Posts Tagged ‘red tea’

It’s Monday again, okay so it’s Tuesday Memorial Day confused me, but I am excited to know what you have been drinking this week. 

As I always say, it is such an adventure to taste new teas.  Last week was no exception. I had the pleasure of enjoying many more new teas than I was able to post about. Plenty of time to enjoy a new tea, but not enough time to write about it.

Thanks to all of you who commented about the new teas you were drinking as well. So… here’s what was knew in your cup last week:

1. Summer from Felictea enjoyed Tealuxe’s Blue Flower Earl Grey as well as a similar Blue Flower Earl Grey (if not the same one) at Upton and loving it. Additionally, Summer made pu’erh (upton’s china pu-erh tuo che #2). After careful consideration, Summer admitted that her favorite was the Upton Blue Flower Earl Grey, because it’s good with and without sweetener, and made a little stronger is nice with milk.

2. I too enjoyed several new teas.  The two I had the opportunity to both taste and review was Kalahari Reserve Red Tea  and Black Apricot. You can read the reviews here on Tea Escapade.

Within the next few days I cannot wait to share more reviews. Until then, I cannot wait to hear “What’s New In your Cup?”


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I often have told friends and family alike, that if I had my life to live again, I probably would have become a food critic. Certainly not for my love of cooking – but most definitely for my love of eating. I love the many flavors and textures of food. In essence, I believe this is what spawned my love of tea. The opportunity to try something new – to enjoy the flavors, aromas, and textures afforded by the different varieties of tea. This is now, but not always.

For years, out of custom or some would say habit, I drank black tea. Lipton to be precise.  My grandmother made Lipton Tea, my mother made Lipton tea, and as the story goes, I made Lipton tea. On occasion, when enjoying dinner at a local Chinese Restaurant, I would enjoy a tasty cup of green tea. Otherwise, my tea drinking routine was just that… routine. It is amazing what surprises you will find when you do a “simple” thing like stepping outside of your comfort zone.

I had no knowledge of Rooibos until a co-worker purchased and surprised me with a tin of African Autumn. My research led me to understand that Rooibos, Red Tea, Redbush Tea or any of the other names for which it is known is actually derived from the Aspalathus Linearis plant not the tea bush, Camellia Sinensis. For those of you like me who did not know, Aspalathus Linearis is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants.

Based upon my Internet search, Rooibos is grown only in a small area in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape province in south west South Africa. Generally, the leaves are oxidized.  This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown color of rooibos and enhances the flavour. However, unoxidized also known as  “green” rooibos, is produced. The more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos.

As with tea derived from the tea bush, Camellia Sinensis, Rooibos can be blended with other flavors to produce unique tasting teas. Orange, mango, vanilla, cranberry, and almond to name a few. Unlike many other teas, increased brewing time enhances the flavor. I can think of one particular brewing fiasco – my first Pu-erh experience.

According to my research, Rooibos is commonly served with milk and sugar in Africa, but elsewhere it is usually served without. The flavor of rooibos tea is often described as being sweet (without sugar added) and slightly nutty. Ironically, I have struggled with finding just the right words to describe Rooibos in my tea reviews. Sweet was easy, nutty was that missing “something” I struggled to pinpoint. Preparation of rooibos tea is essentially the same as black, white, and green tea. This is really good to know, as I recall once again my Pu-erh brewing fiasco.

If you would like to read more about Rooibos, I recently found a great article that also provides a little Rooibos history as well. Just follow the link to “Rooibos Tea” written by Chris Cason for Tea Muse. Until we meet again… Happy Tea Drinking!

Reference: Rooibos. (2008, May 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:55, May 21, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rooibos&oldid=212352996

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On the prowl for a new tea to brew and taste this morning, I was thrilled to realize that a new, never been touched tea bag was sitting next to my computer keyboard. My only experience with red tea (Rooibos) was the African Autumn by Harney and Sons, thus I was excited to broaden my tasting horizon by enjoying a cup of Kalahari Reserve Red Tea also known as “The King of Red Tea”.

Composition: 100% pure Red Tea (Rooibos).

Dry Visual: Predominantly reddish orange. Unfortunately, Kalahari Reserve Red Tea comes in a tea bag so it was difficult to get a good visual.

Dry Aroma: Spicy is the only way I can describe this tea. I could wait to taste.

Flavor: It is with great regret that I continue to be unable to adequately describe the taste of Rooibos. There was a subtle spiciness that remained constant throughout my tea drinking experience. However, inadequate words cannot stop me from saying that Kalahari Reserve Red Tea is delicious. African Autumn contained orange and cranberry flavors that I now believe masked the gentle naturally sweet taste of the Rooibos. As is my custom, I tasted this tea both without and later with a dab of honey. Kalahari Reserve Red Tea can be enjoyed either way, but I favor the addition of honey.
Liquor: A beautiful reddish orange hue.
Brewing Time: Recommended brewing time is 3 – 4 minutes. I brewed for 4 minutes.
Manufacturer: Kalahari
Caffeine: No
The next time you reach for a cup of Rooibis tea, make it a cup of Kalahari Reserve Red Tea. Not only does this tea taste really good, it is enjoyable anytime of the day. Especially, if you are looking for a caffeine-free brew.

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This morning, I enjoyed a delicious cup of Winter White Earl Grey, but this afternoon, I couldn’t wait to sip on a cup of African Autumn. Even in the spring, with the sun shining through my office window and the knowledge that the temperature hovered around the mid 70’s, nothing seemed more refreshing than a hot cup of tea.

Composition: Considered an herbal tea African Autumn contains Redbush, Cranberry and Oranges.

Dry Visual: Very fine leaves, resembling shavings, in a beautiful burnt orange and red colors with hints of brown. The cream flecks contained in the tea provide texture. This is another loose tea housed in a triangular silk sachet.

Dry Aroma: Robust orange aroma with hints of cranberry.
Flavor: The flavor of this tea is difficult for me to describe. It is not full-bodied, yet the African Autumn contains a distinct blend of flavors. The orange dominates this tea while the cranberry provides a pleasant twanginess. Considering this my first and only redbush tea, I am unable to describe the taste of the redbush, however, I will adventure to say that the sweet undertones may be attributed to the redbush. I tasted African Autumn both with and without sweetener, however, I prefer to add a little sugar or honey. The sweetener rounds out the cranberry and orange flavors enhancing this teas natural sweetness.
Liquor: A beautiful amber hue with rich orange tones.
Brewing Time: 5 minutes recommended. I brewed for 5 minutes.
Manufacturer: Harney and Sons

Caffeine: No

What is Redbush?

After conducting a brief Internet search, I discovered that redbush is the English version for the Afrikaans word Rooibos, pronounced like “roy-boss”. Rooibos, whose scientific name is Aspalathus linearis is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants. This family also includes, the bean and pea family. It is used to make tisanes (herbal tea). While categorized as tea, Rooibos does not come from the tea plant.

The next time you are looking for a decaffeinated tea, try African Autumn. Its unique flavor makes for a nice afternoon or evening tea.

Reference: Rooibos. (2008, May 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:41, May 3, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rooibos&oldid=209382412

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