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Tetley tea tasting with a mad Scottish chef on a river in France

Those lovely tea botherers at Tetley recently sent me (well actually it wasn’t that recent, they’ve just been hanging around for far too long on my bedroom floor, unfortunately looking like condom wrappers), some of their new ‘Indulgence’ flavoured tea bags to sample in four different varieties. Black teas with a blend of spices to be taken with or without milk – and hopefully without sugar, the aim is to replicate indulgent treats while being, well, tea.

To make things a bit more exciting, because why the hell not? I took them to a canal boat in the middle of Central France in the arse end of nowhere and gave them one by one to a mental Scottish fine dining chef working on a hotel barge to do a blind taste test.

One by one I brewed up the ‘indulgent’ flavours of tea for chef Jade, adding a splash of milk but no sugar, and passing them over in her favourite mug with no other information apart from that they were sweet treat flavours, and could hopefully be used as a sweet substitute for naughty cravings of the dipping someone in chocolate and eating them variety. Safe to say I felt like a lazy Heston Blumenthal.

Could she guess the creative flavours? Would she actually have the patience to do the challenge? Would she think they were all ‘pish’?*
Would I end up with ‘Indulgent’ flavoured tea thrown at me? Would they taste so good I wouldn’t care? The possibilities really were endless!
*Scottish translator: PISS / SHIT

First question from the chief tea tester was “Will they give me the balk?* I’m not doing it if they’re gunna be flavours like bogeys or something”
*Scottish translator: Balk means an urge to vomit everywhere

After a couple of seconds of reassurance that, no, Tetley’s hadn’t started making ‘bogey’ flavoured tea, and that, as hard to believe as it was, they were supposed to be pleasant ‘bought from the patisserie up the top of the village’ style flavours, we began.

First up: Tea numero uno: GINGERBREAD

Jade chef: “Is it apple?”

Me: “No it’s something you would buy from the bakery, for the kids”

Jade chef: “Oh! I don’t know it heavy tastes like apple. It is spiced.”

Me: “It’s gingerbread”

Jade chef: “Oh! Right! well it doesn’t taste as much as gingerbread as the Starbucks latte’s do. When you get one of those you know it’s going to taste like gingerbread”

Me: “Yeah but that’s probably because you know it’s going to taste like gingerbread, y’know, like when you order it.”

Jade: “Oh right, yeah…”

We both stare into space for a few seconds…

Tea number 2: COOKIES & CREAM
Apple?

Jade: Takes a long hard sniff…. “Is it apple?”

Me: “No, it isn’t fruity, think about it, think creamy, sweet…”

Jade: “I know this! Cookies & Cream !”

This was by far the most alike to what it was intending to be, and the easiest to guess by far. I would even go as far as to say it tasted sweet and indulgent enough to beat a late evening sugar craving.

Kettle’s boiled, Tea number 3: CHOCOLATE MINT

Is that apple?

Is that apple?

Jade: Long sniff, small sip, longer sniff…. “Is it apple?”

I was beginning to realise at this stage that there made a big difference when you knew what flavour the tea actually was before you smelt it or tasted it. For me the flavours were uncanny, but to our wee chef here..

Tea number 4: Spiced APPLE

It isn't? it bloody is!

It isn’t? it bloody is!

Me: “Fuck sake. I’m not doing this last one, it’s bloody apple flavour”

Jade: “But I love apple flavour” (puts the kettle on)

Me: “Well fuck you then”

So, to conclude, all the Tetley Indulgence tea bags when blind tasted taste like apple apparently.
If you know the flavours, or once you know the flavours, it’s a job well bloody replicated. A bit like that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where you can walk around tasting trees and they taste like trees but good, just with no Oompa Loompas and a lot less fun and blood sugar spikes. So anyway, basically the blind taste test was completely pointless.

We collectively voted on the Cookies & Cream as the most delicious. Gingerbread in strong second place.

I very much liked this idea of having a sugar/fat free tea that would keep my sugar cravings at bay. I honestly think these did the job.

I’m just off now to deep fry a Mars Bar and down a pint of custard. Cheers!

Keep calm and drink Irn Bru

Keep calm and drink Irn Bru

Is that apple?

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