list. The other ingredients are the previously mentioned (and inescapable) hibiscus and rosehip, apple, orange, and safflower. It smells, as I said, fruity. Not of red berries. “Fruit Tart” might be a more appropriate name.

And this tea is incredibly tart, and slightly sour, and we know who to blame for that. Despite this, it is pleasant. The fruit is present in pretty generous chunks, and just about manages to stand up to the hibiscus. It would shine more brightly if it was left alone, though, as would the elderberry. This could be a genuinely nice tea — it really almost is. It smells gorgeous, but it’s a shame the flavour is dulled by the hibiscus, which really does know how to ruin a great party. I feel like I’ve said this so many times, but if only it tasted like it smells.

Ultimately, I’m relatively happy with this tea, and I’d drink it again. I just wish manufacturers would end their compulsion to put hibiscus in fruit or berry tea. It’s not fruit, it’s not a berry, and it’s not nice. Simple as that.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

Indeed, hibiscus is a spoiler…my other pet peeve? licorice root (and related). I love licorice candy and liqueur, but it ruins so many teas :)

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Indeed, hibiscus is a spoiler…my other pet peeve? licorice root (and related). I love licorice candy and liqueur, but it ruins so many teas :)

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, 29, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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