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Celestial Seasonings

Recent Tasting Notes

68

Tonight’s glass of Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile tasted and smelled a bit off. I cannot figure out what the problem was. Perhaps the chicory was too strong in this particular filter bag? I don’t know, but I am definitely sure now that I prefer Sleepytime Vanilla. Yesterday, I thought that the chamomile was dominant, but this brew smells and tastes rather woody, strangely enough. I cannot really figure out what else may be the culprit. Lemongrass? No. Licorice? No. I’m guessing that it’s the chicory.

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71

Feeling nostalgic about Boulder, I decided to binge on Celestial Seasonings tonight. First up was Sleepytime Vanilla. Judging by the number of bags left in my various CS boxes, this must be my favorite! The vanilla is really smooth and somehow the infusion has body and substance even while containing no camellia sinensis.

Flavors: Flowers, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 45 sec

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50

I happened across this one in one of those odds and ends shop that sell all sorts of small things relatively cheaply. I don’t really like shopping in there much, because although they have lots of fun things to look at, the shop is laid out so that you follow a path all the way from the door to the till and if you later discover you want to go back and look at something again, it can be difficult getting back there, because the path is fairly narrow. If there are many people in the shop, you can forget about it. Easier to just go through and go in again. Not really something that makes for a pleasant shopping experience in my book.

I knew they had a selection of Celestial Seasonings as well, but I thought it was much the same as everywhere else that has CS these days. It’s a relatively new brand in Denmark, it’s only been available here for a few years and compared to you Americans we’ve only got a fraction of the available flavours. Obviously this was not one I thought I’d see here at all, but there was one box, so I took it. I remember the name of this one from Steepster, and I remember people have been raving madly about one of these Christmas-y flavours. Couldn’t remember which one, so having checked the ingredients for known dislikes (none) I took the box on the off chance that it might be this one.

It has a funny creamy smell. I can smell vanilla and orange, and it’s a creamy-thick smell. It reminds me strongly of something I know I know, but I can’t think what it might be. Husband had the same sort of reaction when he tried it. Smelled familiar to him but he couldn’t think what it was.

I gather it’s the milk thistle that makes it feel like warm milk. I can also detect orange and vanilla quite clearly in the flavour, but apart from that it tastes very much like coconut to me. I’m surprised actually that there doesn’t appear to be coconut in it at all. Is that the flavour of thistle, then? Coconut-y?

It’s pleasant enough, but not really something I would get in much of a state over. In a large mug I find it a little cloying towards the bottom. I think this one box will be enough.

I’ll have to dare another visit to that shop though, and have a closer look at their CS selection, because clearly it must be MUCH larger than I’ve seen anywhere else. I’ve become fairly interested in it lately what with Husband having taught me this ’ cup of herbal while reading in bed’ habit. I never cared about it before at all. Funny how things can change. Perhaps they even have that Sleepytime Vanilla. Wouldn’t that be typical now that MissB is sending me a few boxes?

As this is a queued post, it has been a while now since MissB provided me with a good supply of Sleepytime Vanilla. I am halfway through my third box of those…

Flyawaybirdie

I’m not a fan of those ‘go only in one direction’ shops either. I went to Ikea the other weekend and had to go around the showroom about three or four times. I’ll have to check out CS, I’m in the US but have never really gone for any of their offerings.

Angrboda

Ikea isn’t even too bad for that here, because the ‘paths’ are wide enough that you can go back or you can slip between the displays. In this shop the path is only about two people wide and you have to go through till and outside and in again if you want to go back but can’t. (Or be a pain to everyone else to get back, in which case I often actually prefer going through and in again.)

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71

I am comparing Sleepytime Vanilla tonight with a fresh box of Honey Vanilla Chamomile. My verdict is that Sleepytime Vanilla is a more appealing chamomile blend. This is an interesting result because I recently tested a packet of Harvest Chamomile, which is apparently the former name of Honey Vanilla Chamomile. Now I need to check to see whether the ingredients are different in the two blends. Otherwise, my reactions are completely contradictory, since last time I claimed that Honey Vanilla Chamomile was better than Sleepytime Vanilla!

Why do I prefer Sleepytime Vanilla in tonight’s side-by-side steep-off? Probably because I was craving vanilla, which is demonstrably present in Sleepytime Vanilla, while rather muted in the Honey Vanilla Chamomile. I need to go check the ingredients of the Harvest Vanilla—ASAP!


update: I do believe that the formula for Honey Vanilla Chamomile, formerly known as Harvest Chamomile* has changed. My only evidence, however, is that vanilla is explicitly listed among the ingredients in the latter but not the former case. In the Honey Vanilla Chamomile, “natural flavors” is the only place where vanilla might be implicated, but vanilla is not mentioned, except in the name of the blend. One thing is clear, Honey Vanilla Chamomile is much more about chamomile than either honey or vanilla!

