Ingredient spotlight: Juniper

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Our team is dedicated to sourcing only the best ingredients. In this series, we take a closer look at what goes into our blends, their origin, their historical uses and what makes them so good.

First up, we’re looking at the main ingredient in Juniper Joy, a fresh, herbaceous black tea with notes of sweet stewed strawberries and a kick of citrus. When brewed, the tea is a gorgeous deep red, making it the perfect fresh and festive anecdote to all the season’s sweetness.

The holidays are all about decadence. Rich dishes, sweet desserts and glass after glass of celebratory drinks. But in the haze of all this decadence, sometimes you want something fresh and fruity to help balance your palette.

Juniper Joy is that drink.

WHAT IS JUNIPER?

Juniper is an evergreen tree and shrub that’s found throughout the Northern Hemisphere from Sweden to Pakistan and all the way east to Tibet, where there’s an entire juniper forest.

WHEN IS A BERRY NOT A BERRY?

Juniper trees have needles, not leaves and produce a seed cone that looks enough like a berry for it to have been named as such. Whoops.

There are roughly 40 different species of juniper, but only one produces the cone that we use for flavouring. Before you go off foraging your own – beware – a small number of juniper berries are poisonous. Better to buy the right kind at the store.

Despite being found all over the world, juniper berries are most popular in Northern Europe where they’re used as a spice in meat dishes, turned into jam, or distilled into your favourite spirit: gin.
Juniper berries are what give the drink it’s distinct flavour. (So yes, this tea will make a banging gin cocktail.)

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR

Despite not classifying as a real berry, juniper berries happen to share the same benefits as regular ones. Juniper is packed with antioxidants and aromatic oils that have detoxifying properties. Exactly the type of things your body craves while in the midst of so much indulgence.

JUNIPER THROUGH TIME

These super special, herbaceous berries have been found in a number of Egyptian tombs. If we were to hazard guess as to why, it’s probably because nothing says “Welcome to the Afterlife” like a gin martini, perfectly shaken.

In addition to being popular amongst Egypt’s ruling classes, the raw form of the spice has been used throughout history to help with everything from childbirth to congestion and urinary tract infections.

SO FRESH, SO CLEAN, SO HERBACEOUS

Real talk – not everyone enjoys juniper’s flavour as much as we do. But if you simply can’t get enough of this not-actually-a-berry’s herbaceous, citrusy goodness, you’ll find hints of it in Organic Detox, Cool Eucalyptus and even our cold weather classic, Organic Cold 911.  Happy sipping!

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