I was walking through a local shopping centre and passed a T2 shop, which sells various types of tea leaves, as well as tea-free herbal and fruit concoctions, and various teapots and other paraphernalia for preparing hot drinks. I often buy their “Liquorice Legs” tea, which is a blend of peppermint, fennel seeds, and liquorice and is my go-to hot drink since I don’t drink coffee or regular tea. But this day I was gobsmacked to see something new in their display window: Vanilla Slice tea.
Obviously, I had to go in and check it out. The neat cubic box stated the ingredients as apple pieces, rosehip, hibiscus, vanilla pieces, and a mysterious ingredient described only as “flavour”. Determining it was caffeine-free, I bought a box for later brewing and reviewing.
Opening the box, the dried herbaceous chunks inside were a mixture of deep brown colours. The smell is delicious, containing rich hints of sweetness, with a strong toasty caramelisation, and a subtle but noticeable hint of vanilla. A bit like toasted marshmallows. The ingredients have clearly been roasted in some way to caramelise the sugars a bit. I grabbed a generous amount in a large tea-ball and boiled some water to make a large mug of the tea.
The freshly prepared hot tea has a rich red-brown colour (though my choice of a purple mug made it a little hard to tell exactly), and subtle vanilla aroma, with a hint of smokiness. It smells quite promising and delicious, though the vanilla scent is somewhat less than I’d expected and hoped for. After letting it cool enough to take a first sip, I am exposed to the taste for the first time. It’s totally not what I was expecting.
Rather than a smooth, creamy, vanilla reminiscent of a milkshake, the liquid is astringent and acidic, riding strongly on the apple and rosehip flavours. The vanilla is nothing but a subtle aroma on the nose and a brief lingering aftertaste once the overwhelming rosehip acidity fades away from the palate. This is much more a rosehip beverage than a vanilla one. I have nothing against rosehip tea – I like it now and then – but it’s very much not what I was expecting or wanting from this.
So, disappointing. And not even a hint of pastry or custard.
Vanilla Slice tea: 2/10