Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Epitome Of Boring Tea In Wasteful Packaging: Bromley Naturally Decaffeinated Disappoints.

The Good: Good ingredients, Not the worst packaging for the environment.
The Bad: Bland, mild taste, Extraneous packaging, Decaffeinated
The Basics: Bland and a lot of it, the case pack of Bromley Naturally Decaffeinated is a study in waste and excess for something with a nondescript flavor.

Who likes bland tea? Not I! Not I! In fact, I downright loathe tea that tastes only and especially like tea. So when I stay at one of my favorite hotels in the world now, the Comfort Suites Lakeside in Houghton Lake, Michigan, I tend to bring my own tea. The reason for this is simple; the Comfort Suites has tea, but it is Bromley Naturally Decaffeinated.

In the history of tea, it is possible that there are teas more bland than Bromley Decaffeinated, but outside Lipton's regular tea, I am not sure I have ever encountered one. And in the massive bulk pack with five hundred tea bags, it is hard to see the appeal of this tea. As I consider stocking up in my bomb shelter, bland teas never cross my mind. After all, what is the point of surviving armageddon if one only has tea-flavored tea to drink? I'd walk right out into the firestorm if that were my only option!


Bromley Decaffeinated is a tea from Bromley Tea Company. It is a tea that is naturally decaffeinated and it is, to date, the only Bromley tea I have tasted, leaving me woefully unimpressed with the brand. Bromley Decaffeinated comes in Bromley's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a paper 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 Bromley Decaffeinated reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags.

This particular package of Bromley Decaffeinated is intended for institutional use and to its credit, each box comes with 100 tea bags that minimizes the cellophane waste, even if the paper waste in this product is extraordinary. The box of 100 tea bags is cased together with four more, making a case of 500 tea bags. With all of this tea, it is amazing that there is so little flavor!

Bromley Decaffeinated is marketed as a tea-flavored tea and it is adequate in that regard, but only in the most basic way. If one wants something that is flavored like tea leaves this will more or less fit the bill. I tend to like flavorful teas, not the bland ones that are simply what they claim to be.

Ease Of Preparation

Bromley Decaffeinated is a black tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Bromley Decaffeinated, as the directions clearly state, require water that is boiling. 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 can be reused and the resulting beverage is about 1/2 strength and has a more potent dry aftertaste than the original brewing. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot.

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


Bromley Decaffeinated is a tea that tastes like what it is. Unlike most flavors that either have a taste or scent that tries to be something else, Bromley Decaffeinated is a tea flavored tea. Bromley Decaffeinated is an adjective tea whose name does not exactly describe the taste sensation that it is, mostly because there is nothing extraordinary about the taste.

For those wondering, though, Bromley Decaffeinated is a tea that smells woody and tea-like. It smells like a Chinese restaurant at closing, when concentrated amounts of green tea are being dumped down a sink. It is not the strongest scent for a tea, which bodes poorly - but accurately - for the taste.

As for the taste, this has a rather dull and woody taste, like chewing on dried herbs or weeds. This has a diluted tea flavor that is stronger than most green teas, but weaker than many black teas. If English Teatime is 4/5 the strength of Earl Grey, Bromley Decaffeinated would be the next rung down at about two-fifths the flavor strength of Earl Grey, which is a step up from the average green tea (1/5 the potency of Earl Grey). I put this at right around the strength of Lipton's bland, regular tea. This is a tea that lacks the aroma and energy of other black teas, but at least has some substance and flavor to it. This is truly tea flavored tea and the only real taste note might well be that it has a very dry aftertaste. Fortunately, that aftertaste is as mild as the tea; it starts out without any real strength and ends there.

With a teaspoon of sugar, Bromley Decaffeinated maintains its dry taste as the primary taste and does not becomes sufficiently sweet to suggest it is anything other than tea. Strangely, my cups of Bromley Decaffeinated have ended up accenting the taste of water in the tea when the tea has sugar added to it, diluting the sense of the tea flavor some. The aftertaste, somewhat dry, was essentially as strong as it was before the addition of sugar to the tea.

Similarly, milk does little for the tea, save overwhelm the tea flavor. It dilutes it to the point that it tastes more like flavored milk than flavored tea. As the tea becomes cooler, it continues to taste drier, becoming more and more sour as well. This is not an ideal tea to have iced, unless one likes cool, dry and sour for their beverage choices.


It is utterly unsurprising that the dominant flavor in Bromley Decaffeinated is tea as the only ingredient is black tea. Bromley Decaffeinated tea is all natural, gluten free, and does not contain caffeine. This is not a tea that will pep the drinker up with its flavor.

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


Bromley Decaffeinated is a medium to fairly light black tea. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so simply do not let the tea cups or mugs linger on light colored materials that might stain!

Bromley Decaffeinated 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. However, like all Bigelow teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.


Bromley Decaffeinated is too bland to be worth the time of anyone looking to drink a black tea.

For other tea reviews, please check out:
Good Earth Organic Sweet & Spicy tea
Dilmah Ceylon Green tea
Celestial Seasonings Organic Mango Darjeeling tea
Lipton tea


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

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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