Review of Mango Maui Black Tea

8 of 104 of 54 of 575 of 100
ExcellentGoodGood Value

How appropriate it is that I opened this box, bought in Kailua and brought to Oklahoma, on the night after a the largest Big Island quake since the 1970s, while Kilauea's East Rift fissure belches steam, acrid fumes and fountains of lava through Leilani Estates. Would Mango Maui prove as smooth and relaxing as a seabreeze-brushed and moonlit evening on a beachfront lanai, or noxious as the gases spewing from the newly opened eruptive cracks?

The truth is closer to the experience of the lanai than to rancid fumaroles. Of the Hawaiian Islands Tea Company varieties I've tried so far, this is the most flavorful and satisfying, and the only one I would buy again in its present form. Dry-bag aroma is strongest of their offerings, still more potent than the flavor, but not by much. The tea itself brews up dark, quickly, probably a function of the fineness to which the tea is chopped, though the leaves are recognizable as such in the wet bag. Allowed to steep for over 5 minutes, it gets suitably strong, as I like. The fruit flavor, while still tinged with an unfortunate hint of artifice, most resembles the fruit itself, and I do like mango a great deal. The hot tea does offer a somewhat bitter, tinny aftertaste that goes away quickly. This should make a very good summertime iced tea to quaff on my cicada-serenaded Okie lanai (not exactly the palm-lined Kona coast under a full moon), and I will be making some.

The company's advertises Mango Maui as their most popular tea. That's probably by default, because it's noticeably better than average for a fruit-flavored bagged black tea of unknown origin, while the rest of their teas limp along about as lamely as I did after that 10-mile hike to and from the Pali, across the rugged Kalapana lava fields.

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