Did you almost break your Dry January resolution on Blue Monday, then feel Mellow Yellow about it? And by Dry January I don’t mean alcohol, I mean CAFFEINE…giving up daily WKDs would be waaaaayyy easier. Don’t get your knickers in a twist; I also struggled though ‘Brew Monday’ and was lured in by caffeinated minxes in the tea cupboard. As in most of my moments of weakness, I called upon Twitter for aid! Luckily, the angels at InNature Tea heeded my call and sent me two of their herbal loose leaves to try: Slim Lotus (not a yoga position, apparently) and a Fruit Infusion (vaguer than Donald Trump’s policies).
My experience really was a game of two halves; I adored one of them, and the other…well, let’s just say it was as convincing as Maradonna’s ‘Hand of God’. (I hope y’all like football/soccer/not-as-good-as-rugby-game, as these references get worse.)
1. The Gaffer: InNature Tea Company
InNature Tea are a small, family run business focusing on the best players in the premier league; whole leaf teas from China produced only in authentic ways. No Transformers style machinery here, just hand-picked tea-y goodness. They are dedicated to preserving tea culture, with whole sections on their website reserved for tea history, ideal brewing methods and tea recipes. Did you know that the first book of tea principles was written between 760-780CE by Guru Lu Yu, affectionately known as Gazza? I made that up…he prefers Golden Balls. Keep those facts in your back pocket for the next pub quiz!
InNature’s selection of whole leaf is migh-tea too, ranging from green and black teas right through to jasmine and puerh infusions. The names particularly caught my eye; who wouldn’t want to kick off the day with a Spring Snail Shell, battle through the afternoon with an Iron Goddess and end the evening sipping on a Furry Peak? Count me in.
These coaches seem to know what they are doing, so I was gagging to try their hand-picked team.
2. The Kit – Packaging
Like all good football teams, you want a decent kit to at least pretend you are semi-competent (*cough* Leicester City *cough*). Thankfully, InNature’s kit – or packaging – does not need to pretend. It is smart and clean-lined, with that ceremonious feeling when opening akin with unboxing the latest Apple product.
I haven’t seen the ‘box within a box’ thing with tea before – although I have with awkwardly re-gifted Christmas candles (you know who you are!) – but it works and makes InNature’s products stand out from the crowd. They also provide helpful instructions on how to care for, brew and make love to your tea in fine detail; for the perfect tea-gasm, you MUST rinse your leaves for three seconds before brewing. A good douche before the main event seems sensible to me.
All in all, I was desperate to get into the (penalty) box. Or any box, for that matter.
3. The All Star Player – Slim Lotus Tea
First to the pitch was Slim Lotus Tea, made from lotus flower leaves and with big goal scoring promise; flavanoids, alkaloids and tannins to aid weight loss. I worried I had swapped parcels with the local weed dealer when I opened the package to dried green leaves. BUT, post brewing for two minutes at 90 degrees, I realised that the only trip I was getting was a tasty one.
I’m not usually a huge fan of flower teas as they can be bland; yet this one tasted like winning the world cup at Wembley – SUBLIME! It had an enchanting golden colour to it, with a delicate floral taste backed up with a full-bodied and creamy mouthfeel (behave). I was pleasantly surprised to find a floral tea that was robust yet gentle at the same time.
Almost as satisfying as David Beckham’s hairless, rippling torso…so I am told. Man of the Match tea for me: four balls out of five.
4. The Dodgy Substitute – Fruit Infusion
Off the bench next was the Fruit infusion; a combination of freshly picked and dried banana, kiwi, apple, pineapple, grape, cherry and – ominously – ‘other berries’. Like Theo Walcott, on paper this appeared to be a cracking player with fresh ingredients and plenty of pizazz. However – also like Theo Walcott – it was a damp squib. The infusion looked inviting, smelled fruity as f**k, but tasted like sour dishwater after the Arsenal squad had soaked their sweaty socks in it.
I tried brewing it with different water, for different times and even in different mugs. Hell, I even gave it to Arsene Wenger for a talking to. Unfortunately, I still got the same sweaty taste, although its free kicks were better. If you want a decent fruit tea that tastes as good as it looks, I recommend Phrooti instead.
Disappointing performer – one out of five balls.
5. The Final Score
Overall, I’m impressed with InNature’s squad: a smart manager, a snazzy kit and a stellar star player in Slim Lotus Tea. I was let down by the sub-with-promise Fruit Infusion, but fruit teas are always difficult to get right and I don’t think it is indicative of InNature’s whole performance. InNature are a credible new team to the tea premiership, and I can’t wait to wrap my lips around their Furry Peak soon! Check them out.
They think it’s all over…it is now.