|"To this day, I still don't know what a rosehip tastes like, but - like the apricot - I think it was lost in the reddish fray."|
Tiesta Tea is a "bachelor"-run operation sponsored by the University of Illinois. Their gimmick was to match specific teas and blends to a person's karma and wellness goals. An interesting idea in theory. The founders were inspired by a blend they encountered a year prior at a tea shop in the Czech Republic. Oddly enough, it was also called "Granny's Garden", and it was apparently a famous fruit tea in the region.
Tea culture in the Czech Republic is a relatively new phenomenon, emulating the British (rather than Russian) style of shop and blend. A little digging did turn up a Granny's Garden tisane (of Czech origin) made from apple bits, elderberries, beetroot pieces, hibiscus, black currants, blackberries, raspberries, strawberry pieces, raspberry leaves, and red currants. I'm surprised they didn't throw any rhubarb in there for good granny measure. (The oxalic acid probably had something to do with its omission.)
The Granny's Garden blend from Tiesta was a bit less of a smorgasbord than its Czech namesake. Ingredients were rosehips, orange peel, hibiscus, apple, and "appricot". (The last one made my English degree cringe a bit.) On sight alone, I could spot the hibiscus instantly. It took up most of the blend. Orange and apricot chunks were also visible. Rose-hip shells were few and far between. I wasn't quite sure which pieces were the apple ones. Whatever its parts, this had me on smell alone - part Fruit Roll-Up, part Capri Sun.
There were no brewing instructions on the Tiesta site to use as a blueprint. Fruit blends were - on average - a one-steep affair; the longer the steep time, the better the drink. Since there wasn't a need to be chancy with this red, robust-scented melange, I used 1 tbsn in 8oz of boiled water, infused for eight minutes. I wanted to bleed this sucker dry.
The look and smell of the finished infusion reminded me of heated cranberry-apple juice. The liquor had colored to a bright but transparent red - proof of a nominal amount of hibiscus - and the aroma was all berries. Even though there wasn't a berry in the batch. On taste, the tart-n-sour hibiscus rushed in first, a mild citrus presence could be felt in the middle, but the finish was, well, hibiscus again. To this day, I still don't know what a rosehip tastes like, but - like the apricot - I think it was lost in the reddish fray.
For an unflavored fruit tisane, this was a worthy effort. I hate to admit it, but there was something missing here; a bolder fruit profile. It's good, just not quite "granny's garden" good. The addition of natural flavors or a berry (or two) might have rounded this out. And the hibiscus could've been lessened a bit. Other than that, it's a thumbs up.
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