At least one good thing came out of 2016- I met Not Just Tea at the Sugarloaf Craft festival back in April. They had samples of their Fruit Sangria tea blend which is to die for. I had the foresight to pick up a couple other blends, enough to hold me over while I anxiously await their return to Maryland.
As I'm getting down to the last precious cup of Bella Coola, I thought I'd do a tasting for you. As you can see the blend is full of texture - lots of dry fruit here (oranges, apples, pineapple, peach) with South African Rooibos as the base. I strongly suspect that the flower petals here are hibiscus (though it's not listed on their label or website)
As it steeps the recommended 5-7 minutes (I do 5 because I can smell the potency of this a mile away - it's tangy but sweet) The tea liquor is a vibrant magenta color (hence the hibiscus). Rooibos tends to have a lot of sediment- you can see it sinking along with the concentrated color of the hibiscus. They sit on the bottom, so you have to be careful when you pour to go back and forth between the cups or else the first cup will be super weak, and the last incredibly pungent. When Not Just Teas prepares their samples, they actually boil a large batch of tea and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Then squeeze all the juices out and serve, to avoid any problems with cup consistency.
As for the flavor, it’s rather punchy to start: tart, with a lot of sourness coming from the apple. The citrus flavors are more subdued and the whole thing fades to a delightful sugar coated fruit flavor. I’m not super into fruity or sweet teas, but this has a nice cooling effect. Sip it slowly, the tea gets more concentrated as you go, and the tartness builds on itself – drink it too fast and you’ll completely miss the subtle sweet notes at the end. This is one that changes a lot depending on what pieces you get in each cup- mine seems to have a lot more apple in it than anything else. I'd recommend this tea as a juice substitute, it's caffeine and sugar free, and is pretty close to a tropical punch, would be lovely iced, and fun for a kids tea party.