Thursday, February 13, 2014

Red Leaf Tea: Burdock Tea, A Tea Review

I cannot think of a good opening to today's tea review so I will tell you a few random facts about myself, fun! I collect gemstones, absolutely love studying Mineralogy and Geology, the highlight in my collection is a pale pink Danburite crystal about the length of my palm. For all that I love animals of all shapes and sizes, my favorites are aquatic life, specifically crabs, octopuses, squids, and jellyfish. I even sleep with a stuffed squid every night and own a giant stuffed Octopus. I didn't like reading fiction till I was a teenager, I read tons and tons of nonfiction, but stories I considered a waster of time since I was not learning something. So there, now you know me a little better, on to tea!
They look like dried bone marrow
By tea I technically mean a tisane since today's brew of choice is a pile of roots. Burdock Tea No.3 on the Red Leaf Tea sampler, is made from the chopped up roots of the Burdock plant, or Arctium lappa, or Niubangzi. This plant is well known for its burrs and being a general nuisance for hikers in the Western part of the world, but in the Eastern part it is used as food and medicine. The aroma is caramelized dirt, slightly sweet like caramelized sugar and very much so like dirt. This is not necessarily a bad thing since I like the smell of dirt and it smells a lot better than most root based herbal teas I have tried. At the very tail end of the sniff I can detect a bit of horseradish. 

Brewing the little root bits (there was no brewing info on the package, maybe there was and I can't read Chinese yet, so upon research I decided on 212 degrees for 6 minutes) the aroma is still strongly of dirt and horseradish, but with more of the bitter root smell I associate with herbs like Dong Quai and Valerian, usually meaning the taste will be awful. The liquid sans roots is surprisingly sweet like caramelized sugar and of course the dirt and horseradish aroma. 
That is a really beautiful color!
Time to taste, I am a little worried, I have enough experience with TCM to know herbal teas made from roots taste like death. Well, color me surprised, because the flavor is not half bad! The taste is like a mixture of very mild horseradish (think the taste without the spice) lettuce, and corn husk. The taste fades to a gentle sweetness that lingers in the mouth for a bit.  The mouthfeel is smooth and soothing, absolutely no bitterness or dirt taste what so ever. Not bad little root bits, not bad. I cannot speak for any health benefits associated with drinking this tea, the reasons I tried it for were not alleviated at all, but the taste was good so I am not complaining. I am tempted to add this to a root vegetable themed soup next time I make one, I think it would add an interesting note. 

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