Big Shout out to Loose Drinker Sarah Jo for this blog post!
This is @TeaLeafEmpress, also known as Sarah Jo. I’m a working wife and mother who stumbled across @TiestaTea running through the grocery store at 5:15 in the morning to pick up a couple things for work. I ran down the coffee and tea aisle, which is not easy to do in heels that early in the morning, and my eye was caught by these very colorful bags of loose tea. I bought Blueberry Wild Child as a metaphorical thumbing of my nose to the office, feeding my love of irony as well as providing a lovely libation in the middle of what I knew was going to be a stressful day. I’ve been a fan ever since.
Fast forward however long it’s been, and my 40th birthday reared its head. Time to take things, like health, seriously. That would be the grown up thing to do.
However, taking health seriously does not mean being boring. Or that you have to conform to the latest health fad guru. The first, and most important step, is to think about what you put into your body.
So last Monday, I was thinking about this zucchini bread I was about to put into my body. I had purchased the Dry Flight sample pack as a birthday gift to myself, so what tea was I going to pair with this? I was attempting to be sophisticated. I figured that the sweetness of the bread would be nicely balanced with what I assumed would be the creamy tang in the new Tahitian Vanilla Cran.
Note the obligatory snootiness of “balancing” tastes. This can be especially annoying in the early morning for people who are not yet awake. I, however, am a morning person with a type A personality and the heart of a chicken. And approximately seventeen different kinds of tea at her desk.
Just get to the Tahitian Vanilla Cran already, will you?
The first thing I smelled when I opened the package was a wiff of vanilla. But not the cloying crappy vanilla you smell in cheap candles that make you sick to your stomach, but a lovely smell that reminded me of orchids. It was light and floral. It made me think of soft water colors.
Which is quite refreshing when you’re making this in the breakroom at work surrounded by a soda machine and coffee machine.
So I take it back to my desk to let it steep, and boy, did those little dry bits plump up. You can also see how dark it got from the picture.
Now, since I had the zucchini bread, I didn’t add any sugar because I didn’t think I would need it. And I really didn’t. I wouldn’t have needed it even without the zucchini bread, and here’s why:
You would think that such a dark, red tea, or herbal infusion/tissane for you linguistic purists out there, would be sour, and it is, for a moment. If I sat and thought about what I was tasting, the first thing I tasted was the hibiscus, which was not what I was expecting. I was thinking the cranberry would be prominent. It wasn’t… at first. All of a sudden, the cranberry snuck up and punched the hibiscus in the face and i had a regular sour citrus taste melee going on.
But remember that vanilla I mentioned smelling? She showed up to the party, batted her eyelashes and bright peace to the hibiscus cranberry grudge match. They started working together to create peace and harmony in the tastiest possible way.
Slick move, Vanilla. Slick move. You earned my respect.
And that was key for me to raise it out of being an ordinary sour citrus tea that needed two or three sugars to make it drinkable. It had that tang you really want from a citrus tea, but that vanilla really softens it up and makes it complete. On its own.
All in all, it was a nice bright drink that wasn’t over-powering, but really just comfortable in its own flavors. Nothing more needed.
Which is refreshing.
I also steeped it a second time just for grins. If it didn’t taste good, I could still use the weaker tea to water my office plants. It tasted absolutely fine and for people who like their teas not as intense, you still have a good drink. You just might not get all the flavors of a really deep steep. But I gave most of my second steeping to my plants, which is a good idea to really use every last bit of goodness from the tea.
It’s thinking outside the bag, right?
Anyway, this is a good option for people who looking for ways to decrease their sugar intake.