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I’d never had honeybush before now. I wasn’t even clear on exactly what it was, I just had seen the word around a lot in the last few months. This is kinda like when I had never seen rhubarb before and I kept seeing it in the store everywhere all of a sudden and thought, "What the fuck is wrong with that celery?" So I looked it up. I’m allergic to honey (not deathly, it just makes my tongue and face swell. Uncomfortable? Yes. Deadly? No.), so I have to be careful and look into things with honey in the name. I had no idea honeybush was a plant, or that the smell was so sweet and fragrant (hence the name).
When I received the Revolution Tea Honeybush Caramel flavor, I could smell it before I even opened the box. Always a good sign to me!! I hate when tea claims to be a flavor and ends up tasting the way bananas smell. Don’t attack me for this. A lot of teas with weak flavor taste the way bananas smell, especially herbal teas. These typically end up being teas that I have to add a little sugar to in order to bring the flavor out. In my experience, this happens a lot with chamomile teas and raspberry teas. I’ve tried a few name brand teas, but usually prefer to buy loose tea from local shops when it comes down to those flavors specifically. I don’t mind adding sugar, but sometimes it feels like when people tell you that have to “get through the first season” of a show because it sucks at first but gets better later on down the line. That doesn’t really sell it.
I like getting a little boost of caffeine, but since I’ve been trying out a lot of different energy drinks lately, I’ve been sticking to non-caffeinated drinks when it comes to recipes or just Enjoyment Sipping. Tea is the original flavored water, and no matter how many variations Propel and Sparkling Ice come up with to incentivize drinking water, tea is a classic that simply can’t be replaced. Have y’all noticed that? No one seems to be able to just drink water anymore? There has to be some sort of special addition to it? That’s OK, I’m not knocking it, but I genuinely feel like tea is the best route to go when it comes to Drinking Water, But Like... A Little Different.
But yeah—I could smell this tea through the box. It smelled rich and sweet. I brewed enough for a pitcher, let it cool. I didn’t add ice or anything. I wanted to taste it as its true self. Generally when I make teas, I use a little less water than required. I like my tea flavor strong, so that if I need to add plain ice, it doesn’t water down the flavor even a little when it melts. It was sweet, with body. I’m not being horny here, I’m just stating the facts. It tasted so pure and sweet that I would’ve thought there was sweetener added to it. There’s not. This is normal for a honeybush flavor. There’s caramel in there too, which is nice and smooth and not overpowering. My rating for this tea alone is a 10/10, period. Although it tasted great on its own, I of course wanted to experiment, so I have a recipe posted below. This one is very simple and takes virtually no work, but I wanted to show how different elements can bring together a beverage with more complex flavors if you think about it a little.
You will need:
- Revolution Tea Honeybush Caramel
- Food grade rose buds
- Crushed ice
- Amoretti Premium orange blossom syrup
I brewed the tea and let it chill in a pitcher in the fridge. Once it was perfectly cold, I added the orange blossom syrup to taste (about 1.5 teaspoons to a glass). I poured the flavored tea over crushed ice and added food grade rose buds to the top and let it sit for a moment. You can add however many rosebuds you like. Don’t be afraid to eat some damn flower petals. It’s OK. It’s cool and won’t kill you. The floral elements with the slightly sweet syrup bring a lightness to the heavier, richer flavor of the honeybush caramel tea. It tastes perfect and refreshing for summer. I prefer to make some syrups from scratch when I know I can use it all within the week to two week timeframe, but with something as specific as orange blossom, I prefer to buy it in a little bottle and keep it around just to add to stuff to change things up. Syrups seem like an unattainable thing for some reason, but they can be reasonably priced and add versatility to a beverage. Later this week I’m going to talk more about flavor depth and adding texture to a drink, which can also be a little weird or scary.