The Good: Excellent flavor, Nothing detrimental in the nutrition department, Good aroma
The Bad: Decaffeinated, Needs sugar for best effect
The Basics: For a wonderfully satisfying mint tea, Candy Cane Lane delivers . . . even if it is decaf!
Sometimes, when I write about a food, I do not know quite where the review is going. When I sat down to write this review of Candy Cane Lane tea, I did not know where I will go with it, except that I knew I was going to recommend it (it's a good tea!), I'll probably note that while it is labeled as a "Holiday Decaf Green Tea" it is available year round at the Celestial Seasonings plant's gift shop in Boulder, Colorado, and I'll either try to avoid mentioning (or find a clever way to let it slip in) that this tea turns one's urine green. Like bright freakin' green when you drink a pot of this tea. Man, I wish there were a dignified way to get THAT into my review!
Candy Cane Lane is a Holiday Decaf Green Tea from Celestial Seasonings. Green tea is made from mature tea leaves that are not dried on the tea plant (unlike your standard black tea). Celestial Seasonings releases this delightful flavor every year in winter, though it appears to be available year round in Boulder and on-line (HINT: Check out your supermarket's "clearance" aisle right after the holidays!). As a decaf tea, it is important to note that the tea leaves have been treated with chemicals to remove the caffeine, as opposed to a caffeine free tea which uses ingredients that possessed no caffeine in them. Personally, I could live with a mint tea that had caffeine but for the life of me, I can't seem to find one.
Candy Cane Lane 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 Candy Cane Lane comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.
Ease Of Preparation
As a green tea, Candy Cane Lane requires a little more care to prepare than most teas. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea and could be reused and make a second cup of Candy Cane Lane with little loss of flavor. Indeed, this is one of the best teas for those who like to reuse tea bags. The second cup often comes out at least as strong as the first, provided the first steeping was not over the recommended time. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, though in this method, the second brewing is - at best - about 5/8 strength.
To prepare Candy Cane Lane tea (isn't it just a great name for a tea? Extra points to the marketing department for that!), bring a pot of water to a near-boil and pour it over the tea bags. The water should not be boiling, but rather a few degrees below boiling when you pour the water over the tea bag(s) in your cup, mug or pot. This tea takes only three to five minutes to steep according to the directions. In my experience, it gets mildly stronger after five minutes but there is no significant benefit to letting it steep longer than ten minutes (in fact, this ends any chance of being able to reuse the bag for our miserly readers).
Bam! We have a winner, a tea that tastes like it is supposed to! Hot and without sugar, Candy Cane Lane has a vague, light minty flavor that brings that special numbness to the tongue that mint is known to do. With a single teaspoon of sugar in the mug, this is the precise flavor of a candy cane. Absolutely perfect. It tastes like a candy cane and that puts it pretty high on my list, a tea that lives up to its title!
One usually hopes to be able to elaborate on such things as taste when reviewing a tea (or any other food, for that matter), but the truth of it is this: if you've ever had a peppermint flavored candy cane, this tea tastes precisely like that when one adds a lump of sugar to it. That's the exact flavor!
Cold, the tea is good, though the flavor is more intriguing and minty. Indeed, without a temperature, Candy Cane Lane is more likely to clear out the sinuses than when it is hot. I'm not sure why the mint flavor overcomes everything else when it's cooled, but it certainly does. I never added milk to this tea, hot or cold, though milk may be able to be added to this tea without any adverse effects (at least in terms of chemical composition).
The ingredients to this tea, rather refreshingly, start with peppermint leaves, which is doubtless why that is the dominant flavor of the tea. There are various other leaves and natural flavors, nothing that cannot be pronounced. It is, however, the second ingredient, "decaffeinated green tea" that prevents this from being a 100% natural tea (for those for whom that is important). In general, though, there is nothing sinister hiding in this tea and that is refreshing for tea drinkers like me.
In terms of nutrition, this tea is devoid of it. 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, which I recommend), no fat, sodium, or protein and no caffeine. This is not a tea where the tea will wake the drinker up, but the mint flavor just might!
Candy Cane Lane 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 might stain a mug a faint brown or green if it is left there for days on end, but otherwise may be cleaned up easily by rinsing out the vessel. Of note is that this tea will leave an aftertaste in the mouth or in a cup, so if you clean out a mug by simply swishing water through it, odds are your next cup of whatever will have a hint of mint to it.
Candy Cane Lane lives up to what I expect from a mint tea (though I wish it were caffeinated!). It's good, it will leave the person drinking it feeling warm and refreshed and it has a distinct aroma that will remind one of good memories of . . . candy canes, I guess. Or, you know, if you have good memories of the holidays and remember something you associate with candy canes, I suppose this will remind you of that, you know? See, this is why I usually start out knowing where I'm going before hand because otherwise I just end up here!
Don't let my idiot ending stop you from trying this tea. Anyone who likes mint tea will enjoy this one. And those still looking for a mint tea that lives up are likely to find it with Candy Cane Lane.
For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews of mine, please check out:
Tropic Of Strawberry
Zingers To Go Wild Berry Chill
Zingers To Go Peach Delight
For other beverage reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2010, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.