Holiday Tea-son! When I visited Lupicia last November, they gave me some sampler teabags for buying so much tea, and two of them were holiday samplers, Jingle Bells and Soleil Levant, so of course I plan on trying out both this month. I planned to do the Soleil Levant since it’s a green and it’s already rather late, but accidentally grabbed the Jingle Bells and opened the package, so oops. Ah well, at least it’s the weekend. It smells very strongly of grape! Which I’ve never really associated as a holiday flavor, but honestly I’m happy to drink something that isn’t orange, spice, or almond for a change, too, so I’m not really complaining.
Since Lupicia blacks have a tendency toward getting a bit more robust than I tend to care for, I went for a briefer steep of this sachet than usual, bumping down my three minutes to two. It still looked a nice deep reddish brown color, and had a strong grape aroma.
I think the shorter steep was the right choice, since the black tea was still quite potent, but the astringency didn’t come off quite as demanding as usual for a Lupicia black. I think I would’ve had bitterness issues had I went for my usual three minute steep. The tea had a strong grape flavor, and it comes off a bit too much like the fake grape candy/Kool-Aid flavor that I’m not that big of a fan of, but it isn’t overly unpleasant, either. There are some floral background notes that add a bit of sweetness and depth which help temper the grape a bit. I’m not really getting any alcoholic/campagne notes though.
Not a terrible cup, but not a favorite. I preferred the Honey Mead and Niagra Ice Wine teas I sampled last month a lot more than this one as far as grapey-tasting teas.
Flavors: Artificial, Astringent, Candy, Floral, Grapes, Sweet