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Amazon Customer Review : This book not only gives a description of the different types of teas, it tells how they are processed from the same plant to make the different teas and the history of tea from China to India, to Japan, to Europe, to America. There is a whole section on terminology used for herbal teas, how to grow, cultivate, harvest, dry and store them.    

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Bigelow French Vanilla Tea Review

Yet another disappointment in the Vanilla Tea Category

Summary : Looking for a tea that has a french vanilla taste to it, sort of like French Vanilla Ice Cream? Well....you won't find it here.

Review : I love vanilla. And I especially love French Vanilla. Indeed, French Vanilla is my favorite ice cream - boring as it may be (more than a few people have said I have real boring tastes in ice cream). I have yet to find a French Vanilla ice cream that I didn't like. About the only thing that can displace my love for French Vanilla ice cream is a real good bowl of Bubble Gum Ice Cream, but that is a tale for another day.

With my love of vanilla, it should not be surprising that when I was sleep walking through the tea area at my local supermarket at 4am (yes, I have no life), that I immediatley had to grab the rather prominently placed French Vanilla Tea from Bigelow. Like one of Pavlov's Dogs, simply the label "French Vanilla" will bring me running, whipping out my cash and heading home in a speedy frenzy to try out my new vanilla discovery.

The label on the box says "A distinctive taste in Tea with a rich and robust vanilla flavor." And indeed, the tea, upon opening the well wrapped tea bag did indeed have a subdued vanilla smell to it. And after boiling the water and pouring it over the tea bag, I sat back and anxiously awaited my first cup of French Vanilla Tea - hoping it also wouldn't be my last.

But sadly, this was not to be the case. While the tea has a nice, subdued smell of vanilla straight out of the bag, a person will be very hard pressed to find this vanilla flavor in the brewed tea itself. Truthfully, there is some vanilla flavor in the tea - but it is hardly strong. More ominously, the taste of the vanilla itself was a bit, well, strange. The vanilla taste in this tea was definitely not like gobbling down vanilla ice cream, thats for sure. And maybe that is my problem with this tea - I was perhaps hoping for a nice, strong vanilla flavor (aka - similar to the strong vanilla flavor found in Ice Cream and Yogurt). And instead, all I got was this nice looking box that happened to have a tea inside that had a peculiar vanilla taste to it.

And so, dejected, I looked at the box again - wondering if I did something wrong when preparing this tea. Then I noticed, on the back of the box a hopeful sign - a little note that said "This tea is delicious as is, but sugar (or sweetener) and a little milk bring out the wonderful flavor."

Did someone say sugar? Sweetener? I couldn't believe my good luck - I like tea that can also satisfy my sweet tooth. So I rushed back to the kitchen, drank some water to clear out my taste buds, boiled some more water, poured it over the tea bag and anxiously awaited while my cat looked at me a bit strange. I then added sugar and a touch of milk. If there was someone in the country more hopeful at this moment of time then me I would be surprised, as I was hoping beyond hope that I would fall in love with this tea - and thus would be able to satisfy my vanilla addiction and my sweet tooth at the same time without the heavy calories of ice cream!

But alas, a divorce would be more fitting between this tea and me, breaking my aspirations that I would ever find a Vanilla flavored tea that I would ever like. After taking my first sip of this tea with some sweetener (NutraSweet 1g bag) and a touch of milk, I had the peculiar thought if anyone at Bigelow actually tasted this tea with sugar and milk added before adding in that hopeful little line on the tea box?

So, what did this French Vanilla tea taste like with sugar (NutraSweet) and some milk added? Can we say super sweet sugar water? And like, what happened to the vanilla? The taste of the vanilla all but disappeared behind the sweetness of the added sugar and the hint of milk. After taking a few sips of this tea I had enough - and down the drain the rest of it went - taking my hopes and desires with it.

In the end, I guess this tea and myself were not meant to get along. Either this tea is just plain bad (to my taste buds at least) or I used either too much sugar (I used a 1g bag of sugar - a standard sugar packet size) or not enough milk. Regardless, after having had my hopes broken twice in the span of 30 minutes, I realized it was time to say adios to this tea - to be buried in a box, perhaps to be giving away at some future date in history to some other hapless person who also loves vanilla but is too poor to go out and buy it.

Regardless, as a reader can probably guess by now, I really didn't much care for this tea - sadly.

However, I know other people must like this tea since it seems to sell well at my local supermarket. So, will you like this tea? That is the question of the day, isn't it? I suspect people who do NOT like sweet tastes, and who are NOT addicted to a strong vanilla flavor like myself - will probably enjoy this tea to one degree or another. Most likely, if you like coffee (I hate coffee, in the spirit of full disclosure), you will probably like this tea to some degree. Unfortunately, the people who this tea is probably aimed at (vanilla diehards like myself), are going to come away a bit disappointed with the lack of a strong vanilla taste in this tea.

Recommendation : People who do NOT like sweet tastes, and who are NOT addicted to a strong vanilla flavor like myself - will probably enjoy this tea to one degree or another. But if in search of a "vanilla" tasting tea, well, you're out of luck here.

Tea Information and Brewing Instructions

  • Tea Reviewed : French Vanilla Tea
  • Manufacturer : Bigelow
  • Available from : Bigelow Teas at Amazon.Com
  • Type of Tea : Flavored Tea
  • Leaf Type : Bagged Tea
  • Date of Review : December 18th, 2005
  • Tea Rating :
  • Brewing Instructions : Pour 1 cup (8 ounces is specified) of boiling water over the tea bag. Brew 2-4 minutes. Optional to add sugar and milk to this tea.

General Tea Books

The Japanese Way of Tea: From Its Origins in China to Sen Rikyu : Amazon Customer Review : This scholarly work first examines the discovery & establishment of tea & tea culture in China, in particular the profound influence of Lu Yu in developing a Chinese tea tradition.

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