The Good: Caffeinated, Does not taste bad
The Bad: Does not taste like raspberries, Weak aroma, Extra tea garbage, Not all-natural
The Basics: Raspberry Royale is a real failure by Bigelow in that it tastes nothing like raspberry and leaves the consumer deeply disappointed.
As a fairly regular tea reviewer, I have been building a repertoire of tea reviews based on a simple premise: I rate teas high when they taste like what they claim to be and rate them low when they claim to be one flavor, but possess a completely different one. With teas that claim to taste like fruit, I rate a tea well when it tastes like the fruit, even if it does not taste especially like tea. So, for me, the litmus test will always be, "Does the tea taste like what it claims to?"
Raspberry Royale tea by Bigelow fails miserably because it does not taste like raspberries. If one wants a tea that tastes more like raspberries, even the sour aspect of them, go for Celestial Seasonings's Raspberry Zinger (reviewed here!). Raspberry Royale will just leave a consumer disappointed.
Raspberry Royale is a tea from Bigelow. It is a tea that is caffeinated and it is one of the weaker, more mediocre black teas Bigelow makes and markets. Raspberry Royale 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 Raspberry Royale reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Raspberry Royale comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Raspberry Royale is marketed as a raspberry-flavored tea and it is woefully inadequate in that regard. If one wants something that is flavored like tea leaves this will work, but for those looking for rich raspberry flavor that holds its own against the tea leaves, this is not it.
Ease Of Preparation
Raspberry Royale is a black tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Raspberry Royale, as the directions clearly state, require water that is boiling. 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 can be reused and the resulting beverage is about 1/2 strength and has no greater raspberry flavor than the original brewing. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping tea pot and that works well, even for a second pot.
To prepare Raspberry Royale, simply boil up some water, and pour it over the tea bags in a cup, mug or steeping pot. This tea is recommended to take one to two minutes to steep and after a couple cups and pots, I've found that with boiling water, the tea is ready at the two minute mark and letting it steep longer does not truly change the results. Letting the tea steep more than three minutes does not net any additional flavor, nor does it denature the flavor of the tea.
Raspberry Royale is a tea that tastes like tea. In fact, there is very little difference in the taste of Raspberry Royale and a second steeping of Bigelow's Earl Grey tea. The black tea flavor dominates and, sad to say, the aroma is not particularly enticing or reminiscent of raspberries any more than the taste is. As a result, the consumer is set up for a poor taste experience that is not like the raspberries one hopes it would have. The tea smells like English Teatime or one of the other Bigelow tea-flavored teas, which makes it extraordinarily difficult to overcome the black tea taste.
As for the taste, this has a rather bold and woody taste, like chewing on dried herbs or weeds. This has a strong, dark flavor that is forceful but unlike anything but tea. If Earl Grey is a flavor that is superconcentrated black tea that is almost like a coffee and like about five Lipton style tea bags in one, Raspberry Royale might be best described as three and a half or four times the strength of Lipton's bland, regular tea. This is a tea that if forceful, but lacks the aroma and energy of Earl Grey. This is truly tea flavored tea and the only real taste note might well be that it has a slightly dry aftertaste.
With a teaspoon of sugar, Raspberry Royale maintains its dry taste as the primary taste and does not becomes sufficiently sweet to suggest it is anything other than tea. Strangely, my cups of Bigelow Raspberry Royale have not tasted any more like raspberry by adding sugar, which is very much unlike the usual fruit tea.
Similarly, milk does little for the tea and while it does not overwhelm the tea flavor, it certainly dilutes it some. As the tea becomes cooler, it continues to taste drier, becoming more and more sour as well. This is not an ideal tea to have iced, unless one likes cool, dry and sour for their beverage choices.
It is utterly unsurprising that the dominant flavor in Raspberry Royale is tea as the ingredients are black tea, natural and artificial flavors. There is nothing resembling an actual raspberry in this tea. Raspberry Royale tea is all natural and contains caffeine, though how much is not described on the box.
Were it not for the sugar I add whenever I make pots of Raspberry Royale, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, caffeine, carbohydrates or protein.
Raspberry Royale is a dark black tea. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, save on fabrics. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. 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!
Raspberry Royale 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.
Raspberry Royale is a bland tea as far as flavor goes and one that lets down anyone hoping for a tea that lives up to its promise of simply possessing raspberry flavor. Bigelow strikes out with this one, even if it does not taste bad.
For other Bigelow tea reviews, please check out:
Earl Grey Decaf
Decaf English Teatime
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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