* Prices may differ from that shown
I have been at home ill after a major operation recently and I have been told to keep my liquid intake up. I find water pretty boring and in this cold weather it is nice to have a warm drink. My lovely husband went out and bought a shopping bag fill of different fruit teas. I am going to review them here, as I have had quite a few cups of each sort. It is amazing how different they can be. Happy reading! CAMOMILE AND SPEARMINT I have always been a big fan of both camomile and spearmint teas but this is the first time I have tried them together. I have to say it works really well together. The spearmint is pretty strong and this is the dominant flavour but it is somewhat mellowed by the camomile. The tea is slightly green in colour, due to the mint, but it is much lighter than a usual straight mint tea. This tea also contains lemon grass, orange flowers and passion flowers. I cannot taste these individually in the tea but I am sure they are a very much needed ingredient for this delicious recipe. I find this tea very relaxing to drink. I particularly like it in the evenings when I am winding down for bed. Camomile is renowned for its calming properties and they definitely work in this tea from Twinings. Due to the minty flavour in this tea, is also freshens your breath well so would be ideal to keep in the office. I will definitely be investing in a few boxes for my desk drawer. This is my new favourite herbal tea and I think I will start drinking quite a bit of it. It is so relaxing that it is almost addictive. It tastes as good as it smells. Divine!
Twinings camomile & Spearmint Infusions - a wonderful drink to send you to sleep. As someone who sometimes has difficulty sleeping I think this stuff is amazing. I discovered it after trying pure camomile tea and finding it tasted so vile I could hardly drink it and any effects it had in terms of making me sleepy were counteracted by my disgust at the taste! The combination of camomile with spearmint results in something that doesn't have a very strong flavour at all - which is kind of perfect for something you want to send you to sleep. The flavours seem to cancel each other out quite a lot so you're left with something that is subtly minty without the sharp edge that mint tea usually has. It's just a lovely soft and soothing taste. However if it's left to brew for too long the camomile really comes out more and if it's too strong I find it gives me a sore throat! I wouldn't drink this stuff anytime other than bedtime because I can just feel it sending me to sleep as I drink it. It can be so bad sometimes that I have to drink it in bed because I'm just too sleepy to get up again! It really does work but don't expect major miracles - I love it though because it can just tip me over the edge and make the difference between a decent night's sleep and lying there for hours getting more and more irritated. If you have major problems with insomnia this isn't likely to do a lot for you but if you just need that little bit of extra help I haven't found anything better. At around £1.50 for 20 teabags it's an absolute bargain - it tastes good and it sends me off to sleep. Lovely.
I have mixed feelings about herbal teas. Sometimes they seem to taste of grass clippings seasoned with house dust (not that I’ve tried that particular combination) but occasionally they just hit the spot. I drink too much tea and coffee and it often seems a good idea to try another type of hot drink in order to prevent my insides looking like the inside of grandpa’s tea pot. So, our cupboard seems to gradually fill up with boxes of herbal infusions, each one opened but strangely full of unused bags. The thing is they look so nice on the supermarket shelf, their colourful boxes offering fruity delights, reviving thoughts of childhood Ribena, or home-made lemonade. But when I get them home, that dusty, musty taste seems to dominate, causing me to think they should be sold in plain brown paper bags from the fertiliser section of B&Q. I’ve got to admit however that Twinings Camomile and Spearmint is a drink I have stuck with, so much so that I’m now on my second box. I even sometimes think it does me good, particularly at the end of the day, when my palate seems jaded from too much Gold Blend, or when my guts seem to be producing a special acid bath to burn the brown coffee stain from inside my stomach. I first encountered camomile and spearmint in the tea break at evening class. The elderly lady who runs the tea bar has about a dozen boxes of various herbal teas and it’s a great place to try them all out one by one. Round about the fifth week I happened on camomile and spearmint and was pleasantly surprised at its drinkability. No sawdust and dried leaves taste in this one! The spearmint seems to disguise the camomile without totally smothering it and the overall effect isn’t too bad. When I’d