Saturday, October 24, 2015

Not Selling The Concept, Stash Black Forest Tea Underwhelms!

The Good: Easy to prepare, Does not taste bad, Caffeinated
The Bad: Extraneous tea garbage, Virtually no flavor
The Basics: An entirely unimpressive beverage experience, Stash Black Forest Tea fails to live up to the promised flavor.

Every now and then, I get a culinary question that has a remarkably simple answer. Up until tonight, I would occasionally find myself asking, "Just what the hell flavor is 'Black Forest?!'" After all, I've had Black Forest Cake and Black Forest Ham and there was no similarities I could find between the rich chocolate cake and the smoky, salted ham. Tonight, a box of Stash Tea cleared up the not-really-mystery for me. According to the box of Stash Tea, Black Forest is a blend of chocolate and cherry, which certainly fits with my preconceived notion of the flavor based on the cakes I've eaten for years. Unfortunately, Stash Tea's rendition of the flavor is not all it is supposed to be.

Today has been a gloomy, rainy day here in Northern Michigan and as I've sat reading, I've had pots of tea brewing and as I reached the end of my stock of Stash Black Forest tea, it occurred to me that it was time to review it. Alas, I discovered, I had remarkably little to say about it. Stash Black Forest Tea might as well be an unflavored black tea for all the additional flavor it possesses and embodies.


Black Forest is a tea from Stash. It is a tea that is naturally caffeinated, as it is an unadulterated black tea. Black Forest 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 Black Forest reminds me of why I like the easy environmentalism of Celestial Seasonings' stringless bags. A box of Black Forest comes with 18 individually-wrapped tea bags.

Ease Of Preparation

Black Forest is a black tea, which means preparation is as easy as boiling a pot of water! Black Forest, as the directions clearly state, requires 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 a mug full which is about 3/4 strength, so this is not the worst tea bag to reuse for tea misers.

To prepare Black Forest, 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 is ready at the three minute mark. It did not get any more flavorful with more time added to its steeping.


Black Forest Tea smells like a simple, plain black tea, with perhap a hint of cocoa to it. The chocolate element to the aroma is buried deep beneath the scent of black tea and is very subtle compared to the overt, overwhelming tea scent the steam from the cup carries.

For a tea advertised to taste like chocolate and cherry, the Stash Black Forest Tea falls woefully short. At best, there were hints of black cherry flavor in the tea's aftertaste, which is an underwhelming position for any flavor. Instead, the palate of the tea is dominated by plain, dull black tea flavoring and the result is utterly unimpressive. This tea tastes very much like someone placed a drop or two (no more!) of Marachino Cherry juice into a cup of hot, black tea.

Interestingly, the Black Forest Tea has no noticeable aftertaste - good or bad.


That Stash’s Black Forest is dominated by tea flavor is unsurprising given that black tea is the primary ingredient. Ironically, because cocoa shells and hibiscus are the next two ingredients, it is surprising that the cherry flavor comes through more than anything even remotely chocolate (chery flavor is the final ingredient in the list!). Black Forest tea is appears to be all-natural, caffeinated and Kosher. It is not marked as gluten-free.

This tea is devoid of any nutritional value. It contains no calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates or protein.


Stash's Black Forest is a fairly dark black tea, so it will stain light fabrics for sure. The mugs and steeping pot easily rinse out. This tea will stain if it is left on fabrics, so consult a fabric guide for cleaning any fabric this black tea gets on.

Black Forest 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. Like all Stash teas, there is extra waste from the strings, paper tabs and individual wrappings around each bag.


Stash Black Forest is a bland tea that is little more than tea-flavored water. It's not horrible, but it does not live up to the promise of Black Forest . . . even the ham flavor!

For other Stash teas, please check out my reviews of:
Christmas Eve Tea
Stash Peach Black tea
Stash Earl Grey


For other beverage reviews, please check out my Drink Review Index Page!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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