January 11, 2006

Tea for two

Herbal tea always sounds like such a good idea, you know? "Oh, I have the sniffles and a chill--I know! I'll wrap my fingers around a nice hot mug of cinnamon apple nutmeg spice and be cocooned in healing herbal goodness!"

And the boxes always smell so nice, too. It makes you all excited as you heat the water, anticipating the fruity spicy goodness to come.

But the boxes lie, people. Herbal tea does not taste like the box smells--it always tastes like the freaking box, and for some reason I have remained unable, after 30-odd years on this planet, to remember that.

It's like every winter, when I'm cold and tired of coffee, my nose takes over and tells the rest of me, "No, this time will be different! Trust me! It won't taste like cardboard with a slight hint of chamomile--it'll be tastebud nirvana, and you'll be just exactly like all those people in the commercials, safe and snug inside your New England cottage, watching the perfect snowfall while a roaring fire keeps your feet warm!"

And instead I'm stuck in my cold office with frozen toes sipping lukewarm sugar cardboard water that still has the nerve--the NERVE--to smell like apples!

I am so going back to decaf Earl Grey. At least it tastes like something.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at January 11, 2006 10:37 AM | TrackBack

Reminds me of a line about "people rich enough to drink coffee that tastes like it smells." Still, despair not: there's always the old shot-of-scotch trick, which will not only improve any cup of flavored hot water but cement your reputation as a 'character' if consumed in the office.

Just remember to shout "copy boy!" every so often.

Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at January 11, 2006 11:05 AM

Have you tried the Bigelow flavored teas? They're not exactly herbal, and they do come in a box (or sometimes a can) but each individual teabag is in its own sealed pouch. I can vouch for the French Vanilla and Cherry Vanilla.

Posted by: Roxanne at January 11, 2006 11:14 AM

Peach flavor is okay, not that I actually drink the stuff, just have it in the cupboard.

The way to deal with coffee is switch brands every time you buy it.

The Tasters' Choice bottles are entertaining to use, as well.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at January 11, 2006 12:36 PM

The one I like is Constant Comment. Love the taste of that one - and I usually hate the taste of tea except in Chinese restaurants.

Posted by: dick at January 11, 2006 12:58 PM

Agreed on the Constant Comment...but I think it has caffeine. Chai anything is also delish. Otherwise, give me coffee. Now.

Posted by: Belle at January 11, 2006 02:57 PM

Republic of Tea and Tao of Tea both sell their teas, loose or bagged, in metal cannisters, which quite reasonably do not impart taste to the tea.

(Not affiliated, but Tao is a local company and I've been to their store...)

Posted by: Sigivald at January 11, 2006 05:34 PM

Celestial seasonings.

Try the peppermint tea. It's really good. Or the honey-vanilla-chamomile.

But I've never had any of their tea that I didn't like.

Posted by: Laura at January 11, 2006 07:54 PM

I have the same reaction to most teas, and I have boxes of unused tea in my house. But I do like peppermint tea. I've never had any of that taste bad.

Posted by: Suzi at January 11, 2006 09:48 PM

I don't drink tea. However, I drink Diet Rite cola. and one day I thought I'd try their fruit-flavored sodas. The aroma of the soda from the open can was wonderful, but the soda itself was sadly disappointing in taste, nowhere near living up to what I expected from the aroma.

Posted by: Jim C. at January 11, 2006 10:35 PM

I throw a bag of Earl Grey and a smelly flavored teabag into the water sometimes just to confuse my nose and my tastebuds.

Posted by: Marie at January 12, 2006 12:12 PM

The only herbal tea that actually tastes good to me (ie, not like peppermint, which all herbal teas seem to have and which overpowers all other tastes) is Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea. The rest of the herbal teas either taste, like I said, like peppermint, or they have this acrid taste.

As for regular teas my favorite commercial flavored tea is Constant Comment, otherwise I am a tea snob who goes miles out of her way to the specialty tea store to buy small bags of imported loose tea.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 12, 2006 08:31 PM

I like herbal tea but I tend to get tired of it quickly. When I buy a box I usually enjoy the first three or four cups but then I get bored with it and want real tea. I used to drink a lot of Celestial Seasonings but they all seem to taste a lot alike, which is not surprising since hibiscus is the main ingredient in most of their fruit and herb teas. Bigelow is a little better but sort of bland. Stash has a few good ones but still bland and hard to get through a whole box without getting bored.

I recently discovered Tazo teas and they're very good. Several varieties have a little more of a flavor kick than other herbal teas. You might try one of their variety packs.

Posted by: Lynn S at January 14, 2006 08:20 PM

Have you tried over-brewing them? I'm normally a black tea drinker, and with any kind of real tea, the last thing you want is to stew the leaves. Herbal teas, though - I think "tisane" really means "stewed leaves." At least, if I give the teabag about 8 minutes to do its thing, the tea starts to taste like it smells. At least a bit. If I'm not too sick to actually smell anything. YMMV.

Posted by: marisa at January 15, 2006 11:56 PM