I will always be the first to admit that I don’t like liquorice, aniseed type flavours in tea. I especially don’t like them when they’re added to herbal blends to sweeten them but end up completely overpowering the other flavour notes. Cough cough Pukka.
And yet I’m here tasting a Twinings Pure Fennel Tea… and quite enjoying it! It’s part of the Pure range which focuses on sole ingredients rather than tea blends. I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised.
Cleansing Fennel at a Glance
A good tea (well, it’s hard to go wrong with 1 ingredient) that highlights the woody, herby and earthy notes of dried fennel seeds with strong anise sweetness. This fennel tea is great for digestive problems.
Full Review - Twinings Pure Fennel Tea
- Type: Square paper tea bags
- Ingredients: Fennel seeds
- Health Benefits: Ease digestive problems
- Flavour Notes: Strong anise-like fennel, simple, woody, earthy
- Aroma: Sweet liquorice and woody notes
- Milk or Lemon: Lemon
- Where to Buy: Twinings Official Teashop, Amazon (international buyers)
Everything about this tea is strong. The initial aroma saturates the air in the room with that strong, liquorice aniseed smell. The fennel seeds are sweet with an earthy/woody note that isn’t always present with other anise-flavoured ingredients (star anise, for example).
As for the flavour, it’s not as sweet as the aroma would suggest. I was very grateful for this! You can’t mask the aniseed flavour, but it’s light enough that woody and earthy notes pop through. Although this tea is uncomplicated and rather plain, the single ingredient isn’t entirely one-dimensional.
Comparing fennel seed tea to fresh fennel is much like comparing dried or powdered ginger to fresh ginger. The same strong dominant flavour is present but when dried, these ingredients lose any freshness and take on darker earthy notes instead.
I did enjoy sipping this tea (even though I couldn’t stomach finishing my cup) because of those darker notes hiding beneath the anise. It’s palatable, even for someone who doesn’t enjoy liquorice.
How to Brew Fennel Seed Tea
I followed the brewing instructions from Twinings (boiling water, 2 to 3 minutes) and stopped at exactly 2 minutes to make sure it wasn’t too strong.
Unlike most teas which get progressively darker, this one immediately turned the water a golden yellow colour and didn’t intensify as the 2 minutes passed. Don’t judge when this tea is ready by the colour, make sure you go by time.
Lemon would contrast nicely, adding some sharp and refreshing notes to the woody and sweet notes of fennel seed tea.
Why Twinings Herbal Infusions?
Until you discover the many hundreds of amazing tea brands online that offer truly delicious and organic herbal blends, Twinings is the bees’ knees. Along with Pukka, they rule the supermarket shelves in the UK offering tea that’s an improvement on the usual Tesco own-brand.
The thing is, they aren’t enough of an improvement to justify the higher cost, in my opinion. This is especially true with this tea.
Opening the fennel tea bag, you can see that it’s just pure fennel seeds. Some are whole and others are tiny dust particles (some will linger in the bottom of your cup). There is no difference between the fennel seeds in this tea bag and the fennel seeds you can buy in a glass jar in the dried herb aisle.
If you have the permanent tea infusers or even reusable mesh tea bags at home, it’s going to be far cheaper to just buy fennel seeds. It’s also going to save a lot of packaging and waste, plus you can use the fennel seeds in cooking if you don’t enjoy the tea.
You need to decide whether you want convenience and quick infusing at a higher price, or cooking/brewing versatility at a lower price but with more effort required to make the tea.
Health Benefits of Fennel Seed Tea
Most health benefits of fennel seeds are digestive ones. A cup of Twinings Pure Fennel Tea could soothe stomach cramps, bloating, excess gas and speed up digestion. Pay particular attention to that last one! This health “benefit” plus the fact that fennel tea can encourage urination means that you don’t want to drink this tea before a long bus journey.
One other very interesting fact that I found was that fennel seed tea can reduce high blood pressure and is great for those suffering hypertension. Liquorice root, a similar tasting tea ingredient with strong anise notes, is terrible for hypertension and should be avoided if you have high blood pressure.
So, fennel seed tea makes a great liquorice alternative for people who love aniseed flavours but can’t have liquorice due to high blood pressure.
There are more benefits (and side effects) that you can read about in this Medical News Today article.
This is a good tea but I feel for many people it’s more of a remedy than an enjoyable cuppa. The digestive aid it provides outweighs the strong anise flavour that tends to be loved or hated. Whether you’re willing to pay extra for fennel tea bags or buy cheaper, loose fennel seeds is up to you. Check the current price of Twinings Pure Fennel Tea on Amazon.
I’m an avid tea reviewer, trying to balance traditional caffeine teas with herbal teas on the Izzy’s Corner blog. If you love anise flavours, use my Tea Review Index to browse by ingredient, or jump straight to my recommendation. Ayurveda Pura Saffron & Cardamom Delight Tea has spicy and sweet notes mixed with fennel seeds – it’s liquorice root free too.