Bruu TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Bruu´s tea subscription service has changed! It now features “Discovery” where they introduce the subscribers to a tea region. Not only do you offer the subscriber a chance to taste a specific – special – tea, they also add a card with interesting information about the tea and the tea estate.
This month, this visit concerns the Rutsiro Tea Plantation in Rwanda. I copy the available information on Bruu´s website about this tea :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; An earthy and gentle fragrance
As the drink is BRUUing; Two legendary tea cultures begin to entwine. The colour looks so pure. The trapped evergreen leafy goodness is escaping into the waters.
The taste journey; Our Rutsiro Organic FOP has a beautiful delicate thickness, with a bright, brisk, and biscuity flavour profile. Long on the finish, its golden hues are a treat for the eyes too. Try it on its own, with a dash of honey, or with milk.
About the tea region: The Rutsiro Tea Factory is located 124 km from Kigali city. It sits overlooking the stunning Lake Kivu. The factory employs 1000 workers and plays an active role in the local community. It has helped to build schools, health care centres, feeder roads, houses for the poor and even contribute to the national program of one cow per poor family, by annually giving livestock to the needy families. Recently the plantation built two hydro-power plants along Giciye River that supply 8 MW to the national grid.
Why we love Rutsiro? The elevation moderates the effects of the equatorial temperatures. The mountains mean what little rainfall there is, is captured, and the cold nights place the tea bush under stress, creating more distinctive flavours.
Location: Rutsiro Tea Plantation
Capital City: Kigali
Elevation : 2340m above sea level
Coordinates : 1°56’37.6_S 30°04’20.4_E
Soil type : Volcanic
Manufacture : Black Orthodox & CTC
Season : Year-round, peaks Jul-Sept
Av temp : High 26°C/Low 16°C
First of all, I like this type of “learning about tea”. Then, I must say I had a quite faulty view of African teas, as being strong, malty and almost coffee-like…faulty, as it might correspond to a Kenian tea I sometimes have, it doesn´t in this case. Even after 5 minutes of steeping, the tea is rather delicate, subtle in taste (I forgot about the steeping time earlier today, and indeed, when oversteeping, bitterness will show). I think it can and will charm a lot of tea drinkers.
Flavors: Cookie, Tea
I had to wait an extra long time to get this month´s tea subscription, but it was well worth the wait (soon another review of the surprise tea).
Although one of the teas I received was the same as one I had just ordered out of the subscription scheme (I thought it might have been slightly different, because of a slightly different name, but it seems only a change of name for the same tea), and I normally don´t fancy fruit (aromatised) teas too much, this “Cherry Bliss” is quite alright for a change. Very aromatic nose, which continues in mouth, like eating a “Mon Chéri” without the kirsch alcohol. Aroma´s are rather strong, so it should have put me off having this tea, but it´s quite nice. Must be the kirsch liquor I object to ;-) Also, I would have thought by the strong aroma´s the tea would taste not very natural…wrong again!
From Bruu´s website :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; A fragrant and pleasing scent of cherry mingled within the scent of fresh black tea…it’s in the name, bliss!
As the drink is BRUUing; The freeze-dried, dark red sour cherry pieces not only serve as
delicate decoration, but also give off their fresh fruity taste when the tea is
The taste journey; The black tea blend, flavoured with the intensely fruity and sour, wild cherry flavour provides a very authentic taste experience.
Flavors: Cherry, Tea
Another tea I bought from BRUU (to find it included in this month´s subscription as well…although the subscription hasn´t arrived yet, so maybe someone else has got hold of it!) last month.
It´s an oolong tea which is brewed at 90ºC (cf. black tea), but rather smells and tastes like a green tea, only more full-bodied. The other day, Iforgot I had it steeping, and went off doing something else…bad move! If steeped too long, this tea definitely gets harsh in mouth. The liquor doesn´t turn red, as mentioned in BRUU´s notes (copied below) though. Steeped for 3 minutes it´s a very enjoyable tea, light and delicate in taste with a solid oolong backbone.
From BRUU´s website :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; These stunning looking leaves give off an almost dried corn scent. Suspended in time, sat waiting to become your BRUU.
As the drink is BRUUing; “Oh the water has turned green” then the oxidised leaves seep out their red liquor. Smells so familiar.
