Utopia Tea had a promotion a few weekends ago where every third order would receive extra tea, movie tickets, and a restaurant-style teapot. I guess I was in a promotion-y mood as I recall thinking, “OMG YEAH! FREE STUFF!”, before pulling out my credit card. I’m not hard to please – sometimes. Just goes to show that free shit (or a chance at free shit, sadly) might be enough to move you up on my purchase list. Free shit’s always better. Utopia was probably sixth in line. Turns out I won, so all’s well. Except for the chamomile. I don’t know about the chamomile.
I’m always looking for a great tasting tea that will knock me out. Vanilla Chamomile seemed promising. Ideally it would be both a late night sweet treat as well as a sleep aid. Unfortunately, it’s not – a sweet treat that is. It wants to be sweet but is foiled by bitter licorice flavors. Poo. It gave me something to do while watching Legion. Terrible movie. Mediocre zombies. Disappointing angels. Dennis Quaid was funny.
Dry: The tea is pretty to look at through the packaging. Nice looking chamomile blossoms, pieces of lemongrass, honeybush sprinkled throughout everything. When you open it up it’s like getting punched in the face by a cookie. A warm, sugary, vanilla cookie. I think hell yeah, this is gonna be awesome. I love cookies. At this point I’m too lazy to get off the couch though and someone just exploded and melted someone else’s back off. One of the few entertaining parts of the movie. Seriously though, who goes outside, unarmed during the apocalypse? It’s a bad idea. Plus, if you see your husband hanging upside down outside, covered in boils and puss filled bubbly flesh a) IT’S A TRAP!, and b) you don’t want him back anyway. So… I decided to continue huffing, I mean savoring the cookie aroma of the dried tea until the movie got boring again. Nothing wrong with appreciating the aroma of tea. A couple scenes later I open it up again. It was also a trap! Just like the blistered husband. This time the tea smelled like diabeetus. WHYYYYY! No longer delicious smelling, it’s what I imagine a perfume made of sugary poptarts on sugar steroids would smell like. Disappointed, I resealed the tea and tried again later. This time it was way more lemongrass and rather tart smelling. Next time it was way floral. Then it was old lady potpourri. Look at the zombies, now back at the tea. Look at the zombies. Now back at tea. Your tea is now potpourri! Wouldn’t want my man to smell like it though. Gross. The, “What’s it smell like now?!” game was entertaining enough to last until the end of the movie.
Brewing: Wabi Sabi Teapot, 1tsp/12oz ratio, 212*, 5min
Aroma: Flowery, a little sweet, a little tart.
Flavor: Overall it’s good – until the end. A good chamomile base. Warming vanilla, though not as much as I’d like. Then there’s some lemongrass that balances out the sweetness. I’m thinking it’s not a superstar but it’s not terrible. Then I swallow. Going down the back of the tongue, the licorice jumps out unexpectedly. Gah! It’s like no matter what flavor there was before, it’s now been replaced by the licorice. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of licorice. It just feels like it doesn’t belong here though. The licorice flavor wasn’t soothing and it seems at odds with the others. Medicinally it affects the endocrine system and helps with soothing ulcers and bowels. Here’s Mark to tell you all about how it heals mucous membranes. Is the blend primarily for aiding in digestion?
Either way, it was easier on the taste buds with a bit of almond milk. A lot of almond milk. Even then I still get sips where the licorice seems to be trying to take over. Just like the zombies. It just. Keeps. Coming. If I had an ulcer, it’d be in trouble.
Benefits: I can’t say I noticed any soothing going on – mentally or digestively.
What: Chamomile Vanilla Bean by Utopia Tea
Cost: $1.50/oz ($6.00 for 4oz)
Cost per Cup: tbd
Tea Score: 60 – Great looking tea. Flavors aren’t really jiving for me though. The licorice isn’t playing nicely with others. Seems like it could be better without the licorice.
Cupboard Score: 50 – It’s not something I’d buy again. Taste-wise, after the almond milk, it’s kinda on par with the Chamomile Nights from Stash, and I don’t have to put milk in that. I’ll probably drink most of it though and share some with a friend. At the moment I don’t really have better chamomiles. The search continues!