Review: Celestial Seasonings Fast Lane Tea

Celestial Seasonings 3 Comments »
Stephen’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"Although this high-octane caffeinated brew got me through many an all-nighter in college, this resurrected brew no longer holds any mystique for me."
Stephen’s Teaview: 4/10
Other Teaviews: Cindy gave it 6/10, James gave it 5/10, Troy gave it 6/10
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fast-lane-lg1.jpgMy box of Fast Lane Tea arrived today. I could barely contain my enthusiasm… this was a tea I remembered loving in the late 90s, which was discontinued by Celestial Seasonings and which I thought I’d never taste again. Miraculously, they brought it back after 7-8 years of petitions and letters from avid fanatics of the tea. Here it was. In my hands.

The tea smells like a spice-cake right out of the box; more specifically, like my grandmother’s zucchini bread. The taste is similar, though it has undertones and after-aromas of something akin to butterscotch. This is probably what drew me in to this tea to begin with. The mixtured tastes and aromas of zucchini bread and butterscotches immediately bring back fond memories of my grandmother.

After seven or eight years without Fast Lane Tea I was curious to see whether my tastes had changed any. And it seems they have. While I enjoyed this cuppa, and I tasted nothing in it that made me think they’ve changed the recipe at all since those halcyon days of the late 90s, it just didn’t strike the same “Wow!” factor it used to. Either my tastes have changed somewhat, or the absence of this tea on the shelves made me unconsciously prize it more than I otherwise may have done.

It still brings back fond memories, and I’ll certainly have no problem drinking this as a morning tea, but I probably won’t be purchasing it again. Maybe I’ve gotten a bit snobbish in my tastes here in the 21st century. I suppose back in the day the added caffeine was a big draw. Certainly it helped me through many an all-nighter. But these days I guess I’m just looking for more in a tea.

The love affair, it seems, is over. Like reuniting with a lover you lost long ago… someone for whom you’ve pined for years and years, who’s finally, miraculously, back in your arms. The first embrace brings back fond memories, but by the second or third kiss you’re left realizing its just not what it used to be.

So long, Fast Lane Tea – it was great while it lasted.

No, no… don’t cry.

It’s not you.

Its me.

Teaviews Member: Stephen Stephen Reviewer
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Review: Adagio Casablanca Twist Green Tea

Adagio, Green Tea, Mint Tea 3 Comments »
Stephen’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Hands down, the best mint green tea I've ever tasted. Adagio has set the standard with this magnificent blend."
Stephen’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Shane gave it 8/10, Cindy gave it 8/10, Nicole gave it 9/10
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casablanca-twist-adagio.jpgAfter my somewhat harrowing experience with Harney & Son’s Peppermint Herbal Tea (it smelled great and tasted awful), I was pretty enthused to try Adagio’s Casablanca Twist Green Tea. I bought it for two reasons. First, I really do enjoy a refreshing and soothing mint tea, particularly at night. Second, it was Adagio’s highest rated green tea (tied with Apricot at 4.6/5). I played it safe and got the $3 sampler tin.

To paraphrase a movie, “We’re going to need a bigger tin.”

This stuff is great! Smells wonderful out of the tin, but most importantly, tastes wonderful in your cup. The peppermint really shines through as the dominant flavor, but its not so overpowering as to be medicinal, as can sometimes be the case. The green tea flavor is muted but still there, and there’s just the slightest after-aroma of something earthy which I can’t quite place. Altogether its a magnificent blend, one of the best mint teas I’ve had, hands down.

Adagio says the blend is based on Moroccan Mint, but they used first flush Darjeeling tea instead of Gunpowder, for a “fresher, smoother” taste. It definitely worked for me. I’ll definitely be ordering larger bag of Casablanca Twist. The full pound bag is a bit pricey at $39.00 US, but heck, I’ve never been one to shy away from a magnificent tea just because of price.

I’ve got my priorities, after all.

Highly recommended.

