15 Tasting Notes

32

Okay, I know celestial seasonings teas are all about the artificial flavor and the chicory, but… There’s black tea in this? Or actual spices? I taste artificial ginger flavor and chicory.

This honestly isn’t that bad, I could probably get to enjoy it, but it basically tastes like a weaker version of their gingerbread spice. It tastes NOTHING like chai and DEFINITELY nothing like black tea.

I would not go to the trouble of buying this again – If I wanted this sort of flavor I would just brew a bag of the gingerbread spice for a short time in too much water. I actually like the gingerbread spice even though it tastes very artificial – this, however, is kind of wimpy and indecisive.

Note- I’m on my iPhone and I can’t get the steep and temp sliders to work. I used boiling water and steeped 6 minutes.

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58
drank Decaf Chai by Tazo
15 tasting notes

Huh, it has both black tea and rooibos.

I was reluctant to get this given the ratings, but I have not had even a halfway acceptable decaf chai yet, and it was there, so I figured it had to be better than some inaccessible ideal of decaf chai that actively doesn’t suck.

This is not bad. It’s pretty much classic chai spices and has the advantage of actually tasting like chai spices, instead of fake vanilla flavoring. It also doesn’t taste excessively rooibos-y. And they didn’t leave the black pepper out like some chai blends do.

The flavor’s a bit weak, even after a long steep. Otherwise it reminds me of the chai that you get at the indian buffet. The one I can’t have any more because of the caffeine. I guess this will be an acceptable substitute.

EDIT: I think what it needs is either more cinnamon or more ginger. I’m getting enough of the cardamom and black pepper, but not the cinnamon or ginger. Of course it also needs real black tea, but I can’t fault it for being what I bought.

Preparation
Boiling

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96

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17

Tasted nothing but chamomile and a sort of brown bark-y flavor. Slightly bitter. No caramel at all. I guess they can’t all be winners.

It’s too bad because I really like skullcap teas. I’m fond of Yogi’s Relaxed Mind, and I make a blend of skullcap/lemon balm/lavender/mint that I drink all the time. I was excited to have a different sort of skullcap blend.

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96

Dry aroma is undefinably synthetic to me, but it brightens and sweetens in the cup as the rooibos makes itself known.

This being a rooibos, I have plenty of time to contemplate the odor while the steep time passes. What does it remind me of? There is certainly something of a reminder of autumn. Certainly not fresh pear. More like… hmm… pear butter simmering away in a slow cooker. Or poached pears. Yes, it reminds me of autumn in the mountains where I rented a studio for a year and a half. A cherry-wood fire burns slowly in the iron wood stove, fueled by old prunings from the local cherry orchards. My landlady’s pear tree has produced a great excess of fruit, and none of it wants to stay on the tree. Countertops are littered with bowls, baskets, and paper bags full of windfall pears dropped while still underripe. Even more underripe pears wait out the winter in the crisper drawer. As the bounty of pears ripens, I use pears in every way I can think of. Eating out of hand. Pear scones. Pear cobbler. Poached pears. Pear butter. Pears go in salad, on swiss chard, in oatmeal. They make their way into breakfast and dessert. Excursions into the hills are accompanied by bags stuffed with pears. I eat pears under oaks laden with acorns, under maples dropping huge yellow leaves, under the shadows of canyon walls where the mountain stream winds around groves of alder and stands of blackberry.

Tasting this tea, I half-expect to feel the granular texture of those pears on my tongue. I half-expect to smell wood smoke and feel the bite of mountain air.

Forest fires raced through that area in may, and I haven’t been up the road to the lake since. Most homes survived, including my former landlady’s, but I’m uncertain which houses were burnt, or what the fire did to the landscape – to the stands of live oak, the streamside alder groves, the hillsides dark green with shoulder-high tangles of mountain mahogany and bush rue and chokecherries.

