Thursday, November 11, 2010

"True Blueberry" Herb Tea Does Not Fool A True Blueberry Fan!

The Good: With sugar, it tastes vaguely like blueberries! No negative nutritional aspects.
The Bad: Sour, Indistinct, Caffeine free, Does not taste like blueberry!
The Basics: True Blueberry would be a wonderful tea . . . if it wasn't sour. And if it tasted like blueberries.

It is worth noting directly that I am a fan of Celestial Seasonings. The company has a rather progressive outlook, its people seem to donate to progressive causes and it has a rather decent environmental policy and produces food that is good and generally good for you. I drink a lot of their tea and I've been considering someday buying stock in the Hain Celestial Group - you know, if I ever become fabulously wealthy - because I enjoy their products so much.

I'm prefacing my review of "True Blueberry" 100% Natural Herb Tea with that because it seems lately I've hit a rash of Celestial Seasonings teas in my collection that I'm not necessarily recommending and I wanted to be up front that it's not because I don't like the company. Anything but! Sadly, though ultimately the choice to recommend or not often comes down to whether or not the tea tastes like what it claims to be. If it does, that goes a long way to the recommend. If it doesn't, it's an uphill battle for that poor tea.

Poor True Blueberry!


True Blueberry is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural herb tea that is caffeine free, which makes sense because most herbs are caffeine free. The nice thing about that is that the product is caffeine free without any sort of chemical process extracting the caffeine from it. It 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 True Blueberry comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

As one might guess, True Blueberry is selling itself on the idea that it is a Blueberry tea. On my last sojourn to Boulder, Colorado to visit the Celestial Seasonings plant, I had a sample of this tea iced and I enjoyed it. I think they must have done something special with it there because while it is good when I make it, it never comes out tasting quite as much like blueberries and believe me, I've been trying!

Ease Of Preparation

True Blueberry is a tea, so making it is not the Paris Peace Process! 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 True Blueberry, though I don't recommend it. A properly steeped tea bag will net a second cup that is, at best, 1/2 strong. Most of my sampling found the True Blueberry teabags were about 3/8 strength the second go-around, making it a poor candidate for reusing. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, though it's virtually impossible to get a decent second pot out of the bags.

To prepare True Blueberry, simply boil some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. True Blueberry is recommended to take four to six minutes to steep and after several cups and pots, I've found even with very boiling water, the six minute steeping time yields the best results. Letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.


"True Blueberry" was a tea I wanted to like. I mean, sometimes, I sit down completely ambivalent, open to the new tea experience. True Blueberry, I was excited about. That excitement died a quick death when it came to the taste. It just hit me as I was writing this what the tea actually tastes like: strawberries! "True Blueberry" tastes more like strawberries than blueberries!

In its pure, hot form, without anything added, True Blueberry tea tastes like a sour strawberry. Sour is the dominant flavor of True Blueberry and I have blueberries in my yard; this tea does not taste like them. The tea does not even smell like blueberries. In fact, this has one of the most faint aromas of any of Celestial Seasonings's Herb Teas. The smell is more like Smarties than blueberries!

This actually is completely appropriate, though, because with a little sugar, the tea tastes like Smarties. You know that sour taste Smarties elicit when you pop a bunch of them in your mouth? Before they get sweet and sugary, they have that faint sour coating . . . that is the precise taste of True Blueberry tea with a teaspoon of sugar in it! It never quite gets sweet, it's always sour. Milk does not chemically alter in True Blueberry and as far as the taste goes, with milk the tea becomes slightly more blueberry flavored. Actually, with milk, the tea tastes like what might be left if one had blueberries and cream, ate all the blueberries and poured the milk (cream) from that into tea. It's the aftertaste of something that was near a blueberry that this tea achieves.

True Blueberry tastes good cold, though I'll admit when I've prepared it iced, I use a LOT of sugar because otherwise it's unbearably sour. Even cold, the tea tastes more like strawberry than blueberry. And without sugar, it just tastes sour. Unbearably sour.


In my continuing tradition, I'll not list all of the ingredients to this tea, though I will note that it's possible the reason it does not taste much like Blueberries is that there is no component of blueberries in the top three ingredients. Instead, this tea is based on Hibiscus, rosehips, and orange peel. The "natural blueberry flavor" comes after the orange peel, so it's unsurprising it does not taste as blueberry as one might hope. The tea is 100% natural and it is gluten free.

In terms of nutrition, True Blueberry is a tea and thus contains no fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein. There are no calories in True Blueberry, so it may cut down on the oral fixation dieters have without leading to pesky pounds! The only way to get something out of this, other than a sour taste in your mouth, is to add it to the tea.


True Blueberry 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. The tea has a red coloring that will stain, but mugs that hold the tea ought to clean up with a rinse without any problems.


True Blueberry tastes good, if one likes sour and not blueberry. It's not a bad drink, but it will disappoint those thinking they'll be drinking a blueberry pie in a mug! I know it left me so disappointed!

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews of mine, please check out:
India Spice Chai
Vanilla Strawberry Rose
Honey Chamomile Green Decaf


For other food and drink reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010, 2008, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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