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

My journey to Matcha: How-tos and How-not-tos

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I have to admit: it took me all the time and dedication to get to writing this blog post. After a longer break in blogging, while searching for inspiration and new topics, the idea to move one step forward suddenly came onto my mind. However… the execution has been much trickier and more complex than I had anticipated.

My journey to enjoying matcha was not an easy one, I wouldn’t deny. It took me significant time to get accustomed to matcha taste, and it took me even more time to start liking it. At first, I was trying to convince myself that I find the matcha bitter, grassy flavour attractive (which didn’t take too much effort, as I am usually into those unusual flavours, which are not everybody’s cup of tea – take wasabi chocolate as an example). Later, when I eventually learned to believe it, I started trying to convince myself to gravitate to matcha more, instead of auto-piloting in my “comfort zone” of green teas. The transition period has taken several years that were broken into periods by an odd cup of matcha latte here and there, which took over the role of a guilty pleasure, secret treat and matcha wannabe replacement.

With the process of “growing up” into my matcha adulthood, I have gotten accustomed to the flavour and started craving matcha, its flavour (believe it or not) but mainly the immediate boost of energy it provided me.

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I’ve been interested in matcha preparation since the moment I started taking this drink seriously. For my birthday last year I explicitly requested a matcha-serving kit, knowing that the art of Japanese matcha ceremony is a complex process that involves – like any other Japanese tradition – patience, sense for detail, and high-quality tools.

I got to learn about matcha slowly but surely, step by step, rather by asking people and applying the “trial-error” method than by extensive googling. I aimed to come to understand matcha naturally, instead of getting overwhelmed by information and opinions. It’s by attending the Japanese festival how I discovered that the matcha powder I had got from a colleague a year ago is hardly matcha anymore: the powder loses its qualities, which include antioxidants and vitamins, within a month after opening. For experimenting with matcha drinks I was advised to get matcha packaged into 2g sachets, which would be perfectly appropriate for everyday use.

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Later on, from a tea shop manager I learned about the differences in tools and discovered the importance of a bamboo spoon. Matcha preparation is a finicky process following the principle “go big or go home”: if you start getting into it, you cannot be satisfied with a generic mug and an ordinary tea spoon. You’ll be going for a ceramic bowl and delicate bamboo tools.

I am still learning, but I’ve already gone quite far in this matcha journey. No, I do not own the traditional bowl that turns the process of drinking matcha into ceremony, and no, not every matcha I make turns into an explosion of flavour, but it’s the journey and experience gathered along the way that counts.

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Matcha is multi-functional, so it can of course be used for baking and cooking as well as in ceremony. This is exactly what all my “old” matcha was going into. Matcha tsuki is also a kind that is recommended for delicious desserts.

An example of my matcha trials: 

Step 1. Pouring hot water  /80 degrees Celsius/ into the ceramic (ideally) bowl is WRONG. Instead the powder should be added first. 

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Step 2.  Dumping the powder into hot water is WRONG. Instead you should sift matcha into the bowl, then pour a few drops of sub-boiling water and mash it into a paste.

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Step 3. Whisking like there’s no tomorrow is WRONG. Instead, slowly add the remaining portion of water into your paste and whisk continuously to prevent clumps. Ideally, like there’s no tomorrow.

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Step 4. Enjoy the lovely, smooth, frothy, energising, pea green (not mossy green like in our case) nectar of life! 🙂

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What is experience with matcha? What lessons have you learned along the way? Do you have any matcha preparation tips&tricks up your sleeve? Have you tried baking with matcha – it’s the next step I’m anticipating!?

Let me know!

x.