Fruit ‘tea’, or, my first real foray into blending tea ~

This week I did something rare for me: I made my own tea blend. It’s the result of a confluence of vectors ~ some ancient (but still perfectly usable, & very tasty) Teavana Winterberry, found at the back of shelves, when I reorganised the tea shelves; an abundance of one of my favourite fruit teas (Harney’s peach tea); and a small order of a mango tea blend.

Teavana’s Winterberry — a blend of apple pieces, hibiscus flowers, rose hip peels, lemongrass, orange peel, strawberry pieces, green tea, orange slices, and marigold petals — was one of my all-time faves for drinking low caffeine iced tea. The demise of Teavana almost four years ago was a sad day for me — I always enjoyed their tea and tea wares. The Winterberry was especially versatile — good hot or cold. The complex fruit flavours intensify with heating.

Finding the almost half-full canister of tea was such a gift! Really — I felt like the tea goddesses were smiling on me…😉. So I made myself a few afternoon mugs during the week, drinking from my largest mug. And decided it was worth attempting a copy, however flawed.

First I ordered some mango tea, another favourite flavour. Tiesta Tea’s Maui Madness — pineapple, orange slices, mango, safflowers, hibiscus, strawberries, & marigolds) — was my choice. I’d ordered it earlier, before I found the Winterberry stash, tryinlg to emulate what I remembered of a fruit-forward tea. It’s a good tea, but lacks the complexity of the Winterberry.

After finding the Winterberry, I mixed the two together — about two or three parts Winterberry to one part Maui Madness. That was better, since the Winterberry dominated. But I’m not going to be able to replace the Winterberry, so I need something to mimic at least portions of that mix. Looking mindlessly at my tea shelves (you won’t believe how much tea I have in tins, bags, canisters, et al!), I saw two tins of Harney’s Peach Tea, another favourite for summer iced tea. TWO TINS! It was a sign!

I mixed an entire tin of peach tea (actually a blend of rose-hips, hibiscus, peach pieces, orange peel, apple pieces, & safflower petals) into the large canister of the Winterberry/ Maui Madness mix. Putting my glass kettle on (set — I so love variable temp kettles! — to ‘black tea,’ since herbals are brewed in water that’s come to a boil, for 5-7 minutes), I took a happy inhale of the fruity blend in my mug’s strainer.

Just a quarter hour later, I was comfortably settled in the rocker, mug in one hand & shortbread in the other. The tea’s flavour was lovely: ripe fruit — peach & mango, obviously — against the tart backdrop of apple & hibiscus. The green tea undernote was a nice counterpoint. When this is gone, I’ll have to find something w/ the Winterberry’s green tea, rose hip, orange, lemongrass, & strawberry. Or at least the green tea/ rose hip/ strawberry — these seem fairly pronounced, even w/ the additions of the mango & peach blends.

For now? I’m pretty impressed w/ my first foray into an intentional blending! It drinks well, and I’d be happy to brew a pot for a visitor to share over cookies. What more can I ask? I recommend the experience. 😏

Until next time, enjoy a nice hot cup of your favourite — or get adventurous, and try something completely new! Tea is rarely a losing proposition.

Published by: Britton Gildersleeve

Writer Britton Gildersleeve grew up in Southeast Asia, moved to the Middle East when she married, and returned to Oklahoma to raise her two sons. Now that they're grown, she and her beloved live in Virginia, where she can be closer to sons, daughter-in-law, & grandsons. Sometimes she hears voices, so she writes ~ And she drinks a lot of tea.

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