The Good: Nothing bad in it
The Bad: Decaffeinated, Taste is absolutely foul, Tea bag garbage, Sour and unpleasant
The Basics: Wow! "Passion" is anything but; this fruit-flavored tea is sour and repugnant and impossible to recommend and leaves me in dread of the rest of the box!
As many people who read my reviews regularly might know, I am a big fan of Celestial Seasonings teas. However, whenever I have been given a gift of tea, no matter what the brand, I have not refused it. The gift of a few boxes of Tazo tea recently prompted me to try something different, a one-cup review, which I did with the Lotus tea (reviewed here!). Given that I have a box of twenty teabags of Passion kicking around, I decided to try that experiment again! So, my first impression of my first cup of Passion Herbal Infusion tea is . . .
YUCK! Oh my! "Passion" might not have been the right name for this tea. "Murderous Rage" could be a better title . . . I assumed when I was given this tea that it either bore a resemblance in flavor to passionfruit or it might inspire passion. Wow, did Tazo get it wrong with this one! Passion is never going to happen so long as my face is puckered up from this foul beverage! Oh, dear!
In the interest of honesty, this review will be based on the first two cups because I am doing my usual trying to brew a second cup from the single bag and we'll see how that goes.
Tazo sells itself as "The Reincarnation Of Tea," a new age type tea company that is trying to appeal to those who drink tea for health, wellness and balance as opposed to just someone looking for a hot drink. Despite anything else that might follow in this review, I find that corporate philosophy to be wonderfully reassuring.
Tazo Passion is a caffeine free red tea from Tazo, a tea company in Portland, Oregon. The tea comes individually wrapped in the box of twenty bags, each tea bag with its own string and paper tab, much like the classic Lipton look. For a company selling itself on responsibility to mind and body, one might find this ironic; why they did not mimic Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags in tribute to the environment is something of a mystery. The twenty bag box is generally found in the same price range as Celestial Seasonings tea and the stark contrast in boxes makes for an easy visual distinction.
Passion is a red tea designed to give the drinker the sense of passion or being in the tropics or drinking hot fruit juice, I suppose. According to the tea bag, this is supposed to be invigorating and soothing. As my stomach tightens with each sip, I am going to have to disagree with the effect of this tea. There might be magic in this tea, but it's black magic and I don't like suffering the results!
Ease Of Preparation
Passion is a remarkably easy tea to prepare. Well, it's not as easy as a Celestial Seasonings tea; those you open a single wrapper and drop the tea bag into a teapot! Lotus requires one to open the box, remove the paper-wrapped tea bag, unwrap that, unwind the string from around the tea bag and then set it into the teapot. Yes, it's still easy, but it's fun to be dramatic about it from time to time.
In all seriousness, Passion tea is very easy to prepare. One need only place the tea bag in a mug or a steeping pot and pour near-boiling water over it. Let steep for three to five minutes and the tea is ready. For my first cup, I let it steep the full five minutes to get the full flavor from it. This yielded a fairly dark cup of tea and a swirl of my mug revealed that this is actually a very deep red color.
For those who are tea bag misers, a second cup made by reusing the same tea bag resulted in a mug of tea that was 1/2 strong as the first cup. The tea was as red as it would get after five minutes of steeping, but more than five minutes did not reconstitute it more. In other words, this is not an ideal tea to try to reuse the tea bags for.
I like adjective teas because they do not require me to hold them to a standard by which I compare them to the thing that they claim to taste like. I like unconformity and adjective teas - teas where the name does not tell one anything about the flavor - are the culinary embodiment of that. Unfortunately, it also leaves one without a strong, universal basis for comparison when it comes to reviewing the item. What does Passion herbal infusion tea taste like?
Well, it tastes horrible straight. Steaming hot and fully brewed, this tea is overwhelmingly sour. This is sour with an undertone of fruity. "Fruity," of course, is a bit vague. The undertaste - trapped below an anvil of sour flavor - is of cherry, passionfruit, strawberries and raspberries . . . if each of those fruits had been laying in the sun and gone rancid. Oh, this tea is just plain disgusting and for those who might not have read any of my other tea reviews, it is worth noting that I'm fairly sure I've never used that word to describe a tea before tonight! The fruit flavor is sublimated so deeply to the nasty sour taste that any sense of passion that might come from drinking this tea is just buried with the fruit flavor.
Adulterated by sugar, Passion is no sweeter. This is a fascinating thing; I added two, then three teaspoons of sugar and this tea managed to effectively resist it! Yes, the tea stood up to sugar and knocked it out! Instead of sweetening this foul brew, it merely cut the sour and dry aftertaste the tea possessed. I'm officially afraid now; tea this sour that gets no sweeter with sugar might well be evil. I did not have any milk on hand to test that.
As for the second cup experiment, without sugar in it, the tea tasted dour and dry. The aftertaste was more pronounced, though and that left me wanting something to drink that would moisten my mouth. When sugar was added to it, the sugar managed to knock the aftertaste out, but still did little for the principle sour taste this tea was saturated with.
The ingredients to Passion herbal infusion tea are as mysterious as the taste: Hibiscus flowers, natural tropical flavors and citric acid are the primary ingredients. Interestingly, there is no fruit in the ingredients list, making it somewhat terrifying that it mimics a fruit flavor. I want to believe, despite the taste, that there is nothing sinister hiding in this tea.
In terms of nutrition, this tea is devoid of it. One 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker. There are no calories (save what one adds from sugar), no fat, sodium, or protein and no caffeine. Passion (tea) will not keep one alive or healthy. Passion herbal infusion is Kosher for those who keep Kosher.
Because of the various layers of packaging, Passion appears to stay fresh for quite some time. So long as it is kept dry, this tea has a decent shelf life. As far as cleaning up, one need only rinse out the steeping pot or mug to prevent it from staining. The tea bags may be tossed easily enough. For those - like me - who compost their old tea bags, it is important to remove the staple and string with the little paper tab before composting this. That's an annoying extra step, especially after a year of Celestial Seasonings teas!
As for the tea itself, this is a surprisingly dark red tea and I suspect that it will stain fabrics, so it is highly recommended if one actually gets this tea that they clean up any spills promptly.
This tea is just plain bad. It is so bad that I am dreading the other nineteen tea bags in the box in my cupboard. I need to go brew up a pot of something delicious just to get this loathsome taste out of my mouth. I cannot imagine who this sour, tasteless tea might appeal to, but I know for sure that it is not me! Anyone who likes tea or their taste buds will do well to avoid this utterly undrinkable tea.
For other tea reviews, please be sure to check out my takes on:
Yogi Ginger Organic tea
Twinings Earl Grey
Stash Peach Black
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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