Following a minor mishap I had with a really nasty bagel last week, I was given a $5 gift card from Meijer (Midwest US superstore) for my trouble. First thought that came to my mind? FREE TEA!! Not even an army of horrible bagels could keep me between me and my freebies- I was back at Meijer the next day, on the hunt! Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything to knock me off my feet as I strolled into the tea aisle, but (not to be dramatic or anything) just as I was about to resign myself to a variety pack of Twinings and walk away, Tazo’s Organic Bramblewine blend caught my eye! Holy jumpin’ jellybeans!! A fruity green rooibos tea at the freakin’ GROCERY store!! I’ve always been a big fan of Teavana’s Rooibos Tropica- could this tea be a worthy supermarket swap? Will I somehow manage to outsmart Starbucks and get their same flavors for a (sorta) fraction of the cost? Let’s find out!
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. This is NOT a green tea blend. I didn’t even realize there was green tea in this (after making this tea like six times before writing this review) until I looked at the ingredient list JUST NOW. I certainly can’t taste it, I can hardly see it, I’m not sure what the point of it is, really. Did Starbucks super-awesome marketing team think people would be afraid of a strictly “green rooibos blend”? That’s quite a quizzler to me. Anyway! Let’s have a look at this ROOIBOS blend! Look at all those little tiny green nubbins! xD They’re so cute!! Though, you might be surprised to learn that the first ingredient of this tea is actually hibiscus!
The combination of the finely cut rooibos and the near-instantaneous steeping ability of the hibiscus makes this tea a very quick brew. Starbucks recommends you let the tea brew for approximately 3 minutes, which I found to be suitable, though it can easily stay in for five. In fact, rooibos is one of those teas that you can brew in a rush- stick a teabag in a filled thermos right as you’re heading out the door in the morning and the tea will still taste delicious by the time you get to work and pull the bag out. Blame the lack of tannins!
After initially comparing the ingredients of this and Rooibos Tropica (which technically is a red/green rooibos blend, but whatever), I thought the teas would taste quite similar- but I’ve found each has a distinct, unique flavor. This is primarily due to the prevalence of hibiscus in Bramblewine (which I LOVE!!), and the inclusion of licorice root, which replaces the rhubarb in Rooibos Tropica. For me, the jury’s still out on how much I actually like licorice root.. I can really, REALLY taste it in this tea- in fact, I’d go so far as to say I can probably taste the apple pieces, hibiscus, and licorice root more way more than the actual rooibos itself.
But.. we don’t always buy bagged teas (or any type of flavored tea, for that matter) strictly for the pure tea taste, do we? Bramblewine is a fantastic cup of late night tea- easy to steep, and without caffeine, it’s a great way to help you relax as the day winds down. Try adding a 2-3 pieces of rock sugar to your cup as well, tones down the tartness of the hibiscus and brings out the.. apple and licorice flavor, hah! 🙂 Even with sugar added, this tea goes down clean with no weirdly sweet residual aftertaste, and manages to accomplish a well rounded fruity flavor profile without tasting like a cheap popsicle. Score!
I’m pretty darn impressed by this tea! For those of you who are woefully addicted to Teavana’s Rooibos Tropica, or are looking for an easily-drinkable introduction to rooibos, at $3.49 per box and available in most supermarket stores, Tazo’s Bramblewine tea blend is tasty, light-hearted, and easily accessible. Give it a try!
Cost of Tea: $3.49
Ingredients: Organic Hibiscus, Organic Green Rooibos, Organic Apple, Organic Chamomile, Organic Lemon Verbena, Organic Green Tea, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Orange Peel, Natural Flavors, Organic Natural Flavors
Overall Grade: B+