Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pickwick's Green Tea with Cherry and Elderflower: A Tea Review

The story of this tea comes in two parts, or three really, if you want to be technical. Essentially, it all harks back to a childhood love of black cherry yoghurt. Commence dreamy flashback music and screen fade now...

At about the age of 14 I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. This was devastating for me considering my great love of milkshakes, thick shakes, soft serve ice cream buffets and black cherry yoghurt. Off to the boring world of lactose free and soy yoghurt I trudged with its generic flavours of vanilla, strawberry, vanilla oh and did I say vanilla?

Approximately 20 years on from that fateful diagnosis I found myself in England, the land of "cherry flavour". After several trips to Tesco I was in a cherry soy yoghurt coma. Now I don't know what it is about cherry flavour that I love so much, perhaps it's the sweetness with that ever slight bit of tart?  Perhaps it's because it's not orange flavour! Whatever it is I just love it. When I returned home I was disappointed at our serious lack of variety when it came to catering for people with special food needs. More so, I was disappointed with the serious lack of cherry flavoured anything. Four years on not a lot has changed, apart from my occasional trip to the specialty sugar heaven of the Harry Potter-esque lolly shop near my house, I don't even know what it's called but I know they sell Cherry Coke Zero and I know it's ridiculously overpriced but sometimes I just need that completely fake flavour, fake sugar hit. Don't judge me, I know you've been there! So basically, if you want something cherry flavoured in Australia, forget about it!

On to part two: During the same time period that I was in a cherry soy yoghurt coma I discovered something else incredible. I popped into a cafe to grab some lunch and noticed this drink in the fridge 'elderflower' something. 'Hmm' I thought to myself, 'these weird Brits drink old flowers?' The picture on the contained was pretty enough, they kind of looked like jasmine flowers so I thought I'd give it a whirl. From then on I was enamoured with this 'elderflower'. If you have never tried it before, and most Australian's haven't, it has a slightly sweet florally taste but it also a little tart. It is very refreshing. Again, when I got back to Australia do you think I could find it anywhere? The closest I came was a pear and elderflower sparkling water at $10 a bottle from a specialty water store, it was imported from the UK. Then, about two years ago my local supermarket began to stock Elderflower cordial, it wasn't cheap at $9 for less than half a litre, which is equivalent to about 6 pounds, but I purchased it anyway. Mix it with some sparkling water and it's beautiful on a warm summer day. Since then I have converted many an Australian to elderflower, it's also great with some lemon and mint in a kind of mojito - virgin or not. You can also put a little on fruit salad to give it some zing!

Fast forward to the present day where I find myself in the UK again. I don't know about you but when I travel I love going into the supermarkets and looking at the food and also the tea. The tea isle in this supermarket was rather large, which I appreciate in some respects but then in others it's difficult to make a selection in under 10 minutes with so much variety. This day however it took me all of about two minutes of browsing to decide which tea I wanted. Like a shining beacon I was drawn to a box of green tea bags with a cherry on the front. As I got closer, I could not believe my eyes, green tea with cherry AND elderflower! Now, dear reader, if you are in fact from the UK or Europe you might think I'm rather odd for celebrating this but just remember the two other parts that make up this story!

Pickwicks tea is relatively unavailable in Australia. It is not commonly stocked in the major supermarkets and I have not been able to find this variety of tea in an online store. Pickwicks has an interesting heritage and literary connections. Originally called Douwe Egberts, the company started in 1753. In the 1930's they decided they needed a more British sounding name for their tea. They chose Pickwicks from the Dickens novel the Pickwick Papers. I can't say I'm familiar with this work however people embraced this British name and the company has grown.

Back to the tea. Sometimes, you have expectations of something and they are so high that many times they are never reached, that was not so much the case here. Yes, it is but a humble inexpensive tea bag however after two days of terrible airplane tea and a four year deprivation of cherry flavour it was just what I needed. It is a lovely aromatic blend of mild green tea with the sweetness and tartness of both the cherry and elderflower giving in a mild fruit flavour. It is a nice refreshing and uplifting green tea blend which would be perfect for summer and I imagine it would make a lovely iced tea too.

Now for my next challenge; getting this tea back to Australia!

Update: I got this tea back into Australia without any issues!

Pictures to come soon

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