It’s Day 18!
Last week, I had a dreadful cold. I’m still in the process of “getting over it,” not really sick anymore, but still coughing up a lot of that congestion that’s trapped in the lungs. Not fun.
As I confessed in the review below, I actually “drank ahead” with this advent calendar. And after going through that horrible cold, I’m glad I did, because otherwise there would have been several days without reviews being posted! I was just too sick to be reviewing teas and my taste buds were not operating at optimum levels.
I’m glad to be feeling better and I hope that everyone else out there is feeling fine – it’s a bad time to be caught feeling under the weather!
For today’s artistic inspiration, I chose this cute little mini clipboard that was altered with a Christmas theme. It was created by Liane Ceglar for one of the 12 Days of Christmas swaps I was in. (The photo isn’t great, but, it’s still such a wonderful little gift that I wanted to feature it!)
It’s another of those gifts that may not have been intended to be an ornament, but, I turned it into one. I love it and it looks great on my tree of altered art! Thank you Liane!
Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Teanzo 1856
Hibiscus flowers are high in vitamin C, and recent studies suggest that hibiscus supports cardiovascular health. Hibiscus tea has been consumed for centuries for its health benefits. This herbal tea is delicious and steeps to a gorgeous pink color. The tart flavor of hibiscus is balanced by adding a sweetener. Perfect for entertaining. Garnish this herbal tea with a sprig of fresh mint. This herbal tea is caffeine free.
Learn more about this tea here.
OK, so I admit it. I checked to see what the teas are in this Advent Calendar ahead of time. I kind of have to so that I can write the review in enough time to publish on the day that they correspond with the calendar. Yeah, I guess I’m cheating, but hey, I’ve rationalized my behavior because I’m doing it for you, my readers.
And when I saw that 100% pure, not-part-of-a-blend hibiscus was one of the tisanes in this box, I think I may have screamed out loud. And not a happy, excited scream. More like a mortified scream of horror.
Since that time, a few things have happened. First, I started plotting. Hmm … what if I just don’t post anything for the 18th day? Maybe say there was some glitch in the system and the review was lost forevermore. No. I’m sure that someone who knows more about computers than I do (they wouldn’t be hard to find) would challenge this claim. What if I just refuse? I could just protest. NO HIBISCUS!
Then, something else happened: I got sick. I came down with a terrible cold. And even though hibiscus isn’t my favorite thing, I do know that it’s loaded with Vitamin C and every time I consume something with lots of vitamin C while I’m sick, well, I feel better for a while.
So, I thought, hey, maybe it will work with the hibiscus. What have I got to lose? I mean, it won’t kill me to drink a cup of hibiscus, will it?
Well, it might. I mean, I could be deathly allergic to pure hibiscus and I might die if I drink this stuff. But, I’m thinking I’m not deathly allergic to hibiscus since I’ve had quite a few tisanes with hibiscus in it. And confession time: I’ve never actually had a cup of pure hibiscus tisane. Yep. It’s true.
So, I figured, it’s time to try this stuff that I’ve been cursing for so many years.
To steep the hibiscus, I used my Kati Tumbler (again!) and poured the contents of packet number 18 into the basket. I heated the water to 195°F and let it steep for 4 minutes. Usually, I’ll let a tisane steep for 5 – 10 minutes, but since this is pure hibiscus, I decided to go conservative and only steep for 4 minutes.
Of course, I didn’t think to actually try this when my taste buds were kind of out of whack because of my cold. That would have been THE time to try this, right? But, I didn’t think about it then. Now, I’m still dealing with a sore throat (actually, it’s more of a dry, irritated throat from coughing) and a weakened immune system and a tired and achy body, but my taste buds are in working order.
How do I know?
Tart! Yeah. I even added a teaspoon of raw sugar to this and yep, still tart. The sugar did tame the tartness down a bit though. I found that it’s also a lot more tart when it’s hot than as it cools. It becomes more “berry-like” when it starts to cool down and there are some fruity notes that are actually quite agreeable!
So, as it turns out, I’m not deathly allergic of hibiscus, I’m just more afraid of it than anything. It’s not that horrible. It has a nice berry taste and it does have health benefits. I do recommend keeping the steep time to a minimum because even at 4 minutes, some texture does develop here (the longer you steep hibiscus, the more syrupy the liquid becomes). I think 4 minutes is as far as I’d go, and you still are getting a really strong, hibiscus-y flavor (it is, after all, hibiscus).
While hibiscus will never be a favorite drink of mine, it isn’t a horrible drink. I’ve tasted teas and tisanes that I’ve liked a lot less. If I had other options, I wouldn’t choose to drink another pure hibiscus drink. I certainly would not buy pure hibiscus. That said, it wasn’t as horrible an experience as I thought it would be when I saw the word “HIBISCUS” on the label of the pouch marked 18 in this advent calendar from Teanzo.
The hibiscus does have some redeeming qualities. First of all, it did soothe my sore throat and I found that it did help me feel better after I drank it. (Remember, I’m dealing with a cold here!) So, it’s not all bad. And I know that there are some people who swear by this stuff. I bet kids would love it – most kids love the tart stuff – and it would be much better for them than some sugary soda or punch drink.
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!
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