“Strike the senses” with Lipton’s Surprising Russian Grey

It has been a couple of weeks since I published my last tea review: life has got busy recently, and as for me, I was stuck in my tea rut for a while. But as it is the highest time to renew the wardrobe and switch into spring fashion, I feel like it is also the highest time to update my tea “wardrobe” and let some new flavours into my routine.

Being a huge fan of earl greys, I am a little surprised I still haven’t dedicated an article to this majestic sort of tea. The history of earl greys goes back to the 19th century, and rumour has it that that the first blend of the tea was a gift from the Chinese mandarin to the Earl (named Grey) back in 1803. The controversy around this legend lies in the fact that the use of bergamot essential oils that are characteristic for earl greys was then unknown in China and, hence, most probably the very blend was created in Britain. This way or another, the tea discovery named after the famous Earl Charles Grey has since become even more popular in the UK and spread all over the world, conquering more tea lovers.

Earl grey is a well-known fella’, but what about Russian Earl Grey? This variation only started to develop quite recently: many orthodox tea fans articulated strongly against it, whereas others welcomed it with an open mind. Russian Grey is considered a milder version of the famous earl grey blend, and I definitely felt drawn to shaking things up quite a bit.

What is different in Russian Grey? First of all, it is bergamot that gets replaced by (or added to) lemon peel and lemongrass – the ingredients less exotic and more familiar to the continental Eurasian climate. Brands like Twinnings or Lipton were pioneers on this market, and possibly the most affordable and easy to find picks.

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I went for Surprising Russian Grey from Lipton and now am ready to reveal all the “surprises” it harbours.

Packaging: is gorgeous! I mean, I am not a packaging victim, not at all, whatsoever (is it convincing enough?). The embossed writing, beautiful design in shades of turquoise and yellow, plus a pattern of Kremlin on the front of the box – I feel like nominating this tea for a design competition. As typical for Lipton, it comes in 20 pyramidal tea bags.

Ingredients: Black tea, aroma.

Scent: rich, intense and enchanting. A little fruitier than your standard earl grey tea, I dare to say.

Taste: just as with the scent, the flavour is a little fruitier and more refreshing than your typical earl grey tea. Lipton suggests it is “bold & vibrant” with a sharp lemon twist. Perhaps it is this “sharpness” that makes it “surprising”?.. Another claim of the marketing “brains” of the Lipton brand is “the empowering taste”. Not sure if it’s something connected with Russian empowerment that they attempted to suggest here? 🙂

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Serving: According to the instructions, I would recommend to steep a tea bag in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Since earl greys tend to get a little too intense, which is not everyone’s cup of tea (hehe), it might be a good idea to get rid of a tea bag after the first minute of brewing. It’s what I like doing anyways. Some add milk, but I like it as is, in its purity!

Overall experience: empowerment and boldness aside, I am a huge fan of this tea. As an earl greys lovers, I was eager to try something similar with a hint of difference – and Surprising Russian Grey served perfectly to this purpose. I loved how distinct and intensive it was, and truly looked forward to drinking it every morning. I like it as my morning tea (I even abandoned my trusty greens for a while), because it is a perfect day-starter.

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“Sharpen up!” – shouts the packaging of Lipton’s Surprising Russian Grey at you. “Brew more power?”, it questions when you reach the very bottom. This tea is not only an unusual experience for your taste buds, but also plenty of fun to drink. I went through the box pretty quickly, which is always a good sign: it was simply my “go-to” morning tea for the whole month of March. For all earl grey fans, and not only them – this tea is a good reminder that classic is great, however it needs to be shaken up from time to time.

And what about you? Are you a fan of earl grey? Ever tried Russian grey, or some other earl grey variation (I believe, there are plenty)? How do you like your earl grey – with milk/sugar or pure?

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