During a recent trip to Maine, I visited Tea Maineia in Winterport, about 25 minutes south of Bangor. What a charming place! Not only does Tea Maineia carry a wide variety of teas (black, oolong, green, white, and herbal / rooibos), but it also sells teapots, mugs, and locally made condiments and other foods that pair well with tea. It also has a bright, welcoming environment inside, and the owner is friendly and wonderfully knowledgeable. If you’re ever in the Bangor area, I highly recommend checking out Tea Maineia!
And of course I couldn’t leave without purchasing some tea. 😉 So, for today’s Tea Time, we’ll cover one of Tea Maineia’s several herbal tisanes. Cold Comfort blends green and rooibos teas with fruit and herbs often used for alleviating symptoms of the common cold. How does this unique infusion brew up? And did I find it comforting during a recent head cold? There’s only one way to find out!
Tea Maineia’s Description: “A soothing blend of green tea and herbs known for their healing properties and comforting essence. We can’t cure your cold, but we can help bear it a little bit better!”
Ingredients: Organic rooibos, lemon peel, organic honeybush, green tea, hibiscus, ginger, rosehips, spearmint, lemon myrtle, lemongrass
Steeping Instructions: Use 1½ teaspoons of tea for every 8 oz of water. Heat water to boiling (190 degrees Fahrenheit / 96 – 98 degrees Celsius) and steep for 5 minutes.
Multiple Brews?: No
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: Low
It’s funny how your state of mind or health can influence which teas you prefer at that time. Last fall, I picked Inspired By Jane’s Pemberley Herbal Blend when I was suffering from a cold. Another cold hit me recently, which prompted me to reach for Cold Comfort. Because… well, it’s nice to drink something warm and comforting when you’re feeling miserable, right? 🙂
And look how pretty this tea is! When dry, Cold Comfort is like a miniature garden, with fruits and herbs in different shades of green, brown, magenta, yellow, and white. The aroma, however, is minty with hints of citrus. No doubt it’s due to the spearmint and the “lemon” sources (lemon peel, lemongrass, lemon myrtle). Other scents like woody rooibos and honeybush, fruit (hibiscus and rosehips), and ginger aren’t so apparent. Overall, the fragrance is bright and invigorating but not overpowering.
Following Tea Maineia’s instructions, I brew 1 ½ teaspoons of Cold Comfort in boiling water for 5 minutes. The infusion turns deep rose with an orange tinge, like the color of sunrise. Hmmmmm. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, since the hibiscus and rosehips would add a reddish tint. Maybe it’s because the scent is still predominantly mint and lemon, though now I detect a trace of tart fruit.
And the taste? Again, it’s not what I expected. Rosehips and hibiscus come front and center, giving the tisane a full body and strong, tangy flavor that’s reminiscent of cranberries. A current of spearmint floats through and rises in the aftertaste, and the green tea weaves in a vegetal nuance. It’s not a bad brew by any means. In fact, it’s quite flavorful – but it’s a little too fruity for my preference.
If I’ve learned anything about tea blends, though, it’s that the ingredient ratio for each brew often dictates which flavors will prevail. So, I brewed more cups of Cold Comfort over several days to see how they differed from one another. Fewer hibiscus and rosehip pieces led to more herbaceous cups, with a paler orange-pink color and a flavor profile that leans more toward mint and lemongrass. These brews were my favorites for Cold Comfort. They’re crisp, refreshing, and lightly floral; and the fruity notes bloom only in the finish.
Overall, Tea Maineia’s Cold Comfort is a lively, aromatic tisane with a wide-ranging flavor palate. Sometimes it’s tart and fruity, and other times minty and invigorating. I’m not sure it will become my go-to tea blend when I’m under the weather. (Chamomile and lavender teas are my two soothing favorites.) However, Cold Comfort still works well as a pick-me-up brew, and I imagine fruity and herbal tea lovers alike will be clamoring for this one.
Grade: 7.5 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like herbal or fruity tisanes
- Time of Day and Year: Autumn and winter evenings, or as an afternoon burst of energy year-round
- Possible Book Pairings: Cold Comfort would pair well with fun and refreshing reads like Scott O’Dell and Elizabeth Hall’s Venus Among the Fishes (told from a dolphin’s perspective), Laini Taylor’s Blackbringer (fierce Tinkerbell-esque fairies fighting demons), and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Changing Planes (a sort of “outer space travel guide”).
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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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