Tea Review: Alnatura FrĂĽhlings Tee

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Spring is here! Although quite unofficial, but let’s be honest, we’ve been awaiting it for quite a while, haven’t we? Meteorological spring officially started on March 1st, but spring in our minds has been developing since Christmas, I dare to assert 🙂 Basically, we are more than ready to drop warmer and heavier layers and commence a new page.

As for tea, every time I start noticing the first daffodils making their way to this world and blue sky smiling in accordance, I am eager to start a new routine. I tend to change my tea regiment every spring, when I slowly but surely start gravitating towards lighter blends and reduce caffeinated teas. By saying this, I mean that I switch my Darjeelings and Earl greys for Rooibos or herbal infusions.

One of my last year’s discoveries was a “Spring tea” (original name: FrĂĽhlings Tee) of a German brand Alnatura.

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Being one of my favourite organic brands, Alnatura has never especially attracted me with their tea assortment (besides my all-time favourite Good Evening tea). Last year’s special edition drew my attention straight away, not exclusively by its colourful packaging, but I dare to confess that it was also a factor. 🙂 I don’t gravitate to herbal infusions as per daily consumption (I do need my caffeine), but this time I’ve decided to give it a go.

It comes in a packaging of 20 flat tea bags, packed in a separate paper envelope (1,5g each).

Ingredients: Lemongrass, Raspberry and Blackberry leaves (ummm, exciting!), Lemon Verbena, Mint.

Scent: A lovely combination of ingredients makes for a beautiful scent. Light herbal, with quite a recognisable note of citrus.

Taste: it’s a winner! Its flavour is light, yet rich. Refreshing, yet aromatic. I can distinguish blackberry and/or raspberry leaves (I might be a little more advanced at it, since I remember steeping fresh leaves straight off the berry bushes). Mint is not very prominent, but it’s clearly present, and I believe is responsible for the slightly tingly aftertaste.

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Serving: Alnatura recommends steeping the tea for 8-10 minutes in boiling water. I would reduce the steeping time: 5 minutes is more than enough for an herbal tea of this kind. However the temperature of water should be as recommended by the manufacturer. Herbal teas in general (unlike green and white teas) are supposed to be steeped in boiling water due to the time some herbs need for a so-called “decocting”. Many tea lovers even prefer to “cook” their herbal tea for a while, not just pour boiling water over it. For chamomile and mint infusions 90 degrees Celcius water is preferable, but since here we are dealing with a more complex blend, I’d definitely go for 100.

Energy level: being a 100% herbal infusion, this tea does not contain caffeine, therefore there’s no danger of any additional energy. For that reason, I might not recommend it for early mornings, however I find it perfect for a lazy weekend or late evenings, just before going to bed.

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FrĂĽhlings Tee was my tea of choice in the spring 2015, and I still have a couple of tea bags left for the upcoming months. I like the taste of it, I love how refreshing it is and that it goes perfectly with every meal at any day or night time. I will keep my eyes open for this year’s edition of Alnatura’s FrĂĽhlings Tee, as I know they tend to bring them out, slightly repackaged, every year. I love my routines, and I like imagining this tea for the spring time being one of them.

What are your favourite herbal infusions? Do you have any favourite tea blend for this spring? Do you also tend to switch your tea “wardrobe” as seasons change?

x

Tea Review: Kusmi Rose Green Tea

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Have you ever felt inspired by tea? By its tender scent, intense flavor or even by design of its packaging. To me, it has always been Kusmi tea that worked like an aphrodisiac to my senses. The first time I tried a variation of Kusmi tea, back in 2012, I have fallen in love with sophisticated and extremely unique tea blends. I was enchanted by history of this tea too, and this is how my long-term relationship with Kusmi started.

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Its notional peak came on this year’s Valentine’s day with the newest addition to my collection.  Nothing shouts “Valentine’s Day” as loudly as a blend of green tea with rose petals. The iconic aluminium tin of Kusmi in pink attire was just a cherry on top. The tea is carefully packed inside the tin and “coronated” with a brand sticker – everything from its visual effect to the sophisticated flavour evokes luxury.

The story behind Kusmi tea is certainly as inspirational and unique as the tea range of this brand. “Founded in 1867 by P.M. Kousmichoff and established in Paris since 1917, Kusmi Tea has been carrying on the same activity to offer connoisseurs and gourmets exclusive blends and high quality traditional teas. Distributed all over the world, Kusmi tea blends are well-known for their pleasant tastes and the smoothness of their flavors”. Russian imperial origin of the founder mirrors in both the packaging (that portrays the outlines of tsarist Russia in the second half of the 19th century) and names of individual teas, be it St. Petersburg, Anastasia or even Tsarevna.