The taste journey; A smooth, delicate aroma with tropical notes. Paradise!
Best enjoyed; 1tsp // 90°C // 1-3 mins
Pear seems to give something mild and fruity without the sticky sweetness to a tea blend, and this blend is another example of that! Furthermore, there is white, green and black tea in the blend, which makes a complex and very solid backbone.
I remember the first (black) tea blend with pear I tried. It was a present from a colleague and the blend´s name was “romantic garden” or something similar. Already very enjoyable, especially in nose. Here, the presence of white and green tea makes it much more “delicate” and so, far more appropriate to call it something “romantic”, as far as can tell ;-)
From Bruu´s website :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; Go to the sweet shop, ask for a quarter of Pear Drops, open the bag and take a deep sniff. That’s our White Pear scent right there.
As the drink is BRUUing; Light and sweet
The taste journey; The tea leaves dominate the overall taste with their typically delicate notes, however, a touch of juicy pear and the creamy sweet exotic envelop the characteristic of the tea blend.
Flavors: Champagne, Herbaceous, Pear
After 2 months enjoying Bruu´s tea subscription, and finishing some of the selected teas quite quickly, I thought I would order some stock… but I ended up buying blends I hadn´t tried yet!
This Biscottea tea blend is presented on Bruu´s website as follows :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; A pleasant, sweet, fruityfied, cinnamonatic whiff that resembles a mulled wine.
As the drink is BRUUing; Oh that is good!! The fruit fragrances (orange and apple) arrive at the nose all rounded, creamy and soft in scent then gradually the drink develops and the scent grows in intensity. The black camellia leaf is yet to make an impact. Hence this being a gentle black tea.
The taste journey; This is a great BRUU. Almost a chai. A fresh taste with that subtle black leaf bitterness surrounded gently with spices and fruit. A taste marvel reminiscent of those famous Italian biscuits.
Although I´m not a huge fan of those Christmassy tea blends with loads of cloves and cinnamon (which all smell and taste the same, as far as I am concerned), the reference to the Italian biscuits really tempted me! So glad I ordered this one…in Belgium we have a cookie-cake sort of snack called “peperkoek” (pepper cookie), we not only have in December or for Saint Nicholas´day (6th December), and it´s one of those things I like once in a while, but I can only buy in Belgium. And this blend just smells like peperkoek! Cinnamon doesn´t overwhelm, and neither do the cloves…which makes this a brilliant afternoon tea : you think you´re having it with some pastry, but as a matter of fact you´re only having tea!
Flavors: Black Pepper, Cookie
When it comes to fruity teas, I´m always quite worried about it being very aromatic but then taste weak, or artifical… this oolong blend, however, is a solid oolong in the first place, and the added mango gives a natural fruitiness which I can really appreciate.
In nose I get a lot of spicey notes, and I understand why Bruu describes it as “toasty, baked” (not only in taste, also in nose according to me) : it ´s as if you´ve baked a fruit pie, switched off the oven, went off doing other things, and then, some time afterwards, you open the oven!
A perfect summer afternoon tea.
From Bruu :
As the drink is BRUUing; The Oolong leaves unravel and let off an earthy aroma; paired with the tropical notes make this blend feel like it should be sipped in the Caribbean!
The taste journey; A fruity heaven – refreshing!
Flavors: Cookie, Earth, Mango, Tea
This white tea blend was part of the August tea subscription pack.
It´s a wonderfully elegant tea, tastier than most white teas IMHO, and perfect for afternoons during Summer. It´s quite herby (for not being a green tea) and very floral, both in nose and mouth. From my – limited – experience, it´s quite strange to brew this tea at 100ºC, but it works!
The description on Bruu´s website is really very truthful to my personal experience :
As the drink is BRUUing;
The wiry, larger leaves bloom as they steep in the water, the slight floral scent circulates around the room and the tea infuses in the water creating a wonderful amber shade.
The taste journey;
This tea travels you down a tender yet flavourful path, with a slight perfumed floral aftertaste and subtle herby hints, the balance of flavours work in unison together.
Flavors: Floral, Herbaceous
This is the oolong tea from my second month of Bruu tea subscription.
