The past few nights I’ve been trying to make friends with Utopia Tea’s vanilla chamomile blend. It came in the mail last week, was the first I opened from my order, and I still can’t find a way to dig it. I’ve got a few options left but I need a night off. Raiding the recesses of my cupboard produced Stash’s Chamomile Nights – an old standby from back in the day when my doctors were full of fail and didn’t know what else to do about my insomnia. It wasn’t successful, but it was my first introduction to tea brands other than the ones in my grandmother’s cupboard. She enjoys a good Lipton, so Stash, Tazo and the like were an improvement over what I grew up with. I love my grandma but I could never love Lipton.
First, whyyyyy is it called Chamomile Nights? To me, “Anything” Nights implies partays or night time activities – other than sleeping. Talladega (why does Firefox want to correct this to gallbladder?) Nights wasn’t peaceful. Arabian Nights wasn’t peaceful. My World of Warcraft guild Tortuga Nights wasn’t peaceful. One of these days I’ll have to name something Gallbladder Nights. Sounds like a party. Good thinking, Firefox.
Dry: Chamomile is not the first to say hello. Instead it’s all tart and tangy floral scents. And… apple? If a granny smith apple magically turned into a flower, it would smell like this. Maybe a little spearmint in there somewhere. The good news is I think I see identifiable plant parts in the bag and not dust.
Brewing: mug, 1tsp/8oz ratio, 212*, 3min 30sec
Aroma: Softer floral notes. The chamomile comes through this time. Less spearmint.
Flavor: Soft, subtle, subdued… bland. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since I expected it to taste like wrath of the lotus blossoms. My taste buds are relieved but not impressed. I get more lotus, passion flower and spearmint than chamomile from this.
Benefits: Sort of relaxing. If you use it in tandem with something else relaxing then it works better (good book, hot bath, decent movie, etc). Not really a tea one can meditate on.
I’ll try this again later at five minutes steep time to see if it eliminates the blandness. It’s been a long time since I had this and I remember it being better towards three, but I forget why. My guess is the lotus and passion flowers have a hostile takeover at five. I’ll find out for sure though.
What: Chamomile Nights by Stash
Cost: $5.45/30 bags
Cost per Cup: $0.19
Tea Score: 58 – There’s nothing terrible about the tea other than it suffers from blanditis.
Cupboard Score: 75 – It has a spot in my cupboard only because I don’t have a better replacement for it. One of the better bagged chamomiles I’ve found. Also acceptable for travel.