This was my first time trying this and it is so good I had to stop myself from gulping it down. Great hot or cold, on its own or with a bit of rock sugar.
The inspiration for this tea came to our Master taster many years ago. Without dating him too much, we can tell you that back in the early 70's, he took a motorcycle trip through Europe - something which worried his mother back home in Canada to no end. (Don't worry though, he wore a helmet. It's still hanging at his cottage!) The southern leg of this journey took the future tea Master through the rolling dry hills of Spain, through one dusty village after the next. One morning on a whim he turned his bike in the direction of Valencia, a city noted for its lush orange groves. Once he arrived there he took a room in a local Pensione, dusted himself off, and ordered up a lunch of roasted chicken and fries. A few minutes later, the Pensione keeper's wife appeared in the doorway with his tray of chicken, and a glass of the house specialty to wash it down.
Had the house specialty been wine, this story would be going nowhere. But as luck would have it, the woman had brought him a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice scented with Vanilla. (Later that night, this time after a few glasses of wine, he found out that the Pensione Keeper's brother kept an orange grove, and his uncle grew vanilla on Madagascar. He also found out that the Pension keeper had a daughter home for the summer from the art College in Madrid but that's another story.) Anyway, the lingering flavor of this glass of juice stayed with him for many years until one day, after he had found his calling, he decided to brew an herbal tisane that captured its sweet essence.
After experimenting with various blends our Master taster finally hit on a blend that perfectly captured the magnificent flavor that had so impressed him many years before. The result is the caffeine free tisane you have before you now - a blend of herbs and fruit that imparts a wonderfully fresh citrus character balanced by soft creamy notes of vanilla. The cup is truly like no other, and evokes a warm summer afternoon in an orange grove coupled with the mysterious aura of Madagascar. Each cup stirs up bittersweet memories for our Master Taster as it causes him to reflect on the carefree days of his youth, his motorcycle, bellbottoms - you get the picture. Brew yourself a cup and create some memories of your own.
Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 2 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz / 200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 5-10 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Place 12 slightly heaping teaspoons of herb & fruit blend or 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml over the herb & fruit blend. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the tea or removing the tea bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced herb & fruit tea is to increase the strength of hot brew since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.