Information from Bruu´s website :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU;
These broken black leaves of the world famous Nuwara Eliya region hit your senses hard, it is hard to explain, but it smells like tea that has already been brewed!
As the drink is BRUUing;
The freshness really starts to kick through and travel on the steam straight to the back of your nostrils. The smell is so comforting.
The taste journey;
It doesn’t get better than this, the Somerset BOP really has an amazing balance. It would work perfectly with milk or without, it carries so much presence. Offer a cup of this up to any well-respected tea drinker and they are surely going to commend you with making them a fantastic cup of tea. Don’t give too much away though, it tastes too good to share!
About the tea region;
Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC produces the best of high-quality Ceylon Teas in 17 of the most enviable tea gardens, duly situated in the panoramic tea country in Sri Lanka. 12 of these tea gardens, situated in the sublimely cool environs of Nuwara Eliya, manufacture high grown teas in their mountain based factories, whilst the rest, situated in the verdant south, produce equally admirable quality teas, to satisfy the discerning traits of even the most ardent connoisseurs of tea worldwide.
Very similar to Pedro BUP from the first subscription box, although this Somerset BOP is slightly more what I associate with oolongs, i.e. this fermented note in taste. Another perfect breakfast tea.
A few years ago, I looked through the different tea subscription services available then, and I decided to go for the one …that decided to stop a month afterwards! (no kidding) Needless to say, this kind of demotivated me from getting another subscription…until now. As I´m on the mailing list of Bruu, an interesting offer came along and I decided to give it a go.
I opted out of green, herbal and fruit teas, so the first selections should be black, white and oolong. And oolong I got in the two selections I received so far.
This broken orange pekoe comes from the Pedro estate in Sri Lanka.
Information about the region (from Bruu website) :
Lovers Leap teas are high-grown at 5,700 feet above sea level. The plantation has an interesting history, dating back to the very early days when tea was first introduced as a commercial crop in Ceylon. Lover’s Leap was the only tea plantation owned by the Ceylon tea pioneer, Scotsman James Taylor. Today we offer you this exquisite tea, made in the same plantation where the story of Ceylon tea began all those years ago.
Lover’s Leap is named after the tragic legend of two young lovers who leapt from the top of a picturesque waterfall on the estate. The garden is located in an area of outstanding beauty, where the crisp mountain air carries the fragrance of abundant cypress groves, eucalyptus and wild mint.
I followed the brewing instructions and according to me, this is a perfect morning tea, quite strong and even malty; it reminds me of African teas, and can compete with the best English Breakfast blends.
On Bruu´s website, it says :
The colour is so gentle as it comes through, yet you know it will pack a punch. This loose leaf tea has been manufactured using the traditional orthodox technique practiced in Sri Lanka for 150 years. The method calls for a short fermentation that preserves the quality and delicate flavours of the tea.
Taste like nothing you have tried before, so fresh, so versatile. Drink it with or without milk, it isn’t going matter, this tea can take it all. It’s slightly stronger than our Pedro OP, so great for those that like a stronger tea.
Great, although it kind of surprised me in taste, for an oolong tea it is, as I associate oolong with the definite fermented tea taste.
This sounds inventive! A digestive biscuit flavoured tisane. Perhaps a good invention for those prone to the odd biscuit or two, especially since with a new year usually comes a new weight loss plan for many people (myself included).
It’s a large leaf blend on the whole with a lot of bits and pieces. I can’t identify it all but can note some nuts and various leaves at a quick glance.
Smell wise it’s interesting….my husband said it smells like Weetabix and he has a point. I can smell some sort of cake or baked product, not unlike biscuit but perhaps too strong for one.
Once steeped it bares a baked bread and herbal scent, I can note some resemblance to biscuits but still not perfect.
Flavour is herbal, SO very herbal. Like licorice…actually it does taste like it. It’s refreshing and dry, slightly sweet with dark baked attributes and a dry after taste. Like dipping a mild biscuit into licorice tea.
It’s not biscuity enough in comparison to the herbiness. Honestly this blend is not for me and I can’t drink it. I HATE licorice and that is all I can taste. I feel the mix of hazelnuts and herbs has made a complex licorice type flavour and it’s making me pull faces. It’s good if you’re a licorice fan or really into hazelnuts, but alas I am not.
