The Good: Tastes fine
The Bad: Caffeine Free.
The Basics: Very weakly recommended, Moroccan Pomegranate Red is good and tastes mildly like pomegranates, but not strong enough for those who love fruit teas.
Every year, I take a couple of weeks and head to Las Vegas for my summer Star Trek convention which I get to write off as a big business expense (gotta love that!) and on the way home, I stop at Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colorado to pick up my year's supply of tea. It never makes it the full year, but I always think it might. Last year, I lamented because I only was able to get 25 boxes of tea (it's least expensive from the plant, but I was on a budget!) and that meant making some tough choices when it came to what to get and what I had to leave behind. This year, I had twenty-eight boxes I could buy and I went right away for the ones left behind last year, in part because I knew I would be able to review them!
And the first choice, given all of the new-to-me flavors to try was . . . (drumroll, please) . . .
Moroccan Pomegranate Red, a Caffeine free Rooibos tea! (Actually, it wasn't; I've been feeling guilt over not having tried Celestial Seasonings' Earl Grey for the past year and the first box I grabbed was actually that, but today as I set to my day of reviewing, I wasn't in an Earl Grey mood, so . . . the truth is, the whole wall of red teas was neglected by me last year in favor of white teas - never making that mistake again! - and I went right for this wall of teas and Moroccan Pomegranate Red was my first choice once I got there.)
In starting my review of Moroccan Pomegranate Red tea by Celestial Seasonings, I sought to refresh my memory; I was unsure I had ever had a rooibos or red tea before. While not considered one, I noticed one of my favorite teas, Sweet Coconut Thai Chai tea (reviewed here!) is primarily composed of rooibos and one of the few red teas I've reviewed before now was African Orange Mango Rooibos. Upon reviewing that, I began to feel a little fear about my first choice from this year's trip to Celestial Seasonings.
Moroccan Pomegranate Red is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural rooibos tea - and I have no idea what that means, but I have gathered that the rooibos is what defines this as a "red" tea and that its origins might well be from Africa - that is caffeine free. This is sold as a pomegranate-flavored tea and as such, much of my standard for it is whether or not it actually tastes like pomegranates. Moroccan Pomegranate Red comes in Celestial Seasoning's standard stringless tea bags, which are paired together with easy to separate perforations that allow one to separate the tea bags. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and leave them connected. A box of Moroccan Pomegranate Red comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.
Moroccan Pomegranate Red is marketed as a pomegranate-flavored tea and it falls a little shy of being the ideal for that. For sure, there is pomegranate flavor here, but it is not the dominant one and it is not one that is going to light the taste buds up with enthusiasm. Some (not I) have complained that many of Celestial Seasonings' fruit-flavored teas are basically glorified, hot fruit juices; this is certainly not that. Instead, it is more of a blend of pomegranate and tea and as such, the fruit flavor does not come through as potently as I was expecting.
Ease Of Preparation
Moroccan Pomegranate Red is a rooibos tea, which means that preparation is the standard for most teas; boiling a pot of water! Simply boil a pot of water, put your tea bags in an appropriate vessel and pour the boiling water over the tea bags and let them steep. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea; reusing these tea bags yields a weaker version. Upon rebrewing with the same tea bags, my second pot came out at about 5/8 or 1/2 strength. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well.
To prepare Moroccan Pomegranate Red, simply boil some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take four to six minutes to steep and after a few cups and pots, I've found that with boiling water, the tea is ready at the five minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
Moroccan Pomegranate Red tastes faintly of pomegranates. In all honesty, most of my pomegranate experience has been with pomegranate juice. Eating pomegranates by themselves is an exercise in frustration. Pomegranates - to me - taste like a lot of seeds. I'm not a big fruit eater; I like my fruits to be easy and sweet. Pomegranates are a lot of labor and digging for a middling and often sour fruit. Moroccan Pomegranate Red captures the sour taste of pomegranates well, though the tea aspect cuts it equally well. There is enough sour taste to help establish to the tongue that one is drinking something pomegranate flavored, but then it dissipates before it becomes annoying and unpleasant.
But alongside the pomegranate flavor, there is a generic flavor best described as "dusty." It is dry and less a flavor than a sensation, an obscuring to the fruit nature of the pomegranate and it is not unpleasant, but it does make the tea taste less fruity and more . . . tea like. The woody taste is not dominant, but it does cut the dominance of the fruit, forcing the tongue to share a flavor other than just the pomegranate and those looking for a strong pomegranate - or even fruit - flavor are likely to come away a bit disappointed as a result.
With sugar, Moroccan Pomegranate Red becomes sweet and slightly emboldens the fruit flavor. It is, however, remarkably easy to overwhelm the tea with sugar and I recommend no more than a teaspoon. Even with a little sugar, this does not taste like pomegranate fruit juice, so those who complain about teas that taste more like juice than tea will have little to complain about this one with.
Iced, Moroccan Pomegranate Red is a terrible disappointment. Whatever the rooibos does to cut the sourness of the pomegranate, iced it lets that go. Cold, it is all sour and tea; not fruity or even the hint of delightful that comes when it is hot and with sugar. Even with sugar, there is such a strong, sour aftertaste that iced, Moroccan Pomegranate Red is almost enough to turn one off to tea!
As for the second pot, the flavor is weaker, but it is not quite as sour with the reused tea bags. Sadly, the fruit flavor can be overrun by sugar with the weakened second pot as well.
It is not surprising that the rooibos tea flavor gives the pomegranate flavor in Moroccan Pomegranate Red a run for its money, given that the primary ingredients are: rooibos, hibiscus, and then natural pomegranate flavors with other natural flavors. There is nothing unpronouncable or strange in this tea (though for all I know rooibos could be grown on the backs of blue beetles living in the Himalayas). Moroccan Pomegranate Red tea is all natural, gluten free, and does not contain caffeine.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Moroccan Pomegranate Red, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Moroccan Pomegranate Red is a red tea and it lives up to its name in that regard. Colored a medium reddish brown, this will stain fabrics and probably other surfaces if left on them. While mugs and steeping pots easily rinse out, I would not recommend letting this tea linger on any light colored fabrics.
Moroccan Pomegranate Red is easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. One of the nice things about this tea - like most - is that so long as it is kept cool and dry, it can last for a long time and it is easy to clean up.
Moroccan Pomegranate Red is a good tea, but it is not all I would have hoped it could be. No, I didn't expect this tea to save the world, but my first tastes - and subsequent pots - have left me wishing the tea had a bit more fruit flavor to it, instead of competing for dominance with the generic tea flavor. Ultimately, I am giving it a very weak "recommend" because it was good. There are better, but I think having a box of this around for something different might be what the tea-drinking doctor ordered!
For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Tuscany Orange Spice
Imperial White Peach
Wild Berry Zinger
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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