Saturday, September 10, 2005

Tea Review 20 - Trader Joe's Honeybush

Trader Joe's

I hadn't encountered a Trader Joe's prior to moving to the West, even though the company is apparently based in Massachusetts. For those of you who may not be familiar with Trader Joes, they're kind of an eclectic specialty grocery store with good prices on most of the items they stock. While the selection's not what you'll get at your local megagrocerymart, the prices tend to compensate for that.

This applies to tea, among other things. You may not find as wide a selection as you will at the grocery store, but you'll definitely get a good price and every now and then they stock something off the wall, like yerba mate or Rooibos, also known as red bush.

Not so long ago, our local Trader Joes started stocking the other bush tea - honeybush. There's not much info provided on the packaging for this one. About all you're gonna get from reading the box is that the sole ingredient herein is honeybush tea, that it's organic, caffeine free and a product of South Africa.

Oh, and there's a little blurb about "the Khoi and San peoples who gathered the Honeybush leaves in the mountainous regions of their native South Africa." Said blurb further claims that the brew is rich in antioxidants, phytoestrogens and essential minerals and that it "makes a luxurious brew with sweet honey overtones."

Well, these honey overtones are very faint ones indeed and actually, for my money, honeybush is not all that far removed from its South African cousin, Rooibos.

To test this thesis, I brewed up a cup of each and tasted them side by side. Though the honeybush brews up just a few notches lighter in color, the taste wasn't all that much different. The only real difference I noticed was that Rooibos had kind of a musty overtone that the honeybush lacked. Which is not necessarily a bad thing and I actually liked both varieties equally.

Like Rooibos, honeybush is good as an iced tea, especially when blended with something a little more flavorful. But then again, it's not bad on its own either.


Contents: 20 bags per box
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