I’ve always wondered: Why do tea companies use an illustration of an anthropomorphic brown bear, living in a log cabin in the woods, as their depiction for chamomile tea?? Mr.Brown Bear, with his eyes closed, is usually seated slightly reclined (or somewhat slumped) in his comfy chair, located next to the fireplace; he is wearing on his head, a nightcap, he also happens to be wearing a nightshirt, and in his lap, rests a teacup which is just barely held onto, with his huge paw.
As a side note, my apologies in advance, I feel like I should preface my review by saying this: I have never been a fan of chamomile teas; and honestly… they’ve always kinda tasted like sour piss, to me.
I really need to improve upon my vocabulary for these tea reviews ;) The imagery I often associate with chamomile tea only emphasizes how much I dislike the taste of it; the individually wrapped tea bag advertising some kind of “relaxation blend” or “sleepytime tea” with Mr.Sleepy Brown Bear mentioned earlier, totally does not make me feel any better for drinking it.
But once again, I am suitably impressed by how the blend turned out to be an enjoyable surprise, especially after my initial luke warm feelings about the tea I was about drink; I’m looking at you, Sherlock!
To begin my gushings of amazement, check out all the flowery, herby, stuff this blend contains! The size of all the bits’n’pieces in the photo below, completely blows me away; it thoroughly amazes me right now because this is only a sampler tin and I can only imagine what a full 3oz. bag could contain!
Molly Hooper: blended with chamomile, snowbud, rose hips, hibiscus, apple pieces, natural wild cherry flavor, dried cherries. Teas: chamomile, dewy cherry, snowbud.
Whenever I ask someone why they enjoy drinking chamomile tea, responses tend to be:
1.) they want to enjoy a cup later in the evening and not have to be concerned with any caffeine effects which might ordinarily keep them tossing & turning long after they’ve gone to bed if they went with a regular brew.
2.) it’s also supposed to be a great sleep aid.
3.) Chamomile’s basically become the poster child and the automatic default recommendation for someone looking for caffeine-free herbal tea.
(I’m pretty sure that at some point in the 90’s when caffeine-free herbal teas were all the rage, people seem to have developed a weird soft spot in their hearts & souls for chamomile tea.)
At this point you’re probably wondering: if I am so thoroughly put off by chamomile tea, what does Molly Hooper bring to my table, then?
Answer: Not sour piss. Thank goodness!
Upon first brewing, the characteristic I first noticed was Molly’s beautiful golden hue. Since there are no actual tea leaves in this blend, I probably ought to be referring to this blend more properly as a tisane*. Molly Hooper is a bit of a surprise when you aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary; this is a seriously floral blend when you take a quick sniff at it. Floral scents, like smokiness, are not generally characteristics I am looking for in my tea, but like I mentioned above, the amount of stuff in this blend is pretty impressive which gave me second pause for consideration .
*Just a little extra tidbit of information: a tisane is any beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water, and usually does not contain caffeine. These drinks are distinguished from true teas (black, green, white, yellow, oolong, etc., which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis), as well as from decaffeinated tea, in which the caffeine has been removed. In many countries, the word ‘tea’ can only be used for leaves of Camellia sinensis and therefore the phrase ‘herbal tea’ cannot be used. These beverages are therefore labelled infusion or tisane.
When Molly was brewed up to my desired strength, I noticed that it definitely tasted better slightly sweetened, but the important part to note is make sure you don’t add too much sugar. Although I would highly recommend that you consider using honey as your sweetener of choice for Molly, and if you happen to be able to get your hands on some wildflower or other floral honey, that would be even more amazing.
Surprisingly, it also tastes pretty decent when you drink it plain, but I admit that I didn’t try adding any milk at any point. It just didn’t seem to be an appropriate addition for me.
The biggest reason for changing my initial opinion of chamomile tea was because I had a rather unexpected taste-memory flashback. The first few sips of tea after it had been sweetened, instantly brought me back to being a teenager and it’s the middle of winter; Mom is standing in the kitchen, me & my brothers are either still sitting around the kitchen table with Dad, or we’re all hanging out in the family room, after dinner while Mom’s hovering over a large soup pot, stirring chunks of Chinese rock sugar into that huge pot of chrysanthemum tea.
Be warned, the buds of the chamomile flowers have a tendency to lose a lot of their petals into your infusion as you’re brewing. If you don’t have some kind of fine mesh filter for your tea/tisane brewing, you will soon discover a whole heckuva lot of teeny tiny little petals possibly floating about inside your teacup when you’re ready to drink.
When I make teas that have an excessive amount of floaty bits, I prefer to use a french press solely dedicated for brewing tea; no matter what kind of tea or tisane I happen to be making, the plunger & metal screen seems to have solved the problem of filtering out the excessive amounts of bits & pieces in my cup. As a bonus, using a french press allows me to roughly gauge the brew strength of my teas just by a quick glance, which is helpful if I’ve forgotten to set a timer. Plus if I have a blooming tea, I can watch the flowers unfurl!
I still can’t believe how much the Molly Hooper blend tastes like the chrysanthemum tea Mom used to make for us after dinner in the winter. I still don’t really much care for chrysanthemum tea, but as I get older, I realize that I actually enjoyed drinking it when Mom accidentally dropped “too much sugar” into the pot.
Adding enough sugar, preferably in the form of honey, is probably why I am feeling a little more enthusiastic about drinking the Molly Hooper blend.
P.S.: If you are ever considering your tea options for iced tea; I finished yesterday’s pot of Molly, this morning with breakfast, cold. Just to see how it would taste as an ‘iced tea’ and it was actually quite nice as a cold alternative. I would even consider recommending it solely for drinking as an iced tea.