Flavors: Flowers, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I’ve become quite dependant on the Sleepytime Vanilla since MissB furnished me with four boxes of it. I’ll have to see if I can’t get it locally. I’ve got an idea of a place where it might be possible. I think I shall have a gander for that honey vanilla chamomile as well then…

sherapop

It’s good, Angrboda—much more about chamomile than vanilla, but devoid of mint. I’m going to try them again tonight and see what I think this time!

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68

In this evening’s steep-off chez sherapop, Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile is going sniff to sniff, sip to sip against Sleepytime Vanilla.

First observation about Honey Vanilla Chamomile: the dried tea smacks very strongly of orange oil—and not without reason. Orange peel is the number two ingredient, right after chamomile! The brewed tea does not, however, taste very much like orange at all. In fact, it seems closer to a rich chamomile blend with a focus on chamomile, not the other showcased ingredients. Neither the honey nor the vanilla is very pronounced, despite the name of the blend.

I like the flavor of this infusion. It is a pleasant mint-free and somewhat hefty (probably because of the chicory and licorice) chamomile composition, which could be good news for those who find Sleepytime too spearmint heavy. Do I like Honey Vanilla Chamomile more than Sleepytime Vanilla? In a direct, side-by-side comparison, the answer is clear: No, I do not.


update: I just read my review of Harvest Chamomile, which seems to list the same ingredients as this new box of Honey Vanilla Chamomile. I am now wondering whether they changed the proportions of the ingredients, because the chamomile is much more pronounced and the honey and vanilla seem very light. Are they identical? Is my change in evaluation due to facts about me rather than the teas?

We’ll never know, because the Harvest Chamomile sample packet is depleted, so I cannot compare my new box of Honey Vanilla Chamomile with the old supply of Harvest Chamomile reviewed by me earlier, and which at the time I concluded was better than Sleepytime Vanilla!

Flavors: Flowers

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 15 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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81

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Cinnamon

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52

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Cinnamon

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Sipdown! (246. I think.)

Thank you for letting me revisit my childhood, VariaTEA! :)

2 tea bags, 14 oz, steeped 4 minutes, topped with, yes, homemade coconut creamer of high fat deliciousness.

I made more because the medication is making me nauseous, and I need to get calories into me before leaving for work. Solution? Add high nutrient creamer to tea. :) I didn’t put vanilla in it this time, but it’s still so good.

The coconut really tones down the SPICE factor of this tea. It’s much more of an “herbal chai” right now. Yum.

TeaBrat

I almost bought some of this the other day, I’ve been drinking it off and on for years…

OMGsrsly

I might get more when I start running low on non-caffeinated teas. It’s easier to resist adding everything at the grocery store than it is on a website. :)

TeaBrat

yes, very true

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Thanks VariaTea for sending me like half my wishlist, this included! You’re a sneaky generous one, that’s for sure.

Because she sent me like five hundred teabags of this, Mr. keychange and I both had a large mug full, and each used two tea bags. I’m thinking that was a good choice, as six minutes later, the tea indeed tasted very much like a sugar cookie. Actually, it tasted spot on for shortbread, and although the mouth feel was a bit thin (I wonder if that’s just because it’s bagged tea and so the leaves can’t “swim” as much), the resemblance to a sugar cookie is uncanny—especially towards the end of the sip, when you really get that bready, yeasty, buttery taste that the best sugar cookies have (oh, and speaking of sugar cookies, Mr. Keychange and I made banana pudding sugar cookies, thanks to the recipe provided by our very own roswell strange!) . Having said all of those things, the fact that this yielded a thin cup was a little disappointing.

Bottom line: I might actually look around for this next winter, but am not going to be writing dark poetry about its absence until then.

VariaTEA

I am glad you got shortbread. I tried but all I ever got was soggy crackers from this one :(. Banana pudding sugar cookies sound delicious btw. I wanted to try them so badly every time Roswell Strange mentioned them

Roswell Strange

Ooh! Did you like the cookies?

keychange

I sure did! And we even made icing for them and I can’t wait to dig into them when I go home. Nom.

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59

This tea is not kiddin around. It really will put you to sleep. I mean, it won’t knock you out but if you find yourself over thinking a lot of things it helps calm your mind. Oh and don’t worry the flavor is good too.

Preparation
5 min, 15 sec

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69

Sipdown (207/209)!

I’m glad this is gone; getting Christmas teas out of the way is definitely something that I welcome and besides I’m really getting sick of this one, which is sad because I liked it so much the first time that I had it. But take this cup for example; total let down!

I even sort of got the soggy cracker flavour that VariaTEA was experiencing so strongly with each cup. So, on that note I’m sad to be finishing this off on a slightly sour (rather, soggy) note and to feel like I need to be lowering my rating…

A lot.

K S

I am still loving this one. I went to Target recently to try to stockpile but they were out. Which is fine. Now I can hoard the remaining bags making them more special.

VariaTEA

I am sorry I sent you so much that you got sick of it :P

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60

I’ve been having this as a breakfast tea, trying to sipdown the rest of the box I have. This tea works well with some added milk and sugar. It smells like vanilla baked goods and retains that baked good flavor throughout the sip. A nice, sweeter breakfast option. Yum!

