The Good: Nothing terrible in it, Easy to make, Tastes like the fruit is it supposed to!
The Bad: Not a strong aroma, Caffeine free
The Basics: A good, fruity tea that tastes like cranberries (and a little like apples), with the sourness and all!
It's nice to find alternatives from one's regular brand every now and then. It's like having a fallback when on the road so when one finds themselves in a situation they cannot control they might have some alternatives that work out for them, without inconveniencing anyone else. So, despite my love of Celestial Seasonings teas, I've been trying some other brands lately so when I'm being treated by others, I don't have to be rude to a host or hostess who might not have that brand of tea. The problem I've been having, though, is that I haven't found many teas by other brands that I actually enjoy. Until today. Today, I found an adequate substitute (when I need one) for Celestial Seasonings's Cranberry Apple Zinger (reviewed here!): Bigelow Cranberry Apple Herb Tea.
While traveling on my yearly cross country adventure, I found myself at a Quality Inn near the Mall Of America in Minnesota that had a twenty-four hour tea service. Well, with so many options just sitting there, I ended up with a good sized stash of a diverse array of Bigelow teas. One of them was Cranberry Apple by Bigelow and it might be the first one that I've had from that stash that I could see drinking again if I was around someone who didn't have a Celestial Seasonings selection.
Cranberry Apple is an all natural tea from Bigelow. It is a hibiscus-based tea that lacks caffeine and has a pleasant apple scent when steaming. Cranberry Apple comes in Bigelow's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a wax papery envelope it is sealed in for freshness. Each tea bag has a five-inch string with a little paper tab at the end, which is quite a bit more waste than I like from a tea bag. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and making a steeping pot of Cranberry Apple reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Cranberry Apple comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Cranberry Apple is marketed as an apple and cranberry flavored tea and it lives up to that from the scent through the slightly sour taste.
Ease Of Preparation
Cranberry Apple is a tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea, though reusing the tea bags yields little more than hot water. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, though a second pot is pretty bad. Indeed, Cranberry Apple is not a great tea to reuse with a second pot coming out about 1/2 to 3/8 as strong as the original pot!
To prepare Cranberry Apple, simply boil some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take three to five minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with truly boiling water, the tea is ready at the three or four minute mark, but it reaches its full flavor at five minutes. However, letting the tea steep more than five minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
Cranberry Apple has a powerful apple scent, but it accents the cranberry when one tries it. The instant taste is sour and fruity, with the sourness cut by an apple aftertaste. Hot this is not unpleasant, but as the tea cools, it becomes more and more sour, as if the apple only puts up a fight with heat. There is a slight aftertaste, lasting only about a minute or two that is sour and slightly dry. But for the most part, this is a tasty tea that accompanies desserts like pie well.
With a teaspoon of sugar, the apple flavor explodes as the cranberry taste is sublimated to the sugar's sweetness. It is fruity and refreshing, more than just good or tolerable with the sugar. Instead, it becomes a richly flavored fruity drink with actual distinct flavors of both apples and cranberries.
Cold, though, or iced, the tea is absolutely foul. There's no good reason to drink this tea cold: it is all sour (even with sugar) and thoroughly unpleasant.
It is not surprising that the dominant flavor of Cranberry Apple is cranberries and apples, considering that the primary ingredients are: hibiscus, cranberries and apples and rose hips! Having actual chunks of fruit in the tea bags makes for a very fruity drink. In fact, this tastes like a hot fruit drink more than a tea.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Cranberry Apple, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, protein or caffeine.
Cranberry Apple 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. If composting, though, one needs to remove the string and staple in order to insure that everything being put in your garden is actually biodegradable. This tea is very red, especially at full strength and it will probably stain fabrics. However, mugs that hold the tea rinse clean. Spills ought to be cleaned up quickly to prevent this tea from staining fabrics, though that's a pretty good general rule not just limited to the Cranberry Apple tea.
Cranberry Apple is surprisingly good and makes for a nice tea when not around my preferred brand. Outside the extra packaging and being a little sour without sugar than I tend to like, this is a very good fruit tea drink!
For other Bigelow tea reviews, please check out:
Orange & Spice
For other food or 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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