Review of Mandarin Orange Spice® Herb Tea

AromaFlavorValueTotal
9 of 104 of 54 of 576 of 100
SuperbGoodGood Value

Celestial Seasonings has made a mint off selling assorted fruit flavors added to the same basic "Zinger" foundation (hibiscus, rose hips, hawthorn, blackberry leaves, orange peel). This tea has been around a couple of generations, probably preceding the Zingers, and doesn't bear that name, so maybe they're inspired by this, instead of the other way around. Somehow, I haven't had it until 2019.

This blend smells great in all phases, but has an odd taste trajectory. The dry-bag aroma is where the cinnamon comes out best, with a hint of the coriander or cloves (not both at once), depending on when I smell it. I don't get much of either of those three herbs from the flavor, nor the in-cup nor wet-bag aromas. Instead the taste is more of a straight orange hit, with only the faintest cinnamon in some sips; however, the orange is vivid and rich, like candy, lingering long on an aftertaste that also gets uncomfortably sour after a few seconds. If I drink it rapidly, I get less of that aftertaste, but the flavor starts to get duller, flatter and less potent. The sticky aftertaste is a tradeoff I'd take if I were more tolerant of sourness.

With orange hogging the flavor so much, it reminds me a lot of both "Tangerine Orange Zinger" and "Citrus Sunshine", which are themselves similar to each other. Were it not for some spice in the aroma, all three teas could be practically interchangeable. As with those, it's smooth, moderately robust, sweet and enjoyable to drink. I was just a little disappointed it didn't live up to the last word in the title. CS should crank up the "Spice" meter a few notches to balance the orange element better, thereby giving this tea a more distinct identity and realizing its fullest potential.

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Comments:

Trailesque wrote:
on December 30th, 2019

Mandarin Orange Spice! Your review brings me back in time. I remember buying some (when it was still sold loose) my first week of college at a health food store near campus. It is a much imitated tea, don't you think? Maybe CS was imitating something also. You didn't taste any clove? There used to be lots of clove in it - too much.

Trailesque wrote:
on December 30th, 2019

Good point by the way about CS taking their basic Zinger recipe and making a bunch of teas built on that foundation. I think Zinger was there from the beginning - Red Zinger. So was Mandarin Orange Spice and Sleepytime, with the picture of the cute little bear wearing a nightcap and sipping a cup of tea. I am pretty sure CS was the first manufacturer of widely available tisanes in the USA, but I could be wrong about that.

Tchuggin' Okie wrote:
on December 31st, 2019

Thanks! They claim to be the first U.S. herbal-tea producer, so you're probably on the mark. Yeah, somehow I didn't get the cloves in the taste...don't know if that's a difference between the modern bagged version and the more original loose version you had, or the batch, or my taste buds, or ???.

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