I agreed to try the tea samples FOR SCIENCE, because I am dumb.
No offense to Luxe, but it is Twilight merchandise, so in my prior experience: Twilight Tea is going to be kind of awful, and I might actually die of it.
I drink iced tea all the live-long day, which is a completely different thing. Oh, and in college, I used to have a thing for Celestial Seasonings' Lemon Zinger. And two or three cups of Earl Grey in my lifetime. So in other words, I have absolutely no qualifications to taste-test tea.
Three (3) unlabeled pyramid bags, one (1) of each flavor
One (1) busted-ass kettle
One (1) tea cup from an all-in-one tea... brewer... thing, although teapot component will not actually be used
Two (2) sugar cookies to cleanse palate between samples
Kettle is filled with only enough water to make one cup of tea, so as to heat water more quickly, and to heat each cup separately
iPhone timer is set to 5 minutes for herbal/fruit tea, 3 minutes for black tea
Tea bag is bounced around a bit during the steeping phase, which is incredibly boring, I'll have you know
Notes taken during tasting so as to capture initial impressions
Cup somewhat carelessly rinsed between teas, eh
1) Bite Me Strawberry Seduction
Description: Tease your palette with the berry best. Our scintillating scarlet infusion is tangy, fruit forward and satisfying. Delicious hot or cold--you'll want to Bite Me and Bite Me again with luscious strawberries, apple, and hibiscus!
Ingredients: Strawberries, red apples, hibiscus.
Wow, that description is so creepy. Uhhhhh. Please don't seduce me, tea. I have never felt bad-touched by a beverage before, but Twilight Tea, you have managed it.
Impressions: You know, I wasn't even entirely sure this was the strawberry tea, since the bags were unlabeled. It did give off a very strong whiff of strawberry Starburst candy, and the other herbal bag seemed to have a lot more... stuff... in it, so I ended up concluding that this was most likely the strawberry tea.
The thing is, I tasted the actual cup of tea, and there was no fruit flavor. Nothing. Not at all. If I sipped it with my nose close to the cup, I could definitely smell a strawberry scent, and I could almost taste it (smell and taste being so closely linked), but not actually. I have had hibiscus tea, so I could taste that, but the "apple" flavor, that was right out. It tasted like tea, and that was all. Which is really weird, because "tea" is not actually listed as an ingredient.
The "experiment" may have been affected by the fact that boiling water ended up being way too hot (actual handwritten notes: blow on outrageously hot tea. holy fuck that's fucking hot), and I ended up throwing in an ice cube (which instantly vaporized) to expedite the drinking process. But I did not, in fact, scald my tongue, and I feel like if there had been any actual fruit flavor in the tea at all, I would have perceived some of it.
2) Cullen’s English Breakfast
Description: Relax with the refined sense of the extraordinary. For the most discriminating tea aficionado, this classic uses only the finest parts of the tea bush. Masterfully blended, this brew keeps your eyes amber and take the edge off. It’s the Aston Martin of tease… extraordinarily English!
Ingredients: Indian Black Teas.
See, because Carlisle was originally from Ye Olde England, and... (Stephenie Meyer apparently said that she wouldn't ever write a novel about Carlisle because she didn't want to have to do the research.)
(The Aston Martin... the... of... the what?)
("This is the English thing of creepy word! I AM DONE WRITING COPY FOR TODAY.")
It's also good to finally have a tea approved by the Eye of Sauron.
Impressions: Tea bag was slightly contaminated by fruitiness of neighboring tea bags, but as strawberry tea did not have any actual strawberry taste, decided this would not be a problem. Also, I resolved this time to use only steaming water. I don't know English Breakfast tea very well in general, but I'm pretty sure the target audience for this product--fans who don't know jack shit about hot tea but will buy anything with a logo on it--doesn't either, so it's all good.
It tastes like... tea. A bit crisper and more astringent than the iced tea I'm used to. Not unpleasant. Seems like a very nice, quality blend. I mean, I guess. It's... tea. You know. If you're into this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you will be into.
After a quick survey on Twitter as to what people usually put in their English tea, I was informed very strenuously that it must have milk. I added milk (2%, all I had). It tasted like... tea. And I added a lot of milk, too. No change. LIKE TEA. BECAUSE IT IS.
@heymandy @cleolinda Though something tells me (it's the topaz eyes thing) that it's actually going to be Earl Grey (tea + dried bergamot flowers).
@cleolinda @heymandy Actually, no. Opportunity wasted, that.
@heymandy @cleolinda ... I'm not sure how I feel about coming up with an arguably better Edward tea than the actual tea people.
3) New Moon Red
Description: No description, because it's mistakenly repeated from the Cullen tea. Ah! Wait! Here's what it says on the bookmark: "Bring out your wild Bella-inspired side." So presumably this is what you drink right before you go jump cliffs on your werewolf motorcycle.
Ingredients: Rooibos, elderberries, rosehip, blueberries, lavender & rose petals, naturally caffeine-free.
I'm not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed that they left out the freesia.
Impressions: Sister Girl happened to walk in during my third testing, took one look at it, and said, "It smells like cotton candy." Upon further sniffing she pronounced, "And strawberry jello."
"It's got ROSE PETALS and LAVENDER in it."
"Yeah... that sounds like Twilight."
This one was interesting because it was STRONG (also, I forgot to put the timer on), and because it had a really interesting bouquet. And was the color of blueberry juice ( I don't know if this comes across in the picture, but it was almost purple). The strongest flavor was the blueberry; the second strongest was something that seemed unplaceably familiar--maybe the rosehip, because I think that's also in Lemon Zinger, and that's what it reminded me of. Possibly the rooibos. A pretty nice scent, but as the tea cooled off, the rosehip/rooibos/whatever flavor started to really overpower the blueberry, which itself got pretty strong, so it was like this herbal tea war going on in my mouth. Also: not so much with the "red." It truly had a purple color. Of the three, it's definitely the most intereOH MY GOD MY PHONE MY PHONE IS IN THE TEA HELP IT'S IN THE TEA DRY IT OFF DRY IT OFF NOOOOO STAY WITH ME PHOOOOONE STAY WITH MEEEEEEE--
Huh. Picked it up, dried it off, phone is totally fine. Twilight Tea's New Moon Red: Won't kill your iPhone. A+++.
Tea varieties were not awful, although they did have wildly varying degrees of effectiveness. But they weren't some kind of cheap, tarted-up foofoo treebark shavings or anything. It's decent, actual tea. I did not die. Phone did not die. I deem this experiment a success.
(Zomg e-book! The Annotated Movies in Fifteen Minutes: Wizards!)