Review: Empire Tea Services Tropicana

Black Tea, Calendula Tea, Cornflower Tea, Empire Tea Services, Fruit Flavored Tea, Green Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Marigold Tea, Orange Peel Tea Add comments
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"With the fruity rainbow amidst the leaves, there's no black tea to see but the green tea is mild to highlight the fruit cocktail-like sweetness and the marigold's tropical fruitiness and the candied pineapple aftertaste is just as deliciously sunny."
Raven’s Teaview: 8.1/10
Other Teaviews: JennH gave it 8.3/10, Vanessa gave it 8.5/10
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Perhaps because of the juice brand, when I saw the name of this tea all I could think of was drink umbrellas and the woman with the fruit on her head. Either way, it spells a good time. As a first visit to Empire Tea Services, the prospects of the tropics in tea was more than enough to see what the Tropicana can do. With a wealth of unique blends and unflavoured teas, Empire Tea Services certainly has a can of creativity behind them and their Tropicana is no different, as it features an interesting blend of Sencha green tea, Ceylon black tea, tropical fruit flavouring and dried fruit pieces. Finding the tea on their website, however, isn't so easy, as their website is a bit confusing to navigate but the Tropicana is listed under their black flavoured blends. Yet with the brochure at the ready, bring on the palm trees.

The calypso might not be playing but the tea has lots to look at with a colourful blend that is almost as generously served up with fruit pieces as the rum pours in the carribbean. Serving up near a tropical sunset with the burnt oranges, bright oranges, beigey yellows, rosy tans and crimson, there’s orange rind chunks with pith, apple, hibiscus, rose, marigold and cornflower petals along with the fewer of what looks like small pineapple cubes, peach bits, mango, and even one or two currants. It’s almost a can of fruit cocktail in there with the array of sizes and shapes but the colours are much more vibrant, thank goodness. The green tea also adds to the rainbow with a dark green hue from the hardy, folded leaf pieces and stems. There’s no black tea in sight though, so perhaps it got stuck in the can or lost on the island. The tea does resemble the photo on their webpage which, although small, still doesn’t appear to show black tea leaves so I’m not quite sure what happened.

Regardless, with so much to see, I decided to go in without sun block. The tea’s aroma opens things up with a shiny sweetness. Kind of sugary, like fruit cocktail syrup, the medium scent maps out the tropical scene with a mostly marigold petal inspired fruitiness. A tinge rosy, the marigold petals imbue their lovely peachy passionfruit-like spirit. Yet since there isn’t that many actual petals in the tea, it may be double duty from both the added flavour and the petals. Either way, the bouquet seems to have a bit rounder fruitiness with a pineapple candy suave to the marigold floral notes and a syrupy saturation drawing on more natural peachy-apple sweet notes from the dried fruit even though the marigold is what stands out most. Although, there doesn’t seem to be much of the green tea, except for a hint of boxy-ness, the sweet perky scent is certainly bright enough to hoist out an umbrella and lawn chair on the beach.

Empire Tea Services doesn’t offer any specific brewing recommendations so I infused one and a half teaspoons of tea per cup for three minutes at 175°F to play nice with the green tea. Brewing brings the sunshine in with a beautiful pastelled creamy yellow cup. The bouquet is just as cheery with its syrupy sweet, marigold-tinged fruitiness. The scent is aromatic and the marigold adds a delightful tropical flair that, although floral, isn’t too pollen-like to have a nice slightly buttery lemony, passionfruit fruitiness, perhaps with a boost from the pineapple flavour and orange rind. Plus, the cooked petal notes bring a moist suppleness to the bouquet. The green tea is harder to find, making its subtlety a bit of a shame but there's a hint of mineral reediness that enhances the sweetness to give a sense of canned pears. With some zip, the fruitiness is exuberant enough for sunglasses.

Catching a wave into the brew, the flavour has a similar bright sweetness. Welcoming and full, the tea has a splendid floral tropical fruitiness. Like the aroma, the flavour reminds me most of marigold with its passionfruit or mango like appeal. Despite the floral inspiration, the flavour does sell the tropical fruitiness and doesn’t seem too petal-like as some blends can be, with a bit of extra pineapple candy-like lift. Its sweet ease has enough spirit to throw the beach ball around and can be readily enjoyed without additional sweeteners. It’s a bit disappointing that all of the other fruits or flowers in the tea don’t really make much of an impression on the flavour, although they may help bolster the marigold's fruitiness and body with their sweetness but it doesn't have the same depth or juicy tang as fruit based blends. The green tea doesn’t make much of a splash but it certainly doesn’t detract from the fruity fanfare. The tea’s flow seems a touch heavy though, so a bit of oomph in the tea’s momentum from the green tea wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. However, the lack of dryness or astringency does make it refreshing to beat the heat. After each sip, a dandy candied pineapple lingers in one’s breath with a mist of cooked reeds in a medium long aftertaste.

Launching the leaves back for another plunge, the surf comes up on an almost identically coloured shore. The scent also continues its tropical breezes with the marigold fruitiness and a pleasant pineapple chiffon-like sweetness. The marigold notes are a bit more pointy and pollen or shampoo like with a subtle papery note from the green tea but the aroma is certainly still cheery. The flavour also maintains its reach, with the marigold’s tropical vibe that still seems a bit fruity as more petal flavours come through. The flavour seems a bit more mineral, like mineral water, against a mild perfumey taste as the green tea adds some body. The aftertaste also has a nice sweetness as it lightens and the tea leaves one's mouth slightly dry feeling.

As the sun sets, Empire Tea Services’ Tropicana Tea is certainly a fun sip at the beach. Even with the black tea lost at sea and the green tea’s subtlety, the blend’s perkiness lights up the scene with its ample floral fruitiness. The tea does paint an oasis with the colourful leaves but it's a bit of a surprise that the tea doesn’t veer that far off the map of other marigold based blends and capture more of the spirit of the leaves. But the bounty of such blends is for a reason from their enduring peachy passionfruit like vitality and it shines in Tropicana. Plus, the dash of fruit cocktail syrup and candied pineapple sweetness in the scent and body accentuates the marigold’s fruitiness nicely to get the coconuts rolling. Iced or hot, Tropicana could easily bring some 'can do' back to a day's "don't feel like it" lull along with some tasty refreshment.

— To purchase Empire Tea Services Tropicana, 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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