I don’t do much in the way of Rooibos reviews, though during the last tea purge a month ago I realized I do buy a great deal of it. So why bother? Well, for one thing simply because it’s really cheap and you can do almost anything with it. In fact, you can do multiple things at at the same time, and in a lot of cases companies like TeaVana do just that.
However, not all Rooibos are the same. Just as many are done to spicy, ironically there are actually some fashioned to be “Honeybush aroma” teas. Smooth Strawberry Dream is one such Rooibos. Like most Rooibos, Smooth Strawberry Dream’s base tea doesn’t have a very great deal of taste beyond warm soothing Herbal. Though, usually from there one adds ingredients to create more taste and texture. In this case however, the ingredients: caramel, strawberry bits and strawberry leaves are chosen to enhance the tea’s aromatic qualities more so than its taste. I’ve often been rightly accused of making generalizations, but i think i can safely say most fruit teas lack taste (it’s fine if you feel the need to quote/call me out on that). Fruit teas are built around the concept of the strong aroma reminding the drinker of a fruit or juice they’ve had before, without actually containing calories. In some cases, although the taste is absent, the strong aroma tricks the brain into thinking it IS juice and a false taste sensation is imagined where none actually exists… at least, that’s the vendor’s hope. As you can probably guess, I don’t drink tea in the pursuit of weight loss. Rather, I’m interested in discovering really exciting experiences for my non-visual/auditory senses. If you CAN trick my tongue, I give you full marks. xD Aromatic Herbal teas don’t really end up being all that exciting (maybe my olfactory sense isn’t as strong as my taste buds) unless they’re a Flowering aromatic tea. Flowering teas have a fun visual component… except generally Flowering teas are made White with rolled leaves and blossoms such that there’s something to unfurl during brewing, rather than Herbal which actually dissolves invisibly into a homogenous liquid. Also, although I’ve tried about a dozen, to date I haven’t reviewed any flowering teas. They’re really just for show; in short, they suck.
Which brings me back to Smooth Strawberry Dream: the scent does indeed remind me of rinsing fresh strawberries in summer. But when drank all I can really discern is the taste and texture of Rooibos: a honey caramel thin Herbal. Honestly, TeaGschwendner should have left out the caramel, but just as a lot of Black tea makers are bergamot-happy, a lot of Rooibos makers are overly caramel-happy. If you want to create a tea that really pays homage to the strawberry, maybe try combining Smooth Strawberry Dream with one of my favorite iced teas: Strawberry Basil. Assuming it can be brewed such that both components come through well (Herbals often need to brew longer than Blacks), one would have the smell down as well as a delicious, refreshing taste and leafy texture.