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I'm a tea drinker through and through, and I love a good cuppa. I am not fussy about brands and like to taste my way through a selection of the many different varieties of tea available. I spotted a new range of flavoured teas by Tetley some time last year. They were released with a special promotional price and I picked up a box of 40 Tetley Vanilla Redbush teabags for just £1.00.
Product description: "Tetley Redbush and Vanilla has all the qualities of pure redbush, with the warm, soothing flavour of vanilla. Its naturally sweet taste makes it a delicious alternative to normal tea. Plus as it's naturally caffeine free, it's the perfect choice for relaxing with later in the day, or as a smooth post dinner drink."
These tea bags come in a basic cardboard box with no excess packaging, and the tea bags themselves are loose within the box. The tea bags have a flat circular shape, but they do puff out once the water is poured in and the bag swells up allowing the tea to move around a bit and infuse better.
Brewing instructions: Enjoy like your normal cuppa, add boiling water to the bag and infuse for 3 to 5 minutes. Try with and without milk and sugar.
I make most of my cuppas in the same way, allowing the tea bag to brew for a few minutes and then adding both milk and sugar to lighten and sweeten the flavour. I found that when I prepared the Vanilla Redbush tea this way it did not taste at its best, and was a bit on the sickly side as the milk seemed to taint the flavour of the tea. I much prefer to have this without any milk and drink it black, with a little sugar or honey just to add to the sweet taste of the tea.
I like to brew this tea for a few minutes to get the fullest possible flavour, and when the tea reaches a rich warm shade of mahogany then I know it's ready to drink! The scent of vanilla is noticeable from the first moment that your pour the water in, and the flavour is recognisable against the bright taste of the redbush tea. It is sweet and flavoursome without being overpowering. It is quite unusual and makes a nice change from other teas, especially if you have a sweet tooth. I think this is perfect for drinking with dessert or at afternoon tea if you want an extra treat.
Ingredients: Hand-picked Redbush (91%), flavouring (7.5%), natural vanilla flavour (1%).
(Note, not sure what the mysterious missing 0.5% consists of?!)
Overall I think this is a nice variety of flavoured tea from Tetley, and I would recommend giving it a go if you fancy trying something a little different from your usual brew.
I'm a bit tea obsessed and have a tendency to go through about eight cups a day; I have to have two before I even leave the house in the morning. So after a recent visit to the Dr. I had a total flap when I was advised to stop drinking caffeine. Now I like fruit teas, but most of the time I want a nice strong cuppa with milk; so I knew total replacement with fruit teas just wasn't an option. The T.V. adverts for Tetley Redbush really caught my attention then when I saw the lady clearly enjoying what looked like a normal cuppa, with milk, whilst completely avoiding any caffeine.
I did a bit of research on the internet and found that Redbush tea also contains far less tannins than standard black tea, another health point to Redbush then. (I was also told the tannins weren't going to do me any favours either.) I went to the supermarket and picked up a pack of Tetley Redbush (without vanilla). As soon as I opened the packet, the smell of rolling tobacco hit me. I'm not a smoker and found that really unpleasant. I'd purchased a pack of 40 teabags and found it a real struggle to get through them but I felt I had to now black tea was out-of-bounds. So when I'd finished the pack, I asked my husband to pick me up another on his next trip to the shops.
He came home not realising that he'd unwittingly picked up Tetley Vanilla Redbush. In fairness, the packs look extremely similar. A pack of 40 Vanilla Redbush set us back £1.69, so slightly more than supermarket black tea but not excessively expensive. The teabags are loose inside the distinctive red box. The box has a white pattern on the front and the Tetley logo with 'Vanilla Redbush' written underneath. You can clearly see you're getting 40 teabags for your money and that is also on the front of the box above the Tetley logo. I decided to give the pack a go now they were home, even though the taste combination seemed bizarre to me.
As soon as I opened the pack, that familiar rolling tobacco scent hit me, tempered with a sharp, overly sweet scent of vanilla. Erghh... I was sure I wasn't going to like it but I was desperate for a brew. I don't drink my tea with sugar and found the sweet smell really off-putting.
Ok, remember the tannin bit? Well I like my tea strong and it's the tannins that help give that lovely strong flavour. Due to Redbush's much lower tannin content it doesn't brew as strongly as black tea. The tea will be a much paler red colour (and a much weaker brew) than you're used to unless you brew it for longer and add less milk. The vanilla does give the tea sweetness but only very slightly; it doesn't taste as sickly sweet as it smells and I found despite not liking sweet tea, the vanilla addition has not put me off.
After drinking this tea exclusively for 6 months, I am now really used it and quite like it. Although I still find the smell of the dried leaves to be a bit 'funny', I actually put this in my shopping trolley on a weekly basis. Though that's because I felt I had no choice but to get used to drinking Redbush. It's definitely an acquired taste and took me a good three or four packs to get used to. My mother, father and husband have all tried this Vanilla Redbush and pronounced it 'disgusting' - my thoughts exactly for the first month of drinking it.
I've given it three stars out of five because although I like it, I'm sure that's only through necessity. I can't recommend it to anyone because the flavour is just too 'weird'; I don't think anyone reading this is thinking 'Yum - tobacco and vanilla! My favourite!' In short, if caffeine's now off limits and you have the time and patience to get used to this tea, you will eventually like it. If you pick up a packet just because you fancy a chance one day, you'll probably bin it that afternoon.
Caffeine free redbush tea flavoured with vanilla