This is one of the teas I picked up from Murchie’s while we were in Vancouver, and I made a mug of it earlier this evening to sip on while making supper for myself. If I remember correctly there were three different maple flavoured black teas at the location we visited, which is quite a lot – especially in one tea category.
I have to imagine that Canadian Breakfast is probably the best seller of the three (it’s the only one I had tried prior, as well) so I was tempted to get that one – but smelling all three it was the least aromatic to me and I just didn’t feel like it was speaking to me. It does make sense that it would be the least aromatic/heavily flavoured though; as a breakfast blend the expectation is definitely more weighted towards the black tea itself being incredibly strong/full bodied and, unlike the other two maple teas we smelled, the maple is really more of an accent than a focus point.
This was the one that appealed to me the most, and steeped up it’s just beautiful. If I’m being honest, it’s much sweeter than I had expected to taste from a Murchie’s blend. Not cloying/candy like or unpleasant at all – and still a restrained sweetness compared to some companies – but even with a name like “Sugar Maple” I feel like I was still expecting the more reserved and “classically British” tasting blending style that is so prevalent across all the teas they carry.
Composition wise, it had to be said that the fruit inclusions are probably doing more for the sweetness level than they are as an additional flavour. For the most part, fruit pieces very rarely actually impart the flavour of the fruit as much as they do natural sweetness. Like, the cranberries in this tea are gorgeous and have a huge visual impact but they don’t reaalllyyyy make the blend taste like cranberry, y’know? Sweetness/sugar are flavour carriers though and it just makes that maple brighter and more lively tasting, and the sort of naturally raisin-y notes of the black tea may just end up being attributed to the cranberry anyway to someone who’s got a less trained palate or just isn’t drinking their tea with the intent of breaking the flavour down to its components.
Overall, I loved this cup though! I’m excited to drink more of it, and I think it’s really flavourful without sacrificing the integrity of the tea bases it’s blended with and that’s something I can totally appreciate. Plus, I see immediately how this is delicious on its own but also neutral enough to work very well with additional sweetners or things like milk/cream. I’d be super curious to try it next to the Toffee Maple just to see how much contrast those blends have, but I didn’t pick that one up. Maybe next time I’m in BC, if that blend is still around whenever the inevitably happens.