8 Tasting Notes
Hot watered down lemonade with hay is the only way I can even begin to describe this terrible tea. As I said in my review of the Simple Truth Green Jasmine it came in a box of plastic wrapped bags and was a total disappointment. Not being a huge fan of chamomile I thought maybe the lemon would help but instead it just made the whole experience horrific and medicinal with absolutely nothing to recommend it. I threw the entire box away after making one bag.
I have never been the biggest fan of green tea, but I had some from Taylors of Harrogate that was Jasmine Green many years ago and fell in love with it. So, when I saw this product on the shelves at a local Kroger affiliate I figured I’d give it a try. I like to give organic things a fair try and see if I like them, often I do, and often I’ll switch. This was NOT one of those times.
When I opened the box I found tea bags wrapped in plastic wrappers. That alone was disturbing enough. The whole idea of a plastic wrapper being used in tea is just strange to me and totally contrary to what most people probably thing of when they go for an organic product. Next was the horror story that was this tea.
When I brewed it I did not notice a delicate green color, it came out a golden brown, which was strange, and the floral notes of jasmine were totally artificial in smell. Next came the tasting. It tasted like someone took dust and sprayed it with some sort of jasmine perfume. It was absolutely terrible. I poured the entire cup out and threw the box away.
What can I say about this tea? I have not had any experience with Chai, never had it. But I will say that as a huge fan of cinnamon I found this tea to be quite nice. It is your typical bagged “tea” from CS, a company I’m not a huge fan of, but they got this one just right, at least for me. It’s hot and spicy with a LOT of cinnamon taste that somewhat overpowers any of the other spices you are supposed to be tasting. It’s like a big ol’ cup of red hots actually. But as you drink it you start to notice the hints of other flavors developing in the cup, especially as it cools. By the end of the cup the flavors tend to melt together and come out so nicely that it’s hard to not go back for a second cup.
While I am not a huge fan of nearly anything Celestial Seasonings makes anymore I found this tea to be right up my alley. Naturally caffeine free green tea blended with my three favorite flavors, peppermint, cinnamon, and vanilla! There’s not much else to say here. It’s warming and soothing and it goes absolutely perfectly with a snowy day and the whole Christmas season. It just feels like a childhood memory of what Christmas used to be like all bundled up in a tiny little tea bag!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Vanilla
I absolutely adore this particular herbal infusion for a bagged variety. As I stated in another of my notes, you can’t always spare the time for a nice loose leaf brew, sometimes you just need something warm to drink and get on with your day without taking the time to go through all the steps loose leaf can require.
When you open the box you notice they are all individually wrapped, as all Twining’s teas are. Next you notice that even then you can smell the peppermint. To me that’s always a good sign. If it’s strong enough to smell through the packaging I know I’m going to enjoy it. Once I ripped open the first packet I was in love. As the package states it is nothing but pure peppermint leaves. You can tell just by smelling it that that is the case.
Now, on to the brewing and tasting. When you pour the hot water over it you immediately get a face full of hot steamy peppermint goodness. It sort of hard to wait for it to steep and I usually don’t even let it steep for as long as I probably should. I am sort of a sucker for peppermint so I guess I just don’t have the patience. I find the taste strong and energizing without being overpowering, and unlike Celestial Seasonings it doesn’t taste old, and or dusty. It also has a handy little string to pull it out with so you don’t have to to fishing for the teabag in a cup of very hot liquid. Upon the first sip I can pretty much always feel my nasal passages and sinuses open up and my chest clear, as well as my stomach settle which is a natural reaction to the peppermint oil. By the end of the cup, even if I am sick, I always feel very uplifted and energized.
All in all this is one of my absolute favorite teas, and it will always be a staple in my cupboard for those times I just can’t spare the time to make it loose leaf or just feel to icky to go through the motions involved.
First cup was wonderful, second cup was not so great, by the third I’d decided this particular tea was just not for me. I have no idea why I grew to dislike it, or why it happened so quickly, but I just did. I will say that this particular tea does NOT handle abuse well. If the water is too hot, or you accidentally steep for too long you will end up with one hell of a bitter, astringent, mess on your hands. At least that was my experience with it. I still have the majority of a box of this but I’ll likely be getting rid of it somehow before long, even if that means having to throw the stuff away.
Earl Grey was my introduction to tea. I started drinking it because of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Captain Picard’s oft repeated “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.” line. As soon as I tasted it I fell in love. That was many years ago, far from where I live now and I got my first taste of it bagged from Taylors of Harrogate as a gift from my father when he came to visit me while I lived in San Antonio, Texas.
Now it is many years later and I still have a strong love for Earl Grey, but I have no easy access to the brand that started my love affair with this tea. But then I discovered Twinings and fell in love all over again. While I realize that as a bagged version of the famous tea it will never live up to loose leaf I also realize that sometimes you gotta go with what you got. I have a whole box of this stuff up in my pantry and I never allow myself to run out. Sometimes you really just don’t have time for a cup of freshly brewed loose leaf and it’s nice to know that I have an old standby that I can fall back on in such times.
I work in a retail grocery environment and I sell quite a bit of this tea on a monthly basis. One night this week I ended up having to work outside in the frigid temperatures and figured I could use some tea to warm me up when I got home that night, so I picked up a box of this based on the glowing reviews I had heard from my customers.
I used bottled drinking water, heated it to boiling as per the directions on the box and steeped the tea for a good five or possible even seven minutes. To be totally honest I wasn’t really paying that close attention. Now, when I first opened the box I loved the smell. It was so warm and spicy mixed with a creamy citrus scent that just made me smile, though I don’t notice any mention of cream in the description so that creaminess might be all in my head. I loved the orange color of the liquor as the tea brewed and I even loved that it didn’t need much sugar to sweeten it as the sweet spice gave plenty of sweetness on its own.
Here’s where things take a turn for the worst. Honestly this tea should just be an herbal infusion. I know that it is based in black tea, not sure exactly what kind, but to be completely honest I’ve had three cups of it now and couldn’t say I’ve tasted tea at all. It tastes warm and spicy mixed with orange but there is nothing tea-like in the taste, smell or mouth-feel, and the overall effect is highly artificial to me. Normally black tea has a very astringent quality to me, especially if over-steeped at all, but this tea does not have that at all. It literally tastes, smells and feels like herbal tea to me. I don’t even notice any effect from the caffeine that would be found in black tea. Nothing, nada, zilch.
So, if you are looking for a quick, cheap and artificial tasting spiced orange “tea” give it a try. For a cold night when you need something to warm you and might not be able to get your hands on anything better I suppose it does the job. But otherwise just avoid it, in all honesty you will probably just be disappointed.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Cream, Orange Zest