Tea of the Week – Sainsbury’s TTD Jasmine

This tea has been a bit of a disappointment; here we go: Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Fairtrade Jasmine Tea.

Box of teaSource: The tea is from China, bought (unsurprisingly) from Sainsbury’s.

Cost: £1.25 for 100g loose leaf. So far as I know it’s only available in this size.

Ethics: Fairtrade.

Brewing instructions: As on the back of all of their products (as far as I’ve observed), they say to brew with boiling water for 3-5 minutes. I think this is rubbish. (More on this under “taste”).

Appearance: Quite a pretty light clear yellow. It looked promisBrewed teaBrewing teaing …

Nose: Jasmine with a bit of acidity.

Taste: … not a fan.

The first time I made this, I brewed it for 3 minutes, as suggested on the pack. It tasted over-strong and a bit bitter. I thought “Hm, well, this is probably because it should really only be brewed for a minute or so” and decided I’d try again later.

I then tried again later – brewing for about a minute and a half. And … the problem is just as bad. (Full disclosure: it was probably reboiled water, but I don’t think that should make a big difference.)

It does taste like black tea with jasmine. I’ll give them that; you can taste the tea and you can taste the jasmine. But I think jasmine tea should be tea with the fragrance of jasmine and a hint of a cleansing acidity … this tastes more like acidity with the fragrance of jasmine and a hint of tea. Ick. Would not recommend, would not buy again – and as it’s jasmine tea I can’t just add lots of milk and sugar and drink it anyway (which is what I’d normally do with black tea I didn’t much like).

Food match: This tea perhaps redeems itself a little bit with food. I drank some of it while eating some white-chocolate-covered almonds (they happened to be around at the time …), and it definitely tasted better – I think the fats in the chocolate contrasted with it. So I would recommend this tea to be drunk with something greasy – pizza from Domino’s, maybe, or take-out chinese food. In that context it would taste fine.

I think that’s almost the first time I’ve had a tea I definitely disliked. What’s your least favourite tea?

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11 Responses to Tea of the Week – Sainsbury’s TTD Jasmine

  1. kindkerry says:

    Tea is soothing, thanks for doing these reviews! 🙂

    • Thank you for commenting! Tea is definitely soothing – for me, the most comforting is Earl Grey with milk and sugar … do you have a favourite type of tea? 🙂

      • Alison says:

        I was just about to comment that Earl Grey is my *least* favourite tea! I just can’t get on with the flavour. When people offer me tea, I have been known to say “Yes, as long as it isn’t Earl Grey…”
        Totally loving Redbush at the moment as I’ve been quite anxious and so having something without caffeine is very soothing.

  2. Billy says:

    Should jasmine tea really be made with *boiling* water? It might be much more enjoyable made with water that’s boiled and been left to cool for 60 seconds. (Or, as some purists dictate, water that’s been heated to that same temperature but stopped before reaching boiling point.) If that doesn’t work, then that’s quite disappointing – Sainsbury’s tea isn’t all that bad , I find.

    • Billy says:

      (Though I agree with you that their brewing instructions are a copy-and-paste job.)

      • You’re probably right – I felt that instinctively but then thought “but it’s black tea, so boiling/nearly-boiling should work, right?” and went with that as it’s what it said on the box. (I should now override this impulse). I might try that at some point in future – the tea leaves smell nice, so in theory it should be possible to make nice tea from them … although it’s much more tempting to give up and go and drink some Eve’s Blend (green tea with jasmine and rose).

        I would have been less disappointed were this not billed as a “Taste The Difference” tea – if you claim it will taste especially better than normal you ought to give useful directions.

  3. Mew says:

    I have had simillar issues with bitterness with the TTD fairtrade decaff earl grey. To the extent that the box got “This is unhappy tea :(” written on it in sharpie. Also I don’t get along with coop decaf 99 tea.

    • :(. I have a feeling that most of the TTD teas will taste rubbish and bitter when brewed according to their instructions. I’ve had some success shortening the brewing time (TTD fairtrade darjeeling tasted fine with milk when brewed for 2 mins, although nowhere near as exotic and exciting as they tried to make out it would be). I think that lowering the temperature of the water (as Billy suggested above) might also help to avoid bitterness. It’s a pain, though – we shouldn’t have to second-guess and mess about with things to make them drinkable!

  4. Philip says:

    My least favorite tea (of those I have tried) is Lapsang Souchong, which tasted (and smelled) like eating ashes (which I did not find pleasant) 😦

    • That does sound unpleasant. I get the impression that Lapsang Souchong is a tea that it’s very easy to get wrong (and even when right, it probably still has quite a hint of ash about it …).

  5. Katherine says:

    I’ve been trying to exercise and drink more tea everyday. With
    http://www.geocities.jp/family_hong_kong/English/HK_Chinese_Tea_index.htmand these flowering teas, it’s been a breeze!

    Up til now, Jasmine Flower is my favorite!

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