Posted by: dan | April 11, 2009

1, 2, 3, 4

twiningsheader

Dan: A week ago, I was given a small selection of teas. Not from a tea company, but from my boss. He’d been out over the weekend, and nabbed some teabags for me. It was a pleasant surprise. The teas in question were Twinings, and not from their usual ranges. So it came to be that I was in possession of four teabags from the Twinings infusions range. They are the Fresh & Fruity ‘Blackcurrant, Ginseng and Vanilla’; A Moment Of Calm ‘Pure Camomile’; Revive and Revitalise ‘Pure Peppermint’; and ‘Pure Green’ green tea. An eclectic mix, and one that has me raising my eyebrow with scepticism. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting collection that should provide insight into a large tea company’s interpretation of variety.

~~~

Twinings’ Green Tea: Pure Green

I must confess to being a little surprised by this, just from the name. ‘Pure Green’? As I’m sure you’re all aware, there are many different types of green tea, so what constitutes ‘Pure’ I’m not entirely sure. I’m sure brewing a cup will provide some answers, so let’s begin.

The bag design is an odd 'O' shape

The bag design is an odd 'O' shape

Well, I’ve brewed it according to the directions on the packet, which ask for ‘freshly boiled water’ (which seems wrong for a green tea) and ‘infuse for no more than 2 minutes’ (which does seem to be right). It smells like wet compost. A damp spinach and rotting cabbage aroma greets your nose, which sets you up nicely for the taste, which is exactly the same. This is not for drinking, this is for cleansing the palate when eating in a restaurant. It’s wheaty, and has a prickly texture, which I imagine comes from having used boiling water. Fortunately, the taste does not last for long, as a bland aftertaste quickly replaces the foul watery substance. This is almost dreaded vanilla territory, though there is some actual flavour here. The only problem is that it would be better if it didn’t. Avoid.

Twinings’ Revive and Revitalise: Pure Peppermint

Okay, so these last three aren’t technically teas, rather a collection of finely shredded, desiccated leaves put into a bag so it looks like it’s tea. I suppose this means I shouldn’t really be reviewing them, but as they at least give the illusion of being a kind of tea, I’m going to.

If the bag contained leaves, they'd have no room to breathe

If the bag contained leaves, they'd have no room to breathe

The dry peppermint bag smells unsurprisingly like a packet of Softmints, or chewing gum. The directions again call for 2-3 minutes in freshly boiled water, so I complied. The tisane smells like burnt mint leaves now, so I’m guessing some slightly cooler water would have been a better choice. It tastes like a liquid bubblegum, or slightly runnier-than-usual toothpaste. Mixed with acrid pond water. I can’t see how anyone would choose to drink this, it’s just a horrible minty drink. Almost anything else mint flavoured would be nicer, especially if it were a food. Anything that doesn’t have the slick, oily texture that this does. Avoid.

Twinings’ A Moment Of Calm: Pure Camomile

I’m reviewing these as I drink them, which means I’m getting through them fairly quickly. I’ve thrown away half of both the previous tea and tisane, and I’m not really looking forward to this one, as it’s apparently made from dried pollen heads. And I get hayfever. And Camomile is supposed to aid sleep. Oh boy.

Not an appetising look

Not an appetising look

The dried bag looks like it contains sawdust, while it seems to contain vomit whilst brewing. Another reason why loose-leaf is better: it looks much nicer. No-one needs to see tiny slices of miscellaneous plant detritus in a sack. What you might like, however is the smell. It’s very honeyed and fragrant, and the first of these teas/tisanes to actually smell pleasant. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for the taste. It has flavours of bland, with hints of mediocrity. Slightly sweet mediocrity, and mild lemony bland, but bland and mediocre nonetheless. There’s very little to say about this, as there’s no real flavour to describe. Welcome to dreaded vanilla country. Avoid.

Twinings’ Fresh And Fruity: Blackcurrant, Ginseng and Vanilla

This is the one I’ve been looking forward to. It actually sounds like it might have some real flavour, and that it might even be tasty! The last 3 offerings have left me somewhat apprehensive, though. My hope is that this infusion will redeem Twinings, or I might be about to write them off as a company investing in failed experiments.

The final disappointment

The final disappointment

Ah, now this smells more like it. A very strong aroma of Blackcurrants emanates from the cup as the bag bobs about with tiny shreds of herb releasing their flavour into the boiling water for 3 minutes. Now, the final test: the taste. There is a taste of blackcurrants, though it’s not particularly strong. Nor is the Vanilla, though it’s definitely there. What is there, however, is what I can only presume is Ginseng, as I’ve no idea what that actually tastes of. But it tears apart the flavours of Blackcurrant and Vanilla, and attacks your tongue with a dour bitterness. This easily overpowers any other flavours, which is a shame because it’s AWFUL. A nasty, bitter taste of something rotten that destroys any sweetness permeates the whole tea, and it really shouldn’t be here. Avoid.

~~~

So there we go, one tea, and three tisanes. All four of them horrible. Vile liquids that attack your tastebuds without mercy and leave you in a desperate search for something worth drinking. I threw away the last half or more of all of these drinks in utter disgust. Thankfully I started the day with a cup of Golden Yunnan, and had an Earl Grey with lunch, which came between the ‘Green’ tea and the three tisanes, which I drank back-to-back like an idiot. If you like teas or herbal teas, I can only recommend you stick to the usual ranges. Twinings’ selection of herbal teas and anything that isn’t from their range of black teas should be (you guessed it) avoided.

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Responses

  1. *sigh* I am not a fan of Twinings, ‘cept their bagged Prince of Wales, which is actually a pretty decent light/neutral tea.

    Sorry you had to experience this. Peh!

    • I’m rapidly going off them as well. Their Darjeeling is okay in the absence of any alternatives, but their Earl Grey seems dusty and plain. I currently have Ridgway teabags at work, which are a much better choice, but still not a patch on proper loose leaf stuff.

      I shan’t be going near any more tisanes in a hurry though.


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