I'm both a huge fan and major advocate of loose-leaf leaf, and I will jump on any opportunity to guide casual tea bag drinkers in the direction of high quality loose tea. It's no secret that part of my agenda behind creating RateTea is to draw in people who may have only ever tried the mainstream brands of tea available in the supermarket, and show them what the world of loose tea has to offer. But I still feel compelled to write about the mainstream brands from time to time, and now is one of those times.
The other day, I sampled Bigelow's Decaffeinated Constant Comment for the first time. This tea made me ask myself the question: Why? Bigelow's normal Constant Comment is, in my opinion, the best of their flavored teas, and I also think their Orange & Spice Herbal Tea is decent. These three teas are all quite similar, and as I wrote in my review of the decaf Constant Comment tea, I have a hard time understanding why someone would choose that tea over the caffeine-free herbal orange spice blend, which has a very similar overall profile but is bolder and more flavorful.
It's no secret that decaffeination processes extract flavor in addition to the caffeine. Decaf flavored teas tend to be better than decaf pure teas for the simple reason that the flavoring can be added or blended in after the decaffeination process has been carried out, thus leaving the additional flavoring intact. But...given how bland most decaf tea is, if you really want to avoid caffeine, why not just drink an herbal blend based on the flavoring or whatever herbs have been blended in, without any tea?
I guess, everyone has different tastes, and I'm sure there are those who really do like something about the flavor or aroma that decaf tea has to offer. But this is my own personal preference, and I'll continue to only sample these decaf teas out of curiosity, not because I really enjoy them. (Although I am still open to being proven wrong, something that has yet to happen.)