The Good: Wonderful cinnamon aroma, Good taste, Nothing bad in it, Easy to prepare
The Bad: Caffeine free, Extraneous tea waste, Slightly watery taste.
The Basics: Tasting nothing like white chocolate, "Sweetheart Cinnamon" tea by Bigelow is a weak black tea that leaves lovers of tea, chocolate and romantic food moments disappointed.
As a lover of teas, I am always amused and intrigued by the gimmicks tea manufacturers go through to sell their teas. Like many other food manufacturers, tea companies like Celestial Seasonings and Bigelow have limited edition or seasonal flavors. This year, I discovered - right after Valentine's Day - two seasonal teas by Bigelow, "White Chocolate Kisses" (reviewed here!) and "Sweetheart Cinnamon." And while Bigelow is not my favorite tea brand (too many flavors that simply taste like tea, way too much waste for an environmentalist like myself), I picked up a box of each because variety is one of the many spices of life that I am coming to enjoy.
Sweetheart Cinnamon surprised me by actually being the better of the two, but it is still a tea that is trapped in the unfortunate trend of being stronger in aroma than it is on taste. That said, this is a flavor that is a much nicer gift to tea drinking lovers than White Chocolate Kisses and because it has a distant expiration date, anyone who can find it on post-Valentine's clearance racks still ought to pick some up to enjoy.
Sweetheart Cinnamon is an herbal tea from Bigelow that is caffeine-free and is all natural. Sweetheart Cinnamon comes in Bigelow's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a wax papery envelope it is sealed in for freshness. Each tea bag has a five-inch string with a little paper tab at the end, which is quite a bit more waste than I like from a tea bag. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and making a steeping pot of Sweetheart Cinnamon reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Sweetheart Cinnamon comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Sweetheart Cinnamon is marketed as a seasonal, cinnamon flavored tea and it lives up to that claim well enough. The taste is a little more watery sometimes than I would like, but otherwise, it has a great cinnamon aroma and the taste is subtly of apples and cinnamon.
Ease Of Preparation
Sweetheart Cinnamon 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, though reusing the tea bags is not ideal with this tea. These tea bags can be reused the result is still a fairly strong pot of tea. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot. Indeed, Sweetheart Cinnamon makes for a fair tea in the reusing department as the second pot comes out 1/2 to 3/4 (at best) of the original strength.
To prepare Sweetheart Cinnamon, simply boil some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take three to five minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with truly boiling water, the tea is ready at the four minute mark, but it reaches its full flavor at five minutes. However, letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
"Sweetheart Cinnamon" gets off to a great start with its scent. The scent is richly of cinnamon and it smells like fresh cinnamon buns when one brews up a pot of this tea. Indeed, Sweetheart Cinnamon is a very pleasant mix of cinnamon with a hint of apple even in the scent.
The dominant taste in this tea is cinnamon and it requires no sweeteners because the tea is so naturally sweet to begin with. The taste is appropriately like cinnamon and the aftertaste is a kick of sweet and tart apple that helps eliminate the dry aftertaste cinnamon-flavored things usually have. Instead, this is a smooth dessert tea that is effectively sweet and delicious in its own right. I have, however, noticed that even when brewed at full strength, this tea is hardly the most powerful tea on the market. Instead, it always seems to possess a faintly watery taste and as a result, it is in no way overwhelming. Those who like a more mild tea will likely enjoy that aspect of Sweetheart Cinnamon.
With a teaspoon of sugar, the taste of apples is brought out more and I found I actually liked the tea less. Gone was the taste of cinnamon, replaced instead with a sweet apple flavoring that was incongruent with the smell (no matter how closely linked the tastes of apple and cinnamon usually are!).
Cold or iced, the cinnamon flavor dominates the tea, though when it is cold, the aftertaste of apple seems slightly more tart than when the beverage is hot.
It is not surprising that the dominant flavor of Sweetheart Cinnamon is cinnamon, considering that the primary ingredients are: cinnamon, apple and natural apple flavors. There is nothing unpronouncable or even unpleasant in the ingredient list and the fact that it is all natural is definitely a point in its favor.
Outside the sugar I occasionally add to mugs of Sweetheart Cinnamon, this tea is devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, caffeine or protein. For those with special dietary concerns, it ought to be noted that this tea is Gluten Free. This makes it more accessible to a wider drinking audience who has to be attentive to such things.
Sweetheart Cinnamon 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. If composting, though, one needs to remove the string and staple in order to insure that everything being put in your garden is actually biodegradable. This tea is fairly dark, especially at full strength and it will stain light or medium dark fabrics. However, mugs that hold the tea rinse clean. Spills ought to be cleaned up quickly to prevent this tea from staining fabrics, though that's a pretty good general rule not just limited to the Sweetheart Cinnamon tea.
Sweetheart Cinnamon is a good, but not great tea and if one is looking for a decent seasonal tea from Bigelow, this is not a bad choice. There are stronger cinnamon-flavored teas on the market, but this still offers decent value for the limited time it is on the market.
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© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.