bought a box of my own, I read it carefully (I always look at ingredients lists) and read that it contains 31% camomile and 23% spearmint. It also contains a whole load of other herbs like straw berry leaves (strawberry leaves???), orange and linden flowers (don’t ask me what linden is), lemon grass, passion flowers, rosehips and rosebuds. Quite a cocktail eh? Later on I actually looked up the properties of the two main herbs and found that, its not a bad combination. I’m not sure whether these dictionaries of herbal properties are reliable but no doubt there’s some truth in these old traditions. Camomile has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is a nerve sedative and a tonic for the system. Traditionally it is used to calm anger and to ease headaches, as well as to relieve muscular or cramping pains (not that I get those too often!). The only time I tried it on its own was several years ago when I was going through a rather stressful few days and an elderly lady made me try a cup of camomile tea. However, on its own, I found the taste just too sawdusty and something I had to gulp down quickly before the taste hits my consciousness. Whether it helped with the stress or not I really couldn’t say and in any case its probably better to deal with root causes than apply a herbal “sticking plaster”. Spearmint has other properties. It is anti-emetic (stops you feeling sick), and its also an antiseptic. Tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, bronchitis, chills, cramps (there they are again), chronic gastritis, common cold, headaches, indigestion, morning sickness, motion sickness, nasal congestion, nausea, halitosis, painful menstruation, and various minor ailments. As if that isn’t enough! Combine the two lists and you get an infusion which is good for a variety of conditions including anger, muscle pain, headache, indigestion, and bad breath! Sounds pretty good to me. And if you wonder what to do with the teabags, spearmint is allegedly great for repelling insects, rats and mice so you could scatter them around your local infested area s hould be unfortunate enough to have one nearby. This drink won’t be for everyone of course. The inherently herby taste takes some getting used to, and although you can add sugar or honey, I find you just end up with a sweet herby drink, possibly more yukky than the clear taste of the unadulterated version. For myself, I guess I’ll carry on with this infusion. Its particularly nice late at night: you know, that time when you’ve had your last drink, but you decide to stay up a bit to watch another programme or read another chapter. You can drink it knowing that its not going to keep you awake, and it might actually help you get to sleep later.
Spearmint, if you recall, is often used in toothpaste and chewing gum. Twinnings Camomile Tea is extremely subtle - to the point where it tastes of almost nothing. When I got home to realise I has actually bought a combination of the two, (note to myself: should read the boxes more carefully) I was a litle apprehensive. But I was tobe pleasantly surprised... The 'softness' of the camomile neutralizes much of the spearmint's sharpness, so that whilst it remains the dominant flavour, it does not assault your tastebuds in the way it would if it were brewed alone. There is a sweetness also ... kind of like those white sugary mint sweets. I usually only drink tea with my cereal or with biscuits in the afternoon. But Camomile and Spearmint needs to be drunk alone, and in that capacity, is a more healthy and more refreshing alternative to a soft drink or 'ordinary' tea. Maybe misreading labels isn't always such a bad thing...
I am a big fan of fruit teas, and this is one of the few varieties I've found that I can't stand. Some combinations really don't work. Try to imagine it. Camomile has a gentle, slightly bitter earthy planty taste to it - it's a drink to relax with. Mint you know about I expect. It's a lift you up, refresh you, wake you up sort of taste. The combination of effects and tastes is not, in my opinion, a good one. It just doesn't work and I think the resultant taste is pretty grim. I am not a huge fan of mint tea - I don't think it works as well as some other flavours. Mint with anything else seems to be even worse. if you like mint teas, you might possibly get along with this, but I really would not recomend it. I think its horrible.
Character: This delightful combination of traditional herbs is blended with lemon grass, orange flowers and passion flowers to give an infusion that is perfect at the end of a hard day or after a heavy meal. Try with lemonade and apple juice for a sparkling summer cooler. How and when to serve: Allow one teabag per person, add freshly boiled water to the bag and leave to infuse for three to five minutes. Naturally caffeine-free, the resulting Infusions are ideal at any time of day, either hot or iced.