I’ll visit again, I know. In autumn I’ll make my way to orchards of peach and pear, and perhaps stop by my former landlady’s house. Maybe I’ll ask permission to once again gather dandelion greens and shaggy mane mushrooms from her field, and windfall pears from beneath her tree. And after a couple of weeks of ripening in the warmer october days in the valley, they’ll taste much like this tea. Sweet without need for any added sweetener, with a slight burnt-sugar tang. Or will that tang be missing when the house is not filled with the scent of smoke from a cherry-wood fire?

Preparation
5 min, 30 sec

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38

I’m not loving this. It’s not the anise for me – in fact, the anise isn’t really coming out strongly. It’s that nutmeggy eggnog aroma – it doesn’t combine well with the tea flavors. I love eggnog, but for me, it just doesn’t combine with bitter flavors – I don’t like it in chocolate or coffee, either.

I think I’d love this if it were a rooibos/honeybush tea.

I’m sure this is a personal thing, because I know there are plenty of people who enjoy things like eggnog lattes and eggnog or nutmeg flavored chocolates.

EDIT: It is growing on me. Perhaps that’s just my body going “hells yeah caffeine,” but I definitely did enjoy the second half of the cup more than the first half.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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55

It’s a bagged decaf english breakfast, and like all bagged decaf tea I’ve had recently, needs to be dreadfully oversteeped. You’ll note that I did NOT dreadfully oversteep it this time, so it’s a little, er, mild. I know I’m not going to get a decaf with the pleasant bitter/astringent quality of a caffeinated tea though.

As bag decaf goes, it’s tasty. Not outstanding in any way good or bad.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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54

Carrot curry today.

Ingredients include carrot, curry, cilantro, onion, ginger, turmeric, and decaf green tea.

This one is quite brothy, strongly resembling bouillon. I suspect it’s the turmeric. There’s a strong cilantro odor, moderate cilantro flavor.

I wonder what the ‘curry’ in the ingredients really means. It could mean a blend of curry spices, or it could mean Murraya koenigi, or Helichrysum italicum. Whichever is intended, it does have a mild curry-ish flavor, but nothing spicy.

I kind of like this, and would use it as a lower sodium bouillon substitute or a nice hot winter drink. I might also use it as a chicken broth substitute for a vegan recipe – it has more umami and less ‘green’ than canned vegetable broth.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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54

I’m trying the spinach chive right now. This is more broth than tea, and of course I’m sure I could just as easily make some broth without paying the hefty fee. Sometimes on cold days, I like to make a kettle of green stuff and drink the broth throughout the day.

It’s not bad, but do the extra ingredients add anything? In addition to the obvious, this one has dried lime, dill, onion, decaf green tea, coriander, turmeric, and garlic. Mostly, it tastes chive-y, with a note that reminds me a little of a sour cream chive baked potato. Perhaps the lime adds a brightness/sourness that contributes to that.

I’m certainly enjoying drinking it; a broth made from scratch would be better and cheaper, but is a little harder to carry around in your pocket.

I would drink again. I’m not sure if I’d pay as much as they want for the privilege.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more
oakandsage

I should add a little nutritional information since I’m sure that a primary reason to drink this instead of a bouillon cube would be nutrition, and one might think “ooh, veggies, lots of nutrients!” One bag has 8% your daily allotment of sodium, all of which comes from the dried veggies. It doesn’t taste salty, but doesn’t taste like “Boo, I wish this had some salt” either. It also contains 10% of your calcium for a day. The beet cabbage has 20%, tomato mint 25%, fennel spice 50%, and the broccoli cilantro a whopping 90%. So these teas might be a decent and reasonably tasty way to get your calcium intake for the day, especially if you can’t or don’t drink milk. They don’t really contain any other listed nutrients, though there may be some good stuff that isn’t listed on the nutrition label. Folic acid or something? I dunno. They won’t provide you with any vitamin A or C, or iron.

oakandsage

I have to say that as this cooled, the garlic note got a lot stronger and eventually, unpleasantly strong.

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I used to drink lots of tea but I had to stop drinking caffeine regularly so now I mostly drink herbal tea.

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Castaic, California, United States

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