I got this as part of a stackable set of three tea canisters as a gift. The canisters are lovely. Rich colors, foil-like shine… beautiful. Comfort and Joy was the first tea I tried in the trio.

When I opened the container, the first thing I got was a very strong aroma of a spice I couldn’t recognize. Licorice root is listed as an ingredient, but I’ve had licorice root before and this was not it. Maybe it was one of the other “natural flavors” the RoT uses. Just because I didn’t recognize it didn’t make it off-putting, however, and so I brewed it up following the instructions on the container. As it brews, it smells marvelous. I could hardly wait for it to be done, it smelled so good and produced such an attractive clear amber liquor. When it was time, I sipped. But wait, had I missed the cup? ? I sipped again. Oh, oh… wait a minute, no, there was definitely something like a hot tea in my mouth, but it had no flavor. I held it in my mouth for a minute, and began to taste a… little… bit… of… apple—not much, but a little bit, then I got a little bite from one of the spices in there, but not much else. It was very weak, very watery, and as it sat, increasingly bitter even though the bag had been removed long before. RoT says on the canister for this product that “black tea leaves create a substantial base for this holiday infusion,” but I don’t see it that way. If there is black tea in there, it’s such inferior tea that it can’t stand up to brewing. The other ingredients, actual as well as “natural” don’t seem to survive brewing either. It’s not bad, it’s just blehhh. Yeah, okay, that’s bad. Anyway. Each of the canisters in this holiday sampler boasts, “Steeping is easy,” and it is. Getting a good infusion out of it with this product, however, seems to be difficult.

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