Tea Review: Lipton Bright Asian Fusion

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And again I am coming back to you with a tea review. It’s been a while… In the meantime, I have collected a couple of teas to try and to share my experience, and am above eager to start with a good old green Lipton.

This time, it is a Bright Asian Fusion blend of “light white, smooth green with notes of lychee”. Lipton lures us into tasting with an exclamation “Turn over a new leaf”! Nice and positive approach, a promise of new beginnings. The box itself is cheery in the shades of green and yellow and, as typical for the brand, decorated with abstract designs.

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I’ve written it in my earlier posts, but as readership has significantly grown since, I will repeat myself. The pyramidal shape of teabags is actually 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.

The packaging includes 20 pyramidal tea bags, as usual.

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Ingredients: Green tea, white tea (11%), aroma.

Preparation: as with any other green tea, I would recommend brewing in water of 80-90 degrees Celsius. I would rather stay at the low end this range, as the blend includes white tea, which is recommended to be served at a slightly lower temperature.

Smell: very subtle, barely there, scent of tea leaves with a slightly fruity note (lychee, perhaps, but definitely not distinctively recognisable). Aroma doesn’t linger for too long, it’s rather light, everyday inoffensive tea.

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Flavour: that’s where the lychee sparkles – the fruitiness is distinct and definitely present, but not overpowering. As said above, this tea is a really light and inoffensive every-day option. Lipton’s marketing gurus proudly note that its”balanced taste” would definitely attract even the green tea beginners. Depending on the longevity of the steep/brew, the tea develops a slight bitterness, hence I’d recommend to remove the tea bag after approximately 3-5 minutes.

Energy level: white tea slightly “relaxes” the intensity of the green tea; nonetheless, this tea is amazing for early mornings or sleepy afternoons. It can guarantee a 1-2 hour energy boost.

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Lipton Bright Asian Fusion is recommended to everyone who is just starting with green tea. Thanks to the white tea note that smoothens the unapologetically green taste, it works as an every day companion for morning or afternoon tea ceremonies. Due to the amount of caffeine, I wouldn’t recommend it for evening drinking. All in all, this tea is approachable and goes well with any dessert, due to the lack of sweetness in the flavour.

Have you already tried white tea? What’s your take on it? Would you go for white or green tea on the daily basis? Let me know!

x

The battle of Sencha by Lipton: tea review

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My tea love story began with green teas, and it’s no secret: I talk about it often. Getting into more complex and aromatic tea would not be possible for me, however, if it wasn’t for sencha.

Sencha is one of the most popular and loved variations of Japanese green tea. It is characterised by its strong aroma and deep flavour with light grassiness to it: the flavour, however,  usually depends on the region where, and season when the tea is produced. The sencha leaf is darker than other variations of green tea, and it often undergoes faster fermentation, at a lower temperature (with some kinds even at 60 degrees Celsius).

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Lipton, as one of the major tea trends pioneers, have introduced Sencha into their European assortment and offer in the early 2000s. Around 2010 they came up with Indonesian Sencha, following the new trend of pyramidal bags, which I addressed in several blogposts here. With the most recent content and form update they switched the silk material of their tea bags to the cotton, and the packaging itself has been designed more in-line with their current concept. Being an eager tea collector, I happened to own both variations of Lipton‘s Sencha tea and be able to follow their way from fragrant and floral Indonesian Sencha to sharp and strong Spectacular Sencha.

Indonesian Sencha by Lipton is an invitation on a “journey to Java”, an inspiration for flourishing green tea gardens of “long, stylish leaves”, a promise of unforgettable sceneries and scent of an enchanting island. The freshness of sencha is emphasised by the rose petals introduced to this tea mix, and fruity notes develop through the flavouring for a taste of Osmanthus pear. Light, floral, steamed flavour is the outcome of this blend that kicks off with potent and fragrant aroma. “Sip this tea and sip paradise” – we are already aware that Lipton is a master of merchandising poetry.

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As per the instructions, this tea needs a 2-3 minute brew for the full and flavourful experience – your perfect cup of tea. For me it has never been an everyday tea, rather a special occasion treat. One of those highly aromatic, intense teas that surprise you with light bitterness in the aftertaste.

Indonesian Sencha might not be this typical and favourable Japanese sencha – taste-wise it is less grassy, less deep in colour, but rather more fragrant and deep.

Ingredients: 89% green tea, 9,3% flavouring, 1% rose petals

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The re-designed sencha from Lipton was given a majestic name – “Spectacular Sencha“. Ingredients-wise, it reduced the list only to the green tea and aroma, leaving the floral and fragrant element of the rose petals behind. Accompanied by the call to “awaken the senses” it offers “sharp, strong and deeply exotic” flavour, “a carnival in a cup”.

