Feeling Fruity

Feeling Fruity

With spring on its way, we invited our occasional guest blogger Tim Gibson to sample Ronnefeldt’s fruit infusion tea tasting selection. Here’s what he made of our thirst-quenching cuppas

One of the things I love about fruit infusions is their richly indulgent colours. Sparkling yellows sit alongside dashing pinks, while rich reds and vibrant bronzes jostle for attention like face-painted schoolboys at a village fete.

With 10 different top-quality fruit teas to taste in the Ronnefeldt sampler box, I couldn’t resist laying out a line of brilliant white tea-cups and brewing them all at the same time.

The result was a veritable kaleidoscope of colour – giving ample support to the idea that we eat (and drink!) as much with our eyes as with our mouths.

A further corollary of my decision to indulge in a mass brew-up was that I got to compare the different flavours of these teas side by side. That meant I could position them on a spectrum of taste – with the dark, rich, berryesque teas at one end and the lighter, lemony and peachy brews at the other.

Working from end to end was like taking a stroll around the most fragrant garden ever planted. It’s how I imagine Monty Don’s house would smell –natural, earthy and refreshingly fruity.

Because here’s the thing about Cup of Tea’s fruit infusions: they smell fantastic. The first one I cracked open was White Peach, and even before I’d added water I was assailed by the mouth-watering aroma of juicy peach flesh.

A few minutes later, and that same smell was wafting up from the steaming cup, ready for me to enjoy a refreshing sip of this delicately sweet nectar that would quench even the mightiest thirst. Definitely one for a warm spring morning, perhaps after an hour or two spent digging the flowerbeds.

Talking of refreshment, Green Apple offers a slightly subtler flavour than White Peach. It’s a paler, less orangey, colour in the cup, and sits on the tongue with an intriguing lightness. You know you’re tasting apple, but there’s an undertone of something more floral – probably the white hibiscus that lingers beyond the fruity first hit.

Next on my continuum of colour was Lemon Twist – a tea that was far more refreshing than I expected. Think of the crisp flavour of traditional-style lemonade, without the cloying sweetness, and you won’t be far off the mark. It’s a winner for the warmer weather, but I couldn’t help thinking it would also be pretty good with a wee dram of Scotch in front of a wintery grate.

Another season-straddler is Fine Pear, whose nomenclature perfectly describes its flavour. It is indeed fine, and it does indeed taste of pear – though these simple descriptors don’t begin to do justice to its mild, sweet character. I know that tea can’t have a texture, but this one feels as if it does – making it soothing in the mouth, and perfect for any time of year.

A still-topical tipple came in the form of Olympic Star, which blends strawberry, orange and mango to deliver a refreshing summer cup. The tasting notes recommend trying it cold, which I duly did – and it makes a highly satisfactory long drink over ice. Much more subtle than squash or fruit juice, this tea really is a top performer.

The same could be said of the aptly named Fresh & Cheeky. This was one of my favourite teas in the sampler, because it had more than a hint of the outdoors in its flavour. I could almost imagine gathering wild strawberries and berries from a hillside and brewing this drink over a camping stove. I didn’t do that, of course – but the best drinks are those that fire our imagination and feed our dreams.

The delicious Elderberry had a similar effect. It reminded me of hunkering down in a café while trekking through the Tyrol Valley – a hint of fresh mountain air mingled with the floral notes of rose petals and a twist of lemon.

As for the peppy Strawberry-Raspberry, this is another tea that does exactly what it says on the packet. A few slurps immediately transported me back to the pick-your-own fields of my youth, and made me yearn for the good-time days of July and August.

Red Fruit Pudding also jolted my memory. This time it was to my mum’s summer-fruits pudding, served with an indulgent splash of double cream. Maybe it was my imagination, but this dark, dense tea seems to have that same mix of sharp berry flavours and smooth creaminess that is associated with its namesake. It’s a lot less calorific, too.

Finally, I came to Fiery Cherry. Its strong flavour lingers in the mouth well after you’ve finished sipping. I love the deep purple hue of this tea, which looks like the finest silk as it swirls around the cup. And its flavour, with Morello cherries, hibiscus and orange peel, is totally distinctive. Yes, it’s a cup of tea, but it tastes almost alcoholic thanks to the complexity of its make-up. One to savour after a busy spring day, as the weak sun turns to an ember and the sky takes on the same dark tone as the liquor in your cup.

That seems a fitting way to end the fruit infusion taste test: with my senses pricked, my imagination stimulated and my taste buds well and truly tickled. So here’s to the arrival of spring – and a fruity few months of refreshment!

Cup of Tea is the perfect place to buy fruit infusions online. You can buy many of the teas Tim tasted individually – or why not order your own Ronnefeldt tea tasting selection to sample a range of flavours?

14th February 2017

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