Product Type: Teapigs Tea
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My Teabag is a Temple
Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint Tea
Member Name: fizzywizzy
Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint Tea
Advantages: Delicious and unusual; ethical company
Disadvantages: Slightly more exepnsive than most brands
Over the last year or so I've had trouble sleeping, or more correctly, problems with waking very early. One of the things I've done to try to promote more sleep is to reduce my caffeine intake and I've done that by drinking much less coffee and replacing it with caffeine free fruit and herbal infusions.
'Alternative tea' is big business now with shelves and shelves of nicely packaged exotic sounding varieties and I love to try new ones. This 'Liquorice and Peppermint' tea from Teapigs was one that another review writer recommended and I added it to my online basket when looking to replenish my cupboards.
I don't often buy Teapigs products because they are rather more expensive than most brands and since the bigger mainstream brands have jumped on the herbal tea bandwagon you can buy some pretty decent blends at reasonable prices. That said Teapigs do stand out because their flavours are superior to those mainstream brands and because of their ethical credentials. They use fairly traded ingredients and support a number of charitable projects. Ecologically, they use mostly recyclable packaging and although they use fine silk to make their 'tea temples', these too are biodegradable.
The box I purchased contains 15 tea temples and cost around £4.20 in a local department store's foodhall. Ocado currently sell a box of 50 for £11.45. The cheapest price I've seen online is £3.98 from One Click Pharmacy. Supermarkets are now starting to pick up on Teapigs so thhis variety should be more accessible in time.
This liquorice and peppermint variety is part of Teapigs 'Sweet treat' range and it is, indeed, a rather sweet tea and perhaps not for everyone. The artwork on the packaging shows a line drawing of a traditional Dutch windmill because, according to the product notes, liquorice is hugely popular in the Netherlands. I'm happy to believe that although I do associate liquorice (especially very salty liquorice, the type I really love) more with Scandinavia than with Holland. Teapigs also highlight the fact that liquorice is used extensively in Chinese homeopathic medicine.
Teapigs recommend one tea temple per person and I make mine in a mug, but you could brew the tea in a pot if you wished. The recommended infusion time is three minutes and this works for me; any less and you don't get sufficient flavour, though leaving the tea temple in hot water for longer than about three and a half to four minutes does not result in a stewed or too strong flavour.
Teapigs say that they use silk for the bags - sorry, 'tea temples' - because it allows the contents to move around more freely. I'm inclined to agree with that: there is an obvious difference in how the tea moves around when the bag is dunked in the water compared with conventional square bags in which the contents clump together in the bottom of the bag when put in the water.
There are only two ingredients in this blend - liquorice root and peppermint. Teapigs stress the fact that they use only whole leaf and say this makes for a better flavour. You can clearly see the contents of the tea temple through the silk and you can see nice little pieces of peppermint leave and shreds of the liquorice root. The aroma of the dry tea temple is predominantly of peppermint; it's vibrant and slightly sweet. However, once the tea is infusing the liquorice is the stronger smell.
The resulting brew is straw coloured and sweet smelling. I taste the liquorice first and am instantly transported to my childhood when I would buy sticks of liquorice root to chew from the chemist's shop in our village. The peppermint comes through later and is distinctive but milder in strength than the liquorice. This is a very sweet infusion and certainly doesn't require additional sweetener (personally I never feel the need to add sugar or other sweetener to herbal or fruit teas, but I know some people prefer to). In spite of the sweetness, this is a refreshing infusion and makes a good palate cleanser after a strongly spiced meal such as a curry. We generally keep a good supply of mint at home for making north African style mint tea but I find this an excellent alternative for those occasions when we've run out or fresh mint.
Teapigs products are relatively pricy but if you consider the cost of a coffee in one of the high street chains they start to look much better value. I do think they have a superior flavour to the cheaper brands but I couldn't justify making them my only brand. I keep Teapigs in as an occasional treat and look forward to a mug of luxury tea now and again. I would recommend this to liquorice fans and to herbal tea drinkers who enjoy peppermint tea but are looking for something new.
Summary: A delicious and natural herbal infusion from environmentally friendly company Teapgis