Spectacular sencha is, indeed, less fragrant and aromatic. At a first smell, it strikes with the intensity, typical for green tea. With this update it, however, loses the depth of flavour and the multi-level taste development. The aroma of pear is still present, but in more light-weight, rather unnoticeable form. This sencha is more reminiscent of the regular, Japanese sencha and its grassiness than its predecessor Indonesian Sencha.

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I always welcome fruity notes in tea, it should be known to the readers of my blog by now, as I praise them in almost every post I write. Hence, it will be no surprise that I favour the older, now discontinued, version of sencha by Lipton. The newer variation – Spectacular Sencha – might be, however, much more suitable for followers of orthodox tea drinking ceremony and Japanese sencha lovers, as it fully develops into the delicacy of green tea with “a little something” in the aftertaste.

What about your experience with sencha? Have you experimented with different kinds, and if yes, which one is your favourite? What brand of sencha tea would you recommend? Let me know.

x

 

Tea Review: Kusmi BB Detox

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After a longer while of writing about black, herbal and miscellaneous teas it is finally time to come back to my roots, into my comfort zone and to review a good ole’ green tea. Frankly, green tea is the variation I gravitate toward on a regular basis, and if I don’t have green tea in my stash (which would never happen, because I stuck up way in advance), I would be a very sad person. And a tired person, to put it that way.

I wrote about Kusmi tea already on my blog – I am a big fan. Tea of the month for April was their BB Detox, and after the initial hesitation I’ve decided to give it a go. Why hesitating? First of all, I am not a huge believer in mixing green tea with herbs – which was the case here. Secondly, word “detox” in a name always sounds a bit gimmicky to me. But detox or not, I went for flavour, and in the end, I was definitely not deceived.

This tea is representing a Wellness range of Kusmi teas. As per official text on the website of the company it is a quintessence of a liquid “beautifying balm”: green tea and maté as its main ingredients serve as refreshing and uplifting components, that at the same time work as natural antioxidants. Hand-picked dandelion and rooibos are two other friendly “helpers” who combat free radicals, leaving your skin plump and glowy. Basically, it unifies tea and beauty in one, so perfect for reviewing on this blog!

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Packaging: My tea comes in an “old school” paper packaging – so, no signature aluminium tins this time – and contains 20 muslin tea bags. It’s where it starts to be interesting. I’ve known about muslin use in a beauty department (ironically, I mentioned a muslin cloth in my last blogpost about multi-masking), but what about tea? It was the first time I experienced organic fabric in my cup – I am well aware of paper teabags, silk teabags and even polystyrene teabags, but muslin brings tea drinking to another level. Again, as I said in my previous article dedicated to Kusmi, with this brand it’s all about experience.

Ingredients: Green tea, mate, rooibos, guarana, dandelion. Scent of grapefruit. Well, that’s something! Quite a striking bouquet but somehow it makes sense, especially in connection with the name.

Scent: Aroma hits immediately with a sharp note of citrus (grapefruit, I believe) and slight bitterness. I would consider it rather exotic (perhaps, dué to mate and guarana), definitely without very typical or prominent green tea scent.

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Flavour: Is smooth but refreshing. As a big fan of maté, to my pleasant surprise, I find this ingredient rather bold, however, not overwhelming at all. In contrast to the scent, it does not offer many citrus notes, but instead, strikes with a green tea flavour. I distinguish some presumably tropical notes, which I can almost with certainty assign to guarana. The BB Detox leaves a slight aftertaste, but all in all its very light flavour makes it so drinkable.

Serving: Each teabag, as well as the packaging, gives you quite clear instructions on how to. As is typical with green teas, you leave it steep for 3-4 minutes in the water preheated to 85-90 degrees.

Overall experience: This tea is addictive. So easy to prepare, yet so challenging. Why the name? I would justify it by the green tea and mate components in it – frankly, it’s a perfect companion for a “not so good” (read: hangover) day. As well as a day when you feel low on energy. As well as a day when you crave a boost of flavour. As well as a day… Basically, every day. BB Detox is a universal classic, and I am more than happy that a random merchandising activity brought me to this tea, which I normally would’ve left unnoticed.

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And what about you? Do you believe in “detoxifying” properties of tea? If so, which one is your “universal” recipe for detox? Have you ever tried tea packaged in muslin bags? Let me know!

x

P.S. I accompanied my tea with Minty Humbugs by M&S that added a perfect touch of sweetness.

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