The Good: Caffeinated, Does not taste bad (save cold), Nothing apparently bad in it
The Bad: Dry aftertaste, Orange taste is too subtle, Extraneous tea garbage
The Basics: Not one of Bigelow's best flavors, "Constant Comment" disappoints this consumer of flavorful teas.
It seems of late that I have been drinking quite a bit of Bigelow tea. There is, of course, a reason for that. For example, the reason I have recently had a decent stash of Constant Comment tea to drink is that when I stayed at the Comfort Suites in Comstock Park, Michigan, I picked up several packets. I figured, it was a great place to propose and get free tea, they didn't have cocoa for me to restock my arsenal of cocoa with! Since returning from my fabulous trip that took me from Upstate New York to Michigan to New York City and back to Michigan and New York again, I have been drinking a lot of tea. Traveling deprived me of too many opportunities to drink tea and now that I have returned home, I am drinking a lot of tea . . . some pilfered from hotels.
"Constant Comment" is one that I have been drinking quite a bit of because I realized I had never reviewed it before now. My love of Celestial Seasonings teas have caused me to raise my taste and environmental expectations when it comes to teas, but I know that Constant Comment was one of several staple teas in my childhood. I am sure my father still has boxes of the stuff around his house. But given my experiences with the tea the last few days, I doubt I will purchase it by the box; it's just not that good.
Constant Comment is a tea from Bigelow. It is a tea that has caffeine and it is one of the stronger black teas Bigelow makes and markets. Constant Comment 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 Constant Comment reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Constant Comment comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Constant Comment is marketed as a tea-flavored tea and there is something disturbing about how it refers to deriving its taste from "sweet spice," but never detailing what that spice is. A quick check of my dictionary found nothing called "sweet spice." As it is, the tea is not all that sweet and while the orange rind provides a subtle orange touch right before the dry aftertaste, the black tea dominates this flavor. I tend to like flavorful teas, not the bland ones that are simply what they claim to be.
Ease Of Preparation
Constant Comment is a black tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Constant Comment, as the directions clearly state, require water that is boiling. 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. These tea bags can be reused and the resulting beverage is about 1/2 strength and has a more potent dry aftertaste than the original brewing. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot.
To prepare Constant Comment, simply boil up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take one to two minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with boiling water, the tea is ready at the two minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than three minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
Constant Comment has a rather weak, tealike aroma with just a hint of cinnamon to it. The scent is hardly what one might call overbearing and as a result, it prepares the consumer adequately for the somewhat bland tea in their mug. Sadly, this adequately foreshadows the taste of the tea.
Constant Comment is a woody tea with a mild taste of tea, about 4/5 the strength of the average Earl Grey tea. Despite what the package says, the spices associated with the tea are hardly sweet, but rather they are dry. Indeed, the tea is tea flavored with a slight orange tart aftertaste right before the alleged sweet spices kick in with a dry aftertaste. Unfortunately, Constant Comment is less flavorful than many teas and with the dry aftertaste leaves the consumer actually more thirsty than when they began drinking the tea.
With a teaspoon of sugar, almost everything changes. Sugar seems to effectively eliminate the dry aftertaste and it makes the tea sweet. Strangely, the tea adopts a taste that is more reminiscent of cloves and that mixes with the orange flavor quite nicely. But largely, the tea still tastes woody and tea-flavored more than anything else.
Cold, the tea develops a sour taste and the dry aftertaste is even more extreme. This is not an ideal tea for cold tea or iced.
It is utterly unsurprising that the dominant flavor in Constant Comment is tea as the primary ingredient is black tea. This tea also has rind of oranges (one wonders what the difference between this and orange rind is), sweet spice and "natural flavor." Constant Comment tea is not noted as being all natural, though it is Kosher and does contain caffeine. This tea actually seems to be a stronger tea as far as the caffeine goes and it wakes the consumer up much like Earl Grey does.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Constant Comment, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Constant Comment is a fairly dark black tea. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so simply do not let the tea cups or mugs linger on light colored materials that might stain!
Constant Comment 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. However, like all Bigelow teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.
Constant Comment is too bland and the dry aftertaste is more of a detraction than anything that would allow me to recommend this otherwise average tea.
For other Bigelow tea reviews, please check out:
I Love Lemon
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© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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