Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea

Candy Cane Green Tea by Trader Joe’s
Green Tea / Flavoured
$1.99USD for 39g (20 tea bags)

First Impressions

I’m forever fascinated by Trader Joe’s – I think it’s mostly because the stores and their products aren’t available in Canada and that is part of their charm! So I’m sharing my thoughts on the Candy Cane Green Tea, which is a decaffeinated seasonal offering. Like the Harvest Blend Herbal Tea, it’s happily illustrated (with a bonus narwhal on inside flap of box). The tea comes in a cardstock box that is sealed under cellophane. Inside the box, the tea bags are inside of a waxed paper pouch that is resealable.

Candy Cane Green Tea is a delightfully minty smelling blend and the ingredients in this seasonally appropriate green tea blend are: peppermint, decaffeinated green tea, orange peel, natural flavours, cinnamon, milk thistle seed, blackberry leaves, roasted carob pods, vanilla beans and roasted chicory. There is hidden soy in this green tea blend though – there’s soy bean oil used to roast the chicory root.

Preparation

Trader Joe’s recommends heating water to “just below boiling” and allowing it to cool before steeping the tea for 3 minutes. I opted to use my variable temperature kettle and heat water to 175°F (79°C) and steeped the tea for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Candy Cane Green Tea steeps to a golden brown colour. There’s a strong minty aroma from the steeped tea, which is what I was expecting considering what the dry leaf smelled like. The flavour is a mixture of minty and sweet. The peppermint aroma is strong and I like it. It does make me think of candy canes, which is such a quintessential holiday flavour. There’s a hint of vanilla in the background, which make it all the more well-rounded in terms of flavour. I don’t really taste the green tea base, but that’s perfectly fine considering I’m drinking it more for the minty goodness than anything else.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Candy Cane Green Tea but found that the peppermint wasn’t nearly as strong as the initial steep. I would say that Candy Cane Green Tea is good for just the one steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea. I love a good seasonal tea, and the peppermint in this green tea blend really ticked all the boxes for me. Luckily, unlike my favourite mint-laced black teas, Candy Cane Green Tea is decaffeinated, which means I’m able to drink it at all times of the day and be less concerned about the caffeine hindering me from sleeping (a nice option for shift workers). Bonus, it’s an inexpensive holiday tea option that’s going to work with me that’ll be good for both twelve-hour day and night shifts alike – and it’s very tasty!

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Trader Joe’s Earl Grey

Earl Grey by Trader Joe’s
Black Tea / Flavoured
$1.99USD for 40g (20 sachets)

First Impressions

Just wanted to start off with the fact that I’m really sad that this is my last tea that I’m review from my cross-border tea shopping haul that happened back in September. I’m pretty sure this just means that I need to go shopping again (right?).

I picked Trader Joe’s Earl Grey because I love Earl Grey, and I like to judge tea companies based on the quality of their Earl Grey blends. Earl Grey came in a cardstock box, holding 20 tea sachets. Each tea sachet is individually wrapped in a foil packet – so bad for the environment! However, unlike the last Trader Joe’s tea that I reviewed, there weren’t any staples holding the tag to the string or the string to the bag – so there’s that, at least? The tea bag material is slightly stained yellow on multiple bags, so I suspect that it’s due to the bergamot oil.

The aroma of Earl Grey is primarily the bergamot, such a nice rich citrus flavour! The black tea base isn’t as strong compared to the bergamot, but I can smell it. It reminds me a lot of an Assam black tea with its rich malty notes. Earl Grey consists of: black tea and bergamot oil.

Preparation

Trader Joe’s recommends steeping Earl Grey in boiling water (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Earl Grey steeps to a deep reddish orange. The aroma of bergamot is strong in the steeped tea. On first taste, all I can taste is bitterness, the tea is very astringent. I did another initial resteep, this time at 3 minutes, and found that tea was more drinkable. I could taste the bergamot, and the malty notes from the black tea play well with the citrus flavours. At 3 minutes, I found no bitterness or astringency.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Earl Grey and found the flavour to be severely lacking. I would say that Earl Grey is good for just one steep.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Trader Joe’s Earl Grey was just okay. Part of my problem with this tea is the packaging that can’t be composted or recycled (those foil-lined packets!), and that the tea was pretty terrible when steeped for 5 minutes (which is part of the recommended steeping times). However, Earl Grey did redeem itself when I did an initial steep for 3 minutes. The flavours were well-balanced, and it made for a decent cup of Earl Grey. That said, there are a lot of Earl Grey options out there that have less packaging (or more recyclable/compostable packaging). The flavour is on point for an Earl Grey, but it just doesn’t excite me as much as other bergamot black tea blends do.

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Trader Joe’s Organic Pomegranate White Tea

Organic Pomegranate White Tea by Trader Joe’s
White Tea / Flavoured
$2.49USD for 30g (1oz), 20 sachets

First Impressions

Organic Pomegranate White Tea was one of my purchases from my cross-border tea haul trip back in September (I’m almost done reviewing those teas, I swear). Organic Pomegranate White Tea is one of my Trader Joe’s finds, and came in a cardstock box. Each tea bag comes individually wrapped in clear plastic and there’s two staples with each sachet – one on the bag itself and the other on the tag. Not impressed.

That said, the tea itself smells lovely. I can smell hibiscus, lemongrass, and pomegranate – all very nice fragrances. The ingredients in Organic Pomegranate White Tea are: white tea, hibiscus flowers, lemongrass, natural flavours, pomegranate extract, natural orange flavour, natural lemon flavour, and other natural flavours (all organic). Fun fact, Organic Pomegranate White Tea is sold in Trader Joe’s (American company) but is a product of Canada (where I live).

Preparation

Trader Joe’s recommends steeping Organic Pomegranate White Tea in boiling water (100°C/212°F) for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of Organic Pomegranate White Tea was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Organic Pomegranate White Tea steeps to a beautiful dark pink, many thanks to the hibiscus in the blend. The first thing I notice about this white tea blend is the tartness. I think we can thank the hibiscus for that. Other flavours that I can make out is sweetness, floral notes, and a fruity flavour that does remind me of pomegranate (perhaps suggested since it’s in the name?). I find myself searching for the white tea base, I can’t taste white tea because the other flavours are quite overwhelming and powerful in comparison.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Organic Pomegranate White Tea and found that the flavour was very poor compared to the initial steep. I would recommend steeping Organic Pomegranate White Tea just the one time.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Trader Joe’s Organic Pomegranate White Tea was just okay. The thing that really bothers me the most about Organic Pomegranate White Tea is the sheer amount of packaging. The cardstock box is okay, because that will go in recycling, but the individual clear plastic packaging around each tea bag is unnecessary – along with those staples! Staples aren’t biodegradable, so if you’re looking to pop the tea into your green waste bin when you’re done, there’s an extra step to remove the staples in order to be environmentally friendly. That said, the flavour of the tea is really nice and I think its great – it’d be fantastic as an iced tea because of the fruity tartness, but Organic Pomegranate White Tea does fail from an environmental standpoint.

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