Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indistinct Fruit With Kick: Wild Berry Zinger Leaves A "Meh" Feeling.

The Good: Tastes good with sugar, Nothing bad or unpronouncable in it
The Bad: No Caffeine! Sour aftertaste, Does not distinctly taste of any real berry.
The Basics: A mediocre fruit tea lays on the sour until sugar is added, making is mostly unpleasant on its own and difficult to recommend.

I'm up late tonight. I'm up late, drinking tea and writing reviews and I'm not sure why I'm doing either this late tonight. Tea reviews are sporadic as far as readers go and tonight I have the misfortune of drinking caffeine free tea. More than that, I'm drinking a tea that is not all that great.

"Wild Berry Zinger," I had hoped, seemed like it would keep me awake with its kick as it has been known to help me greet the day with enthusiasm. It's not happening tonight, so this might be a somewhat quick review.


Wild Berry Zinger is an herb tea from Celestial Seasonings. This tea is supposed to be - if the artwork on the box is any indication - a combination of cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. It has a fairly strong fruit flavor, though not a single one of them stands out to define this flavor. This tea is an herb tea and thus is naturally caffeine free as none of the ingredients naturally occurs with caffeine in them.

Wild Berry Zinger comes in Celestial Seasonings standard stringless tea bags, which are attached in pairs. There are twenty tea bags to a box of tea and they come in the usual box with a a painting and clever slogans on it.

Ease Of Preparation

Preparation of Wild Berry Zinger is not brain surgery or advanced calculus. Most people prepare their tea by the cup or in a steeping pot. I use a 32 oz. steeping pot which is easily one of the best investments I have ever made. Preparation is as simple as boiling a pot of water and pouring it over the tea bag(s) while they are in the vessel of your choice. I use two tea bags in the steeping pot and that makes for a full, rich brewing of Wild Berry Zinger.

Once the boiling water is poured on the tea bags, wait four to six minutes and the tea is ready! I've discovered that with actually boiling water, the Wild Berry Zinger is ready in four minutes and additional steeping time does not make it any stronger. I've also discovered that once the bags have been in the boiling water for six minutes, they are pretty much done with; they cannot be reused to make another pot of tea. At four minutes, if the bags are extracted, another pot of tea may be made that is about 3/8 strong, but this tea seems to burn out with the duration of brewing.

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 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. As a result of a good faith belief that the people who produce this product know what they are talking about, none of my sampling of Wild Berry Zinger involved adding milk to it.


Because "Wild Berry" is hardly a specific fruit, Celestial Seasonings is off the hook from my usual dogmatic "it must taste like what it claims to be" demand. Still, Wild Berry Zinger is only vaguely fruity with much of the tart qualities to the blueberries, cherries, raspberries and strawberries that seem to make it up. Instead of tasting fruity and intriguing, it is mostly just sour and without sugar, this is not the most pleasant tea.

Indeed, several Celestial Seasonings fruit teas taste like what they claim to be and/or more like fruit juice than tea. This is not the case with Wild Berry Zinger. It does not taste like juice, despite the undefined fruity quality to it. Instead, it tastes like tea and something sour in the most dismal way. Unfortunately, hot it is sour with a side of unspecified fruit, but this comes in no way close to being some hot fruit punch.

With sugar, however, Wild Berry Zinger is palatable. With a healthy teaspoon of sugar, it becomes a decent drink that is more fruity and sweet with only a sour aftertaste.

I highly recommend avoiding this tea when cold as it is another in a long line of fruit teas that becomes quite sour when unsweetened and chilled. The result when cold is the antithesis of adding sugar; it becomes all sour berry.


There is nothing nutritious about this tea. Fortunately, there is nothing unhealthy about Wild Berry Zinger either. Very little of nutritional value carries through with boiling water over these herbs and as a result, this tea has no calories, no fat, no sodium, no carbohydrates, no protein and no caffeine.


Storage is simple: keep the tea bags in their box with the wax paper bag that surrounds them folded close. Store them in a cool dry place and they will last quite a while with a wonderful ability to release the Wild Berry Zinger flavor when needed. Clean-up is equally simple: toss the tea bags (or compost them!) and rinse out your mug and/or steeping pot.

Wild Berry Zinger is not an excessively dark tea, though it will stains fabric, so it ought to be cleaned off fabrics as soon as it is spilled. Otherwise, this is not a tea one needs to worry will stain excessively.


Wild Berry Zinger is not a wretched tea, but it's not great on its own, either. With sugar, it is yummy and mostly fruity, but given that it is palatable only with sugar, it is hard to recommend it, especially how unpleasant it can be without it.

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Cinnamon Apple Spice
Sweet Coconut Thai Chai
Country Peach Passion


For other food or drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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