The Good: Nothing bad in the ingredients, Tastes good with sugar
The Bad: Caffeine-free, Does not taste strongly like toffee, Slight aftertaste
The Basics: A decent, but not irresistible, tea, English Toffee works best with sugar and/or milk, not on its own.
There are hundreds of great-tasting teas produced by Celestial Seasonings. I'll argue with virtually anyone that they produce the best teas and I recall last year when I discovered I could review them how happy I was about that fact. I began a pretty zealous pursuit of reviewing all sorts of flavors of Celestial Seasonings teas. In fact, I recently was ahead of the Celestial Seasonings' website in my sampling!
So, even when I critique a tea by Celestial Seasonings, it might be worth keeping in mind that usually when Celestial Seasonings strikes out on a tea flavor, nine times out of ten it is still better than, say, a Lipton tea flavor. I mention this at the outset of my review of English Toffee tea by Celestial Seasonings because I like this tea, but my star-rating of the tea might seem low to those looking for a truly wonderful tea. English Toffee is a pretty wonderful tea; it's just not exactly a gold standard of taste for comparison to actual toffee, making it a tougher sell by my very rigid standards.
English Toffee is a 100% Dessert Tea from Celestial Seasonings. This carob-based tea is 100% natural and is lacking in caffeine simply because all of the all-natural ingredients come without caffeine naturally.
English Toffee comes in Celestial Seasonings'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 English Toffee comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.
Ease Of Preparation
English Toffee is like a standard black tea as far as the preparation goes. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea. The tea bag could be reused and make a second cup of English Toffee, though this is not the ideal flavor for that. The second cup or pot, does not come out as strong as the first, but provided the first steeping was not more than the recommended upper recommended steeping time of six minutes, a second use can come out with about 1/2 strength. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well for both a first and second steeping.
To prepare English Toffee tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags. I brew mine at full strength in the pot and decide about alterations when I pour into my mug! This tea takes four to six minutes to steep and when the water is actually boiling, it comes out strong at the four minute point without needing any additional time. After six minutes, though, the flavor does not concentrate any more so there is no benefit to letting it steep longer than that.
English Toffee Tea is a good tea, but not an extraordinary one. First, it does have a wonderful aroma. Anyone who loves candy will salivate at the scent of English Toffee flavored tea. This smells like exactly what it ought to and prepares the taster for something that tastes like the buttery caramel taste that defines English toffee. Sadly, though, there is a bit less flavor when one sips the tea.
First, the flavor is nowhere near as strong as the scent implies. It is not particularly buttery, not strongly flavored of toffee - English or otherwise. It certainly does not taste like chocolate (I mention this because the picture on the box has toffee with chocolate and nuts being melted into the cup of tea). Finally, there is a slight aftertaste; dry and a little sour that persists for about two minutes after one drinks this tea.
As for the rumor of caramel or toffee, English Toffee has the disadvantage of competing in the same marketplace as teas that have actual chunks of caramel in them. One of Celestial Seasonings competitors (yes, I jumped ship once upon a time to try a new tea!) had a foul tea that had a lone redeeming quality; in the tea bag were chunks of caramel that would melt into the tea to infuse it with caramel flavor. This tea does not even have that and it does not taste even remotely like caramel or buttery toffee.
That is . . . until one adds sugar. With sugar, English Toffee live perfectly up to its name. The irony here is that sugar does not seem to especially sweeten English Toffee tea, but rather it brings out actual flavor, possibly by cutting through the aftertaste quicker. The result is a tea that makes for an excellent dessert tea! Similarly, with milk, English Toffee tea is a smooth, delicious beverage with almost none of the end-defining sourness that nearly made me give up on the tea when unaltered.
Cold, without sugar or milk, or in its second brewing, English Toffee has a flat, sour, dry taste to it. In other words, this becomes all aftertaste and nothing good when cold or the tea bags are reused.
This tea has more ingredients than many of Celestial Seasonings's teas and people who simply must know all of the ingredients before purchasing something are encouraged to check out the manufacturer's website. The top three ingredients, though, are Roasted carob, roasted barley and roasted chicory. Toffee flavoring takes a third-place position, accounting for the lack of taste, one suspects. There is nothing unpronouncable in this tea and it is 100% natural. It is noted that this tea is gluten free and Kosher.
In terms of nutrition, like most teas, English Toffee is not something you want to try to live on. An 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker; there are no calories (save what one adds from sugar or milk), no fat, sodium, nor protein. This dessert tea also has no caffeine, which makes it idea for a drink at night or whenever one has dessert.
English Toffee 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 is a very dark tea and will stain most fabrics. English Toffee tea does not stain mugs or tea pots or leave any offensive odors that might make one want to wash it away quickly.
English Toffee is a good tea, but not all that it could be. Anyone who likes a flavorful dessert tea and who is willing to add either sugar or milk will likely enjoy this one, but in its natural form (without sugar or milk), it's not great.
For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Goji Pomegranate Green
Organic Sweet Clementine
Decaf China Pearl White
For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.