Teaviews Member: Stephen Stephen Reviewer
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Review: Adagio Strawberry Tea

Adagio, Black Tea, Strawberry Tea No Comments »
Stephen’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"A drinkable blend, though not quite as tasty as it smells. The strawberry flavoring is a bit too artificial for my tastebuds..."
Stephen’s Teaview: 5/10
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strawberry-adagio.jpgLike almost all of Adagio’s teas, their Strawberry black tea smells absolutely wonderful straight from the tin. When my latest order from Adagio arrived today, with eight new flavors I’ve not tried before, I had a hard time deciding which one to try. The one I probably anticipated the least was strawberry. I’m generally not a huge fan of berry-flavored teas – they generally taste either too tart and bitter or too sweet and artificial. But as I was opening the tins and dipping my nose into each one for the traditional sniff-sniff, I really, really loved the aroma of the strawberry tea. So, that was the first one on the brewing block.

How was it? Well, not bad. Again, like most Adagio teas, it smelled differently from how it tasted. In this case not so much a different flavor, but a different amount of flavor. While the aroma of the leaves was absolutely chock-full of a sweet, strawberry scent, the berry taste is really just the tiniest hint in the background, though it becomes a bit more noticeable in what I call the after-aroma. (Like an aftertaste, only you don’t taste it, you smell it, after you’ve swallowed. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, swallow a mouthful of flavored tea – or flavored anything – and immediately after, keep your mouth closed and exhale through your nose. The aroma you detect during that exhalation is what I unscientifically call the after-aroma. Does it have a real name? I’m sure it must… anyone?)

Those who like berry-flavored teas will probably love this blend. It neither overly tart nor overly sweet, though it does taste a tad bit artificial. For me, its probably not something I’d order again, though before I make that decision I’ll probably try it as an iced tea. I think it might work a bit better in that arena. And although I don’t generally sweeten my teas, a hint of sugar would probably draw out the flavor of the strawberries even more.

So, although I’m putting this in my “Ambivalent” category, I think it would definitely be a crowd-pleaser among those who genuinely enjoy berry-flavored teas. I just don’t happen to be a member of that crowd.

Teaviews Member: Stephen Stephen Reviewer
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Tea for Two… Decades?

Weird Tea Facts 1 Comment »

25tea1.jpgThe Calcultta Telegraph ran a story today on Bhismadeb Sarkar, an 80-year-old bicycle repairman from Katwa, India, who gave up all food 22 years ago and has lived ever since on a diet of nothing more than 18-20 cups of tea a day.

But that’s not the best part.

You might assume he must be one of those ultra devout holy men, cleansing his body for the purification of humanity, or some such. But no. He did it to teach his wife a lesson. You see, good ol’ Bhimsadeb liked to have his lunch at 1pm sharp, every day. And one day, twenty two years ago he…. ah heck, let’s let Bhimsy tell the story:

“One Sunday, my wife served me lunch at 1.30 pm. She knew how particular I was about being served lunch punctually but still she was late. I became so angry that I threw away the plate of rice, fish and vegetables. I decided to stop eating totally.”

That was in 1985. Twenty-two years later, he still refuses to eat. He brews and drinks between eighteen and twenty cups of tea a day, and claims to be perfectly happy with this diet.

When asked to comment, his wife said she still felt very sorry for having served him that late lunch two decades ago.

Obviously, Bhimsy’s 22-year-long F-you to his wife was totally worth the effort. (Talk about devotion to a bit.)

But now that she’s learned her lesson about preparing slighty-tardy meals for her husband, will Bhimsy return to the world of solid nourishment?

Heck no.

He swears he’s perfectly content subsisting on nothing more than 20 cups of tea a day.

“Call me crazy if you like,” says Bhimsy.

(Thanks, Bhimsy. I would like to very much.)

Of course, the ironic footnote mustn’t be left out. Bhimsy’s eldest son, Manik, is a grocer. He’s tried countless times to convince his father to eat, but to no avail.

“What was wrong with mother serving him lunch late?” ponders Manik. “Such things can happen.”

Just you wait, naive young Manik. One day, it might happen to you.

Then you’ll know Bhimsy’s pain.

Teaviews Member: Stephen Stephen Reviewer
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