The Good: Caffeinated, Does not taste bad.
The Bad: Tastes nothing like chocolate, Light on aroma, Extraneous tea waste, Dry aftertaste
The Basics: Tasting nothing like white chocolate, "White Chocolate Kisses" tea by Bigelow is a weak black tea that leaves lovers of tea, chocolate and romantic food moments disappointed.
After every major holiday, I descend upon my local grocery stores and hunt for bargains. I am a big fan of stocking up on half-priced chocolate and other goodies from seasonal events like Valentine's Day and Easter. I suppose this is one of the wonderful things about having a dependable chest freezer like mine to store all sorts of seasonal items. I am still eating last year's stock of Cadbury eggs!
So, this year, when I went out after Valentine's Day, I was excited to find Bigelow's White Chocolate Kisses flavor of tea and a little irked when it didn't ring up on sale, a fact I noticed too late to do anything about. Still, I figured it was a new tea and I could review it, much like I had reviewed Bigelow's Sweet Dreams (that review is available by clicking here!). Unfortunately, the promise of "rich flavor of white chocolate" that Bigelow makes on the front of every tea packet is not realized by this tea. It is mildly flavored and no matter what I have added to it, this tea tastes nothing like the creamy goodness that is white chocolate.
White Chocolate Kisses is a black tea from Bigelow that has caffeine and makes no claim of being all natural. I cannot recall the last time I had a tea that could not make that assertion. White Chocolate Kisses 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 White Chocolate Kisses reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of White Chocolate Kisses comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
White Chocolate Kisses is marketed as a seasonal, chocolate flavored tea and it falls woefully short of that mark. One suspects Bigelow is hoping that by being the only tea claiming to taste like white chocolate consumers will excuse the fact that it tastes nothing like what it claims to.
Ease Of Preparation
White Chocolate Kisses 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 is not ideal with this tea. These tea bags can be reused the result is still a fairly strong pot of tea. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot. Indeed, White Chocolate Kisses makes for a fair tea in the reusing department as the second pot comes out 1/2 to 3/4 (at best) of the original strength.
To prepare White Chocolate Kisses, 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 four minute mark, but it reaches its full flavor at five minutes. However, letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
White Chocolate Kisses is hardly a great tea that embodies chocolate flavor, white or otherwise. More than anything, this tastes like diluted Earl Grey tea. Come to think of it, this tea tastes precisely like a second brewing of a Bigelow Earl Grey tea bag. As a result, there is more of a generic black tea scent and that aroma is pretty faint itself.
The dominant taste in this tea is simply tea, not chocolate or anything resembling chocolate. After several pots, I am at a complete loss as to how Bigelow gets away with even calling this a white chocolate tea! As well, the tea has a pretty nasty and persistent aftertaste so consumers are likely to be left with a dry taste in their mouth (hence the diluted Earl Grey comparison) more than an actual enjoyable dessert tea experience.
With a teaspoon of sugar, the aroma of white chocolate appears assuming that the tea is piping hot. As the tea cools, the generic tea scent reasserts itself. The sugar makes White Chocolate Kisses taste quite simply of a slightly-sweetened black tea. For those who truly want a chocolate flavored tea, this disappoints and adding sugar leaves one with even more disappointment. Milk, which I suspected might be the last resort in bringing out a creamy white chocolate flavor falls down with providing that as well. Instead, milk overwhelms the black tea flavor and one has a watered down milky taste.
Cold or iced, the tea flavor completely dominates the tea, making it a remarkably weak showing for those ready to be impressed by a flavor marketed toward those who want white chocolate flavor.
It is not surprising that the dominant flavor of White Chocolate Kisses is black tea, considering that the primary ingredients are: black tea, low-fat cocoa, and organic rice concentrate. Sadly, this tea has more in common with ricewater than white chocolate.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of White Chocolate Kisses, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein. It does, however, have caffeine and it actually does kick with the caffeine a little bit, causing one to perk up.
White Chocolate Kisses 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 fairly dark, especially at full strength and it will stain light or medium dark 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 White Chocolate Kisses tea.
White Chocolate Kisses is a thoroughly disappointing tea by its title and those who want a chocolate-flavored tea are likely to wish they didn't buy this, even if they are lucky enough to find it cheap after a holiday.
For other tea reviews of mine, please check out:
Celestial Seasonings Black Cherry Berry
Good Earth Organic Sweet & Spicy tea
Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey
For other beverage reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.