The Good: Nothing bad in it.
The Bad: SOUR, Caffeine free, Extraneous tea garbage.
The Basics: A rather vile sour tea, Tazo Wild Sweet Orange tea is easy to pass by, despite having good ingredients.
I have not, traditionally, enjoyed Tazo teas. To date, I have tried three and none wowed me (though I did not have enough of their Earl Grey to review), so I have not gone back for more. But I recall actually being disappointed by the Tazo Lotus (reviewed here!) and Tazo Passion (reviewed here!) such that I have not actively sought out more. So, when the Wild Sweet Orange tea from Tazo arrived on my doorstep, I was not as thrilled as I was to discover some other flavors. Still, I'm not one to look the gift tea fairy in the mouth! So, I brewed up some Wild Sweet Orange as a morning drink . . . and I felt I had been had yet again by this sour beverage!
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. While I might argue how successful they aren't with the way their products taste, I still find that corporate philosophy to be wonderfully reassuring.
Tazo Wild Sweet Orange is a decaffeinated 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.
Wild Sweet Orange is an herbal infusion tea designed to give the drinker the flavor of orange in a tea drink. And it does have a pretty authentic fruit tea taste, but, unfortunately, it is just not that good.
Ease Of Preparation
Wild Sweet Orange is a remarkably easy tea to prepare. Wild Sweet Orange 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. Wild Sweet Orange 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 still yielded a fairly light cup of tea, especially for an herbal tea.
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 less than half as strong as the first cup. The second steeping also resulted in a tea which was much drier in flavor than the original brewing and that made it impossible to effectively reuse.
The aroma of Wild Sweet Orange is stunning, the embodiment of fresh oranges warmed by the sun. The scent is delicious and invites the consumer to try a hot sip of sun-ripened oranges.
Unfortunately, the taste is anything but sweet. Wild comes through just fine as this sour beverage pierces the tongue with a powerful sour taste that loses even the flavor of oranges as it passes over the tongue. Instead, this is hot, sour and so unpleasant, it caused my face to pucker up something fierce. As I took my first sips of the generically citrus tea, I passed the mug to my partner who pushed it back saying, "If it's making you do that, there's no way I'm trying it!"
With a teaspoon of sugar, the drink does actually begin to taste like the oranges it smells like. But, unfortunately, even a discrete amount of sugar cannot save the consumer from the intense sour taste that follows. This tea is homogeneously sour, even with sugar and while sugar initially cuts that sour taste, the resurgence of it as it passes over the tongue makes it all the more cruel.
As the tea cools, the sourness turns bitter and the tea becomes undrinkable.
The ingredients to Wild Sweet Orange tea are rather simple, starting with lemongrass, blackberry leaves and citric acid. The orange flavor is surprisingly strong for a tea where orange peel is so far down on the ingredient list, but at least it is there! Despite the vague "natural flavours," there appears to be nothing sinister hiding in this tea and that is refreshing for tea drinkers like me.
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, which I recommend), no fat, sodium, or protein and no caffeine. One should not attempt to live on Tazo Wild Sweet Orange alone! Wild Sweet Orange is Kosher for those who keep Kosher.
Because of the various layers of packaging, Wild Sweet Orange 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 light tea for an herbal tea and I would recommend cleaning up any spills on lighter fabrics as soon after they happen as possible. This does look like it might stain doilies!
But overall, this is an unpleasantly sour tea and even sugar does not save it, making it quite easy to recommend consumers pass it by.
For other tea reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer
Good Earth Organic Sweet & Spicy tea
For other food and drink reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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