Friday, November 4, 2011

Unique Fall Tea Series : Lupicia Sweet Autumn Rooibos

I don't often find myself at a loss for words when describing teas, but this inconspicuous Lupicia teabag sample threw me for a loop. It was completely unexpected! And while it doesn't have a flavor that many people would typically crave, Sweet Autumn Rooibos deserves to be the first in my Fall Unique Tea series because it has more than one "twist" and has earned my respect as a Rooibos blend that actually works.

Sweet potato isn't the first thing that pops into mind when you ponder flavors to add to a tea. It tends to be savory and gets soft and thread-like when heated. Yet if you step back for one moment and think of tea and flavor, the combination makes perfect sense! What is sweet potato casserole at harvest time, if not maple syrup and starchy goodness?

Lupicia Fresh Tea's recent tea-of-the-month puts this fall harvest flavor profile front and center with a robust rooibus flavored with chestnut, pumpkin, and Japanese sweet potato pieces. The Japanese varieties are different from the type we enjoy in North America, more solid and colored a bit differently than the dark orange we would normally expect. I did my best to capture the ingredients in the picture below.

The dry leaf smells a bit like raw carrot or carrot cake as the pumpkin pieces and sweet potato mix with the caramel sweetness of the Rooibos. Lupicia describes the Rooibos as being flavored with chestnut, and while I agree that I detect it, it's not very strong. Just enough to give you the impression of walking past a street vendor warming up a fresh batch on the streetcorner of a Holiday market in Europe. (Have I mentioned I've been craving craft-roasted chestnuts now that the weather's turning?)

But the ingredients aren't the only surprise with Sweet Autumn. I'm not joking when I tell you that the mouthfeel of this tisane once it's steeped is nearly identical to apple juice, and though there's no apple or apple spices anywhere near the teabag, it's enough to trick your palate into thinking you're at an orchard.

Even the liqueur is slightly different from a typical Rooibos - a deep fall orange instead of an amber red.

The taste?

You'll enjoy it if you like sweet and slightly cakey/biscuity flavors or if you're looking for an alternative to the fruit and spice-laden seasonal teas. I don't always blog about Lupicia's monthly tea samples, but this particular blend was a revelation. I will be purchasing more of this tea to hopefully serve with Thanksgiving dinner.

If you're looking to branch out from the usual fall standards - this Rooibos blend is one to try!


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