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Pukka Lemon & Mandarin with Lemon Verbena

My first Pukka tea was dur­ing my time as an intern at a pho­to­graph­ic arts agency in London, rum­ma­ging through the kit­chen and find­ing Three Tulsi by Pukka. Remarkably unpleas­ant is an under­state­ment for that tea. I dis­missed that exper­i­ence as herb­al infu­sions aren’t my cup of tea, par­don the pun. So, find­ing Pukka teas in Sydney, I give them a second try with a fruit infu­sion: Pukka Lemon & Mandarin with Lemon Verbena.

Infusing for 5 minutes in 200 ml of freshly boiled water gives a slightly cloudy orange-pink liquor. The first sip is a cit­rus fla­vour without the bright­ness of fresh lem­ons or man­dar­ins. A slight acid­ity recalls lem­ons and a subtle bit­ter sweet­ness reminds of man­dar­in peel, but the stale lem­on fla­vour dom­in­ates. That’s to be expec­ted, though, as the ingredi­ents list is filled with lem­on fla­vours: lem­on balm leaf, lem­on­grass, lem­on ver­bena leaf, lem­on myrtle leaf, whole lem­on peel and lem­on essen­tial oil fla­vour. The man­dar­in fla­vour could come only from two: orange peel and man­dar­in essen­tial oil fla­vour.

After a dis­ap­point­ing start, the sweet­ness devel­ops with loud notes of ani­seed through­out the remainder of the sip and con­tin­ues to build in the after­taste to almost naus­eat­ing levels — and I actu­ally enjoy a strong liquorice fla­vour in sar­sa­parilla. Unfortunately, lem­on & ani­seed more aptly describes this tea, which sits very close to the bot­tom of the teas I’ve tasted. So, maybe it’s Pukka and not my aver­sion to herb­al infu­sions.

This box of Pukka Lemon & Mandarin with Lemon Verbena con­tained 20 tea bags. It was packed in the United Kingdom and pur­chased in Sydney, Australia in 2015.