Wednesday, March 2, 2011

With Sugar And Very Hot, "Tuscany Orange Spice" Black Tea Delivers! Otherwise...

The Good: Tastes like orange (conditional), Great aroma, Caffeinated, Tasty
The Bad: Aftertaste, Terrible flavor when cold (or iced).
The Basics: With Tuscany Orange Spice tea, Celestial Seasonings captures the essence of orange, before the tea becomes a hideous aftertaste that will trouble its fans.

I don't know that I've received much in the way of nutritional value the last few days; I've been drinking a great deal of tea and most of that is empty calories and caffeine. The truth is, I put sugar in many of the teas I drink, so I suppose I am hepped up on sugar and that at least keeps me going. Nothing keeps me drinking teas and reviewing them like finding great teas to review, like those offered from Celestial Seasonings.

The truth is, I've had my box of Celestial Seasonings Tuscany Orange Spice tea sitting in my cupboard since August and because of my strict "No more than five boxes of tea open at one time" policy, it is only now that I've managed to break into it to enjoy a couple pots. And I'm quite glad I did!


Tuscany Orange Spice is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural black tea that has a decent amount of caffeine in it. Tuscany Orange Spice 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 Tuscany Orange Spice comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Tuscany Orange Spice is marketed - quite effectively - as an orange flavored tea and it rather effectively lives up to its reputation. Honestly, I had no expectations when I opened this box of tea other than the hope that it would taste like orange (I have been disappointed by many fruit-flavored teas lately) and the desire to take in something with caffeine! On both fronts, it lived up on the first take. But as I finish off the second pot, I find myself able to observe some aspects of the tea that make it less-than-ideal.

Ease Of Preparation

Tuscany Orange Spice 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 Tuscany Orange Spice, with somewhat disappointing results. "Somewhat" is my euphemism today for "very." A properly steeped tea bag will net a second cup that is, at best, 1/2 strong. Most of my sampling found that while the Tuscany Orange Spice 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. 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 Tuscany Orange Spice, 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 several cups and pots, I've found that with very boiling water, the tea is ready at three minutes. Letting the tea steep more than five minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea. Interestingly, even brewing the tea for only three minutes means the teabag will be pretty much unusable for a second cup or pot.


Tuscany Orange Spice is a brilliantly orange flavored tea when it is first brewed and piping hot. The aroma is distinct, like oranges and cloves baking on a roast. The scent is very powerful and it immediately opens the drinker to a taste experience that is very clearly the flavor of spiced oranges. Celestial Seasonings got it right with Tuscany Orange Spice.

At least when it is very hot.

Tuscany Orange Spice is ideal piping hot. It tastes like oranges and tea and it is absolutely delightful. With a teaspoon of sugar, this tea tastes precisely like taking a wedge of orange (like one gets at nicer Chinese restaurants) and drinking the standard tea through that. It is very fruity and has a strong taste of tea and sweetened all the flavors come together absolutely wonderfully.

I highly recommend the sugar and having the tea quite hot when drinking it. This is when the flavors of the Tuscany Orange Spice tea are at their peak. Milk mutes the taste of the tea and pretty much eliminates the taste of oranges.

Tuscany Orange Spice is absolutely foul cold, though. Hot or cold, the tea has a strong, bitter aftertaste that lingers on the tongue for up to fifteen minutes (in my experience). Fortunately, it takes about three minutes before the aftertaste appears . . . normally. When the tea is served cold or iced, it is all aftertaste, no sweet oranges. Cold, this tastes bland like any black tea and it is bitter.


That bitter taste and generic black tea quality makes perfect sense: the first ingredient in this tea is black tea (followed by hibiscus and natural cinnamon and orange flavors with other natural flavors - it's at this point in my investigation of teas that I'm beginning to get concerned about the vagueness of ingredients like "natural flavors;" that's not terrible specific!). Tuscany Orange Spice tea is 100% natural and it is gluten free.

Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Tuscany Orange Spice, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein. This is a decently caffeinated tea, rating a 40 on the Caffeine Meter. That means based on an 8 oz. cup of Tuscany Orange Spice, it has approximately forty milligrams of caffeine, putting it just below cola and about half the caffeine content of a cup of coffee. As far as anything else in the tea, there has to be something that makes this terrible aftertaste!


Tuscany Orange Spice 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 dark brown coloring when brewed at its full strength and it certainly will stain, but mugs that hold the tea rinse clean. Spills ought to be cleaned up quickly to prevent this tea from staining fabrics.


Tuscany Orange Spice tea is delicious so long as one gets right to it. Once it is cool, it is absolutely awful. Still, there is enough that is worthwhile in terms of flavor and caffeine to make this worth your time and tasting!

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Imperial White Peach
Wild Berry Zinger
Cinnamon Apple Spice


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

© 2011, 2008, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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