No vendor directions on brewing, but since this has green in it, I went with that. The leaf smells berry-ier than I anticipated. Berries over a campfire maybe? Which would probably smell a bit more like burning so maybe just eating berries next to a campfire. Sometimes the berry seems to dominate, sometimes the campfire. But even when the campfire dominates, it’s a sweet campfire because of the berry under-note. I can’t really pick out the vanilla but that’s probably because it is blending with the berry, giving it kind of a creamy berry smell instead of a tart berry smell.
Once brewed though, the tea seems to decide to let the lapsang souchong smell have center stage, but the berry scent is still a big supporting character. Though it does seem to also show of the… fake-ness of the berry. It also smells a little cough syrup-y. Almost. I think the vanilla creamy saves it from that.
Sipping is… odd. The flavor seems to rapidly seesaw between sweet smoky and sweet berry (thankfully no cough syrup memories are being evoked – in fact it tastes more natural than the tea smells). The flavors seem to work nicely together though. It’s weird but it works. There is distinct berry and distinct smoke but both are sweet and that sweetness ties them together.
The aftertaste in particular reminds me of something I can’t peg but that something makes me think that this would be a good iced tea. So perhaps it reminds me of some flavored bottled tea I’ve had? But without the artificial sweetners added because this yea is pretty sweet by itself. It actually tastes likes I’ve put a bit of sugar in it already.
Now here’s the one thing that keeps me from loving this tea. I’m just not a huge berry-flavoring fan. I love strawberries and blackberries, but after that I’m kind of eh. And this is more of a raspberry taste. However, the husband loves raspberries so I had him try some of this. He was able to pick out the berry and the lapsang souchong almost instantly. After a few more sips he said that he could see himself enjoying a big ole hot mug of this though he had a slight concern that the smoky would build and he doesn’t really like lapsang souchong (from my cup I didn’t notice any build up so I don’t think that would be a problem).
Anyway, he gave it a 4/5 stars to my 3/5 stars. But my rating drops that one star just because of the type of berry. As far as the slider rating goes, this one is tough. I like how the flavors work together and I really do think the balance is quite nice so it rates rather high on that. But personally, I’m not in love with the tea because of the type of berry and that’s all on me. But this is my rating scale so I’m going to rate it on the subjective, personal side of things instead of the objective side of things. Because that’s how I roll.