Sunday, November 1, 2009

Adding citric acid to teas

This post has inspired a newer, more extensive post on my newer tea blog Teacology: Adding Citric Acid to Teas or Herbal Blends.

What am I going to write about tonight? I'm going to write about two of Tazo's herbal teas: Wild Sweet Orange and Passion. These teas are both beautifully aromatic...enticing, fruity. Both teas have the remarkable property that they brew a liquor very close to the color of their teabags.

And both of these teas fail! They are much too sour. Both of these teas have added citric acid? Why? They would be perfect without them...both teas already have hibiscus (Passion as the main ingredient) which imparts a fairly strong sour taste on its own. The acidity of these teas makes them feel unpleasant on my tongue, and harsh on my stomach. As far as I am concerned, they're undrinkable, and that's a pretty harsh judgment.

Fortunately (for anyone who is ever stuck with a box of them), there is an easy the teabag under running water very briefly--10 seconds is enough. Citric acid is highly water soluble, and will almost completely wash out...but a brief immersion in cold water leaves most of the aromatic chemicals in their place. The result? Two beautifully balanced herbal teas.

I still wonder though...why in the world did Tazo choose to add the citric acid? One thing is for's not the only company to do it. Celestial seasonings adds citric acid to some of its teas. Interestingly, the well-known and very sour red zinger shows no citric acid on its ingredients list; the sourness in that case is obtained mainly from Hibiscus.

One more criticism: Tazo's Website is based totally around flash player and doesn't even have an option for people who don't have flash (or choose not to use it). Bad bad bad web design practice!!! In particular, this means I can't link to a sub-page describing the teas I am discussing or listing their ingredients!

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