“‘You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater when I write to them and sign my name Lydia Wickham. What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing.’”
– Lydia Bennet, Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice
Ah, Lydia Bennet. The youngest daughter of Pride and Prejudice’s central family, she adores fine clothes, fancy parties, and men in uniform. It’s no surprise that she’s one of literature’s most famous debutantes – or that she runs off with that shifty Mr. Wickham. Now, if there was a perfect tea match for Lydia’s naivety and self-indulgence, what would it be? The answer comes courtesy of Bingley’s Teas and their extensive Jane Austen Tea Series. Decaf seekers and dessert-tisane lovers, meet Lydia Had More Fun Rooibos Tea.
Bingley’s Description: “Lydia Bennet: Flirtatious, flaky, and without the usual substance of common sense but would absolutely be entertaining at a party! This blend of rooibos tisane and flakes of coconut shreds and flavoring offers a decadent, dessert-like combination that is completely devoid of actual tea. This means it is caffeine free for those concerned about that.”
Ingredients: Red rooibos tea, coconut flakes, and coconut flavoring
Steeping Instructions: Use 1 teaspoon per brew. Heat water to boiling (210 degrees Fahrenheit / 98 degrees Celsius), and steep for 4 minutes.
Multiple Brews?: No
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: None
Lydia Had More Fun tickles my sights with its contrast of robust reddish-brown rooibos and shreds of snow-white coconut. There’s more rooibos than coconut, maybe 75% of the former and 25% of the latter. Also, the coconut used here isn’t the hard or freeze-dried stuff. Instead, it’s the good kind of coconut: the fresh, softer shavings you’ll find in bags at your local grocery store or sprinkled on desserts and pastries. I’m curious to see how this affects the taste and texture of the brew.
First, I open the packet of Lydia Had More Fun and smell… DESSERT. The coconut aroma blooms through and mingles with the woody rooibos scent. It’s bold and creamy, with a decadent sweetness that reminds me of frosting – specifically carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I’m not joking! There’s a confectionary quality here that’s uncharacteristic of rooibos teas. Which makes me wonder: Will the tea taste too sweet for my liking? How will the coconut and rooibos flavors harmonize in the cup?
Only one way to find out. Following Bingley’s instructions, I steep 1 teaspoon of Lydia Had More Fun in boiling water for 4 minutes. The infusion looks like a typical cup of rooibos, a healthy and dark reddish-brown. The aroma is now a more subdued balance between rooibos and coconut, but maintains that unique confectionary sweetness.
Each sip of Lydia Had More Fun ushers an instant creaminess. The thick, velvety mouthfeel is definitely a result of the fresh coconut, which I can taste along with the well-rounded, complex rooibos flavors. In fact, I think the coconut strengthens the rooibos taste. I don’t find the tea particularly sweet, though – until the aftertaste arrives. It coats my tongue and lingers like frosting. I like it well enough, but I also need a glass of water or a cup of white or green tea to wash it down. Now I’m glad I waited until after dinner to brew More Fun. The tisane’s texture and finish make it too rich for any other time of the day.
Speaking of luxury, Bingley’s recommends adding cream to Lydia Had More Fun “if you’re feeling extra extravagant”. I don’t usually have cream at home, but for curiosity’s sake I added a splash of milk to one cup. Doing this accentuates the tisane’s satiny smoothness and tempers the heartiness of the rooibos. And if it were cream instead of milk – oh yes, it would enhance the brew’s flavor and body.
Once again, Bingley’s Teas serves up an accurate “tea reflection” of one of Jane Austen’s characters. Lydia Had More Fun flirts with its sweet coconut-rooibos perfume and entices with its full flavors and indulgent smoothness. And thanks to its mouth-wateringly sweet finish, it’s a true confection tisane. This would be a fun choice to spruce up your afternoon tea party, or to enjoy after dinner either alone or with a fruity dessert, pastries, or extra dark chocolate. I wouldn’t recommend More Fun for earlier in the day; it’s more of a luxury than most herbal teas. But this is a lovely change of pace, and the most “fun” you’ll have with rooibos without adding actual sugar to your cup.
Grade: 8 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like rooibos or dessert teas
- Time of Day and Year: After dinner as a dessert substitute, or with select desserts or pastries
- Possible Book Pairings: Pride And Prejudice, of course! I could also see it working for Sense and Sensibility, as well as book club reads like Lorna Landvik’s Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons or YA romance or contemporary fiction.
You can purchase Lydia Had More Fun directly from Bingley’s Teas here.
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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.
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