Leaf Type: Fruit/Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Tealux
Summer solstice is the name for the mythical night of the 21st of June ‘ the shortest night of the year. Midsummer is often described as a pause in-between a change in nature and provides us with the opportunity to pause for a moment in order to align ourselves with the energy changes of the natural forces. We have united the taste of ripe sun fruits and fresh herbs with the Swedish midsummer tradition of blossoms, in order to keep the rays of sun a little while longer in your cup.
Learn more about this tea here.
It’s not quite the Summer Solstice yet, but the weather is definitely getting warmer! Perhaps that’s why this particular blend really spoke to me today. It’s hard to tell from the description exactly what you’re going to get, so I jumped right in and brewed up a cup. The first thing of note is the size of the fruit pieces contained in this blend. There are whole raspberries, generous slices of freeze-dried strawberry, and large pieces of apple, pineapple and papaya (about 1 inch square.) There are smaller pieces of hibiscus, small flakes of nettle leaves, and a scattering of sunflower blossoms. The blend as a whole is bright and colourful – very summery-looking. It smells quite rich and fruity, rather in the manner of fruit cake.
I used approximately 2 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It’s by no means easy to measure, due to the large leaf size, but I did my best! The resulting liquor is golden brown, and the scent is mildly fruity – I’m picking up blackberry and coconut primarily.
To taste, the raspberry and strawberry are a lot more prominent than I thought they might be. They’re juicy and natural-tasting, sweet initially and then a little tart. The more “tropical” flavours develop in the mid-sip; a lot of coconut, a hint of pineapple, and a slight pepperiness from the papaya. It’s a slightly odd combination, like two halves of two different teas have been unexpectedly brought together. It’s not unpleasant, but the transition from summer berries to tropical fruit is a little jarring. The fruit flavours linger well into the aftertaste, and I can detect a splash of blackberry at this point. It’s tart and a little sour, but again incredibly juicy, and I could see this working well with the initial strawberry/raspberry combination. Somehow, though, it’s not quite what I wanted after the tropical explosion that preceded it.
I quite like this one, purely for it’s accurate fruit flavours and sheer juciness. It’s a great thirst quencher on a warm day. I would have preferred it to be either berry or tropical, though, rather than both. The two flavour sets aren’t a brilliant match to begin with, and nothing is gained when they have to compete with each other for dominance. Still, it’s a pleasing cup on the whole, and I can imagine it working well iced in the warmer months to come.
Leaf Type: Fruit/Herbal Tisane & Spice Melange
Where to Buy: ESP Emporium
Winter solstice, also called midwinter, is the pendant to midsummer and symbolizes hope: it marks the longest night of the year after which the days slowly become longer! The period of the Zodiac signs of Capricorn to Gemini. However, since the four elements of the twelve astrological zodiac signs – air, earth, fire and water – comprise the second half of the year, we are certain that the warm flavors of caramelized pomegranate in combination with the wintry spices are also a real indulgence and bright spot for the signs of Cancer to Sagittarius! The stars are in your favor!
Learn more about this tisane here.
I am usually hesitant to try fruit and herbal tisanes such as this Winter Solstice Herb Tea Blend from ESP Emporium, usually because hibiscus scares me just a tad, but also because I really just prefer TEA … as in the leaf of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Fruit and herbal tisanes aren’t bad, but, they just aren’t as interesting to me as tea.
However, I am enjoying this blend. It is heavier on the fruit than it is on the herbal, and there is a nice touch of spice to this that makes it very palate pleasing. The hibiscus is not a heavy component to the tisane – there is some and it adds to the color (the liquid brews to a beautiful ruby color), the texture (which is thick but not too thick or syrupy), and just a hint of tartness to the flavor (which offers a nice contrast to some of the sweet and spice of this blend).
I like that I can taste the pomegranate, the orange, and the cranberry. I like the combination of these fruits. Together they are sweet, tangy and verging on tart but not so tart that I find it off-putting, and I tend to be very sensitive to tartness. (I don’t like to pucker when I’m drinking tea!) Of these three fruits, I think that the orange is the strongest, and perhaps the orange (together with the apple, which offers more of a “sweetness but not so much of a distinct apple flavor) is what tones down the tartness to a drinkable level for me.
I don’t taste a whole lot of the Star Anise here, and I find myself wishing there were more of that licorice-y note that anise is known for. I taste the cinnamon, and I feel the cinnamon! Toward the end of the sip, and in to the aftertaste, I feel it toward the back of my mouth and the top of my throat. It isn’t a strong cinnamon note, but it is enough to keep things interesting.
Overall, this is a very interesting blend of fruit, herb and spice. And even though it’s called “Winter Solstice” it is one that I’d drink year round … it would be excellent served iced, and one that I think kids would really enjoy.