Today I am reviewing a tea by Wegmans, one of my grocery stores that sadly is not in the Midwest, so I have to get my friends to send me the teas I love so much. This tea is a new one to me, Apple Pie Chai Rooibos Herb Tea. It is made from Rooibos, Apple Pieces, Hibiscus Flowers, Rosehips, Orange Peel, Orange Lemongrass, Cinnamon Chips, Alfalfa Leaves, and Natural flavors of some sort. I have to admit other than the Rooibos, Apple, and Cinnamon those ingredients do not immediately bring pie to mind, and why do people insist on putting Lemongrass with Rooibos? I never enjoy that combination, but I am always willing to try a new tea!
The aroma of the dried leaves is pretty potent! One of those teas that on first sniff it feels similar to a smack in the face (I swear that is not a bad thing) The first thing you notice is the earthy and slightly alien aroma of the Rooibos. I say slightly alien because I have never run into anything that I can compare it to, Rooibos smells like Rooibos! I love it too, I find myself frequently just sniffing the Rooibos for a while before I get around to drinking it. The next thing you notice is the green, tartness of the Lemongrass. I almost want to use this tea as an air freshener or some sort of Victorian fainting remedy, it is very refreshing.
The aroma of the tea is much more mellow, the Lemongrass and Rooibos calm down and you get to smell some of the other ingredients. Rosehips, oranges, and cinnamon are the main smells that accompany the Rooibos/Lemongrass blend. The aroma is very tart and earthy.
The flavor took a little getting used to! I was expecting apples and spice with earthy notes from the name, but the taste is nothing like apples, spice, or chai. Instead it is very tart, slightly bitter, and not exactly pleasant. It was at this moment my mom (who got the 2nd brew of this tea) came in the room announcing how much she loves it. I gave her a look and tasted her cup and was amazed. It is a completely different tasting tea!! Now don’t get me wrong, I have had plenty of teas that taste different on the 2nd or 3rd brewing (greens taste more vegetal or oolongs taste more floral) but never have I had a tea taste like a completely different tea.
So let’s go for take two on the flavor of this tea! So there is where the apples and cinnamon were hiding!! On the second brew the flavor is much more mellow and quite delicious. First you get the subtle earthiness and sweetness of the Rooibos, then the flavor of apples and cinnamon, and lastly the tartness of the rosehips and green of the lemongrass.
I am not really sure I can recommend this tea. On the one hand the second and third brews are delicious, but the first brew is probably only good if you like really tart teas. So I leave that up to your discretion. I personally wish that it had less lemongrass, but I really don’t like lemongrass (or lemons for that matter) in my tea. Will I be drinking this again, sure…though I might just dump the first brew down the drain.