The Good: Caffeinated, Good ingredient
The Bad: Doesn't taste like much of anything, Dry aftertaste, Extraneous packaging
The Basics: A fairly representative sample of straight green tea, Green Tea by Bigelow won't light anyone's senses on fire, but they won't suffer from it, either.
It has been a rough weekend for me. I just learned this weekend that drinking tea can lead to kidney stones. No one at Celestial Seasonings ever told me that while I was buying their teas by the box and by the case. Go figure. So, I did a little more research and it turns out it is mostly black teas which are responsible for contributing to kidney stones. I have a lot of black teas left in my arsenal to drink and review. I am not a happy camper.
As it so happens, though, green teas are rumored to be all right as far as kidney health goes. Good deal, I say! As it turns out, I have a bit of green tea from Bigelow in the docket to review and I decided now would be a good time, despite my not being wild about all of the extra garbage that surrounds Bigelow tea bags.
Green Tea is a tea from Bigelow. It is a (surprise!) green tea that has caffeine and smells like a Chinese restaurant at closing time. Green Tea comes in Bigelow's standard individually-wrapped tea bags, means that each tea bag has a wax papery 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 Green Tea reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Green Tea comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Green Tea is marketed as a tea-flavored tea and it is adequate in that regard. If one wants something that is flavored like tea leaves - and understated ones at that - this will fit the bill. I tend to like flavorful teas, not the bland ones that are simply what they claim to be. In fact, I was pretty rough on Celestial Seasonings' "Authentic Green Tea" (reviewed here!). Today, I suppose I'm feeling a bit more charitable toward Bigelow because after a pot of their Green Tea, I feel fine and I am more indifferent than anything to this flavor.
Ease Of Preparation
Green Tea is a green tea, which means preparation is as easy as almost boiling a pot of water! Green teas, as the directions clearly state, require water that is not quite boiling. Boiling water cooks the tea leaves and ruins the flavor, so water used for green teas like this one must be kept below a full boil. 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 were incredibly weak, tasting only like the remnants of green tea. 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 Green Tea, simply heat up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take three to five minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with almost boiling water, the tea is ready at the five minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly 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.
Green Tea might well be one of the teas that is best to talk about in terms of coffee. If one makes a pot of coffee and reuses the grounds, one ends up with a remarkably diluted second pot of coffee that tastes only like the aftertaste of the original beans' flavor. Green tea is like that for tea, but that is how it starts out. If one were to take a standard black tea, brew a pot or even two with the leaves and then brew another pot, you would have a tea that is about as intense and dark and flavorful as green tea.
The only taste note of note is the aftertaste. Green teas are notorious for a dry aftertaste. Green Tea is no exception in this regard; the tea leaves the mouth feeling and tasting dry. It is not distinct or carrying any other flavor, it is simply the essence and taste of dry. It is a pretty worthless drink that leaves the consumer feeling thirsty after drinking it.
With sugar, Green Tea becomes sweet without enhancing any sense of its flavor. Sugar cuts the aftertaste, but does not make it anything other than blandly sweet and sugary. Milk, even, overwhelms the tea flavor of the Green Tea. It's sadly bland when a tea will be overwhelmed by the flavor of milk, rather than having any other flavor within the tea brought out by the addition of that.
Iced, Green Tea is an equally unremarkable tea. The green tea flavor dominates and when sugar is added to the tea cold, it only accents the green tea nature more. It is good, but cold, it still does not evoke any real flavor other than the memory of tea.
It is utterly unsurprising that the green tea flavor dominates Green Tea as the only ingredient is Green Tea. Green Tea tea is all natural, gluten free, and does contain caffeine. There is not a ton of caffeine (the box does not say how much there actually is in this, but it does not seem like it is sufficient to keep one awake, especially when driving at night. Indeed, I would suggest that the negligible amount of caffeine in this beverage is not going to keep anyone awake.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Green Tea, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Green Tea is a green tea, so it comes out much lighter than other teas. As a result, cleanup is rather simple. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. One supposes 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!
Green Tea 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.
It's difficult to write much about a tea that tastes like weak, unflavored tea, but this one is a decent baseline for what green tea ought to be. It is not terribly flavorful, interesting to write or read about or even drink, but it doesn't have any major strikes against it, either.
For other Bigelow tea reviews, please check out:
I Love Lemon
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© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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