To be fair I am not rating this tea as it’s not their fault I dislike it.
The blend looks nice; some very small green tea parts of leaves that have broken and almost become a dust, aside from that it’s as you expect. I can see the peppercorns and lots of chopped safflower, also at quick glance the almonds too. No orange that I notice though.
In smell this is divine. Sweet almond with a touch of refreshing orange in the background. I gave this to my husband to sniff without saying which tea it was and he picked out the almond. I had to wrestle it back off him because it smells that nice. He said it’s like almond cake. The orange behind adds a refreshing tone, similar to that of mint, it lifts the almond and adds depth. I could sniff it all day!
Once steeped a golden liquid is produced that bares a sweet almond, somewhat marzipan like scent.
The first few sips reveal orange and almond with a sweet yet slightly sour after taste with some dryness. Reminds me a little of pine flavoured tea, it bares the same refreshing quality. The orange is also slightly wax like, but there is a creamy quality to help it stay smooth and sweet.
It’s so easy to drink, I devoured my cup of this in very short time. It leaves a beautiful after taste that lingers for a while.
Personally I don’t think you can go very wrong with chocolate and coconut, bounty was always one of my favourite chocolate bars growing up. The blend looks nice, lots of assorted chunks and pieces, plus it bares a dark chocolate scent with a touch of coconut. Like a dark Bounty bar but with added wood from the tea base.
Once steeped the resulting tea carries the same chocolate and coconut scent as it’s raw state.
The blend is sweet and creamy with chocolate, nut, wood and coconut tones. The base is not too rich nor the chocolate sour, which aids the blend. Instead the chocolate is a right level against the wooden base and the naturally sweet coconut lightens it into a pleasant cup of tea. I imagine the drop of milk also helps keep this non bitter and creamy, plus it helps with the dry nut like after taste.
A nice blend, not too strong or sweet and flavours taste natural. I feel it’s probably better with milk and sugar which I don’t mind as it’s to taste. Like a chocolate tea, it’s not chocolatey enough to be hot chocolate but the combination of two means you get both chocolate and tea for the price of one. What’s not to like?
This is a fantastic tea. The dry leaf smells nutty and creamy, like a sort of chocolate liquor. There are also some vanilla and hazelnut notes.
As it’s brewing, it’s amazing. It smells JUST like baking chocolate cake.
When I first started sipping on it, it tasted odd, like the base had an earthy plastic taste that lingered on the palate. But after it cooled a bit, this flavor disappeared, leaving a lovely, bready chocolate cake flavor.
Tea number 3 from my Bruu Tea Club package.
This tea us dark brown and loosely chopped, leaving a mixture of small and medium sized pieces with some sticks/stems. In raw form it bares a smokey, dry wood scent.
Once steeped an orange liquid is produced with a malt, sour wood scent.
Flavour is medium strength with sour wood and light malt tones. There is also a soft smoky element towards a dry after taste. A few more sips increase the richness from the malt but it’s still only a medium strength, I imagine this might be forgiving if you steep it too long.
It’s very easy to drink, only a touch of sourness but in a nice way. No need for sugar or milk and would be a nice afternoon brew.
I received my first Bruu Tea Club package today after being tempted by a trial price of £2.99 for my first one instead of the usual £10. One thing that temped me was that you get random little things included each month, one blog review mentioned receiving seeds, chocolates, tealights, tealight paper holder, sweets and that sort of thing. I always love a surprise so I took the plunge.
I took a picture of my box on Instagram.
As you can see this box was Olympic themed and I got a random flag (Somalia in this case), a party blower, a cocktail umbrella and a gold coin chocolate. It also comes with a printed club letter explaining a little information about the teas and some notes on the gifts included with the theme for this months box.
The first tea I tried was Pina Colada Green which is coming to SororiTea Sisters soon. Second is this Brazilian Blend which I have already had a cup of this earlier and my review will be to the second cup. It’s a little silly really because I didn’t know what it tasted of before so I don’t know how I’m going to review it this time.
Ingredients: Mate Green, Red Currants, Papaya Pieces, Bamboo Leaves, Rose Petals and Strawberry Chips.
