“ Type: Fruit Tea „
My name is calypte (around these parts, at least), and I’m a tea addict. There, I’ve admitted it now. It’s all this sitting around, you know – it’s just not the same unless I have a nice hot drink. Plus, the only exercise I get is walking back and forth to the bathroom!! :) I’m not the only one in my family, either – my dad is a 600 cups of coffee a day man! All that caffeine can’t be good for him, so I’m very glad to say that we’re all addicted to something else these days – Whittard fruit teas. It all started with the Whittard shop opening nearby. Every day they have a different flavour of tea available to taste – well, that’s the theory; in reality it’s the ‘nicest’ flavour almost every day: a case of tempting you with the best, no doubt! As I’m sure you’re wondering by now, it’s the English Fruits flavour, one of nine flavours in the range. All are available in Whittard shops, or via the website: www.whittard.com The website allows you to see not only the range of flavours, but also the different sizes (500g tubs or individual sachets, for the most part) available. There are also packs of a few selected flavours available. However, having a shop at hand means I buy my supplies there – all Whittard shops offer three 500g canisters for £10, as opposed to £4 for a single tub. So, what do you get for your money, then? Well, the cardboard canisters are quite sturdy (and nice to look at, in my opinion), with plastic lids and the instant tea ‘powder’ is foil-sealed inside. Once opened, the plastic lid is secure, but if left for a long-ish time (a few months for the least popular flavours so far), the tea does tend to harden slightly in clumps - from damp, I assume. I can't judge exactly, I'm afraid, but the most popular flavour lasts a good two weeks at my house, I think - that&
#39;s with three of us drinking it. The tea itself is closer to the consistency of sugar – not all that surprising, as this is the first-listed (and therefore most prevalent) ingredient. The high sugar content is the one off-putting thing about this drink for me – I certainly would recommend that you limit the amount you drink, especially before meals, as it does dent your appetite. On the other hand, I’m less likely to fancy a biccy (Kitkat, anyone?!) with a cup of fruit tea than regular tea or coffee – you know how it is, they just go so well that it’s hard to resist sometimes!! :) As for nutritional information, well there’s about 40 calories per 100ml. However, there’s no fat content, wheat or gluten, or – and this is a good thing for my dad – no caffeine. Making the tea is simplicity itself – simply add water (hot or cold) to your required amount. The recommended strength is about 3 teaspoons per glass, but personally I find two slightly heaped teaspoons to a mug is about as much as I like. Of course, the best way is to experiment for yourself and find out how ‘fruity’ you like it (Oi! Keep your mind out of the gutter!!) On to the important bit: the flavours. *FLAVOURS* ENGLISH FRUITS – Apple, pear, plum and damson A favourite in my household. A bit more subtle than some of the other flavours, and looks a lot like ‘normal’ tea in colour. My one complaint is that it can get a bit cloyingly sweet at times - I tend not to have more than one cup in a day. I can understand why the shop offers this so regularly as the taster – I would definitely recommend this to anyone thinking of trying the range. TURKISH APPLE Very apple-y, I’m pleased to say. Made up, it’s a very dark colour, more like coffee. As a cold drink, it tastes quite similar to apple juice, with just a slight tea flavo
ur, especially in the last mouthful for some reason. I prefer this as a hot drink; for some reason I find it quite calming to sit with a mug and let the apple smell reach me while I drink it. I’ve never had genuine Turkish apple tea, so can’t tell you how it compares. PINK GRAPEFRUIT Very perfumed, so probably an acquired taste. This was the first of the Whittard range that I tried, and I would thoroughly recommend it as a chilled drink for the summer. As a tea, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Not as tangy as I would have expected from grapefruit, although the first mouthful tends to seem quite tart. Does leave a bit of an aftertaste, though not unpleasant. The website suggests this makes a good base for a fruit punch. Also available in sachets of a Low calorie version (14kcal per 100ml). TANGY LEMON Really quite disappointing. For a start, it doesn’t smell very nice when you make it up, in my opinion at least – a bit too much like lemon-scented cleaning products, only less lemon-y. The general level of sweetness in this range means you’re not getting much of a tang from the lemon, either. Not recommended at all. RASPBERRY AND CRANBERRY Cranberry juice is supposed to be very good for ‘your womanly bits’ as someone once said to me - for cystitis is how I think the rest of us would regard it. Whether or not that holds for this tea, I have no idea, but then that’s not why you’d be buying it, I guess. So what am I blathering on about?! Raspberry and cranberry... neither of these are particularly favourite flavours of mine, but group consensus lead to me getting a tub (plus I wanted to taste it for this review!). And it’s very nice indeed. The primary smell and flavour is raspberry rather than a mix, but probably the cranberry is in there being subtle and cutting the raspberry-ness enough to be nice. Oh, and it’s bright red. Also avail
able in a Low calorie version, sachets only, with 14kcal per 100ml. BLACKCURRANT AND ELDERFLOWER I don’t like blackcurrant (seems very medicinal as a hot drink), so I haven’t bought a tub of this. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the shop to have this as its taster flavour, but so far no luck. VITALITEA - GINGER, GINSENG AND MELON I can’t think of melon as being a particularly good flavour for tea, and in my opinion it makes this a bit sickly. In my extensive pole of, oh, three people (including me!) the opinions were: not too keen, really not keen, and ‘Mm’. Mind you, that last was my dad, and he doesn’t display signs of even having taste buds half the time. MULLED WINE Non-alcoholic, of course! I tasted this hot in the shop, and was very unimpressed. I found it rather bland, not tasting particularly of either wine or ‘mulled’! My co-taster was even less impressed, saying “There was a nice flavour that was there, but it was heavily overlaid by a strong bitterness.” DREAMTIME - VANILLA, APRICOT AND HONEY Now, this is a bit strange: when I think of calming, before-bed tea I think of camomile, so I was a bit surprised to see it not listed as a flavouring. Until closer inspection, that is - if you read the flavour in French, camomile is listed along side the other three flavours. In English, the ingredients list does have ‘flavourings: camomile oil’, so figure that one out if you can. Taste-wise, I’m really not fond of this. I think it’s about the only flavour that I’ll leave the rest of the tub rather than finish. It’s a shame, really, because it smells very nice. However, I just don’t like this as a tea flavour - it’s much more like a milky type bedtime drink. Actually, that’s an idea: am I brave enough to put a couple of spoonfuls of this in a mug of warm milk? Hmm
8230; I’ll get back to you. Last thing to say about this: is it actually beneficial for sleep? Well, my two guinea pigs - ahem, I mean my lovely father and his partner, of course! – both had a mug and slept fine that night. Whether or not they would’ve otherwise is the question! So, my overall opinion of this range is a big thumbs up! It makes a nice change from regular tea and coffee, with a decent range to choose from. While the sugar content doesn’t seem all that healthy (I’ll let you know how I get on at my next visit to the dentist!), at least there’s no caffeine, and cutting down on that can only be a good thing.
