Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Tea: Tazo Passion

It does have good coloring.
So far in this series I’ve reviewed teas I enjoy – from solid staples to sublime sips - all rate fairly well with me.  Of course, I don’t like every cup of tea I’ve ever had and, frankly, some tea brands really aren’t for me.  One such tea-maker being Tazo. 

Most people probably first saw Tazo teas at Starbucks (before they changed over to Teavana – more about that later).  Now, it is well known that I am a Starbucks lover (though not as much as some people I know!) – I like my coffee with so much milk and sweet-stuff it’s barely coffee anymore.  But their tea selections are just… no.  Worst cup of tea I’ve ever had, bar none, was the Tazo version of a tea treat recommended to me by another, local coffee chain (Crazy Mocha) - Earl Grey with a shot of vanilla syrup.  The one time I tried that combo at Starbucks it was incredibly bitter and I decided then and there – Starbucks for coffee, Crazy Mocha for tea.  Rarely have I broken this hard-and-fast rule.

I have to say that there was one Tazo tea drink at Starbucks that I did quite like – the vanilla rooibos latte.  Of course, now they’ve switched over to Teavana… no more rooibos lattes.  The iced green tea with a bit of sweetener was a good light summer option, too, but again… no more.  Their Teavana green tea option, Cloud Emperor something, when I tried it, was something like drinking Skittles green tea, strangely fruity-candy like.  

Anyway, regarding Tazo Passion.  Passion is a tisane, described on their site as “An exuberant herbal infusion of hibiscus, orange peel, rose hips and passion fruit flavors.”  There are also “tart” rose hips and lemongrass here.  Honestly, I think where Tazo goes wrong, for me, is in packing in so many “exuberant” flavors, all cranked up to 11, in one little tea bag.  I’ve mentioned that I very rarely take anything in my tea, sometimes a dash of milk, but almost never anything else.  For me, this cup of Tazo Passion was like drinking syrup – way too sweet, and it’s a sweetness that stays at the back of my throat. 

Now, you might contrast all this with my review of Republic of Tea’s Downton tie-in English Rose Tea (found here:  English Rose is a tisane blend similar to what Passion contains: hibiscus and rose, primarily.  But English Rose’s hibiscus is mellowed with raspberry, apple, and vanilla.  In that review I mentioned that I’ve had some hibiscus teas that totally overwhelmed my palate.  Passion is one of them.  It’s also quite a lot like Celestial Seasonings’ classic Red Zinger, also a hibiscus tisane, but that one has the hibiscus tones made rich by peppermint and wild cherry. 

I’m only going to say this once – if you’re blending with hibiscus, don’t use something citric!  I feel like I dumped a load of Lemsip into this thing.

Tazo is known for their tres-New Age approach and once billed themselves as the “Reincarnation of Tea.”  Well, to paraphrase my grandma: “They better keep getting reincarnated again and again until they get it right.”

4/10 – mostly for its nice color.  

Note: This review concludes any mention of Tazo or Teavana from here in!

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