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!
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.
Also from David’s Tea, I picked up the Earl of Lemon tea as well – a white tea with Earl Grey flavour and lemon.
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….
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
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
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.
What teas would you recommend for my lemon-loving family member? Leave me a note in the comments below!