Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tea For Coffee Drinkers, Or "Coffee" For Tea Drinkers: Roastaroma

The Good: Nice aroma, Generally good taste (especially with sugar), Caffeinated and energizing!
The Bad: Ultimately a little more generic than flavorful, Decaffeinated
The Basics: Celestial Seasonings makes a powerful tea - designed for those who like coffee - that is good and will wake up the drinker.

Two years ago when I went to the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder, Colorado, I had very limited funds. So, I tended to purchase the teas that were the safe bets, the ones I was familiar with, knew and enjoyed. Last year, I had more funds and I went wild. It's actually shocking how quickly I can go through thirty three boxes of tea (I'm down to the final four now). But when I went back this past summer, my first choice was Roastaroma.

Roastaroma was one of the few teas mentioned on the tour that intrigued me right away. It was designed as a tea that would appeal to coffee drinkers and I liked the idea of a full-bodied, richer tea. Having finished off that box of tea, my thoughts on Roastaroma can pretty much be summed up with one question:

What's the point?

Now, don't get me wrong; I liked the tea. But when I was in high school, I worked on a male pregnancy project and the question I was continually asked, "What's the point?" After all, there are women. Roastaroma begs a similar question: there already is coffee, so what's the point of a tea that mimics it?


Roastaroma is a 100% Natural Tea from Celestial Seasonings. This chickory-based tea is 100% natural and lacks caffeine simply because none of the ingredients in it have caffeine. In many ways, this is like a decaffeinated version of Morning Thunder (reviewed here!). This is a strong, heady tea, yet it still manages to wake the drinker up!

Roastaroma comes in Celestial Seasonings'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 Roastaroma comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags inside the standard wax paper bag that can be refolded to keep the tea fresh.

Ease Of Preparation

Roastaroma is like a standard black tea as far as the preparation goes. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea and could be reused and make a second cup of this tea with about as much flavor that the first cup yielded. The second cup, naturally, does not come out as strong as the first, but provided the first steeping was not more than the recommended upper recommended steeping time of six minutes, a second use can come out with about 3/4 strength. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well for both a first and second steeping.

To prepare Roastaroma tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags. Experience has taught me this tea brews best and to its most flavorful when the water is at a rolling boil, not just barely there. This is a tea that wants to be truly cooked by the water! This tea takes four to six minutes to steep and when the water is seriously boiling, it comes out strong at the four minute point without needing any additional time. After six minutes, though, the flavor does not concentrate any more so there is no benefit to letting it steep longer than that.


Here is a tea that is very easy to define the flavor of. It tastes very much like coffee. Albeit a weak, cinnamon-flavored coffee, but Roastaroma is very much a coffee flavor. Richer in flavor than Morning Thunder, the chicory adds a smoky taste that overcomes any insinuation of tea flavor and makes this taste very much like a true coffee drink.

In fact, those who like tea, but do not like coffee will likely not like Roastaroma. The tea is a true coffee flavor and it has a richness to it that is very thick and dominating. This is not a sipping tea. This is a construction-site Thermos tea. A hair-on-the-chest tea. It does not taste like tea. The most precise flavor I can define it as is this: Roastaroma has the precise taste and smell of a mug of decaffeinated coffee filled 3/4 full, diluted with water that last 1/4, and hit with a dash of cinnamon. That's Roastaroma and it's good as a coffee alternative.

That said, when the tea is hot, I add a teaspoon of sugar to it and it tastes a little more like a black tea. Roastaroma is the only flavor from Celestial Seasonings I've yet encountered where the flavor holds its own against creamers, sugar and milk. All of those things bow to the flavor of the coffee-esque drink!

Cold, the tea is just tea. It's not any more flavorful, does not possess an aftertaste, it's just strong, cold coffee-like tea when iced or cold.


This tea is a barely a tea! The primary ingredients are roasted barley, roasted chicory, and roasted carob. The important thing is, everything is roasted and the tea tastes very cooked as a result! Beyond that, the flavor comes from the cinnamon, allspice and Chinese star anise (though that's remarkably subtle in this tea). It is 100% natural, but does contain gluten for whom that matters.

In terms of nutrition, Roastaroma is not a recommended dietary supplement. In an 8 oz. mug, there are no calories, nor fat, nor sodium, nor carbs, nor protein. Rare as it is, though, Roastaroma actually has some nutritional benefit. A serving provides the drinker with 1% of the Daily Recommended potassium. If you need potassium, I guess this is the tea for you! Any other nutritional value would come from what you add to this. The tea has no caffeine, yet it manages to perk the drinker up.


Roastaroma tea is very 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 itself is a very dark tea and will stain most fabrics, so I tend to avoid drinking this one around anything that will easily stain. If one spills it on any white wigs that happen to be around, they are likely to be permanently stained.


Roastaroma is a good tea to substitute for coffee, even if it lacks the caffeine to truly do the job. I suppose those addicted to coffee's taste could use this ween themselves from the brew, but other than that, it stands on its own. It tastes fine, but there is nothing particularly flavorful about it to give a recommendation to those who do not like coffee.

For other Celestial Seasonings teas, please check out my reviews of:
Sleepytime Vanilla
Organic Mango Darjeeling
Marrakesh Express Vanilla Spice


For other food and 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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