We’ve been fortunate to receive samples from a number of teasellers since Tea Time At Reverie debuted in June. While we offer equal amounts of gratitude and enthusiasm to each vendor, we’re super-excited that some of our future reviews will cover select teas from Bingley’s Tea’s Jane Austen Tea Series! What better way to connect Tea Time to A Bibliophile’s Reverie’s main purpose as a book review and literary discussion blog than to talk about teas inspired by Jane Austen’s novels?
Our first Bingley’s Tea review is based on one of Austen’s most memorable leading ladies. Marianne Dashwood, the middle sister of the Dashwood family, embodies the “sensibility” of Sense and Sensibility. She’s spirited, spontaneous, and hopelessly romantic. A tea named after Marianne would have to reflect her dramatic character. Enter Marianne’s Wild Abandon, a black-and-green tea blend that captures the personality and – of course! – sensibility of Marianne in a vibrant, delectable cup.
Bingley’s Description: “A blend of lively green and black teas with colorful flowers and passionate fruits, throwing themselves together for a stimulating combination! This blend will surely entice you to run free and express your heart.”
Ingredients: Black tea, green tea, marigold petals, cornflower petals, candied pineapple, candied papaya, and other natural floral and fruit flavors
Steeping Instructions: Use 1 to 1¼ teaspoons per brew. Heat water to boiling (212 degrees Fahrenheit / 100 degrees Celsius) and steep for 3 to 4½ minutes.
Multiple Brews?: No
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: Medium-high
Marianne’s Wild Abandon begins its flirtation well before brewing. A sweet, fruity perfume bursts from the packet each time I open it. The scent isn’t cloying, though. It’s just enough to capture my attention and beckon me to breathe it in again. Also, look how pretty this tea is when it’s dry! Yellow, blue, and red-orange flower petals with sprinklings of candied pineapple and papaya against the black and dark green leaves – you can’t help but fall in love with it at first sight, much like how Marianne did for Mr. Willoughby.
The packet for Marianne’s Wild Abandon didn’t come with brewing instructions, so I applied what I knew about brewing green and black tea blends. I steeped about 1 to 1 ¼ teaspoons in boiling water and adjusted the brew time for each cup to see which one appealed to me most. The liquid turns a beautiful amber color that darkens with longer brew times. The fruit aroma mellows out slightly to make way for the tannic black tea scent, but the magic that drew me to Marianne’s Wild Abandon is still very much alive.
Drinking Marianne’s Wild Abandon is no different than smelling it: It wakes up your senses! Pineapple and papaya embrace the grassy notes of green tea with a black-tea bite. No one flavor overpowers the other as they play on my tongue and then in the lingering finish. And with each sip, I feel as though I’m drinking “liquid sunshine.” The tea’s natural sweetness and bright body make it an ideal choice for a rainy day pick-me-up. (Oddly enough, Marianne had a bad habit of getting caught in the rain… )
Because of its range of flavors and variety of tea leaves, Marianne’s Wild Abandon is best enjoyed when steeped between 3 to 4½ minutes. Infusions on the lower end of the scale have a more vegetal backdrop thanks to the green tea, with just enough spark from the black tea. (The shorter brews were my favorite for this reason.) If you prefer your tannins, try the higher end. The black tea’s bitterness starts to kick in then, prevailing over the green tea while creating a pleasantly sharp contrast with the fruit flavors with little compromise. I don’t recommend brewing Marianne’s Wild Abandon for 5 minutes or longer, however; the tannins overpower the rest of tea from that point on.
Marianne’s Wild Abandon also makes a delicious iced tea! For that, I brewed 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 3½ minutes, then flash-chilled in a small pitcher and refrigerated for a few hours. The cold water brightens the fruitiness while sharpening the black tea flavor. This would be an excellent refreshment for a hot summer afternoon.
With Marianne’s Wild Abandon, Bingley’s Teas offers a terrific and versatile tea blend that delights the senses and reflects its animated, expressive namesake beautifully. The just-right sweetness and lively contrasts frolic and sing whether hot or iced, and continue to play in your mouth long after the cup’s empty. (Also, if you’re a fan of fruit pieces like I am, you won’t be able to resist the urge to fish them out once they’ve rehydrated and cooled. Yum!) Be careful with when brewing Marianne’s Wild Abandon, though. Longer steep times result in a stronger black tea body that subdues the other flavors. This tea is also quite expensive ($11.95 for a 55-gram packet). However, I enjoyed Marianne’s Wild Abandon so much that I may have to cave to indulgence once in a while.
Grade: 9 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like black or fruity teas, or are looking for fruity teas with a kick
- Time of Day and Year: Mid-morning or early afternoon year-round, or on a rainy day in spring or fall
- Possible Book Pairings: How can I not recommend Sense and Sensibility with Marianne’s Wild Abandon? Also, something about this blend reminds me of Diana Bishop from Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy. Try a cuppa with any of the three books, though newbies should start with A Discovery of Witches.
You can purchase Marianne’s Wild Abandon directly from Bingley’s Teas here.
* * *
In addition to being a tea enthusiast, Sara Letourneau is an avid reader and a writer who… well, enjoys writing! Currently she’s working on a novel, and she writes book reviews and articles on the craft of writing. She’s also a published poet with works available in various print and online publications. Visit Sara at her personal blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
If you’re a tea seller and would like to have one of your products reviewed here, please visit the Contributors page for contact information.