Preparation
Boiling

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75

Officially the last tea of the night; delicious! Kinda tired though (need me sleep for tomorrow’s shift) – so not much else to write on it, heh…

Flavors: Cinnamon, Plums

VariaTEA

Good luck tomorrow!

OMGsrsly

I hope tomorrow goes super well for you!

__Morgana__

Sleep well and good luck!

Roswell Strange

Tre just got home, he’s piss drunk and very loud.

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69

One of the last teas of the night; bagged and caffeine free for convenience. One more cup of this and it’s a sipdown – the plan is to finish it off tomorrow night.

It’s a little sad how drinking this one has kinda become a chore. Lowering the rating a bit to reflect that…

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68

I had two cups of Tension Tamer this evening while watching the first episode of the first season of Hustler. I noticed that the flavor is rather sweet (from the licorice root), but I am still not sure what the number one ingredient, eleuthero, tastes or smells like!

Maybe it does not matter, so long as it helps me sleep tonight!

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78

I decided to brew up a cup of Ma Passion and I wanted to make a caffeine free tea to balance it out. So I prepped both Ma Passion and Cinnamon Roll Honeybush to brew only to realize that it would take some time before I could drink the honeybush (as I like to steep it for upwards of 15 minutes) so I brewed a cup of this because it is caffeine free and was simple enough to just toss a teabag into a cup. As per usual, it is a nice smooth tea – minty with a hint of vanilla sweetness to really be reminiscent of a candy cane.

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69

Near a sipdown (two cups left)…

I remember this getting cold and then tasting really gross. Meh.

(I just remembered I have episodes of The Voice to catch up on too – and that made me really happy! Oh, and Bones, HIMYM, Intelligence, Archer, and Agents of SHIELD! That’s a little overwhelming – but also really exciting!)

Fjellrev

What do you think of this current season of Archer so far?

Roswell Strange

Kinda meh. I like the format of other seasons better.

Fjellrev

Ok, me too. I’ve been kind of disappointed so far. And the whole Pam thing is getting really old/annoying.

Roswell Strange

I love Pam – but yeah, not loving her arc.

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78

Sometimes just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD . For instance, just because you CAN eat four Krispy Kreme donuts in one car ride does not mean you should eat them. Or just because you CAN chug two bottles of water in under a minute, does not mean you should. I, of course, am speaking in the hypothetical here however should you decide to do those things and just happen to feel quite nauseous, you may want to drink a mint tea. Perhaps one like this tea. Just a thought.

keychange

Omg I miss Krispy Kreme doughnuts. They had them here in Canada for like five minutes once upon a time, and I could blow through a box no problem. Could have, I mean. I never did that, obviously. I meant it hypothetically.

VariaTEA

Of course, all hypothetical here :P. And should you hypothetically be in search of more, last I heard there was Krispy Kreme downtown by the Eatons Center.

keychange

Are you serious?!?! that’s such good news…hypothetically speaking. Really good news for those people (unlike me) who enjoy sugar. Yup, good for those people.

yyz

We still have one in Mississauga, but you don’t find them anywhere else here anymore. They attempted to expand to fast, and crashed and burned.

VariaTEA

Apparently there are two downtown Toronto: http://www.krispykreme.com/select-your-store

Fjellrev

Are they a lot better than Tim Horton’s doughnuts? I only ever had their original glazed once and didn’t care for it. There used to be one in Calgary but it apparently only lasted a few years.

VariaTEA

I have an insane sweet tooth so I love them but most people find them disgusting. It is hard to compare them to Tim’s though just because they are so different (as in they are all coated in sugar whereas Tim’s aren’t :P)

yyz

I only like them when fresh and hot. I find the cold glaze ones greasy and well gross. I think that’s why their attempt at selling them at other stores failed. They have some interesting flavours of filled donuts though, some of which are pretty good.

Cavocorax

The only place I’ve encountered them is at fundraisers, and… how old are those donuts? :O
(that didn’t stop me from buying a box… OMG)

OMGsrsly

I prefer cake donuts, which is good because there are no delicious light fluffy sugary melt-in-your-mouth gluten free donuts. There is a Krispy Kreme here, and my boss sometimes brings in a box. So tempting, so dangerous.

tigress_al

Mmm donuts

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68

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80

I stashed a box of this at work for when I just really, really need some comfort tea. Which was today. Brewed it up in the Timolino and left it uncovered so I could drink it some time today because that sucker keeps everything NUCLEAR HOT. It’s bagged tea, but it’s damn good. I don’t expect much of my bags and this delivers. Creamy, mint, soothing.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
tealuver03

I love this tea so much and I love to drink it around christmas time instead of hot chocolate! I would say this is my FAVORITE winter tea

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68

I downed two cups of this tea last night before retiring. Obviously it worked, since I could not even muster up the energy to write a tasting note!

The flavor is really not bad at all for a functional tea, and I like the idea that I am consuming catnip—in honor of HRH Emperor Oliver, may he rest in peace.

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