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Packaging: loose tea leaves packed in an aluminium tin

Ingredients: Chinese Green tea, rose petals (so simple, yet so perfect)

Smell: intense and very distinguishable rose scent

Taste: the flavour of rose petals gets quite overwhelming. In case of this tea it’s really important that you can bare it. For me as a huge rose jam, rose syrup and other rose delights lover, it was not an issue. However the concentration of rose petals vs. tea is very high.

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Serving: with Kusmi, little goes a long way. Do not overestimate your portion: generally, you won’t need more than a pinch of tea leaves for the required intensity. As usual with green teas, pour it over with water approximately 10 minutes after boiling. And enjoy!

Energy level: 5 stars out of 5. Dry leaves of green tea are highly potent and provide not only an intense flavour, but also quite a strong caffeine shot.

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Kusmi tea is a treat. It’s an obsession. It’s a journey. Journey full of discoveries and new experiences. Mine started four years ago and it looks like it won’t be over any time soon. At the moment, my collection consist of six colourful tins, six unique blends, six stories hidden behind its majestic name: be it Prince Wladimir or Green St. Petersburg.

If you are interested in more detailed blogpost about my Kusmi tea collection, let me know – I can go more into detail about each and every kind I own.

What are Kusmi tea variations you have tried? If you haven’t tried any yet, which ones are you eyeing? Let me know.

x

Tea Review: King’s Crown Vanilla Green Tea

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This time I’m afraid I won’t be 100% objective, because I’m up to reviewing one of my all time favourite teas. It’s a very affordable blend of green tea and vanilla under the German brand King’s Crown.

First disclaimer: this tea might not be easy to get everywhere. As far as I know it is distributed via the chain of the drugstores Rossmann, hence it will only be available in the countries where Rossmann exists as an established brand. Correct me if I am wrong.

Second disclaimer: just like in my previous reviews, we are dealing with the packaged tea of a cheaper price range, hence it will only makes sense to not expect unique, high-quality blends of tea leaves or intense flavour. Nonetheless, I consider this tea one of the best as your “morning-in-a-hurry” choice.

Universality is what I especially like about this tea. Its inoffensive, light, barely there vanilla taste blends so well with the green tea flavour. I guess you still need to be a vanilla fan, at least to some extent, to fully appreciate the miracle of this tea.

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It comes in a packaging of 25 flat tea bags, packed in a separate paper envelope (1,75g each).

Ingredients: Green tea, Vanilla aroma, Vanilla.

Scent: light, subtle aroma of vanilla. Aroma of green tea is not especially prominent though.

Taste: again, as stated above, the taste is an inoffensive, light vanilla blend with extremely soft notes of green tea. It’s very easy to drink, especially for somebody who is just getting into understanding and liking green tea. I reckon that the tea concentration is not very high in each teabag, which makes it a lighter alternative to more “heavy duty” green teas. This makes drinking King’s Choice Vanilla Green tea in the afternoon-early evening possible, without risking a “caffeine stroke”. 🙂

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Serving: leave boiling water to cool down for 5-10 minutes (if your kettle offers a temperature option, heat up to 80 degrees Celsius), then pour it over a tea bag. Let it steep for 3-4 minutes. The steeping time is longer than the usual 2-3 minutes, also because of the green tea concentration I am discussing above.

Energy level: 2 stars out of 5. Again, due to the very light tea concentration, this won’t be your typical “wake me up, NOW” green tea.

All in all, this tea means pure happiness for me. As a huge vanilla fan, I learned to appreciate this light, subtle flavour in a cup of tea. In my opinion, anyone who came with an idea of vanilla green tea might have been a genius. This combination strikes me as very balanced, delicious and simple at the same time, and could only be beaten by the unbeatable classics – green tea + lemon. I noticed that this combination is quite popular in Germany: there are plenty of German mainstream tea brands that offer green tea with vanilla in there assortment, it is almost as popular and easy to find as green tea with lemon combination.

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If you are a fan of flavoured tea like me, and love experimenting with new aromas and blends, you are on the right way here. I recommend pairing the tender flavour of vanilla with the Ferrero Rocher’s Ferrero Kuesschen white chocolates with a hazelnut hidden inside.

