|"I expected to love it but ended up liking it. A lot. Green honeybush and I agreed to just be friends. Good friends, though, with occasional conjugal visits by way of cup."|
Unfortunately, it was an extremely difficult product to find. Only three or four companies distributed the stuff in the U.S. Of those, only one specialized in selling an organic variety; LeafSpa Organic Tea. The choice was clear. I got a batch a week later.
Comparing green honeybush to its redder kin - by scent alone - was difficult. Their aromas were remarkably similar; a strong honey tone with a leafy after-kick. The big difference was the type of leafy after-kick. Red had a woodier follow-up smell, while green had a somewhat nuttier one. That said, the unfermented honeybush was just a shy sweeter than its darker sister. I was psyched.
Brewing instructions on the LeafSpa site recommended using 205F water and steeping for five minutes. I'd say one could go as high as six, but I wasn't about to question the suggestion. I went with 2 tsp in 16oz of water at the allotted temp and time.
The liquor infused to an incredibly deep gold; deeper than most green teas, and even green rooibos. The mouthpiece fragrance was herbaceous, not much of a honey character to it. This carried over to the taste as well. It lacked what I had hoped it would retain, that strong honey-nut aspect. Even adding a dab of honey didn't bring it out. Not that it wasn't good, mind you. It was a smooth, refreshing herbal with a pleasant enough taste without a "medicinal" quality. The natural sweetness was there as well, if subtle. I would even say it had a mild citrus note to it. I think it would blend well with verbena.
A second infusion at roughly eight minutes yielded a paler liquor, but a deeper taste more in line with the "honeybush" name. The color was a little more muted but not by much, more in line with a deeper white tea. Flavor-wise, it had more of a honey-like punch and crisper feel on the tongue. Given an actual powdered sweetener - like stevia or sugar - it retained it's wonderful taste. I also bet it would ice well.
In summary, I expected to love it but ended up liking it. A lot. Green honeybush and I agreed to just be friends. Good friends, though, with occasional conjugal visits by way of cup. For a deeper honey flavor, go with the red version. For maximum benefits, this still tastes good without tasting good for you. My recommendation upon purchasing would be to ignore the five-minute steep time suggestion and go for a full six. Eight-to-ten for a second steep. More flavor is extracted that way from this otherwise gentle and excellent herb.
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