Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Think vanilla sponge cake with a dollop of raspberry jam! There is nothing better than a cuppa and cake (except perhaps a cake flavoured cuppa!) and did you know it was our good old queenie Victoria who invented the Vicky Sponge? Guess the name gives it away a bit! She loved taking afternoon tea with her home girls but decided they needed soem extra nurishment to last until dinner. Cake it is then! We like your thinking QV!
Learn more about this tea here.
Ah, Victoria Sponge. My favourite cake. Obviously when I found a tea that claims to replicate it, I just had to give it a try. Of all the people I’d trust to get it right, Bluebird Tea Co. top the list. The scent is right, for starters. Upon opening the pouch, I’m greeted with a waft of raspberries and vanilla. As ever with Bluebird, the dry leaf itself is a thing of beauty – fluffy green raspberry leaves, whole freeze-dried raspberries, smaller pieces of freeze-dried strawberry, and a scattering of desiccated coconut shreds. All on a black tea base, Ceylon specifically in this case. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup (the raspberries are so huge, they throw the measurement out a bit!), and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. The scent, like the dry leaf, is deliciously raspberry-vanilla. I really am thinking cake now!
To taste, the initial flavour is 100% raspberry. It’s quite a tart raspberry, but just sweet enough to stop it being jarring. What’s particularly nice is that it tastes like actual fresh raspberries – there’s no candy-like or artificial-tasting raspberry to be found here. Vanilla emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a pleasant creaminess and an extra dimension of sweetness that puts me in mind of the buttercream filling that usually accompanies raspberry jam in a Victoria Sponge. There’s a tiny hint of cake right at the end of the sip, but it’s a little fleeting. The coconut just starts to come through, and I think it’s this paired with the other ingredients that produce this effect, interestingly.
I quite like the way the flavours build here, one on the other, to create the overall Victoria Sponge effect. I also like that each individual aspect seems to taste natural, and not like it’s been created from a chemical compound in order to replicate “cake” as accurately as possible and at all costs. The raspberry tastes like real raspberry, the vanilla tastes like, well, vanilla. The combination really does suggest the filling of a Victoria Sponge, and (by some alchemy) everything comes together right at the end of the sip to give – cake! My only complaint is that the black base becomes a little astringent and drying as my cup cools – this is definitely one best consumed hot. Other than that, it’s a great success. Highly recommended for all Victoria Sponge fans – cake without the calories, or just a great stop-gap until your next slice!