The Good: Easy to prepare
The Bad: Extraneous tea garbage, Smells more flavorful than it tastes, VERY weak, Caffeine free.
The Basics: One of the worst Stash Premium teas I have tried, Christmas Eve tea is exceptionally weak and does not have its own, distinctive, flavor.
For those who might not follow my regular reviews here, I have a strong love of seasonal foods. I love candy that comes out just for Easter, like Cadbury Eggs (reviewed here!) or Valentine’s candy. I also am thrilled by how many flavors of tea seem to come out just for Christmas, like Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride (reviewed here!). Seasonally-available teas are a little gimmicky, but I figure they can be a fun splurge and there is only one thing worse than finding one that is so good I wish it was available year round. It’s terrible when I track down a seasonally-available tea or food and discover it is utterly unworth the effort needed to get it in.
To be fair to Stash Christmas Eve tea, my wife and I found a box on clearance last week. This long after Christmas, we ought to have figured that the tea could not be that good if there were still boxes in the clearance area of Wegman’s (a local supermarket chain that tends to be more hoity-toity than others). I picked it up at my wife’s urging because I thought I could perform a valuable service. “Christmas Eve” is an adjective tea and the name does not indicate the flavors at all. I figured by reviewing it, I could help readers make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase the tea based upon their flavor preferences.
Having had several pots now, I can make the recommendation (don’t buy it!), but I am still stretching to describe the flavor. As near as I can tell, Stash spent a bit of time and money recreating a chamomile flavor without using any chamomile in the ingredients!
Christmas Eve is a tea from Stash. It is a tea that is naturally caffeine free, as it is an herbal tea. Christmas Eve comes in Stash'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 three bags and making a steeping pot of Christmas Eve reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Christmas Eve comes with 20 individually-wrapped tea bags.
Christmas Eve is marketed as a seasonal tea, but it is not even worth picking up as a once-a-year blend. It is so weak and ultimately flavorless as to be utterly disappointing.
Ease Of Preparation
Christmas Eve is an herbal tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Christmas Eve, as the directions clearly state, requires water that is boiling, though no matter how hot the water is, this blend will not get a strong flavor. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea, though reusing the tea bags yields a mug full which is about 1/8 strength. This is not an ideal tea bag for reusing as 1/8th strength of this flavor is barely above colored water!
To prepare Christmas Eve, 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 three to five minutes to steep and with boiling water, the tea was never ready with only a single teabag per mug. Instead, I ended up brewing up four pots of this tea with increasing numbers of teabags. I stopped when I was using five bags per 30 oz. pot and even then, the flavor was not very strong at all.
Christmas Eve, when brewed to actually smell or taste like anything, smells like ricewater. In fact, by the aroma, it seems like Stash has blended all sorts of herbs and spices to create . . . chamomile! Even the scent is not very strong, though.
Sadly, the taste backs the scent up entirely. While there is a subtle vanilla taste to the initial flavor, the tea quickly takes on all the characteristics and flavors of a simple chamomile tea. This is bland, weak and overwhelmed entirely by anything one puts in the tea!
As Christmas Eve cools, it gets no stronger or more flavorful.
That Stash’s Christmas Eve is so weak is a surprise given that the primary ingredients are cinnamon, orange peel and spearmint. For a tea with so many flavors, this is strangely reminiscent of one of the least flavorful teas! Christmas Eve tea is all natural, is caffeine free and is Kosher (a little ironic for a Christmas tea!).
Were it not for the sugar I add when I make Christmas Eve, this tea would be devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.
Stash's Christmas Eve is a fairly light herbal tea, even when brewed to have more strength than the directions recommend. As a result, cleanup is rather simple, even 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!
Christmas Eve 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. The box my wife and I bought last week expires in 2013! However, like all Stash teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.
Stash Christmas Eve is a weak tea that might only be seasonally-available, but it not worth even trying. Even fans of chamomile will be disappointed by this beverage!
For other Stash teas, please check out my reviews of:
Stash Chai White
Stash Chai Spice Black
Stash Peach Black tea
For other beverage reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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