|"As for flavor, it's hard for me to admit this, but all I tasted was berries."|
Arbor Teas is one of those outfits that should be given credit for having a particular mission statement and sticking to it. All the while, making sure their stuff tastes good too. They place an emphasis on being Fair Trade Certified and offering nothing but organically-cultivated teas, blends and tisanes. The ingredients for their Mixed Berry Black reads off like a hippie grocery list – organic Chinese black tea, organic currants , organic cranberries, organic strawberries, organic elderberries, organic calendula petals, and natural berry flavoring.
I don’t run into calendula petals as an ingredient much in tea blends. They don’t really have a culinary use to speak of, and I’m not sure what the flavor profile is. Medicinally, they’re used as a treatment for constipation, but beyond that…they just look pretty. I’m sure that’s why they were included here. The rest of the berry-ish recipe, well, they were obvious and upfront about what and where they were. The blend smelled like a fruity power bar.
Brewing instructions for black teas on the Arbor site recommended a three-to-five-minute steep in 212F water. That sounded about right. Usually I went with three minutes for plain black teas, but – given the berrycopia of the blend – I went with four. 1 generous teaspoon in an 8oz cup as suggested.
Watching the leaves and chunks impart color was really a trip here. The darker elements tendriled from their formerly-dry area, coloring the liquid. However, to my surprise, the liquor didn’t darken all that much after a four-minute steep. The cup looked honey-like, giving rise to my guess that the Chinese black tea was a Dian Hong. The palette was near-identical. Strawberry and cranberry held dominion over the aroma. As for flavor, it’s hard for me to admit this, but all I tasted was berries. If there was a black tea presence, it only showed up in the finish, which seemed a tad dry. Other than that, yeah, tart berry…and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
More than a safe bet to say that this was the most successful berry blend I’ve tried. Jury’s still out on the “Best” badge. To date, though, I can’t think of another that pulls off its moniker so effectively.
— To purchase Arbor Teas Organic Mixed Berry Black Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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