Review of Harney & Son African Autumn

Name: African Autumn

Brand: Harney & Sons

Type: Rooibos tisane, flavored

Form: Silken pyramid tea bags

Review: Rooibos, an herb grown in South Africa, is a popular alternative to true tea: Rooibos has no caffeine, low tannin, and is naturally sweet. It also blends quite well with other flavors, and can be enjoyed both hot and cold.

In African Autumn, the good folks at Harney & Sons blended rooibos with cranberry and orange flavors. While it is not unusual that fruit flavors would be blended with rooibos, what is unusual is how well blended this tisane actually is. Instead of simply using rooibos as a base for a fruity tisane, in this blend the cranberry and orange are judiciously used to compliment the flavor of the rooibos itself.

The first hint that this is not a ham-fisted tisane is in the dry leaf nose: When I opened the tin I expected a strong scent. This did not happen. In fact, I had to get my nose fairly close to the pyramid tea bags  After some sniffing, I detected some good quality rooibos with some subtle orange and cranberry. Not overwhelming, and quite unexpected.

African Autumn infuses to a deep pumpkin pie orange color and maintains its strong rooibos nose. The tisane itself is medium bodied, with a slightly sweet, nutty rooibos flavor. The fruit notes emerge primarily in the finish, and are both refreshing and palate cleansing.

This tisane is a great option for those who really like the flavor of rooibos, but who would also enjoy something a little different. I would also recommend it to anyone who is looking for a caffeine-free hot drink to enjoy in the evenings. African Autumn works well on both counts.

Preparation Tips: Like other rooibos tisanes, African Autumn does not get bitter with prolonged steepings. The tangy fruit notes become much stronger after 10 minutes of steeping, so if you are really after the fruit, wrap your teapot up in a tea cozy and let this sit awhile.

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