Product Type: Twinings Tea
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The blackberries aren't cross any more...
Twinings Wild Blackberry and Nettle
Member Name: SueMagee
Twinings Wild Blackberry and Nettle
Advantages: A fruit infusion which taste superb.
Disadvantages: Not as widely available as it ought to be.
For many years Iíve drunk Twiningsí Wild Blackberry and Nettle Infusion. Itís naturally caffeine-free which means that I can drink it at any time of the day without it affecting my sleep patterns or mood. Thereís also no added sugar and as an unsweetened mug of the infusion comes in at only four calories I donít mind how many drinks I have in the course of the day.
I like the packaging. Thereís nothing there that I canít recycle. Itís simply a cardboard box containing twenty teabags. The cardboard will compost or recycle and the used teabag goes into the compost bin. Itís easy to open and closes sensibly for storage. Thereís no cellophane wrapping to end up in landfill and nothing superfluous. Twinings have various ethical and Fair Trade initiatives and whilst thereís no suggestion that the ingredients in this infusion are Fair Trade they do seem to be a company that tries its best.
Itís very easy to make. Pop a teabag into a mug Ė or if youíre posh and use a teapot, allow one teabag per person. Add boiling water and leave to infuse for two to three minutes. Older boxes suggested an infusion time of three to five minutes, but I find three minutes to be about perfect. If you want the full effect serve it in a white mug. The infusion will be pink and then gradually turn into that dark red that wants to be purple when it grows up.
The aroma is pure blackberry. Iíve had a cold this week but I could still smell the infusion from several feet away. It almost takes over the room. Of the other ingredients Ė hibiscus, rosehip, orange peel, liquorice root and strawberry flavouring Ė there isnít even a hint. That blackberry is a thug. Blackberry leaves and blackberry pieces make up 11.2% of the ingredients, but 100% of the aroma.
The taste is not pure blackberry though. My first thought is always of the rosehip syrup that I was given as a child, but without the sweetness. Next comes what I can only describe as the red berry flavour. Itís the taste of a mixed fruit summer pudding with just a delicate hint of liquorice. Thereís a taste there that reminds me of Christmas Ė thatís the orange peel. The nettle comes through as a slightly peppery aftertaste. Itís a robust flavour too. With other brands Iíve sometimes resorted to drinking the tea with the bag still in the mug (disgusting, I know), but thatís not necessary here. This is not an infusion that smells better than it tastes, as so many are.
I find the mixture sweet enough for my taste, but then I drink both tea and coffee black with no sugar, so it might be that itís not sweet enough for everyone. It can be sweetened with honey or sugar, but never, ever add milk. In summer I make up jugs of this to have as a cold drink Ė just make it in the normal way and allow to cool. Iíve also given it to children as a cold drink, although I have added a little honey. My most indulgent use for it is as the liquid when I bake tea bread.
I look and feel better when I drink this regularly. Being caffeine-free it counts towards all that water I should be drinking everyday, whereas normal tea and coffee donít. Nettle has a natural cleansing effect. Because of my cold Iíve just about doubled my consumption of this over the last week and Iíve been in the annoying situation of feeling under the weather but having people telling me how well I look!
The price is reasonable. In my local supermarket the regular price is 99p for a box of twenty with occasional offers of two boxes for £1.50. Iíve never bought a box with a use-by date less than a year away and itís usually more like eighteen months, so itís possible to stock up and have a supply of delicious hot or cold drinks for less than 4p a mug. Not all supermarkets stock this tea Ė Iíve been unable to find it in the local Tesco or Sainsbury, but if your supermarket stocks the Twinings range it might only need the nudge of you asking to get it on the shelf.
Boxes of the infusion currently on sale are now described as ďBlackberry and NettleĒ rather than ďWild Blackberry and NettleĒ. The ingredients are exactly the same and I canít spot any difference in the taste of infusions from the new boxes. It could be that the blackberries have got over whatever it was they were cross about or an acknowledgement of the difficulty of sourcing sufficient wild blackberries to ensure a continuous supply. Either way, it tastes good.
Summary: A refreshing drink, hot or cold.