This is a unique product as tisanes go, a pressed mix of different fruits. The product description page
would cover specifics but the listing seems abbreviated since this particular tea no longer in stock at
time of review. The label I have is in Russian but I didn’t take the next steps to get the ingredients
identified, even though the fruits looked interesting and unfamiliar. There is a story to be told about this
even if this specific fruit blend is never replaced as an option, since this dried fruit as a tisane range is
novel, and worked out to be very interesting in this version.
It would make sense to prepare this Western style (using a teaspoon to a cup approach, more or less. But
in this case a relatively opposite hybrid Gongfu / Western approach was used instead, in a large gaiwan,
attempting multiple infusions of timing set by how the infusion went the round before. The key to this
kind of tea, and to tisanes in general, or any infusions, is getting the timing right for that particular
material to infuse to a relatively optimum strength. For a dried fruit versus flower or dried leaf that
should take longer.
The first one-minute soak didn’t really get the fruit infusion initiated, with the liquid not soaking in and
extracting much flavor yet. The flavor that did emerge was interesting, warm and sweet, a mix of fruits,
not unlike a fruit cake. Somehow spice seemed to be included, evident even in a very light infusion,
towards cinnamon or nutmeg. I doubt this was a spiced fruit version though, since different dried fruits
can cover a broad range of natural flavors. The first infusion wasn’t as pleasant as it could be related to
being very thin but it was still interesting.
The second round infused for closer to two minutes, versus about minute for the first. Complexity and
intensity did bump up but it’s still not as intense as a standard tea infusion. Using over two minute
infusions is probably more ideal, but doubling the proportion would also work, adding two squares to a
large gaiwan volume range (150 ml or so). Fruit this whole would probably keep brewing nearly
endlessly, for 20 rounds if someone had the patience, probably requiring soaking until the water had
cooled after the first dozen or so to extract flavor. Simmering this on a stove in a sauce-pan would also
work, related to how masala chai is steeped, or how some people prepare some white teas. Or both;
giving it a dozen rounds to infuse and then drawing out one or more extra-strong simmered rounds
after. It would work to adjust that infusion strength by adding hot water, if it was too strong after
simmering, since it would be easy to err on the side of overdoing it using such an approach.
It tastes citrusy, and fruity beyond that. A flavor list could be derived from the ingredient list; it would
taste exactly like whatever dried fruit or berry this is. Drying fruits changes their flavor profile a good bit
so the fresh versions of those might be more familiar. The tartness is nice, in a good balance for the
level of sweetness and other range. Flavor intensity is enough to start to experience what’s there but at
double this strength it might be more pleasant.
The next infusion was prepared using a very long infusion time to check on that, around four minutes.
That’s not necessarily so long for a whole-dried-fruit style tisane, but for a “real” tea (Camellia Sinensis
version) prepared Gongfu style it’s several infusions worth, even with this brewing at a low proportion
related to a more standard Gongfu approach. It is a lot closer to a hot fruit juice at this point; very
flavorful. “Hot fruit juice” isn’t the page that everyone is on, but this general range is similar to a mulled
hot spiced cider (slightly fermented apple juice), a winter-time beverage that’s not universally known
but is well-received in some circles. Simmering cinnamon sticks in cider (a slightly fermented version of
apple juice) already works as a basic version, with plenty of options for variation from there. A bit of
clove would be nice, or some orange peel could add flavor complexity, with all of that moving the
mulled cider more towards how this tisane comes across.
It still seems odd splitting the flavor down to elements, given those inputs are known (just not identified
prior to this tasting write-up). It seems along the line of dried cranberry (the tartness), apple and pear
(the depth, sweetness and warm richness), with a hint of citrus (a bit more complexity, and citrus). I’m
not sure how that hint of spice factors in; it still seems like a light version of nutmeg to me, or not far off
For someone expecting hot spiced cider this would still be way too light, not infused strong enough. For
someone somehow expecting it to taste like “real” tea (Camelia Sinensis) it just never would.
Another long infusion (around 4 minutes again, maybe 5 instead) turned out about the same. The
tartness balances better than it did in the early rounds; sweetness and other flavor complexity picked
up. Again a mix of dried fruit range is coupled with an apparent hint of spice, resulting in a flavor profile
that might work as a Christmas theme.
I don’t drink much in the way of flavored or fruit blended teas myself (maybe just an Earl Grey here or
there, or a jasmine black tea), but this would also work as a flavoring for other tea versions, to mix in
with one. It’s more of a stretch but it could also be used to flavor a masala chai, an Indian-themed
spiced tea blend. Those are typically made with black tea (often Assam), cinnamon, ginger, cardamom,
and clove, and possibly with black pepper and star anise, and all those flavors would match well with
this dried fruit, with a balance of them adjusted for personal preference. That type of spiced blended
tea is usually prepared with milk and sugar, and it can work without either added, but it’s a lot more
difficult to get the flavor balance right without using those to compensate by mellowing the flavor
One nice aspect of drinking tisanes is that they can be enjoyed in the evening, even right before bed,
with no concern about caffeine disrupting sleep. This particular fruit version would brew any number of
rounds, so it would be possible just keep drinking it in the evening. It would work made closer to what
some call “grandpa style,” infused over a longer period of time, mixed with hot water and then
potentially even drank without removing the fruit. Since this would be fine at double or triple the
infusion strength used in this tasting adding some to a thermos and leaving it brew for as long as it takes
to get to it would work. It would just probably commit that thermos to retaining a trace of that flavor
range later on, so it wouldn’t be ideal for a thermos used for other teas that you didn’t want to mix with
an extra taste like that.
It hasn’t transitioned on the next infusion; that’s to be expected. It’s still nice, reasonably balanced,
fruity (of course), only slightly tart, with good sweetness, and good complexity. The warm hint of spice
rounds out the rest nicely.
This wouldn’t make for a positive experience for all tea drinkers due to the aspect range and overall
effect being so different than other tea versions but for someone into tisanes in this general range it’s
very nice. I liked it, and the different brewing options it opens up provides means to experience the
same tisane blend in different forms.