85
drank Rooibos Tropica by Teavana
1155 tasting notes

Another Teavana tea of the month for March. (Hmm. Wonder when April’s teas will show up?)

And another I would not have selected were it not a tea of the month club offering. Confession time: I am no longer sure how I feel about rooibos (but don’t let rooibos know, k?).

When I first started trying to become a tea drinker, I liked it quite a bit. I think I liked it because it was (a) different from other drinks I’d had, and therefore novel, and (b) such a good flavor enabler. It may be particularly attractive to recent converts because it forms the backbone of so many interesting sounding drinks that, when you’re first getting your feet wet after less than stellar experiences, sound appealing because it’s almost like not drinking a tea-like beverage. Like Rootbeer Float and Tiramisu. The more excellent loose leaf Camellia Sinensis I drink, the less appeal these frou-frou approximations of existing beverages or foods have, though I remain a sucker for a good flavored black tea.

So say what you will about it, rooibos does have the very endearing quality of being an excellent backdrop. It’s the tofu of the tea world. It doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, and the flavor that it has is mild and neutral. So it basically takes on the flavor of whatever is next to it. It loves the one it’s with.

Mostly, successful rooibos blends seem to be about the proportion of whatever the other flavor is to the rooibos. At least, I find the more successful ones to be those that sit the rooibos in the corner and don’t let it talk too much.

And that is why I find Rooibos Tropica to be a successful blend. It has a wonderful strawberry/peach smell when dry and is pretty to look at. It looks like dried rosemary dotted with blue, white and reddish-purple flower petals. (I agree with the quiet life, I don’t think there is any red rooibos in there. The ingredients on the bag don’t list it. Maybe they did change the blend.) When infused, the aroma is strawberry, peach, and a somewhat green note which could be from the rooibos, or the flower petals, or both.

It doesn’t seem that sweet to me, though strawberry is definitely present in the flavor and I’m finding Teavana’s strawberry to provide some degree of sweetness to their blends. Without the strawberry, I don’t think it would be at all sweet. If I try really hard I can taste something that seems like peach, and something that seems like orange. But what I find interesting about the flavor is that the ingredients together have some sort of synergy going on, where the sum of the individual parts is greater and different than the whole. As a whole, it’s a tutti-frutti mixture that suggests mango, pineapple, even banana — basically all the fruits you’d find on Carmen Miranda’s hats — even though none of those are identified as ingredients. And the rooibos is sitting in the corner, quietly, exactly as it should be.

So this gets a high rating for being an excellent example of its genre. Tied with the SpecialTeas Rooibos Lemon Chiffon, which I have not had in a while and need to revisit to see if recalibration is in order. However, whether I buy more is still an open question given my current doubts about my relationship with rooibos.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Rabs

Brilliant insights on rooibos! My favorite is that it’s “the tofu of the tea world” – LOL!

~lauren.

the caffeine-free aspect is a plus for me in my nightly search for a tea that won’t keep me from sleeping!

__Morgana__

Agreed, Lauren (she says, having just finished drinking this at around 10:30 p.m.) :-)

JonTea

I enjoy Rooibos but I get what your saying. I find that if your looking for some extravagant flavors your going to find them in Rooibos mixes. This particular one looks pretty interesting! I will put it on my must try list :)

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Comments

Rabs

Brilliant insights on rooibos! My favorite is that it’s “the tofu of the tea world” – LOL!

~lauren.

the caffeine-free aspect is a plus for me in my nightly search for a tea that won’t keep me from sleeping!

__Morgana__

Agreed, Lauren (she says, having just finished drinking this at around 10:30 p.m.) :-)

JonTea

I enjoy Rooibos but I get what your saying. I find that if your looking for some extravagant flavors your going to find them in Rooibos mixes. This particular one looks pretty interesting! I will put it on my must try list :)

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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