Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Generic Citrus Zinger Works Out Fine: "Tangerine Orange Zinger" Tea From Celestial Seasonings!

The Good: Tastes like orange and (I suppose) tangerine, With sugar, it tastes quite good, No aftertaste
The Bad: Caffeine Free, Weak aroma
The Basics: With its authentic tangerine and orange flavors, "Tangerine Orange Zinger" makes for an enjoyable drinking experience.

When touring the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder, Colorado, those who make it through the entire tour are given a free sample package of four tea bags at the end. Both times I have gone, the free tour tea was Tangerine Orange Zinger and I have to say; it's a decent marketing ploy. After going the first year and getting some free, last year when I went, Tangerine Orange Zinger was one of the flavors I felt compelled to purchase.

I tend to like my teas strong, but even though this is not a terribly forceful tea, there's quite a bit for fans of citrus flavors to like about it!


Tangerine Orange Zinger is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a natural herb tea that has no caffeine because all of the all natural herbs in it are naturally devoid of caffeine. Tangerine Orange Zinger 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 Tangerine Orange Zinger comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Tangerine Orange Zinger is marketed as an orange-flavored tea and it lives up to that. The flavor of tangerine, which I was not sure I would recognize, does come out, but the dominant flavor is a more general orange taste.

Ease Of Preparation

Tangerine Orange Zinger 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 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 has all the charm of dishwasher used to rinse an orange juice glass. 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 Tangerine Orange Zinger, simply boil some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take four to six 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 and letting it steep longer strangely does not change the results. Letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea. It is strange how flavorful and strangely weak this tea is. In fact, properly prepared, this tea tastes more like a hot fruit drink than a tea.

When visiting the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder, Colorado and taking the free tour there, I remember distinctly the tour guide warning us all that with the Zinger teas milk cannot be added. If you add milk to a Zinger tea, the tea curdles the milk, I'm fairly sure it was because of the citric acid in the tea. The problem is, I'm not positive that's the reason (I am sure of the warning and the result of adding milk to Zinger teas), but I seem to recall that citric acid was to blame. As a result of a good faith belief that the people who produce this product know what they are talking about, none of my sampling of Tangerine Orange Zinger involved adding milk to it.


Tangerine Orange Zinger impressed me with the first sip. While the aroma is faintly fruity, it does not adequately prepare the tea drinker for the orange flavor. In fact, the aroma is very subtle, even when the tea is absolutely steaming. What aroma there was was vaguely fruity, not even smelling much like tea. I was concerned that this meant it would taste weak, but with my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised.

Tangerine Orange Zinger tastes like warm, sweet citrus fruit and the flavor is deliciously orange flavored. Anyone who grew up playing soccer and sucking on oranges during halftime, oranges made hot in the sun on a July day will recognize the precise flavor of the tea. Actually, it is about half as strong as an actual orange, but the tea still tastes yummy!

With a teaspoon of sugar, this tea tastes sweet and the tangerine flavor comes to the forefront of the tea's presentation. While the hot orange flavor of the tea straight carried just a bit of sour orange in the last moments as the tea is swallowed, with sugar, Tangerine Orange Zinger is all sweet, without even a trace of the sour! It is a delightful tangerine taste and the sugar effectively cuts the sour right out.

Tangerine Orange Zinger is sour and unpleasant cold. Iced, without sugar, this tea is culinary cruelty incarnate. Indeed, one suspects that one's taste buds could call the authorities and report abuse with the tea when it is served cold! This is not a pleasant tea when cold; the hints of sour aftertaste dominate. Iced, with sugar (using a bit!) makes this a pointless drink; after all, why have iced orange tea drink instead of chilled orange juice? Icing this tea does not bring out the tea flavor in any fashion.


It's surprising that the dominant flavor of Tangerine Orange Zinger is orange, considering that the primary ingredients are: hibiscus, rosehips and blackberry. Actual oranges are represented by orange peel and are near the bottom of the ingredient list, yet the flavor works so it is very hard to complain! Tangerine Orange Zinger tea is all natural and it is caffeine-free.

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


Tangerine Orange Zinger 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 is fairly light, even at full strength, but it would probably stain, if one left it on fabric for a long time, but 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 Tangerine Orange Zinger tea.


I'm often criticizing teas for not tasting like the fruits they claim to be, but this one certainly lives up to tasting like oranges! In fact, it's the orange tea for people who don't like tea because it does not have any genuine strength to the flavor that makes it seem like it is a tea at all. Instead, it's a hot citrus drink that appeals to tea drinkers and it's hard to complain about. The fact that it does not have an aftertaste - unless served cool or cold - is a benefit that sets this orange-flavored tea apart from virtually all other citrus fruit teas I have partaken of so far.

If you like orange - and if you like sugar and like tangerines - this is a great taste choice for you!

For other Celestial Seasonings teas, please check out my reviews of:
Red Safari Zinger
Cranberry Apple Zinger
Sleepytime Vanilla


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

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

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