Thursday, September 10, 2009

Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Gardens Green Tea w/ White Tea

I have always loved Celestial Seasonings brand and I still like them, but I was quite surprised to find all the green teas are now with white tea for a smoother flavor when I was at the grocery store yesterday. I decided to grab a box of the Raspberry Gardens and Blueberry Breeze to compare them to the older versions, which I had some of on my tea shelf, even though I really did not need tea nor really even had room for it on my shelf. I also grabbed the last two boxes of the old version of Raspberry Gardens, as it is my favorite flavor and raspberry has some useful herbal uses for me, just in case the new version was not as good and it is here to stay.

Yesterday I tried the new version of Raspberry Gardens. I will admit it is definitely a smoother flavor and that is probably a good thing for those that do not tend to like green tea. Also, note that I have nothing against white tea, as I do have some varieties of that on my tea shelf. However, the new version of Raspberry Gardens did not seem as good as the original. The main thing that got me is that it did not turn red. Sure the flavor was still raspberry, but it just did not seem as strong of a flavor and part of the strong flavor missing was of course the green being balanced out by the white.

I thought maybe I was just imagining them being very different, so today I took out the old and the new and did a side by side comparison. It turns out the formula is totally different and not just the adding of white tea in the new version. The old version ingredients read "Green Tea, Hibiscus, Blackberry Leaves, Natural Raspberry Flavors with Other Natural Flavors (Contains Soy Lecithin), Roasted Chicory, and Raspberries." The new version though reads "Green Tea, White Tea, Natural Flavor with Other Natural Flavors, and Raspberries." Basically they added White Tea and took out Hibiscus, Blackberry Leaves, and Roasted Chicory. I have a feeling something in that is what gave the old version the red color, but it also made it a more full flavor enhancing the raspberry. The new version just tastes so bland in comparison. I am thinking that maybe it can be better if I steep it longer than I am used to, but knowing the old is better is a mental taste issue that makes it hard to even say I like the new version.

Overall the old version is better in my opinion. It has a fuller and stronger flavor. The new version at least does contain raspberry, but the missing ingredients seem to have been necessary to enhance the raspberry. As a green tea both are good and it is not that the new one tastes bad. It just is that the new one is not an improvement, which I think they are trying for with the addition of white tea. I am glad that I stocked up on the old version with the last two boxes of it at my store. However, I hope they soon realize that the old version was better and bring it back. Keep the new one, too, though because I think it is great for those that want to drink green tea for the health benefits, but do not like green tea, as the white tea does make it at least a little more palatable for them. The true green tea lovers like me, though, do not need the white tea added, especially if it means getting rid of the stuff that makes the flavor so loved.