I drink too much tea and coffee (if every hour on the hour is too much that is!), and so for a long time now I have been trying many of those herbal teas which have become so popular these days. Of course these are not really tea as such but are "herbal infusions" and they usually lack the kick of natural tea (which contains a surprisingly high amount of caffeine) and often have rather weak or even initially unpleasant flavours. Some of them, particularly the minty flavours, are not too bad but even still, many people find them rather insipid compared to the stronger flavours of natural tea or coffee. I first came across Whittard’s flavoured green teas while walking down Guildford High Street and noticing that the Whittard shop had a free tasting going on. I stepped inside and was immediately offered two different varieties of their instant teas to taste, Turkish Apple and “Vitalitea”. Both were served very cold and on that hot summer's day they were a very welcome alternative to a Coca-Cola or the inevitable Costa coffee (inevitable, because its next door to Whittard’s!). In fact I was so impressed that I decided to buy a carton of Vitalitea and take it home with me. Vitalitea is claimed to contain green tea and ginseng with the addition of melon flavour and when I arrived home I mixed 2 tsp of the powder with some water, added a couple of ice cubes and rapidly realised that this stuff was going to become part of my life. Let me describe what these "teas" are. On reading the label, I discovered that they are very different to the herbal infusions. This is "instant tea powder", containing extract of green tea, sugar and flavourings. I was disappointed to find that the ingredients are listed as follows: sugar, citric acid, green tea extract, flavourings. As is usual with ingredients lists, the only thing we can learn from this is that sugar is the largest component, then citric aci
d and then green tea extract. The drinks are definitely sweetish, but I must admit they do also have a tea flavour - how much is natural and how much is flavouring we will never know. Its also disappointing that the "fruit" content all comes from flavourings for there seems to be no natural fruit whatsoever in any of the varieties I have since bought. Green tea is currently getting more and more popular as a result of recent studies showing that it has health benefits over traditional “black” tea, not least a higher level of anti-oxidants, leading to anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) benefits. However a report I read in the newspaper suggested that you’d have to drink a very large amount of it before it would help you significantly. I’d be surprised if Whittard’s Instant Tea contains enough genuine green tea to deliver much in the way of these benefits. Having said that, the drink does seem to have some of the refreshing qualities of tea so there must be a significant amount of tea in it. However, these drinks are quite delicious, either hot or cold. The fruit flavours are quite strong, but there is also a background tea flavour there also. My wife prefers to drink them hot but for me, the clink of ice cubes goes very well with the crisp fruit flavours of these drinks and I rarely have them hot. There is a wide range of flavours, all in different attractively designed "tubs". I have so far tried Vitalitea, Cranberry and Raspberry, Pink Grapefruit, and Turkish Apple. They are all delicious. Others I will try eventually are English Fruit, Tangy Lemon and "Dreamtime". The price is £4 for quite a large 500g tub, and you can also buy these in sachets at what seems a very expensive £4 for ten. I wouldn't like to say how much tea you get out of a 500g tub, but they seem to last us two or three weeks and we drink quite a bit of it. If you go to a Whittard shop you can b
uy three tubs for £10, which is the same as “buy two and get the third half-price”. I notice that supermarkets have also started to sell the product. Whittard’s have a useful website at www.whittard.com and you can see these teas featured there and also buy online. However, as the prices are the same as they are in the shop, and with the addition of a £3.50 delivery charge on orders under £50, you would have to order quite a lot of Instant Tea to make buying online worthwhile. The website says that one Whittard manageress has taken to adding a shot of vodka to the cranberry and raspberry flavour instant tea. I would imagine this would go quite well. Something to try next Saturday afternoon perhaps as I sit on the patio with my Whittard’s “fruit flavoured green tea”.
These teas are delicious and delicate, and should always be lightly brewed, to avoid the green tea becoming overpoweringly astringent or bitter. The popularity of Green teas is increasing greatly, as drinkers search for a healthy light refreshing tea. Adding flavours adds a new dimension and level of interest.