As requested by the lovely Jade! I’m afraid I got rid of the box for this tea some time back, so I’m missing some of the information – but I think there’s enough here to make the review worthwhile.
I like keeping tea in tins. They’re more airtight than boxes, stack well, and are pretty – and taping the relevant bit of the packaging the tea came in onto the tin, as here (and in last week’s post) lets me keep track of what stays where.
Source: I don’t know where the rosehips / hibiscus were grown, I’m afraid. I bought the tea from Waitrose (unsurprisingly, as it’s their own brand).
Cost: 99p for 20 bags (40g). Not bad!
Ethics: I discarded the box long ago, so can’t check. However, it is certified organic, and Waitrose Organic is a brand that I would trust to do a fair deal with workers (because of Waitrose’s general policies). It’s not Fairtrade certified or anything like that so far as I know, but without knowing where the plants are grown it’s hard to know whether that would be relevant.
Brewing instructions: Using boiling water, brew for 3-5 minutes. You won’t overbrew it – although if you are starting off and not sure if you’ll like the taste, you might like to deliberately brew it too little, in which case maybe start with one minute.
And then you add the boiling water, and it starts to bleed this gorgeous (or slightly creepy) red colour right away:
(it does go through a stage where all of the water is clear except for this trail of dark pink – I didn’t manage to get a clear photo of that. That bit I find both awesome and slightly creepy as it makes me think of a trail of blood)
Nose/Taste: This is really hard to describe, because I don’t think that in the standard Western diet we regularly eat anything that really relates well to the flavour of rosehip (if anyone can think of anything, let me know!).
It’s fruity, definitely. It doesn’t smell sweet. It’s a robust flavour, with perhaps a hint of sourness to it. It tastes ever so slightly sweet (which balances the sour-fruity taste), which I think is the hibiscus that they’ve added. I suppose one thing to say is that it smells like fruit, but the kind of fruit that you would cook / make into crumble / do other things with first before eating it, to make it more palatable – it doesn’t smell like fruit that you would just pick up and bite into. Waitrose.com claims it stimulates the body and mind, is purifying, cleanses the system and lifts the spirits. I think that’s about 2/3 truth (and 1/3 advertising).
Food match: I really wouldn’t drink this alongside food. It’s a good tea for late-night chats when you want to think and you feel that caffeine would be a bad idea – or for early mornings when you feel like a hot drink that tastes of something but again isn’t caffeinated.
I would really recommend trying this tea. I didn’t like it at all, really, the first time I tried it – but kept drinking it every now and again simply because I had a box of 20 teabags and I needed to eventually get through them – and now I really appreciate it. I guess it’s quite an acquired taste compared to the rest of my diet. Given that, I wouldn’t try it in a buy-a-cup-of-herbal-tea-in-a-coffeeshop setting, because you may well not like your first cup and it’ll cost as much as 20-40 teabags – but I would try it (plus, you can’t mess up the brewing – well, unless you really try – so nothing to fear there). It fills a niche that so far no other tea I’ve tried does – caffeine-free, but robust rather than gentle, and not sweet.
(Next week: a white tea (haven’t decided which one yet).)
Comments please! Like/dislike/love/hate rosehip tea? Disagree with me about matching food with it? All discussion very welcome 🙂