Review: Rishi Tea Lemongrass Black

Black Tea, Citron Tea, Lemongrass Tea, Rishi Tea Add comments
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"While a very attractive blend, and while the scent of the dry leaf is really engaging and even intriguing, I thought the finished product was really heavy."
Jamie’s Teaview: 5/10
Other Teaviews: Brad gave it 7/10, Laura gave it 7/10, Geoff gave it 5/10
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1111111111.jpgRishi tea is one of my favorite tea companies. I've had a mixture of good, very good and a few great teas from them, and I really like their customer service department. They are a really friendly, happy group of people, with lots of information to share. I get the feeling when I talk with them that Rishi is a pretty good company to work for.

I've been sitting on the fence with this particular sample. Despite a fondness for Earl Grey, I haven't been excited to try this particular melding of black tea and somewhat citrus like lemongrass. I like lemongrass and I like black tea. I just have trouble envisioning them together. Who knows why. Visually, this is a striking blend. The black and the finely cut lemon grass seem to be about evenly matched as far as distribution goes, making for an attractive black and grey green blend. Scent wise, the tea piques interest in that it has a bright and fresh lemony scent.

I opted to prepare this in two ways. Hot and iced. I prepared a cup hot using freshly boiled water. After a three minute steep I was a little surprised at how dark the tea brewed given how much lemongrass was in the blend. It looked like standard fare for a black tea. I began to run into some troubles with this tea when it came to scent. Scent can be very tricky, since it's such a large component of taste. The scent with this tea is not lemongrass but citronella. I find citronella absolutely abhorrent and can't abide it in any form. Since it seems to be primarily used to repel bloodsucking summertime insects, I have a permanent and unfortunate mental association between the two evils...on the one hand, the feasting insect and on the other, the dreaded repellant. So, this particular tea didn't score well with me. I can hardly give a tea a bad rating strictly based on personal dislike for the scenting, but I will note that what begins as a nice pleasant lemony scent is completely lost in the brewed tea. I tried a few sips but had to set the cup aside despite the tea itself not carrying such a heavy citronella-y flavor itself. For me, the scent really got in the way.

For my iced version of the tea I used two tablespoons of the tea to a 32 ounce pitcher called the Hario pitcher that I recently purchased at Rishi. I allowed the tea to cool and tried it the next day. I didn't find this particularly a better way to brew the tea as the intense scenting still got to me. My husband preferred the tea this way though it wasn't a favorite of his.

While a very attractive blend, and while the scent of the dry leaf is really engaging and even intriguing, I thought the finished product was really heavy. I've used lemongrass in cooking on numerous occasions and have never had a citronella type scent or flavor come about as a result, so I was really stunned at the tea's taste. For someone who enjoys a strong, powerful scent with their tea, and doesn't find that this distracts from flavor, and if you are a fan of flavored blacks or lemony teas, I wouldn't say that this would be out of the question. I can't really imagine recommending this to a friend. While I know that my dislike of citronella smells definitely influenced my feelings about this cup, I think that might not be such a rare predisposition.

Rishi has a lot of great blends, herbal and otherwise. In fact, they just took a stunning 11 awards at the recent World Tea Championship. I can't really recommend this particular offering highly. I think it too likely that a person expecting a citrusy or lemon scented tea would purchase this and be bowled over by the strength of the blend.

— To purchase Rishi Tea Lemongrass Black, 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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