So we hear that tea is the new whiskey, which in turn is the new craft beer, which in turn is the new coffee. Or something to that effect.
Either way, you can't turn your head these days for a new joint serving up a dazzling array of alluring brews – so dazzling, in fact, that it can sometimes be hard to choose the one that's worth your time and money. So every Thursday, we take the hard work out of this for you... it's Tea Talk.
What am I drinking?
Honeybush Orange, a caffeine-free herbal blend.
Where am I drinking it?
The Conrad Hotel’s ground floor cafe bar: very swanky but not very comfortable. The kind of bar where you grab a coffee and work between meetings, or indeed as most people were doing, hold meetings. Not very relaxing for enjoying a sweet herbal tea, but maybe that’s my own fault for not choosing something high-powered.
What does it taste like?
As the name suggests, honeybush is a sweet tea (not far away in look or flavour from rooibos) and and orange tang should be a great accompaniment. But even when left to steep for quite a while there was really very little flavour or sweetness at all, and the orange was barely discernible. Definitely not the “sweet as honey” treat the menu promised.
What does it look like?
Tea here is served in true afternoon-tea fashion, with elegant silver and clean white china. Though I usually prefer to be able to see teas as they steep, this actually made for a nice experience when pouring and seeing the gorgeous orange colour for the first time in the cup. The Conrad also have a fantastic wooden tea menu with small containers of each tea beside their description, so you can see and smell them before you order.
Where does it come from?
The menu claims honeybush tea grows wild on the Cape, but doesn’t specify whether it’s Cape Ann, Cape Cod, the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Verde. A quick google tells that it is (like rooibos) unsurprisingly a native South African bush.
What effect does it have?
Underwhelming. There’s no real impact of either flavour or experience from this tea, aside from feeling slightly uncomfortable in the bar’s seats. Might be nice with a dessert.
Where can I get it?
There was no brand or blender name on the menu to find out if it’s available anywhere else, so your best bet is the Conrad.
Is it worth the try?
Not in the least, especially when the price isn’t on the menu and you’re landed with a bill of €4.95 for a small pot (about two cups) of a decidedly average brew. However, there are lots of interesting teas on this menu, so one of the others might be worth the hit.
If you like this, also try…
If you’re looking for something sweet but herbal rather than fruity, you’re better off finding a nice rooibos.