Which Tazo Tea is Supreme? Day 3: Lotus

On a day I have to study for my last final exam, I knew I would be looking forward to trying a new Tazo tea flavor. Instead of staying up all night, I’ll go with a decaffeinated tea to ease my mind and satisfy my thirst. Today’s choice is:

 

Tazo

Starbucks Tazo Tea "Lotus"

Green tea

A decaffeinated tea with subtle essence of lotus blossoms.

Ingredients:  decaffeinated green tea, natural lotus flower flavour and other natural flavors.

 

When I took a much needed break from reading and computing financial management material, I tried to tell myself tea will be a nice distraction (with the help of twitter) for a little while. Tazo suggests to steep green teas for 3 minutes. At the 90 seconds mark, I lifted the tea bag up and down to stimulate the water. At this point, most teas transform the clear, hot water into a colorful liquid filled with luscious flavors from the tea bag. I was hoping to see a light green color appear before my eyes, but the water color didn’t change. Maybe the color will be more prevalent after the full steeping time is done. Ninety more seconds later, the hot water remained unchanged. Ok so maybe I have been spoiled by colors to tell my brain flavors are near, but I know I can get past this hurdle. I’ll try relying on my other senses this time. I took a deep inhale to breathe in the steam my cup was giving off and could faintly smell lotus water. Not flower, lotus water. If my eyes and nose failed me, I’m sure my taste won’t…right?

Before I took my first sip, I released an exhaled breathe over the cup’s surface to cool the hot tea. (I wasn’t going to burn my throat after yesterday’s experience.) As the hot tea entered my mouth I was saddened–again. Hot water is hot water–how can anyone enjoy that?? I tried thinking logical about this. Either A) I could have steeped the lotus tea bag in longer than recommended or B) decaffeinated green tea isn’t for me.

Do you enjoy decaffeinated tea? How do you add life to it or it is a required taste? From one tea drinker to another, please let me know your thoughts.

Which Tazo Tea is Supreme? Day 2: Awake

I continue my journey of Tazo Tea Tasting Day #2:  Awake

I thought it would be perfect day to see if the tea lives up to its name. On a day like today, I am watching my nephew as my congestion is loosening up from yesterday. Overall, I’m exhausted and not 100% back to normal. Every time I yawn, my eyes start to water and itch. Lovely.

As I wait for the tea to boil, here’s the quick facts:

 

A breakfast tea of boldness, depth and character, invigorating any time of day.

Ingredients:  A blend of black teas.

Starbucks Tazo Tea "Awake"

Well, it’s about lunch time and my morning coffee didn’t do anything for me–so here we go. When I pulled the tea bag out of the packet, I could smell the tea bag giving off an aroma of blended black teas. (So far so good.) Upon first inhale I smelled a dark, deep scent but as I inhaled more the dark, deep scent transformed itself into a lighter, softer smell. The combination is subtle enough to smell up close, but where’s the fun in that? As I steeped the tea bag in the hot water, I waited for about 5 minutes as the box suggests. For black teas, I have learned to not steep the tea bag too long. (Why?) If you want a richer or more intense flavor, the longer you steep a tea bag the bolder the flavors become. As I moved the tea bag up and down to stimulate the water, it gets slightly tan colored. The steam from the hot water and the aroma has gotten my attention by alluring my mouth to try a taste. My first sip was hot, so I blew over the surface to cool it down.

My second sip was tolerable and it went down nicely. Normally, I have a sweet tooth and would have added a splenda packet or honey but this tea is smooth enough without it. If I added any sugar, it might take away from the natural character of the plain black tea. The taste was refreshing and soothed my sore throat. It’s not as strong a cup of joe, but definitely had enough caffeine to know it’s there. When my cup was half empty I knew I didn’t want the experience to end, so I poured more hot water in my cup. The used tea bag was able to provide me with a “new-cup-of-tea” taste on its second serving. Impressive! The flavors were blended well enough to tease my senses telling my brain it is just black tea. My brain knew better and told my senses, this tea is a fiesta of black teas–all in one.

I was impressed with this tea. Coming from an avid tea drinker, it is not often you find a tea bag that can be used twice and still maintain its hearty flavor. Also, finding a caffeinated tea is a plus and to find there is no need to add sugar makes Tazo’s Awake tea a success in my book.

Which Tazo Tea is Supreme? Day 1: Wild Sweet Orange

With inspiration from my friend, Kat Bush (who has been tweeting to Conan O’Brien for the last 17 days and counting…) I wanted write about a challenge of my own.  Starbucks started a “12 Days of Holiday Gifting” where they send you special offers and deals for the first 12 days of December. I have enjoyed sharing this with my friends but I’m really looking forward to Day 10:  the Tazo Tea Sampler! I am a creature of habit and whenever I go to Starbucks, 9 out of 10 times I’ll order a tea than a coffee. When Starbucks unveiled their new logo in January of this year, critics had mixed reviews. Personally, I was surprised but knew it could only benefit Starbucks by promoting its brand to its consumers by offering something more than just coffee. We all know Starbucks offers a great experience and products, but you don’t hear much about the Tazo tea line until now …

With my box of Tazo tea and tea cup ready, here we go!

Tazo Tea Tasting #1:  Wild Sweet Orange

(Filterbag)

“A juicy blend of lemongrass, citrus herbs, licorice root & orange essences.”

Ingredients:  Lemongrass, blackberry leaves, citric acid, rose hips, spearmint leaves, orange peel, color (turmeric, riboflavin), hibiscus flowers, natural flavor, rose petals, natural orange essense, ginger root, licorice root, licorice extract. Caffeine free. (C) 2009 Tazo.

With the description and ingredients, I was intrigued how this creation would appeal to my stuffy sinuses. I boiled water and decided to steep the tea bag in my cup for about 5 minutes, like the box suggested. Normally, I could steep a tea bag longer and be fine with it, but I decided to follow the instructions to learn if I needed to steep the tea bag in more or less time for the next time I try this flavor. When the tea bag was steeping, the aroma of orange and ginger fulled the air. Upon my first sip, I had tasted the strong licorice and ginger root flavors overpower the other delectable flavors. I emptied a splenda packet to sweeten the intense, bold flavors. After another sip, the strong flavors were still apparent with a hint of lemongrass and spearmint but lacked the sweetness I was hoping for from this tea. As I stirred in two teaspoons of honey, I continued to smell sweet orange steaming from the hot tea. To my disappointment, the honey and splenda did not bring out anymore sweetness from the other flavors I was hoping to taste.

As I proceeded my attempt to enjoy the tea, I reminded when I have cooked with ginger it tends to overpower easily if you aren’t careful. Don’t get me wrong, it enhances a good Asian meal or marinate, but that’s all I’ve used it in my cooking. For those who like the candy-like flavor, the licorice root and extract might be great combination for something different in a hot tea. My expectations were to taste something sweet and zingy with a orange flavor, but sadly all I tasted was zing with less sweetness.

Have you tried Tazo Wild Sweet Orange? How was your experience?