Thank you so much ohfancythat (whatshesaid) for parting with such a generous amount of this for me to try (and the Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake – I figured it out)!
This is a tricky one to rate. Echoing whatshesaid ‘s sentiment, the flavour is pretty spot on, but it’s not one of my favourites, mainly because I’m not a fan of grapefruit. When I was younger I remember staying in a hotel that offered a continental breakfast in the morning, and, seeing a bowl full of grapefruit slices and thinking that they were orange, I filled up my own bowl with them, headed back to my table and promptly got a shock when I shoved them in my mouth and discovered they were not what I had been expecting. I don’t think I ever really got over that surprising bitterness and wishing they were oranges, because all these years later I remember that moment well and still have an aversion to grapefruit. I did enjoy this tea a whole lot more than I expected, though!
I’ve had several cups, black each time, and each time I was surprised by how flavourful it was after such a short steep. The Crimson Horizon was a good choice. Grapefruit always seems like such a breakfast flavour, and the Crimson Horizon is to me a breakfast tea, or at least that’s how I always drink it. It has some natural citrus notes to it, too, which pair really well with the grapefruit note, which is strongly present and impressively accurate in the initial sip. It is bitter, but it seems natural in a grapefruit tea, and adds to the accuracy so that I’ve never felt the need to add milk as I might otherwise. The brown sugar note also comes across, mainly in the aftertaste and I swear it also adds some sweetness. I can taste some sort of creamy note, too, which adds a lot to the sweetness and cuts through the grapefruit nicely. It could just be the power of suggestion, since it is called ‘Grapefruit Creme Brulee, and after reading the description I don’t think it’s actually intended to taste like a real creme brulee but more just a grapefruit halved with brown sugar. Either way, it’s there and I like it. I added some brown rock sugar which intensified the brown sugar (obviously) and creamy notes. It’s still a breakfast tea but now reminds me more of something I would eat after lunch than breakfast. The grapefruit is still the dominant note, bright and tangy but balanced. Since this is my last cup of this tea I decided to try adding milk, since it is my last chance. Turns out I preferred it without, but I’m glad I tried it both ways. With milk the bitterness is no longer present, but it just doesn’t seem quite right any more. It’s a little too creamy and sweet for my liking to be a breakfast tea now, though it does taste a lot more like creme brulee. The grapefruit note I suppose is still there, but without the bitterness it’s throwing me. Like I said, the bitterness seemed like a natural part of a grapefruit flavoured tea, and now it’s gone I’m not sure what it’s supposed to taste like. There is still a citrus note but I wouldn’t be able to immediately identify it as grapefruit any more. Who knew removing the bitterness could be a bad thing? I think I’ll do a resteep of this later to see if there’s any grapefruitiness remaining.