Liquorice tea + how I became a liquorice lover

Never in a million aeons did I ever think I’d learn to like liquorice. Growing up with a Swedish grandmother, I spent Christmas-after-Christmas surrounded by Scandinavians diving into tins of liquorice allsorts, twists and even SALTY liquorice.

I fell in love with liquorice tea quite by accident, after ordering a pot of cinnamon tea from a local café. It had a sweet, buttery aftertaste that I immediately fell head over heels for. Later, when I stumbled across that same tea in a health food store, I was flabbergasted to discover it contained liquorice root. What, me?! Like… liquorice?

Liquorice tea

What’s the deal here? How can a liquorice hater love liquorice tea? So I did some research: while both candy and tea are made with liquorice root, aniseed oil is added to liquorice confectionary to reinforce the liquorice flavour. Or ruin it, as far as I’m concerned! So all this time, it wasn’t the poor liquorice that was the problem: it was the aniseed oil, or possibly just the combination of the two. And considering liquorice is so polarising, I’m presuming there are a great deal of people out there, who like me, wrote off liquorice tea and are missing out.

So why do I love it so? Liquorice root tisane has an initial salty, mineral taste, which gives way to a sweet, soft, mellow flavour. My favourite part is the aftertaste: buttery, sweet and delicious, it lingers and tingles on the tip of your tongue.

It’s also good for you. Liquorice root tea has been used medicinally for centuries. It is said to treat upset stomach and heartburn, reduce inflammation, and treat the common cold. And that sweet flavour is not sugar but the liquorice root itself, which is up to 30 times sweeter than sugar cane.

Here are five of my favourite liquorice teas:

The Tea Hut – Liquorice Tea
Loose leaf, straight up liquorice root from Egypt.

Madame Flavour – Luscious Liquorice Tisane
Pyramid teabags containing large pieces of liquorice root, organic peppermint leaves, Australian aniseed myrtle leaf and whole fennel seeds.

Attic – Tea Clinic Stress Busting Tea
I picked this one up at a market in the UK. Loose leaf tea. Ingredients: black tea, peppermint, rose and small pieces of liquorice root.

Higher Living – Cinnamon (the tea I mentioned earlier!)
Teabags. Ingredients: cinnamon, whole fennel seeds, liquorice, citrus peel and ginger.

Tea 2 – Liquorice Legs
Loose leaf tea. Ingredients: liquorice root, peppermint and fennel.

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But first, tea!

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I’ve always preferred tea to coffee. Raised by an English mother, the day never officially started until the kettle had boiled and a pot of tea was on the brew (Ceylon Orange Pekoe x Darjeeling). 

Tea is my biggest distraction and greatest motivator. How many words have I written fuelled by a hot cup of Sencha or a pot of Earl Grey? Spreadsheet, or another cup of Chai? Tax return, or 15 cups of Camomile? Tea can soothe me when I’m on the edge of mania, and inspire me when I’m a blank, useless chalkboard.

I recently visited The Tea Festival in Sydney and was overwhelmed by all the tea, glorious tea! An entire world of tea was on offer, little tasters poured into tiny paper cups: oolong, Australian-grown green tea, tisane blends I had never thought possible, and of course, all the traditionals. I burnt a whole in my wallet and chatted passionately with the various tea connoisseurs, blenders and enthusiasts in the building. 

This blog is my exploration of the world of tea: from Australia to China, Fiji to Sri Lanka, Africa to Japan. Matcha to kombucha, white tea to tisane, English Breakfast to jasmine pearls, and iced to bubble. I’ll review blends, brands, venues, events and wares. I’ll offer recipes, tips, how-to guides, photo-galleries and tea facts.

Better start my next blog post then. But first, tea… Green or black? Peppermint or liquorice?

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky