Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tazo Awake May Be One Of The Better Of The Line, But It's Not Remarkable!

The Good: Caffeinated, Decent aroma,
The Bad: Tea bag garbage, Not at all flavorful
The Basics: Tazo “Awake” succeeds, but not in an interesting way.

I have a mixed relationship with Tazo Tea. Tazo has made several teas that have left me unimpressed. That said, my experiences with Awake tea by Tazo is surprisingly good. Awake is good . . . it’s just boring. Tazo Awake is more boring than anything else.

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 Awake is a caffeinated black 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.

Awake is a black tea designed to give the drinker the sense of getting energized. According to the tea bag, this is supposed to be bold, deep, and invigorating for helping the tea drinker to brighten right up. This is a tea for people who like coffee, but want to drink tea. And it works!

Ease Of Preparation

Awake 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! Awake 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, Awake 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 brown 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 brown 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.


Awake Tea smells just like what it is. This is a very black tea and it smells like a concentrated black tea that reminds me very much of a Chinese restaurant’s tea. That’s ironic, because most Chinese restaurants I know have green tea.

On the taste front, the Awake tea is exactly how it smells. This is a super-concentrated black tea. This is pretty much flavorless. It’s just tea flavored and it’s a strong black tea flavor. This tea has a very dry aftertaste.

Adulterated by sugar, Awake is no sweeter. All sugar seems to do is cut the dry aftertaste of the tea.


The ingredients to Awake black tea is really simple: A Blend Of Black Tea. There is nothing sinister . . . or flavorful . . . 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, but there is no caffeine. Awake (tea) will not keep one alive or healthy. Awake black tea is Kosher for those who keep Kosher.


Because of the various layers of packaging, Awake 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 brown tea and it will stain fabrics, so it is highly recommended if one actually gets this tea that they clean up any spills promptly.


Tazo Awake tea does what it promises, but it does not start the day off in an interesting or compelling way. Instead, Awake is strongly tea-flavored without any flair, save that the caffeine in it truly works.

For other Tazo tea reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Earl Grey
Wild Sweet Orange
Passion tea
Lotus tea


For other food and drink reviews, please visit my index page by Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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