At the risk of failing every new year resolution once again I’ve decided to give myself one that I have some hope of accomplishing. And that’s to drink more tea. Everything else on my list (lose weight, exercise more, stop filling up my calendar) has been a futile exercise year after year.
Having to drink more tea is more than a matter of pleasurable choice, it’s become a necessity as my tea cupboard(s) overflow with packets, sachets and boxes of teas I’ve collected or been gifted over time.
The one I’m looking forward most to attacking first is this special box of 50 tea Selfies from T2, a Christmas gift from my sister. So many teas to try! I figure I’d get more out of the experience by blogging my tea thoughts on each sachet as the weeks and months progress of slow tea tastings at home.
T2’s 50 Selfies kit contain a great range of flavours from berries to greens to chocolates and blacks. Each selfie contains a generous amount of leaves/tisanes enough for two cups and there are instructions on the back on how to brew the perfect cuppa for that blend (disobey to your own detriment). The selfies are packed together with a stainless steel merry tea infuser in a stately black box.
I will say while I LOVE tea, I am no expert and all observations are personal and worse, may be mis-informed. But we all do our best so here goes…
#1 BLUE MOUNTAIN:
I picked this to try first not because of the tea but because I loved the blue in the packaging. I know…shallow, right? It’s billed simply as a flavoured black tea. Although there’s no mention of Earl Grey, I couldn’t help but notice a faint scent of bergamot, reminiscent of Lady Grey. There were even scatterings of pretty purple petals in the tea found in Lady Grey.
Taste: Upon steeping and pouring though, there’s no resemblance to an Earl Grey. It has the teeniest hint of a sour note in its fragrance but its taste is much closer to a standard black tea.
Second brew: Decent, though not as thick, as you might expect.
#2 CITRUS PUNCH
What else would you pick on a 42C day but a tea that would be perfect chilled. The sachet says “loose leaf” but of course, this is a tisane, and nothing in the ingredients hint of any actual leaves included.
Taste: No surprises here. Tried warm, the drink has a distinct sour note, a wake-up for your senses. Chilled, it wasn’t bad (I usually prefer hot tea to chilled but I wasn’t arguing on a blisteringly hot day). Refreshing, yes.
Second brew: I had to steep for 10 minutes to get anywhere close to the tea’s colour from the first brew. Even after 10 minutes, it was a pale comparison to the first brew both in taste and colour.
#3 SENCHA SPRINKLES
I like my green tea to be green in colour (what’s with black green teas?) and this delivered in summer grassy shades for sure. The fact that its ingredients are organic gets an extra tick.
Taste: Lovely roasted flavour but will try it with half the amount of water next time as I like a stronger flavour.
Second brew: Is more translucent, with the colour moving towards yellow rather than green-looking tea. Don’t worry though, it still tastes distinctly like green tea.
#4 CREME BRULEE
Creme Brûlée YES! One of my adored desserts. But then I saw it was a caramel flavoured black tea and I thought NOOOO! (I do not love caramel). The only thing that gave me hope is that it did smell nice, more of a light, delicate roasted sensibility than a face-screwing punch of sour peanut butter (my usual reaction to caramel anyway). It’s the first tea I’ve seen with nuts in the ingredients, although there was only one to be found in my sachet.
Taste: I tried it on its own as per serving suggestion and I tried it with a dash of soy milk and guess what. I didn’t mind either. I didn’t need to add sugar as the mixture already contained sugar. It tasted nothing like the dessert we know though.
Second brew: There’s still a distinguishable scent of caramel but TBH, it was beginning to taste more like chinese tea with a light caramel flavour.
#5 ENGLISH BREAKFAST
I know people who will drink no other tea. T2’s is deliciously dark and strong. You can even smell the insomnia.
Taste: I accidentally steeped it for 6 minutes which meant the tea was too bitter. Caffeine addicts with a penchant for said bitter will love this. It’s a good thing I’m using Skinny Sugar.
Second brew: Surely there’s plenty of sting left over, I thought. And yes, turns out that even after a 6-minute steep, the tea still had legs, about half the strength of the first brew, and it was very palatable without the need for sugar or milk.