Friday, June 24, 2011

Safari To Somewhere Bland, Celestial Seasonings Red Safari Spice Tea Is Surprisingly Mediocre.

The Good: Tastes fine, good with sugar, Nothing bad in it
The Bad: Naturally caffeine free, Somewhat bland
The Basics: A good, but in no way extraordinary, tea, Red Safari Spice is more tea-flavored than spicy in any way.

Every now and then with my food reviews, I find myself temporarily scared off from something I actually enjoy. For example, with my tea reviews, I have been a bit afraid of any tea with "red" in the title since I suffered through a box of Red Zinger (reviewed here!). So, despite having generally good experiences with red (rooibos) teas over the years, I found myself terrified of opening my box of Red Safari Spice because I had a weird tea premonition that it would be more like Red Zinger than red teas. Fortunately, I was wrong.

At the same time, Red Safari Spice is a strange blend from Celestial Seasonings in that it is mostly bland, something none of the red teas before this one have been characterized by me as. But Red Safari Spice lacks any real zing and while it has a decent vanilla and cinnamon aroma, the taste is . . . disappointingly watery.


Red Safari Spice is a tea from Celestial Seasonings. It is a 100% natural rooibos tea that has no caffeine because all of the all natural herbs in it are naturally devoid of caffeine. Red Safari 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 Red Safari Spice comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Red Safari Spice is a tea that is not claiming to be any flavor; the box has a picture of a truck and gazelles and rhinoceri on it. I have no idea if this tea tastes anything like rhinoceros or gazelles, though. It does, at its best, taste like tea.

Ease Of Preparation

Red Safari 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, though reusing the tea bags yields little more than hot water. These tea bags cannot be reused and even credibly call the result "tea." 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 Red Safari 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 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 does not change the results in any significant fashion. Letting the tea steep more than six minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.


Red Safari Spice has a strong scent of cinnamon and vanilla when the tea is piping hot. In fact, the scent is inviting and - for those of us who might have feared this tea before drinking any - quite disarming.

But then there is the tea itself. Unadulterated, Red Safari Spice tea is strangely tea-flavored. Yes, unlike the aroma, the tea tastes like a flat out, weak black tea. Indeed, if one filtered Earl Grey three times using the same bags, one imagines this tea's flavor would be the result. It would have lost all of the Earl Grey character and simply had a vague tea notion to it. In other terms, it is about twice as strong as a standard green tea, but with no more flavor. It might be concentrated, but it tastes, still, like tea. This is not bad, but it is not at all exciting.

With a teaspoon of sugar, Red Safari Spice develops a slight cinnamon aftertaste which is quite delightful. This enhances the flavor quite a bit and makes the consumer at least believe that Celestial Seasonings was right to end the tea's name with "spice." It does have a slightly spicy taste of cinnamon and nutmeg to it which the sugar (oddly enough) brings out.

Milk, however, overwhelms this tea and accents the watery flavor to it. Cold, it takes on some sense of body, but is still not overly delicious or indispensable.


It is surprising that Red Safari Spice does not taste either richer or possess a dry aftertaste as most red teas I have tried do, considering that the primary ingredients are: rooibos, hibiscus, and cinnamon. This tea actually has a decent mix of spices to try to add flavor to it and I was pleased to find that the very slight fruity aftertaste I tasted in some cups of Red Safari Spice was justified by the presence of blackberry leaves and bananas. Red Safari Spice tea is 100% natural and it is caffeine-free.

Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Red Safari Spice, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein. It is Gluten free for those for whom that matters.


Red Safari 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 is fairly dark and more brown than red, so it would likely stain, if one left it on fabric for a long time, but mug that holds the tea rinses 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 Red Safari Spice tea.


Red Safari Spice is good, but in no way superlative. It was far more bland than any other red or spiced tea that I have tried, but it is not bad. Ultimately, I let a cointoss determine the "not recommend" status of this exceptionally average tea.

For other red tea reviews of mine, please check out:
Saphara Tropical Rooibos
African Orange Mango Rooibos
Madagascar Vanilla Red


For other food or 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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