“A cup of tea makes everything better.”
Tea revives you, refresh you and de-stress you. Thanks to the flavonoids and antioxidants it contains, it boost up your immune system. Brewing a cup of tea is like art in itself, an eloquent poetry waiting to unfold as you wait with bated breadth as the tea leaves slowly unfurl when it is touched upon by the steaming hot water, a piece of ginger smashed into it, some times two pods of cardamom or tiny piece of cinnamon or few leaves of tulsi or holy basil muddled into it. As you close the lid of the pot and let the flavours steeped into the tea, mingling with each other, the strong flavours wafted through your kitchen, filling the space with strong gingerly flavour, the morning wakes up from the deep slumber, your day begins.
Tea evokes nostalgia “Chai thandi ho rahi hai…” thats right of hot freshly brewed potion and not of cold packaged drinks, that we known today as iced tea. So selling nostalgia probably would not work as a charm as did with other products of Paper Boats. On a hot sweltering afternoons, besides water to quench your thirst, we sometimes crave for sugary drinks with fruity flavours, old world “sherbets” are modern days packaged “ready to sip” sugary water with artificial sweeteners and flavours. Soon we realized that packaged juice or energy drinks are not enough, we need antioxidants. Do we really calculate how much antioxidants we had consumed in a day? Or is it just a passing fad. Here comes the “iced tea” rich with antioxidants but most of them are powered either by artificial sweeteners or loads of sugary sweetness, that eventually nullifies the goodness of antioxidants in tea.
So when I saw “a notch down on sugar“ on Paper Boat’s iced tea drinks, I was happily pleased. Paper Boats, the one who are slowly stealing the hearts of Indians by reviving the typical Indian flavours or reviving our memories of good old days with their fruit drinks had sent us samples of their ‘yet to be launched’ iced tea drinks. The two flavours to which every Indian can connect to are tulsi and ginger-lemon. Very apt for Indian palate I must say, but are Indians ready for iced teas yet?
Probably not, as one of the world’s top tea consuming country, Indian loved their tea hot steeped in gingerly flavour, a concoction that they made with milk brewed for hours like Mumbai’s famous cutting chai. In contrast to that iced tea are pale, cold and mildly flavoured and too meek for an Indian palate.
But the world is changing and so the taste of globe-trotting Indians. Most of the cafe shops in India serves iced tea now, a trend probably introduced by or popularised by CCD. Their ginseng flavoured iced tea was my favourite. Since then I had tried many global brands of iced teas and different flavours and eventually end up brewing my own in the coziness of my kitchen.
So before reviewing Paper Boat’s product, let me tell you my gold standards for brewing tea:
I am an avid tea-drinker. If you divide the world into two religion – tea and coffee, I will follow tea. But as far as I remember at home we hardly stuck with any particular brand of tea. First we prefer tea leaves over fanning or dust. So in India there were hardly any brand that sells tea leaves, before Lipton started producing long leaf Darjeeling tea. That too fades away as we are lucky enough to source it right from the hills or at times from particular tea retailers in Kolkata who sells mostly leaf teas primarily in two variety black tea and green tea and sometimes white tea from Makaibari.
I prefer tea without milk as I usually have severe bouts of acidity when consumed with milk and for the same reason I never had tea from tea stalls in India. It is said tea is taken best without milk and sugar as it lowers the antioxidant properties of tea and also makes the drink more acidic, which increases the tension in the intestinal wall and liver is overworked and becomes weak. Next I never boiled tea leaves with water as it causes the tannin to be released in water. Tannin or tannic acid found in tea leaves disturbs the thickening of stomach walls.
So my recipe for making tea is simple : Boil the water and if you are using spices, roots or herbs to flavour your tea, then muddle the herbs or smashed the spices or piece of ginger and let it simmer on low heat till you get the right flavours. Switch of the heat and pour it over the tea leaves, cover and let the flavours steeped into it for four to five minutes till you get that glorious golden color. Drain, add sugar and enjoy it tepid.
Iced teas are my new favourite drinks, especially in hot Indian summer. Over the years, I have experimented with variety of flavours from flowers like jasmine, rose, hibiscus to herbs like tulsi / holy basil, mint, lemon grass, ginseng etc to spices like ginger, cinnamon ,star anise and fruity infusion like lemon, lime, peach, pineapple, apple, mango etc. Iced tea can be made by following two standard rules – cold brew and hot brew. Cold brews are obviously lower in antioxidants compare to hot brews as hot water helps release the antioxidants in tea. Taste wise there are not much difference but hot brewed ones fare slightly better than the cold brewed ones.
So what I am looking for in Paper Boat’s iced tea drinks are flavours, tartness, taste of tea, sweetness, aftertaste if any. So here how they score on these criteria :
Tulsi Iced Tea :
Flavour of Tea : very mild
Flavour or scent of Tulsi : mild
Tannin : absent
Tartness : no
Sweetness : just right
Aftertaste : none
Refreshing : Yes, best when served chilled or filled with ice cubes, a twig of fresh tulsi to go with it.
Overall : Nice
Recommendation : Would prefer more stronger tulsi flavour and bit of lemony tartness to add the zing and bolder taste of tea to add the punch.
Ginger – Lemon Iced Tea
Flavour of Tea : Barely there
Flavour or scent of ginger : present but it looks like powdered ginger flavour
Tannin : absent
Tartness : no
Sweetness : Okay
Aftertaste : present but not unpleasant
Refreshing : Not enough, best when served chilled or filled with ice cubes, a dash of lemon to go with it.
Overall : Average
Recommendation : Would prefer fresh flavour of ginger, more lemony and more bolder taste of tea.
Of the two flavour, my personal pick would be Tulsi iced tea. The price is kept at Rs 30 for 250 ml pack which is just right.
Packaging is environmental friendly.
Provided they improve the flavours and taste, I would recommend this product.
The vantage points for Paper Boat’s products are that they are
Preservative Free. No Artificial color or sweetener. No Artificial flavour and other chemical additives. No GMO. All Natural.
Lastly thanks to Hector Beverages for the free samples.
*Views expressed here are discreetely my own.”