I have found the steep time to be one of the great things about rooibos blends. Certainly, DavidsTea recommends four to seven minutes, yet rooibos steeps in such a way that oversteeping almost never occurs - the flavors simply get stronger, not astringent or bad. As I prefer my rooibos blends with lots of flavor, I let the leaves steep at least ten minutes (two and a half teaspoons in sixteen ounces of water that just boiled).
Whereas the aroma of the dry rooibos and other ingredients seemed nearly overwhelming, the brewed cup is more subdued...yet not entirely. The smell of the blend still contains very forward scents of apple and cinnamon. Plum and some sweet floral notes comprise the background. It reminds me of one of the stores that appear seasonally, often in many small towns of the United States, in which Christmas tree ornaments and other decorations are sold. The taste...foremost among the flavors are plum and cinnamon. The taste is quite sweet, though not cloying. Temperature of the tea aside, the flavors are very warm. Cloves and chili pieces may be tasted (and felt) in a heated, spicy aftertaste that lingers on the tongue and in the throat, not unpleasantly. There is certainly a transition of flavor from the tip of the tongue to the swallow, but this change is smooth and blended. None of the flavors drown out others. However, for as smooth and blended as it tastes, the flavor can be a bit heady, like the aroma. This blend may not please everyone, but those that it does will find it to be a very enjoyable cup. On my own personal enjoyment scale, I would rate it an 83/100. I especially recommend pairing it with a fireplace and a cold, winter night.
Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
DavidsTea's Sugar Plum Forest is available from their website, here.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.
Text is copyright 2014, Built from Ink and Tea.