Have you tried vanilla-flavoured green tea? How do you feel about vanilla flavours in your drinks (I, for instance, love Vanilla Coke)? If there’s a German person reading this blog, do you often reach for Green tea with vanilla?

x

 

Tea Review: Lipton Black Tea Pear Chocolate Inspiration

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I have a couple aces up my sleeve – and by that I mean more tea from the Lipton Dessert Inspiration range that I reviewed previously. If you haven’t spotted my review of the Green Tea Lemon Macaroon, then you might not know that I am all about trying new, exotic and a little surprising tea flavours.

Things got darker since the last time though – now I’ve got black tea to try out and share my thoughts about.

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Official text on the packaging is, as per usual, especially eloquent when promising “fruity taste of juicy pears and incredible aroma of hot chocolate“. How do you feel about tasting hot chocolate in your tea?..

Yet again, 20 pyramidal bags per packaging.

Interesting fact: the shape of teabags is patented by Lipton. The company claims that the Pyramid bag enables tea leaves to “swirl and swirl for a delightful treat moment“. Apparently, this was Lipton‘s response to Harney and Sons tea bags design back in 2006. Unilever (the “umbrella” of Lipton) came with the pyramidal shaped bag when they started noticing a trend: “every consumer is becoming gourmand“. The Pyramid bag was proven to be the best option how to offer higher quality tea – long leaves instead of sifted and graded leaves, which used to be the case earlier.

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Back to the Pear delight!

Ingredients: Black tea, Aroma, Pears (2,2%)

Scent: gourmet, sweet with a hint of pear (surprise, surprise!) and a stroooong, extremely fragrant chocolate note

Taste: intense taste of black tea with decent sweetness to it. In comparison to the Lemon Macaron, I had a feeling that the pear flavour was blending in with the black tea tannin a bit better. Black tea and chocolate seem to be a luckier combination anyways.

Serving: this time, you should fully trust instructions on the packaging. Start with boiling water, let the tea bag steep for 2 minutes, and here you go – delicious gourmand tea could be served!

Energy level: 1-2 hours. Black tea always has less of a pinch for me in comparison with green tea.

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All in all, I liked the idea of this tea. Unfortunately, a bit more than the execution. However organic might the combination of black tea, chocolate aroma and pear seem and taste at first sight and sip, just like with the Lemon Macaron tea, this is not your everyday hot drink. I definitely do not recommend to combine it with sweet gourmand desserts, however a piece of dark chocolate would not harm 🙂 I went for the limited edition of M&M’s, the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Have you tried this tea or any other tea from the same Lipton range? Do you like your black tea in mornings or afternoons? What is your favourite black tea? Let me know, I’m always on the hunt!

x

Tea Review: Lipton Green Tea Lemon Macaroon

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Is there anything better than a cuppa tea on a winter morning? In my humble opinion, there’s not! Green tea is always my favourite, when it comes to early mornings, crisp air and gloomy weather…

My latest discovery was Lipton Green tea with the Lemon Macaroon (yes, the packaging says “Macaroon” instead of the “Macaron”, but I’m willing to overlook it) flavour. It sounds heavenly, but how does it taste?

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The packaging strikes you with a straightforward claim: “Intensely fruity, delicate tea taste“, accompanied with a description, surely created by a marketing genius. “A unique blend of non-bitter green tea, gorgeous pieces of Lemon and the refined taste of crunchy macaroons.” Well, the tea is non-bitter indeed (sounds pretty amateurish though), but what about this gorgeousness of the lemon pieces? “Sinfully yummy.

The box includes 20 paper tea bags in pyramidal shape.

Ingredients: Green tea, aroma, 2,9% lemon peel.

Scent: very soft, powdery. The tea smells delicately with a distinguishable note of citrus. No surprise, considering the ingredients.

Taste: sweet powdery, with a drop of lemony zest. The flavour of macaron is extremely prominent –  much more prominent than what I would’ve expected. To be entirely honest, I found it too intense to my liking and a tad bit tiring (if flavours can be tiring, this is definitely it!). This is surely not tea for every day drinking, rather an occasional indulgence.

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Serving: according to the “instructions” on the packaging, you are supposed to pour pre-heated to 90 degrees Celsius water over a tea bag and let it steep for 2 minutes. I would recommend 80 – it is the best way how to make your tea taste better, instead of bitter.

Energy level: 2-3 hours of pure energy 🙂

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All in all, I found this tea pretty overwhelming for what it is. It’s a nice “dessert” tea if you are open to new unconventional flavours and like to experiment. This is definitely not your everyday tea, rather an occasional indulgence. If you are like me and like to have a little sweet treat with your tea, this might be a bit too much. Definitely not recommended paired with real macarons.

How do you like your tea? Do you prefer green or black? Are you a fan of flavoured tea? Let me know!

x