The Good: Intriguing aroma, taste is quite good, Nothing bad in it.
The Bad: Caffeine Free, Not undeniably strong or flavorful
The Basics: With a very enthusiastic "recommend," Sweet Apple Chamomile offers consumers who want the lightness of a chamomile tea, the flavor of a more robust tea!
There are very few teas that I become so turned off to after the first sampling of a flavor for the tea type that I find myself loathing trying any other of the same type of tea. So, for example, even after having one weak white tea, I enthusiastically bought and sampled several others and when - after enjoying a few green tea flavors - I hit a patch of pretty terrible green teas, I still gave more of them a shot. Still, after trying Celestial Seasonings' "Chamomile" flavored tea (reviewed here!) I was so unimpressed by the ricewater nature of the tea that I shied away from other chamomile teas for quite some time.
In fact, until I opened my new box of Sweet Apple Chamomile, I think I had been rather effectively scared off of chamomile teas. And now that I have opened and enjoyed several pots of Sweet Apple Chamomile, I am actually sorry I stayed away as long as I did!
Sweet Apple Chamomile is an all-natural Herb Tea from Celestial Seasonings. This Herb tea is 100% natural and as a result is caffeine free - none of the ingredients in it had caffeine to begin with so it did not undergo any chemical process to remove them. Sweet Apple Chamomile is a tea derived from the wildflower - chamomile - and its use as a tea is interesting, but yields a tea that is surprisingly weak.
Sweet Apple Chamomile 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 Sweet Apple Chamomile tea comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.
Ease Of Preparation
Sweet Apple Chamomile is a very standard tea; it is your basic herbal tea when it comes to preparation. Like many other Celestial Seasonings teas, there are no tea leaves listed in the ingredients, so this herbal tea flower-based. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea and could be reused and make a second, rather weak cup of Sweet Apple Chamomile tea. The second cup often comes out about as far weaker than the first, which is a serious detraction given how weak it is to begin with. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, though a second pot with the same bags will come out about 3/8 strength. In other words, this is a terrible tea for the teabag miser!
To prepare Sweet Apple Chamomile tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags, in a pot or mug. This tea takes four to six minutes to steep according to the directions and if the water is truly boiling, I've found it comes out quite ready after the four minutes. Actually, this is a tea that I can never make strong enough. After four minutes, the flavor does not concentrate any more. After six minutes, the flavor does not get any stronger so there is no benefit to letting it steep longer than that. Sweet Apple Chamomile never gets "too strong."
Right off the bat, Sweet Apple Chamomile smells a lot richer than any other chamomile tea I have yet tried. This might well be because the scent is powerful with the aroma of apples, but it works to instantly set the consumer up for a strong, fruity taste and it is wonderful in that regard. This is a tea that creates a permeating scent of apples and rice and it is an intriguing combination.
The tea lives up to its scent on the first pass. Subtle tea flavor with a very clear taste of apples, honey and a touch of cinnamon, Sweet Apple Chamomile is a surprisingly flavorful tea for one so light. The wonderful thing about this tea for those who like lighter teas, like Chamomile or Green teas, is that the taste manages to be exactly what it claims to be without being overbearing. So, for example, this tastes completely like apples and honey without being strong and more explicitly tea flavored. As a result, this is not a weaker recasting of Celestial Seasonings' Cinnamon Apple Spice (reviewed here!). Instead, this is an apple, honey and clearly chamomile tea that does manage to maintain the rice-like aftertaste of chamomile.
With a teaspoon of sugar, the apple and especially the honey flavors are accented and the whole concept of "sweet" in the Sweet Apple Chamomile dominates. The tea takes on a flavor best analogized to canned apple pie filling - which is very apple, very sweet, but often not saturated with cinnamon, so it is clearly apple flavored. The Sweet Apple Chamomile - for those who object to Celestial Seasonings teas that taste more like the fruits they claim to than tea (not me, by the by) - still manages to retain the subtle flower taste of chamomile and that makes this drink distinctly different from hot cider or warm apple juice.
As the tea cools, Sweet Apple Chamomile pushes the apple flavor back and it becomes more of a sweet chamomile tea. What this means (in practical terms) is that the tea takes on a slightly drier taste and becomes less fruity and more traditionally chamomile flavored. This is a decent tea cool or iced, especially with a hint of sugar.
Like all herbal teas, there is very little nutritional value in the tea produced from these tea bags. Sure, this tea does not contribute to the formation of kidney stones (which is real nice!), but it does not have much to contribute to the body, either. The primary ingredients in this tea are: Chamomile, Natural Apple Flavor and Honey. The ingredients in Sweet Apple Chamomile tea are very simple and natural, despite the vagueness of "natural flavors." There is nothing unpronouncable in this tea and it is noted as being gluten free (for whom that matters).
In terms of nutrition, Sweet Apple Chamomile is another tea in a long line of teas that contribute nothing but hydration to the body. There is no nutritional benefit or detriment to this tea. One 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker. There are no calories (save what one adds from sugar or milk), no fat, sodium, or protein and no caffeine. This is more a flavored water than a tea!
Sweet Apple Chamomile tea is very 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. The tea itself is a very light tea, so it does not leave enough residue to stain anything outside paper products.
Sweet Apple Chamomile lives up to its name, despite the fact that it's not incredibly strong, it does manage to satisfy. The emphasis on apple saves this tea from many of the problems straight chamomile teas have and anyone considering drinking a chamomile tea ought to give this one their attention!
For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Moroccan Pomegranate Red
For other drink reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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