There’s Nothing Like a Good Cup of Tea – Review and Giveaway #52
Chocolate may be my number one passion, but there is nothing quite so refreshing as a good cup of tea. For me, the best cuppa involves loose leaf tea and plenty of room for the leaves to swirl around, expand and infuse. Some of you may remember the IngenuiTEA and Adagio tea samples I reviewed earlier in the year and that particular pot gets plenty of use in our house. However, when I am on my own, a pot of tea is not always what I want, the tea can get cold before I get around to finishing it.
Luckily Adagio now has a new line which is perfect for such occasions: a porcelain cup with infuser. It may be called a cup, but it’s actually a large mug, with accompanying lid and infuser. The infuser is also large allowing plenty of room for the leaves to expand and it handily fits into many other drinking vessels if you fancy a change. Made of stainless steel, it’s also good and sturdy; I’ve had metal infusers before, which have been so feeble they’ve given up the ghost after very few uses. This one looks as though it’s here for the long haul. It also makes washing it up nice and easy as there is no fear of it breaking. I do find the solid base a bit annoying as the liquid is unable to escape properly thus leaving a rather mushy pool of leaves and tea behind – but this is a minor quibble. The cup, lid and infuser are all dishwasher safe. The lid is not only essential when the leaves are infusing, but it can be used to keep the tea warm in between sips. Handily, it doubles as a receptacle to place the infuser on when the tea has been steeped to your liking. This no fuss, no mess method makes it ideal for office use as well as at home. I chose a bright red one, called barn for some reason, but there are five other colours to choose from. Hmm, maybe I should have gone for the chocolate one.
So what of the teas? Two of the three samples I was sent to try were black teas, which are not generally a favourite. However, I have been surprised by black teas in the past and I am always happy to try new ones. The third one was a herbal and struck me as distinctly odd as I’d never come across that combination before.
Pu Erh Spice – I’d heard quite a bit about pu erh and that the name is perhaps quite apt in terms of smell. However, this one had a sweet heady aroma both when opening the packet and as brewing tea. With an added spice mix of cinnamon bark, orange peel, ginger root and aniseed, I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise. It’s like a lighter version of masala chai and is very tasty with the warming and zesty flavours of cinnamon and orange to the fore.
Yunnan Jig – the scent emanating from the packet on opening was not at all what I expected from a black tea. It was pure summer – sweet grassy newly harvested hay. Large sticks of tea that unfurled into leaves in the infuser and tasted just as good as they smelt. Light and fragrant as it was, is seemed more like a green tea than a black one. The world of tea never ceases to fascinate.
Foxtrot – Although the scent of chamomile is one of my favourites, I’m really not that keen on drinking it; when I saw that this herbal tea contained chamomile, my heart sank a little. It perked up on further reading when I saw it contained my favourite tea rooibos too. But I thought it a very odd mix of flavours with chamomile, peppermint, rooibos and rooibos vanilla. Chamomile and peppermint both have strong scents and I felt the aromas were fighting each other rather than melding or complimenting. Strangely when water was added, the scent improved and I found myself liking it. The proof would come in the drinking. Weeellll, it’s actually not bad. The mint is refreshing and the chamomile and vanilla give a sweet note, though I’m not quite sure where the rooibos comes in. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to drink this, but it makes for an interesting change.
You can read another account of the cup with a different selection of teas over at Fork & Good.