It’s the start of the Easter weekend everybody! That means a whole four days off work to relax, eat far too much chocolate and then desperately try to cram in some gym sessions to stop feeling so bad about your food binge.
For me, it also means plenty of time to try some new teas and write all about them.
So let’s get started then, shall we? Today I have opted for a naturally caffeine free tea this tea which is made from something completely different to your usual tea suspects. This is no run-of-the-mill decaf tea bag either, this is Earl of Africa from LEAF.
Anyone who’s read my blog before will most likely be aware of my love of LEAF on Bold St. LEAF is a tea shop and bar in Liverpool that is home to a wide range of imaginative tea blends. I’ve already written glowing posts about some of their other teas, such as Leaves, Root and Rind, a black tea blend with licorice and orange, and an incredible raspberry and mint infusion which looked and tasted amazing. So with LEAF’s track record to date, I couldn’t wait to give this new tea a try.
Earl of Africa’s regal moniker comes from its ingredients. It is a variation of the classic and much loved Earl Grey, but instead of a strong black tea, LEAF have used rooibos instead. It also blends vanilla and orange with the usual bergamot addition to provide a little something extra in the taste. Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss, just so you know) is a plant grown predominantly in Southern Africa and is completely unrelated to the tea bushes of China and India. It has been around for years as a caffeine-free alternative to black tea and you might have come across before by its other name, red bush. Jennie, the Retail Manager, and self titled ‘tea lady’ of LEAF told me that she loves to use rooibos as a base flavour because of the rich flavour that it brings to the tea and with this blend, I was certain that the use of rooibos instead of black tea was going to make a real difference to the classic Earl Grey taste.
I opened the tea and was met by a rich, sweet scent. This blend used vanilla and that was certainly apparent from the smell. I popped it in the teapot, boiled the kettle, and let the tea steep for about 4 minutes. Once ready the tea had produced a beautiful, amber-red brew clearly demonstrating why it has been nicknamed red bush. Some people drink rooibos like black tea, adding milk and sugar if they are that way inclined. I decided to go milk-free with this tea to make sure that I could fully appreciate all the different flavours in the blend. I can always add it in afterwards anyway, right?
To taste the tea maintained the vanilla sweetness that was apparent in the scent but the bergamot and orange had also come through beautiful to provide that unmistakable, Earl Grey taste. The rooibos was much softer than an Assam or Ceylon but still gave a great depth of flavour to the tea. One flavour note that stood out to me though, and one that I wasn’t expecting, was a slight warmth, maybe that of ginger, or like some of LEAF’s other teas, a hint of licorice. This could be purely down to the rooibos as I’m not overly familiar with it but it was a very pleasant addition that gave the cup an extra level of enjoyment.
I would be happy to try this tea again and to me it’s a perfect cuppa to relax with at the end of a long day. I look forward to trying some more rooibos blends to see just how versatile the red bush can be!
All of LEAF’s teas are available to buy online or in store and if you want to check out their fantastic range you can do so by clicking visiting www.thisisleaf.co.uk/shop/. I would highly recommend visiting the tea shop if you can though, it’s a great place!
What are your thoughts on rooibos? Do you think it’s good as a black tea substitute? Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.