Raw Leaf: I can see a leaf heavy mix with some rose petals and strawberry chips in though not many, and even less papaya pieces. It smells like soft tropical fruit with a fresh herbalness behind it.
Once Steeped: A yellow liquid is created that bares a mate, herbal type of smell. Don’t ask me what mate smells like because I have no idea how to explain it, it has it’s own unique smell. Think herbal, grassy and toasted all in one.
Flavour wise the mate is the strongest which matches the scent I tried to describe above. It’s not too dry or strong which becomes sweeter with the fruity after taste. Refreshing and light making it easily drinkable which is why I had a second cup of it, that and the stimulating effect. I’ve tried mate a few times and haven’t liked it but this was actually pleasant.
I’m glad I took a chance with the Bruu Tea Club, I have one more tea to try and have agreed to carry on next month for the full £10. I wonder what I will receive next month?
Dry leaf smelled like roasted mate, marshmallow, and something inedible that reminded me of an old house. Luckily, the smell of the brew smelled amazing, like sweet milky butter. I was surprised that it didn’t smell like mate.
The brew didn’t taste quite like the smell. It still had a creamy mouthfeel and flavor, with a little bit of sweetness. However, the predominating flavor was more like a green mate. It wasn’t bad for a mate flavor.
Flavors: Creamy, Sweet
A mild floral note lets you enjoy a lovely black tea with gentle hints of rose. An accessible tea, perfect for those exploring rose or just want to enjoy a nice gentle cuppa. full review at: http://www.tastethetea.co.uk/2016/02/26/roseamour/
Flavors: Drying, Floral, Rose, Sweet
Extract from [http://www.tastethetea.co.uk/2016/02/23/welovemango/]
A grassy note combined with a beautiful tropical, fruity aroma. We Love Mango smells like sunshine on a Caribbean beach. Close your eyes and just imagine it.
When I first tried this blend, I brewed it for a lot longer than recommended 30 seconds. A naughty 2 minutes. I thought I’d got away with it. But alas, no. There’s a reason Bruu suggest 30 seconds. The first half of the cup was delicious, but the further through the cup I got, the bitterer the blend became, until I couldn’t face another mouthful. I was getting a horrible metallic flavour on the back on my tongue, which stuck around for a while. Surprise, surprise, when brewed for the correct amount of time, the taste was consistently pleasant throughout the whole cup and, bonus, stronger mango notes.
Flavors: Fruity, Mango, Summer
Extract of a review from www.tastethetea.co.uk ; I’ve had Rosey Rhubarb a few times now and it’s safe to say this is one of my favourite blends from Bruu. The green tea, adds a minor grassy under note, but nothing too detectable because the predominant flavour in this, you may not be surprised to read, is rhubarb; a slightly unusual ingredient and something I’ve not encountered previously. However, it works so, so well, to implement a fruity, sour flavour with a slightly creamy finish.
Flavors: Creamy, Custard, Rhubarb
Extract from the review at www.tastethetea.co.uk ; Flavour
The first thing to note, the suggested brewing time creates a heavy bitter citric note (kind of like orange peel). When brewed for a shorter time, approximately 1 minute, the bitterness reduced to a palatable level, letting the orange-like flavours extend without being overpowering, perfect for those sleepy afternoons at work when you need a pick-me-up. Alternatively, if you like something punchy in the morning, this is your tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Malt, Spices
Tasting #1 – Steep Time 2 Minutes
Initial aroma is heavy on the herbs, sage is the one I can distinguish out of the mix. And there is a slight sweetness, reminiscent of anise. Initial flavor is still heavy on the herbs followed by something spicy, maybe ginger root, and then the anise again. When I take a large gulp all the flavors merge together into deliciousness.
Tasting #2 – Steep Time 4 Minutes
The sweetness has come out in the aroma more, mixing with the herbs evenly. The sweetness has come out in the flavor as well, also mixing evenly with the herbs. There is a light aftertaste of sweetness and a stronger zest of spicy.
Tasting #3 – Steep Time 6 Minutes
There is a nice evenness in the aroma now, I can’t determine which are stronger or come first. The spiciness has come out in the flavors now followed by the subtle sweetness of anise. The herbs are in the background dancing in my mouth.
Flavors: Anise, Ginger, Herbs, Sage, Spicy, Sweet