Good news everyone! IT’S PI DAY!! And spring is in the air! At least.. in theory it is. 😛 In honor of the coming sunshine and happy times, I’ll be reviewing a particularly cheery blend today- Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Company’s Mango n’ Friends fruit tisane!
According to its packet, this tisane contains pineapple and orange pieces combined with safflower and marigold blossoms, as well as added strawberry, mango, and tangerine bits. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the blend to make a proper iced pitcher of it (which is its suggested method of serving), so I will be reviewing this tisane brewed hot. What initially struck me about the dried infusion is the burst of orange scent that greeted me when I opened the packet. It seriously smells like orange jello! Yumm!
My method for preparing this brew was relatively simple- freshly boiled water with about a tablespoon of fruit pieces per 200mL. The fragrance of the tisane continues to develop deliciously while it’s steeping- with notes of mango and strawberry now as easily identifiable as the orange was previously. I allowed the infusion to steep for roughly five minutes, seriously enjoying being surrounded by the fruity jello scented-goodness. I probably looked like a bit of a dazed weirdo in the process, thinking back on it. 😛
The resulting brew had a very thick, syrupy mouthfeel- likely due to the sugars present in the candied fruit pieces. I was immediately stuck by an initial burst of orange flavor, followed by an aftertaste I have been struggling for days to describe.. minty? I still can’t put my finger on it- sharply.. herby, slightly bitter, while leaving a light cooling feeling in my throat. Subsequent sips had the same aftertaste, though now I was able to identify subtle strawberry notes that had been massively overshadowed by the orange taste previously. After doing some research on the tisane’s ingredients, I’ve found the mysterious note I had tasted might just be the safflower blossoms, which people tend to prescribe a grassy, almost tobacco-like flavor to. That’s my best guess, anyway. 🙂Later on, I decided to cut Mango N’ Friends with a lightly roasted oolong to see if I could cut down on the sharpness of the citrus flavor whilst toning down the safflower aftertaste- and the results were fantastic. The natural citrus notes of the oolong complimented and smoothed out the flavors of the cup while concealing the minty tobacco mystery aftertaste, thus making this tisane more enjoyable to drink hot.
Without a doubt, this blend is meant to be brewed iced, and would be a great replacement for those sugary drinks we tend to gulp down by the gallon during the hot summer months. However, by blending it with a mild, grassy green or oolong tea, one can turn it into a pleasantly smooth hot drink as well. I believe it could also be easily blended with other teas as an iced beverage- the formidable boldness of the citrus could pair quite well with a robust black tea for a full bodied and refreshing brew. Experiment away!