The Good: Bold flavor, With sugar the mango flavor comes out, Caffeinated
The Bad: Not as strong a mango flavor as it could have.
The Basics: A good, but not great, tea by Celestial Seasonings, Mango Darjeeling is overwhelmed by the Darjeeling flavor of the tea leaves.
For those who might not follow my many tea reviews, each and every year for the last few years, I have gone to Boulder, Colorado to pick up Celestial Seasonings teas direct from the factory there. They have an amazing gift shop and some of the flavors of tea I pick up actually take some time to hit the market. I was a bit surprised, then, to find a flavor I had never seen before in my local stores with a 2006 copyright (December 2009 expiration) date on it. The flavor was Mango Darjeeling Organic Tea.
I love Celestial Seasonings teas and I have only tried one type Darjeeling before. That was Golden Honey Darjeeling (reviewed here!) which was also by Celestial Seasonings. Come to think of it, I think I have only tried one of Celestial Seasonings Organic Tea blends, too, the uninspired Organic Green Tea. Fortunately, the Mango Darjeeling was quite a bit better than the Organic Green. Still, though, this was not the ideal mango-flavored tea on the market.
Mango Darjeeling is a tea by Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural black tea that has been certified organic by the USDA and Quality Assurance International, Inc. I have never heard of that organization before now, but one assumes if Celestial Seasonings is using their seal of approval, those in the know on organic issues might be suitably impressed.
Mango Darjeeling is obviously trading on being flavored like mangoes as well as the more ethereal Darjeeling flavoring, which is derived from that type of black tea leaves. The mango flavor is present and this is a good tea, with nothing bad in it. Organic Mango Darjeeling comes in Celestial Seasonings's standard box of twenty tea bags. These tea bags are not encumbered by strings and paper, so the tea bags come in pairs that are perforated between them. The box of twenty tea bags has ten pairs of stringless tea bags.
Ease Of Preparation
Organic Mango Darjeeling is a tea, so it is not terribly difficult to make. One needs only boiling water, a pot or cup and a little bit of patience. I tend to make my tea in a 32 oz. steeping pot and use two tea bags per steeping. Those making it in the standard tea cup or mug would be filling it with approximately eight ounces of water.
Preparation is simple: boil water and pour it over the tea bags in the cup or steeping pot. The directions indicate that with properly boiling water, this tea will be ready to drink after three minutes and the directions have five minutes as the upward limit. With a pretty roaring boil, I've found that the tea is ready at the three minute mark without any real problems. In fact, I've found the flavor does not concentrate more at or after the five minute mark. The nice thing about Mango Darjeeling is one of the teas that works best for tea bag misers. When I have removed the tea bags from the pot after three or four minutes, I have been able to make a second pot that is at least 3/4 strong as the original pot.
Celestial Seasonings - it seems to me - used to have more fun names for their teas. Perhaps this is some esoteric form of hallucination on my part (or the result of reviewing a number of Jelly Belly jelly beans lately) but the more accurate name for Mango Darjeeling might be Lots of Darjeeling with a Hint Of Mango Delight. That type of title might make my review of the taste seem a little less harsh (if it indeed comes across that way). Mango Darjeeling ought not to be highlighting the mango up front.
Mango Darjeeling smells beautifully of mangoes and instantly prepares the drinker for the taste of mangoes, which is nowhere near as forthcoming as the scent. Instead, this tea smells like mangoes and tastes powerfully of black tea. The tea flavor overwhelms the taste buds and true to form for Darjeeling, there is a very strong, dry aftertaste from this tea that is likely to leave the consumer wanting something to wash the tea down with.
That said, with sugar Mango Darjeeling erupts with a greater sense of mango fruit flavor than without. The sweetness of the sugar strangely accents not only the fruit flavor of the mangoes but also the tartness. It is like the sugar neutralized the flavor of the black tea leaves. The second pot tends to be harder to sweeten to get the mango flavoring to come out, so I recommend the second pots more or less exclusively for those who like the Darjeeling flavoring.
I did not add milk to any of my experiments (I'm not sure why, I just couldn't bring myself to do it). Cold or iced, though, the tea is almost exclusively the Darjeeling flavoring. This is not to say it is bad; it is a powerful flavor for tea, so anyone who likes that is bound to enjoy Mango Darjeeling.
Like all Celestial Seasonings teas, there is nothing bad in the ingredients to Organic Mango Darjeeling tea. That the mango flavoring does not come out as strong as the other flavorings is no surprise considering that the top three ingredients in this tea are: organic Darjeeling black tea, organic black tea, and organic orange peel. Mango flavoring falls even below chamomile in the ingredients! This supports the idea that Mango Darjeeling ought to be called Darjeeling Mango tea at the very least.
That said, there is nothing bad in Mango Darjeeling tea. Of course, in a serving there is not truly enough of anything to be of nutritious value either. A serving contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein. As well, this tea is Gluten free and Kosher. What it does have is caffeine! In an 8 oz. cup, there are approximately fifty milligrams of caffeine, which is a little more than cola and a little over half of what drip coffee has in it.
Like almost all Celestial Seasonings teas, Organic Mango Darjeeling has its tea bags in the wax paper bag that Celestial Seasonings teas are known for. So long as the tea remains wrapped in that paper bag inside the box, the tea remains fresh for quite some time (truth be told, I've no idea how to tell if tea has gone stale). After finishing making Mango Darjeeling, the tea bags can simply be tossed in the trash or the contents of the bags can be emptied into a compost pile for great organic material for the garden!
As for the tea, Mango Darjeeling is one of the darker teas from Celestial Seasonings and it will stain fabrics it comes into contact with, so they ought to be cleaned off with alacrity should the tea get on them. The tea cleans off other surfaces with a cloth and vessels that hold the liquid ought not to stain from it or leave any residual flavor in it that cannot be cleaned out.
Mango Darjeeling is a decent tea, but it is not a strong enough fruit flavor for the mango to deserve the top billing it receives. Anyone who likes a vaguely fruit flavored tea will enjoy it. Anyone who is sick of the straightforward Darjeeling tea is likely to enjoy the delightful dichotomy of the mango scent and Darjeeling flavor this tea has. It makes for a decent staple Darjeeling, if not one to keep in regular rotation.
For other Celestial Seasonings tea reviews, please check out:
Marrakesh Express Vanilla Spice
Honey Vanilla White Tea Chai
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© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.