Thursday, December 9, 2010

A New-To-Me Red Tea, "African Orange Mango" Rooibos Tea Is Good, Not Great!

The Good: Amazing aroma, Tastes good, Nothing bad in it
The Bad: Not terribly fruit-flavored, Caffeine Free, Slightly dry aftertaste
The Basics: A good tea, African Orange Mango satisfies tea drinkers, but not those looking for a strong fruit-flavored beverage.

The last few years, when I have stopped at Boulder, Colorado for the Celestial Seasonings factory tour and gift shop, I have done my best to take advantage of the trip to try to try some new-to-me flavors or types of tea. Last year, I sampled their Zingers and the year before it was white teas. This year, I think I picked up one of each of the "red" teas as well as the rooibos teas. It surprised me to discover thus far, the only rooibos tea I've tried from my new stash was Peach Apricot Honeybush. That was the case, until I broke into my box of African Orange Mango!

African Orange Mango is a decent tea and one that - at its worst - is flavorful, but it does not have a strong fruit flavor that fans of Celestial Seasonings teas might expect and, in fact, want from it. Instead, there is a slightly dry aftertaste and a more rich, woody flavor than one might expect from their tea.


African Orange Mango is a Rooibos Tea from Celestial Seasonings. Rooibos tea is made from rooibos, which appears to be more like a grassy shrub than a bush (as opposed to tea). This is a 100% Natural caffeine free tea and it is important to note that the tea has not been treated with chemicals to remove the caffeine, as the ingredients possessed no caffeine in them.

African Orange Mango 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 African Orange Mango comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Ease Of Preparation

As a Rooibos tea, African Orange Mango is just as easy to prepare as a standard black tea. 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 African Orange Mango with little loss of flavor. Indeed, this is one of the better teas for those who like to reuse tea bags. The second cup often comes out at about 5/8 or 3/4 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 3/4 strength.

To prepare African Orange Mango tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags. The water should be boiling when you pour the water over the tea bag(s) in your cup, mug or pot. This tea takes only four to six 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 six minutes (in fact, this ends any chance of being able to reuse the bag for our miserly readers).


African Orange Mango is one of those teas that has a very rich, woody aroma that is quite wonderful to sit and inhale. The scent is powerful and smells like a mix of bark with a faint orange blossom scent to it. Leaving a steaming mug in a room is pretty much guaranteed to make the room smell better; this is a deliciously aromatic tea.

Unfortunately, the woody element to the smell seems to also be the dominant taste. Instead of being a strongly orange or mango-flavored tea, this has a more root-like flavor, substantial, slightly bitter, but not at all fruity. However, as the tea cools slightly, the scent of the oranges and mangoes comes out more, enhancing the taste of those fruits. Unfortunately, while the scent becomes a significant difference, it is not a huge flavor difference for those drinking the tea (which is pretty much the point of a tea)!

With a teaspoon of sugar, the dry aftertaste that was present in the unadulterated state of the tea comes out a bit more. As well, the mango flavoring is also accented, with a light fruit flavor bursting out of the more general woody tea flavor that is still dominant. Oddly, the flavor of orange still does not come through even with sugar!

Cold, African Orange Mango is all aftertaste, a dry taste that is not entirely unpleasant, but does leave the consumer thirsty, which pretty much defeats the purpose of drinking tea!


The ingredients to this tea begin with rooibos, which is doubtless why that is the dominant flavor of the tea. There are natural mango and orange flavors, but that's it! 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 aroma just might!


African Orange Mango 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 light fabric with a slight reddish-brown color, but other than that, it's pretty easy to clean up after.


African Orange Mango is good, but it is not one of the indispensable teas Celestial Seasonings makes. Instead, it's a wonderful tea to mix up one's usual tea drinking habits with. The only real drawback to this tea is that is does not taste strongly of either of the fruits it claims to.

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Mandarin Orchard Decaf Green
Vanilla Hazelnut
Cranberry Pomegranate Green


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

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

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