Ever since visiting their famous London shop on the Strand, I’ve found myself drawn to Twinings, allured by their rich history (did you know they have the world’s oldest continually-used company logo? NEATO!) and status as a quintessential British tea brand. Therefore, it’s made me increasingly giddy to be seeing more and more Twinings tea varieties on US supermarket shelves! I’ve just recently found their line of green teas and saw this blend was marked as “New!” on the packaging, so of course, I plopped it into my cart to review without a second thought. Let’s do this!
Box looks nice, pleasant and simply designed- but it doesn’t take too long before things get really interesting! When I cut open a bag of this tea, I was initially expecting to see regular ol’ tea fannings maybe with some strawberry chunks, or just straight up leaves- pretty common even with flavored teas. However, what I saw was.. inquizzling! Have a close look at the picture, and you’ll see there are actually tiny beads of flavoring dispersed throughout the tea! I managed to single one bead out and give it a quick bite to confirm that this indeed is the source of the berry flavoring of this blend. Of course, I’ve only recently begun the practice of opening up tea bags and having a close look at the fannings inside, but this seems like a pretty unique way to flavor tea and something I’ve never seen before. Neato!
The flavor of this tea depends heavily on how long you steep it, and my best guess would be due to the flavor microbeads. Twinings recommends you steep the bag for ~2 minutes, but I believe this length of time is far too short for the leaves to impart any of their inherent flavor into the brew- pretty much all you’ll be tasting is hot strawberry-flavored water from the fast dissolution of the beads. I’ve found that letting the tea steep for 4-5 minutes results in a great balance of flavor between the berry madness and the far more subtle notes of the green tea.
As I’ve alluded to, your enjoyment of this tea is heavily dependent on how much you respect will of the microbeads! No matter the duration of your steep, the strawberry flavor of the brew will heavily overpower any hints of pomegranate or raspberry that may otherwise be present in the tea. The only thing you have any real control over is the ratio of the taste of the actual green tea itself to the taste of tart strawberry. Quite often I’d leave the bag in for over five minutes and have no issues with bitterness upon tasting. In fact, this might sound weird, but I found myself brewing this tea on several occasions as sort of a late-night study drink- there’s something about the sweet subtlety the tea adopts when you’ve let it brew long enough that allows you to enjoy its calming effect even if your mind is focused on other things. This tea will happily accompany you as you force yourself through writing a huge essay or tackling a mountain of spreadsheets without demanding any attention from you. It’s a quiet companion- someone who listens rather than speaks. Does that make any sense? Or do I just really need to stop writing these tea reviews so late at night? 😛
As someone who struggles with drinking pure green tea due to its characteristic grassy taste, I found Twining’s Strawberry Raspberry Passionfruit Tea both a simple delight in its own right and a very gentle introduction into acquiring the taste for straight green tea. I had purchased this tea originally because I was interested in the fruity tastes it featured, but when I found myself intentionally steeping the tea in such a way that I could coax out the grassy and fresh green tea flavor, I knew Twinings had done a great job with this blend.
Cost of Tea: $2.99 for 20 tea bags
Overall Grade: B