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Strawberry Spice

June 24, 2009

Today’s Tea: Rooibush Strawberry Pepper by Tea Gschwendner

Sampled by: goodtea

I just found an free sample packet that came in an order from Tea Gschwendner a few months ago, so I thought I’d drink it before it got any older. It was just enough for one cup, but I still appreciate free samples. 🙂

Like the name says, this particular batch is a mix of rooibos, strawberry bits, strawberry leaves, and pepper. The mixture smells mostly like sweet rooibos when you open it, and among the red bits of rooibos I could see green pieces of leaves. The small sample sadly didn’t include any whole pepper corns, though the picture on the website shows them. Little specks of black pepper were visible, though, as they fell through my strainer into the bottom of the cup.

I let it infuse for abotu 8 minutes, since rooibos always strikes me as a little watery if I follow the recommended time. The infusion is a lovely, dark red-brown, and the fragrance is very subtle–just a whiff of strawberry.

I find that the flavor of rooibos doesn’t really unfold until the infusion has cooled down quite a bit. With my first sip, I thought it tasted rather bland, but then as it cooled a little more, it finally tasted like more than hot water.  It’s sweet, but not as strong as other rooibos blends I’ve had. The pepper definitely comes through (even without the whole peppercorns)! It actually goes well with the woody taste of rooibos, and the tingly spiciness adds a nice zing to what would otherwise be a very mellow drink. A soft, gentle strawberry flavor lingers in the background and rounds things out nicely. The aftertaste reminds me of strawberry marshmallows.

So this sample was a pleasant surprise! Sweet strawberry and sweet rooibos seem like a natural combination, and I wouldn’t have thought of adding pepper to the two, but pepper and rooibos work well together. I happen to love pepper (and put it on everything), so that may be a factor, but I definitely enjoyed this unique blend.

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