This week I’m fighting off a cold (kindly bestowed on me by the other half … ah well, I suppose it was inevitable). So the tea I found my thoughts turning toward was this one:
Source: tea purchased from Whittard of Chelsea. No information on where the ingredients were grown (also – ingredient list appears to have changed since I bought this box. The ingredients list on the website reads: Echinacea, ginger root, lemon peel, lime blossom, lemon grass, blackberry leaves, flavouring – see below for the ingredients list that was printed on this box).
Cost:£2.50 for 25 teabags, or 3 for £6. Not bad. Cheaper than Lemsip! (Although probably much less effective).
Ethics: as with last week I point you to this page on Whittard’s website. I’m not sure what I think about Whittard’s with regard to ethics … at least they have some information available, but now that I’m more aware of the growing number of officially Fairtrade teas and suppliers, I’m more likely to purchase from them instead.
Brewing instructions: it’s herbal tea, so use boiling water. Steep for 5+ minutes – the taste isn’t that strong, and you want all the benefits you can get from the Echinacea. I just leave the teabag in there.
Appearance: it brews to a light yellowy colour (not surprisingly), which is a bit murky and a small amount of sediment falls to the bottom of the cup.
Not the most beautiful of herbal teas, but probably one that’s good for you.
Nose: Well, I have got a cold this week so I’m probably a little worse at this than usual … this tea smells of lemon, and you can tell that it’s not a pure lemon tea – there are definitely other things going on. You can also smell the ginger if you’re looking for it, but it doesn’t smell strongly of ginger. There’s also a general herb-y-ness, but I’m not able to break that down into its constituent parts.
Taste: A base note of lemon, with a bit of a ginger-y aftertaste – but not full-on ginger. Again, there’s also a bit of “I can taste that there’s something else in there …” without being able to identify it. Looking at the ingredients list you can see why: Echinacea / Ginger Root / Flavouring / Lemon Peel / Linden Flowers / Lemon Grass / Blackberry Leaves. I wonder if it’s the combination of both lemon peel and lemon grass that means that the lemon flavour is a little muddy, rather than crisp?
Actually, it’s more likely to be the echinacea that’s messing about with the flavours (and probably the appearance as well) – I don’t know what it tastes like, but a quick search and the internet says that it tastes ‘unpleasant’. I know that blackberry leaves add sweetness, and although I can’t quite taste sweetness I suspect they are taking the edge off things. I’m not sure what linden flowers taste like, and in any case, the ‘flavouring’ is probably the important unidentified ingredient – but perhaps for getting the echinacea in there, artificial flavouring is a price one should be willing to pay.
Food match: Let’s be honest, you’re drinking this because you have a cold or think you’re getting a cold (otherwise you should probably drink some nicer lemon tea). So frankly, I think you should drink this alongside any food you feel like eating, which more often than not will probably be nothing. Drink it whilst huddled up on a sofa (with a blanket) watching TV or reading a book – and breathe in lots of the steam. It’s good for you.
Having said all of that about this tea, my go-to drink for when I’m ill is Extremely Hot Ribena … what do you do when you’re fighting off a winter cold?