The Good: With sugar, it tastes good
The Bad: Decaffeinated, Weak aroma, Leaves little impression by itself, Weak flavor
The Basics: My quest to find a good peach tea from Celestial Seasonings continues to Country Peach Passion . . . and it'll continue past it!
There is some fun in being a food scientist, a culinary reviewer, even if those dalliances are mostly read by very few people. For a while, each day I would break into a new box of tea as I rotate through my five open boxes and use up one and replace it with the next (who would have guessed that 35 boxes of tea would likely only last seven months?!) - I've only been opening new flavors lately! - and I am treated to the joys of a chance to try something new and experiment with the various permutations of it. I always brew at least two pots of a tea before I sit down to write a review of it and as I sit down and write a review on "Country Peach Passion," I'll be honest and admit that I haven't yet finished my experimenting.
When visiting the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder, Colorado and taking the free tour there, I remember distinctly the tour guide warning us all that with the Zinger teas (any Celestial Seasonings tea ending in "Zinger") milk cannot be added. If you add milk to a Zinger tea, the tea curdles the milk, I'm fairly sure it was because of the citric acid in the tea. The problem is, I'm not positive that's the reason (I am sure of the warning and the result of adding milk to Zinger teas), but I seem to recall that citric acid was to blame. The reason this is coming up now when I'm reviewing "Country Peach Passion" is that I haven't tried to add milk to any to see what happens (I don't want to waste food!) and I noticed the last ingredient in the tea is "Citric Acid." I'm somewhat miffed, though, because the Zinger teas I have kicking around do not have citric acid in the ingredients, though they all seem to share hibiscus, rosehips and orange peel, so if that's the cause of the curdling, I'll be in for an unpleasant surprise when I add a tiny bit of milk to a sample in a few minutes (I'm waiting until the last minute on that one!).
Country Peach Passion is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural herb tea that has no caffeine because all of the all natural herbs in it are naturally devoid of caffeine. Country Peach Passion 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 Country Peach Passion comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.
Country Peach Passion is marketed as a peach flavored tea and I am beginning to think that Celestial Seasonings does not make a peach tea that will rival the Ginger Peach tea I drink from another brand (it's one of only two betrayals to my loyalty to Celestial Seasonings I have and I continue trying the peach teas from Celestial Seasonings hoping to find one that will wow me!). But Country Peach Passion is not making the case. It's a surprisingly weak flavor for a tea that brews as dark as this does!
Ease Of Preparation
Country Peach Passion 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 and could be reused and make a second cup of Country Peach Passion, with rather disappointing results. A properly steeped tea bag will net a second cup that is, at best, 1/2 strong and devoid of most of the flavor, concentrated on the tart. Most of my sampling found that while the Country Peach Passion teabags might be reused to make a weak cup of tea, the flavor is so radically altered as to make it unworthy of the effort; at best it lives up to the sour aftertaste of the original drink. 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 Country Peach Passion, simply boil some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take four to six minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with truly boiling water, the tea is ready at three minutes and letting it steep longer strangely does not change the results. Letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
Country Peach Passion underwhelmed me before the first sip. I eagerly bent down to inhale its fragrance and it was so subtle as to almost be nonexistent. What aroma there was was more powerfully tea than peach. This, from experience I suspected, did not bode well; teas that are timid with their aroma tend to not be bold on taste either. Sadly, this tea fell down in exactly that way.
Country Peach Passion, I've finally been able to define clearly, tastes like a generic herbal tea prepared in the same mug that just had orange juice sitting in it for about three hours prior. So, there's this flavor of the skim of o.j. coming through the tea and it's a little sour, like the mug had been sitting in the sun with that little layer of orange juice at the bottom. That is the precise flavor of Country Peach Passion.
With a teaspoon of sugar, this tea tastes tastes sweet with a vaguely citrus taste. It loses its orange undertone and it tastes a little like peaches with sugar on them. What I mean by "a little like" is that it would be a more accurate description to suggest that with sugar the tea tastes like what one might suspect that rinse water (no soap!) would taste like in a bowl that had had fresh juicy peaches drenched in sugar in them, the peaches were eaten leaving a little juice and a lot of sugar and then the bowl was filled with water to let it soak (I don't know why, maybe the person washing the dishes is just lazy or the dishwasher is full and running). THAT is the precise flavor or Country Peach Passion tea.
And wow, I wish it were better than that. I want the tea to be strong and flavorful, instantly capturing a warm peach in the Georgia sun. I want my peach tea to inspire passion! Instead, it's inspiring better oral hygiene; I want to go brush my teeth because the aftertaste - which takes about five minutes to develop following drinking this - is making my mouth pucker a little.
Moment of truth time: I've added milk. How can you tell if skim milk is curdling? It does seem to be resisting mixing nicely. After stirring in some milk, sour taste is effectively muted, but so is the taste of the hint of peaches. And, hmmm . . . I've never burped after drinking tea before. I'm not positive, but I don't think you should add milk to the Country Peach Passion. Sticking to what I know for sure, it doesn't taste great when you do, so there's no real reason to.
Country Peach Passion is bland at best cold, though. It's mostly all aftertaste and little taste. It's just sour and unpleasant. And the scientist in me is not even attempting to add milk to the cold version (really don't think I should have added the milk!).
It's unsurprising that the dominant flavor - if a weak tea may be said to have a dominant flavor - of Country Peach Passion is oranges as the primary ingredients are: rosehips, hibiscus and orange peel. Actual peaches score near the bottom of the ingredient list! Country Peach Passion tea is 100% natural and it is caffeine-free.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Country Peach Passion, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein. It also is lacking in a strong peach taste and that is disappointing to me.
Country Peach Passion 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 surprisingly dark brown coloring when brewed at its full strength and it certainly will probably stain, but mugs that hold the tea rinse clean. Spills ought to be cleaned up quickly to prevent this tea from staining fabrics.
Country Peach Passion tea is a rare disappointment from Celestial Seasonings and the low rating reflects the below average nature of the tea. The dominant flavor is not peaches and the disappointment of that is making me wonder why it's so hard to make a citrus-flavored tea that doesn't taste like oranges or lemons!
Maybe it's the peels. Either way, there might be a Country Peach in here, but it's certainly not a passionate one!
For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Madagascar Vanilla Red
For other food or drink reviews, please visit my index page for an organized list of all I have reviewed!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.