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Tea: The taste of lemon

16 Jul

Not too long ago, a family member mentioned that she just loved lemon, and had just started drinking loose leaf tea – so of course, when it came time for some gift-giving happiness, I had to pop into two different tea shops and try out what they had to offer in the way of lemon teas.

I was up in Edmonton, at the West Edmonton Mall (on constant look out for members of Apocalyptica, who I had seen shopping earlier..) and since I wouldn’t have time to shop at home, I figured I would do my tea-shopping there.  Already the Teaopia shop has been replaced (if it was even there to begin with) with Teavana, which I had never been in before, so it was my first stop.

I won’t comment too much on the shop itself (I’m sure that will come in a later post) but the clerk was friendly and helpful, though I was a bit disappointed in their selection.

From Teavana I picked up Lemon Youkou – a herbal tea with huge chunks of dried lemon.  It looks delicious!

Lemon tea from Teavana

Next up, I visited David’s Tea.  This is the first David’s I’d ever been in (last summer) which was kind of cute in a sentimental kind of way.  The store clerk helping me was very enthusiastic and helpful – we started bonding over adventures in Vancouver and other fun topics, all while I sniffed away at a wide variety of teas with a strong lemon or lemongrass flavour/scent.

From David’s Tea I picked up Organic La La Lemon – a black tea with lemon and orange oils.

Lemon tea from David’s Tea

Also from David’s Tea, I picked up the Earl of Lemon tea as well – a white tea with Earl Grey flavour and lemon.

Lemon tea from David’s Tea

Of course, since I was getting tea to give away, I also needed to get just a little sample of each for myself as well!

How they measure up….

Lemon Youkou

Lemon Youkou

The first tea of the lemony set I tried was the Lemon Youkou from Teavana.  I`ll start by saying that lemon teas are not my first choice (I like them fine, but there are others that I would pick first) so perhaps someone who really loves lemon might give it a better review…

Frankly, I was significantly disappointed.  The tea steeped up an extremely pale, weak yellow – as though the tea had barely influenced the hot water at all.  The equally weak flavour was only slightly more complex than a bit of lemon juice added to hot water.  Unfortunately, the tea isn`t included on the Teavana website, so I am not really able to say what is in the tea to give it the very slight additional complexity (something fruity though…) but, from this first impression, I can`t say that I`m terribly impressed.

I thought that perhaps steeping it a lot longer might work to improve the intensity of the flavour – I re-used the same tea and let it sit in hot water (which cooled off fast of course) for quite some time (I didn’t actually time it) and then re-heated the water. The result was instead much less lemony, and quite bitter.  Undrinkable.

Organic La La Lemon

Organic La La Lemon

This tea is far superior to the first one I tried – and exactly as described – a very smooth black tea with lemon/citrus flavour.  Not just black tea with a squeeze of lemon, but very mellow, fruity lemon flavour.  The tea steeps up dark, and I had it with sweetener and milk (yeah, I know milk doesn’t belong with lemon, but I like it…). Definitely worth picking up if you want a ‘normal’ tea (rather than something with lots of unusual flavouring).

Earl of Lemon

Earl of Lemon

Oddly enough, although this is supposed to be a white tea with Earl Grey and lemon flavours, it actually steeps up much more like a green tea, and tastes a lot more like a green tea too for that matter.  There is a slight bitterness that I usually find with green teas, and just the faintest taste of lemon.  I can taste the ‘Earl Grey’ flavour (I usually think of a black tea with oil of bergamot) but it isn’t immediately noticeable.  I tried this sweetened, both hot and cool, and I found more flavour and less bitterness with the cool variety.  I don’t think I’d pick this up again; not that it isn’t good, it’s just not ‘different’ enough for me.

So, Lemon-lovers…

What teas would you recommend for my lemon-loving family member? Leave me a note in the comments below!

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