All good things come in threes. The Three Muskateers. The Three Stooges. The Three Playboy/girl bunnies/hares waiting in your bed on your birthday…in your wildest dreams. The Zig Zag teas I sampled this month sent to me by the lovely Lucy are no exception. I stumbled across the brand whilst exploring Instagram and desperately trying to avoid selfies of stick thin adolescents proclaiming that they are fat. Lucy’s feed was a welcome distraction, with a beautiful collection of bright colours, expertly applied filters and – most importantly – no false claims of low self esteem, alleged ‘obesity’ and a fanatical devotion to Justin Bieber. I was also intrigued by the way Lucy’s blends seemed to ‘zig zag’ across the world for tea ingredients, and her mission to bring together traditional tea customs with contemporary tea culture and flavours.
So, I powered up my Witchy charm, put my witch hat on at a jaunty angle and…hopelessly grovelled to Zig Zag Teas on social media to try their Salted Caramel, Cocoa Chai and Orange Marzipan blends. Rather than filing a restraining order, Lucy kindly obliged (the crazy fool!). In the spirit of great trios then, this week’s review will be in honour of the greatest threesome of the 21st Century. No, not Christina Hendricks, Kate Beckinsale and Emily Blunt on a waterbed in my sex den (if only). But the the formidable, the game-changing, the truly inspirational…DESTINY’S CHILD.
1. Michelle Williams AKA The One That Everyone Forgets – Salted Caramel
First up to moisten my dusty mugs was Zig Zag’s Salted Caramel black tea. This combined Sri Lankan black tea with caramel pieces, liquorice and cardamom. Just the decadent hit I needed after cementing my descent into my middle age – that day I wasn’t handed ‘big night out’ flyers by student promoters as I was deemed ‘too old’. Depressing indeed and at the very least, a call to arms for anti-wrinkle cream.
I brewed up this age defence cuppa for four minutes and tried a tentative sip without milk to begin with. I was treated to a subtly sweet, floral black tea, but I felt like some milk could bring out the ‘dessertiness’ a little more. With a drop of the second best white stuff known to man (I will let you ponder on the first), this blend came to life with deep caramel flavours and a spicy kick. However, whilst I enjoyed this cuppa it didn’t quite hit the spot. It lacked the vibrancy and bold notes of my favourite T2 NY Breaky blend or Piacha’s Choc Cinnamon Rooibos that also aim for the same ‘decadent’ experience. Plus, Zig Zag’s brew didn’t help me forget that I now look like a member of the beige brigade and buy shoes because they ‘look awfully comfortable’.
To sum this tea up in the words of Destiny’s Child, hallowed be thy name: ‘If your status ain’t hood, I ain’t checkin’ for him,’ (Soldier, 2004). Or, in other words, nice brew but forgettable compared to other ‘hood teas’.
2. Kelly Rowland AKA The Beyonce Wannabe – COCOA CHAI
Now, this blend was more like it. Melding together Sri Lankan black tea, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and coconut pieces, this was a gentle, creamy chai that impressed me. Many chais I have tried have their heart in the right spicy place but are way too overpowering – much like my mother. They can taste like an ashtray from your local working men’s club that has been sprikled with a half eaten balti. Zig Zag’s offering though was light and delicate; after three minutes brewing and a dash of milk, I enjoyed a silky smooth cuppa, with clear zing from the cardamom and ginger (and we all know how I love a zingy ginger), chased up with a mellow sweetness from the coconut. I loved this chilled out chai to help me unwind after a day of bashing a modicum of intelligence into common sense-challenged undergraduates.
In the patois of DC: ‘Girl, I didn’t know how you could get down like that,’ (Independent Woman, 1999). I.e. I wasn’t expecting to like this brew quite as much as I did.
3. Beyonce Knowles AKA ‘Da Shit’ – ORANGE MARZIPAN
This caffeine free diva was certainly ‘da shit’ of the group, in a good way. Containing rooibos, hibiscus, apple pieces, almond slices, orange blossom and peel, and mallow flowers, this infusion tasted like Dawn French’s love juice following a solid month of filming Terry’s Chocolate Orange adverts. To be clear, I mean this as a massive compliment. I adored the unmistakenly citrus flavour of orange and apple, mixing with the sugar-nuttiness of real almond pieces to create a full bodied and syrupy brew. Perfect for after dinner – or mid board game tension breaker as my friend Hugh and I found – this spritely, guilt free blend has become one of my evening go-tos. Seriously bummed this brew. Check it out.
In the melodic tones of DC then: ‘I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly…cause my body too bootylicious for ya babe,’ (Bootylicious, 2001). Or, this is a mindfuckingly awesome conglomeration of herbs in a mug.
There we have it then Brew Bashers – Zig Zag Teas are another new kid on the block for you to explore. Plus, I have taught you a valuable lesson – you can get the word BOOTYLICIOUS into a tea review. Who knew?