Friday, April 8, 2011

On The Cutting Edge Of Tea: Celestial Seasonings' Tropical Grapefruit Green Tea Underwhelms Some

The Good: Good ingredients, Excellent aroma
The Bad: Does not taste like grapefruit...or anything, Decaffeinated
The Basics: Sadly, for as much as I love Celestial Seasonings' teas, Tropical Grapefruit Green Tea makes the argument that there are better ways to support the fight against breast cancer.

Having returned, as I have, from Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colorado, I am proud to be able to review some of the newest flavors of tea as they hit the market. In this case, on my latest trip out West, no flavor intrigued me quite as much as Tropical Grapefruit Green Tea. For sure, there were others I put in my cart first, but when I arrived home and was organizing my twenty-eight boxes of tea, Tropical Grapefruit was in the first row of teas to be rotated into my new stock.

And after all of that hype and the special box, this is a poor tea; one that is not going to light the world (or one's tastebuds) on fire.


Tropical Grapefruit is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural green tea that is lightly caffeinated and trades on being flavored like grapefruit. Tropical Grapefruit 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 Tropical Grapefruit comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Tropical Grapefruit is marketed as a grapefruit flavored tea and it certainly smells like grapefruit so strongly that it is almost easy to overlook that it does not taste very much like grapefruit. Instead, one braces for a powerful, sour taste . . . and it never comes.

Ease Of Preparation

Tropical Grapefruit is a green tea, which means preparation is as easy as almost boiling a pot of water! Green teas, as the directions clearly state, require water that is not quite boiling. Boiling water cooks the tea leaves and ruins the flavor, so water used for green teas like this one must be kept below a full boil. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea, though reusing the tea bags yields little more than hot water. These tea bags cannot be reused and even credibly call the result "tea." Indeed, the second pots I've tried were incredibly weak, tasting only like the remnants of green tea. These bags are one-use only. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, though it is impossible to get a decent second pot out of the bags.

To prepare Tropical Grapefruit, simply heat up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take three minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with almost boiling water, the tea is ready at the three minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than four minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.


Tropical Grapefruit, on its own, does not taste like grapefruit. It is not sour, it is not citrus flavored, it is not even mildly shocking. Instead, it tastes like colored, scented water. It is indescribable how much it disappoints me to have to write that this flavor is anything but a flavor. Instead, based on the scent and the concept, I was prepared for flavor and I sit here typing utterly disappointed. Now, though, I am able to notice that the proper name for this tea is "Green Tea Tropical Grapefruit," at least that is the way it is laid out on the box.

Even as a green tea, this is a huge disappointment. Weaker than most green teas, there is something like a negative synergy effect going on; like somehow the grapefruit flavor weakened the green tea (already a dreadfully weak flavoring). It doesn't even have an aftertaste!

With sugar, Tropical Grapefruit becomes sweet without enhancing any sense of a fruit flavor. It is, however, remarkably easy to overwhelm the tea with sugar and I recommend no more than a teaspoon (not a heaping one) be added to dissipate the monotony of this tasteless tea. With sugar, it is sweet green tea, but it lacks more flavor than that and anyone looking for a fruity flavored drink will be disappointed by this on the taste front. Even anyone looking to taste something that is tea flavored will be disappointed by how little flavor this tea has.

Iced, Tropical Grapefruit is an equally unremarkable tea. Cold, it still smells like grapefruit, but tastes like colored water. Sadly, this has less flavoring than Crystal Lite!


It is somewhat surprising that this tea has no real flavor when the primary ingredients are: green tea, natural grapefruit and tropical flavors with other natural flavors and grapefruit peel. At least the grapefruit peel explains the rich scent! Tropical Grapefruit tea is all natural, gluten free, and contains only trace amounts of caffeine.

Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Tropical Grapefruit, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.


Tropical Grapefruit is a green tea, so it comes out much lighter than other teas. As a result, cleanup is rather simple. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This does not stain fabrics, unless left on them for excessive amounts of time. Anything that is not a bright color will easily hide a stain from this tea. Lighter colored fabrics might need a rinse, but this tea isn't even strong enough to use as a dying tea!

Tropical Grapefruit 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. One of the nice things about this tea - like most - is that so long as it is kept cool and dry, it can last for a long time and it is easy to clean up.


Tropical Grapefruit is a disappointing tea that leaves the drinker unsatisfied, especially one who just wants a grapefruit-flavored tea (it sounded neat to me!). It is hard to see why - with Celestial Seasonings rebooting - this one is on the shelves, other than to provide a way for Celestial Seasonings to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation (which purchasing this tea does). That, in fact, is the only reason I am not completely tanking this tea. Besides, you can always brew up a pot to make a room smell nicer.

Sadly, those two things might be all this tea is good for.

For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Antioxidant Plum
Moroccan Pomegranate Red
Tuscany Orange Spice


For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

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

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  1. That's so funny, because the Tropical Grapefruit Green tea was my favorite flavor. (It's no loner available as it was a limited time item). I guess we all have different tastes.

  2. :) I think there's a reason it's no longer available! ;) Thanks so much for reading!