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Have you, like me, been disappointed by fruit and herbal teas? The ingredients list and the smell promise great things, but what you end up with is a cup of lightly flavoured hot water. Having been knocked back time after time, I'd pretty much given up on anything that comes in a teabag and isn't rooibos or green tea (no, I don't like normal tea either). Then I noticed chilli tea and thought, well, surely that must taste of something?

Name Made by Price Where bought Rating Comments
Chilli Chai Herbal Infusion Whittards £3.95 for 20 Whittards ****

The picture on the box suggests that you'll pretty much be getting a cup of chilli-flavoured water. The reality is a little more complex than that, but it's a fresh, simple taste with a nice tingly aftermath. This was the first chilli beverage I tried, and I would have been content to stick with it if the price tag had not encouraged me to branch out.


Sweet Chilli Higher Living £1.99 for 20 Holland & Barrett *****

Liquoricey, cinnamony and, er, cocoa-y, this was both the cheapest and my favourite of the bunch. I found it slightly addictive, to the point where I'd arrive at work already craving a hit. The flavour continues to get stronger even after the bag is removed.


Fairtrade & Organic Raspberry Chilli The London Tea Company £1.50 for 20 Sainsbury's *

This one took a while to get going and I didn't detect much chilli, but once it's brewed for a while the sweet/tart/tingly taste is quite pleasant. I'd prefer a mug of Ribena, though.


Sweet Chili Mexican Spice Yogi Tea £1.99 for 17 Whole Foods Market ** Nice, strong flavour, but there's much more liquorice than chilli going on here - a bit too much for my taste. I liked the snippets of yogic wisdom on the teabag tags.
Chilli Chai Teapigs £3.99 for 15 Whole Foods Market ***

The most expensive tea I tried, and loses points for calling teabags 'tea temples'. OTOH, you can actually see little seeds and pods and bits of dried, chopped THINGS in there, which is nifty. I didn't go a bundle on the flavour, though; too cardamomy, like eating a Lush bath bomb.




Further recommendations invited! Still not a fan of any other kind of flavoured-hot-water beverage, but you can try to convince me if you like.

Comments

like eating a Lush bath bomb.

*snrk*

I don't think I've come across chile pepper tea at all here, but if I do I'll be sure to give it a try. I'm not such a big fan of tea in general, since as you say, it has a tendency to taste like little more flavored water (unless you add copious amounts of milk, in which case it will at least taste like flavored milk), but chile tea might be interesting.

I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to peppers and pepper-infused products, too, though. In my experience, a lot of companies will loudly tout "hot" products when in reality, chile peppers have only been added in homeopathic doses, yielding almost or even literally no heat (or pepper flavor) at all.

But finding out whether that's true or not is really half the fun. :) (And enjoying those products where it's not is the other half!)
I thought of you and wondered if it was something you'd tried! I can't go super-hot on the chilli front because my sinuses cannae take it; I generally like things advertised as 'sweet chilli'.
Super-hot isn't for me, either — I consider myself a member of the "moderate brigade", as it were. :) Sauces that say things like "atomic" or "nuclear" generally aren't my thing, at least those that really deserve those names.

But I do like a certain amount of heat; enough to give that burning feeling, but not to the point where it overwhelms other flavors or keeps me from enjoying my food. After all, that's what it's about, right? :)
I like this quite a bit but you've got to let it brew for ages if you want it to be sufficiently chilli-y.

I haven't tried most of the others on your list - I'll have to give them a go!
I don't usually like mint tea, having tried it as an IBS remedy, but might give it a shot if there's chilli involved.
You are correct: fruit teas are in the general case a snare and a delusion.

I drink quite a lot of peppermint tea, which I guess is technically a herbal tea. That's reliably, strongly minty - I'd recommend it unless you don't like mint.

I used to drink green tea from teabags occasionally, but always found it disappointingly bitter. I sometimes buy green tea, looseleaf, from Postcard Teas now and make it (as per their instructions) with not-boiling water. It's easily four times the price of a box of teabags, but it's also well over four times as nice.

Anti-distinctly-minty

See above re mint tea! I haven't had much experience with green tea outside Wagamama, though I drink a fair bit of rooibos.
Ah, I see. I'm surprised at mint tea as a suggested remedy for IBS, since I'd have thought peppermint excites the digestive system rather than calms it down.

Most restaurants do seem to do decent green tea, I think they mostly use powder rather than leaves/teabags. Not sure about Wagamama specifically, though.
Fruit teas are vile and the only herbal I used to like was unsweetened peppermint. But Iceland had this moss and birch 'tea' concoction, which was so nice that the other day I was reduced to inhaling the lingering scent from the now-empty packet.
Iceland the country rather than the supermarket, I take it? Moss and birch sounds like something I'd try if only out of my love affair with all things Scandinavian.
Yes the country! I want more almost as much as I want more of their not-exported not-quite-yoghurt skyr stuff (apparently there's a mailing list you can get on for when Scandi Kitchen are going over and they bring a big box back).
Ooooh...they could bring me EVERY FLAVOUR OF LAKEROL EVER!
Have you been to Sugarsin in Covent Garden? http://sugarsin.co.uk/shop/product-category/scandinavia-treats/ They have MANY LAKEROL.
Wow, no! That looks like it could be a very dangerous place for me...
Oh, skyr! I love that stuff — I really wish they'd export that, too.

(Actually, they do, but not to these parts. Some supermarkets in the USA have it, I think, and I've been told you MIGHT be able to get it in Denmark in some places.)

How do your star ratings work? One star seems rather harsh for a "quite pleasant" product.

I don't like fruit tea much as a rule (though I do like normal tea) but I will sometimes knock back a mug of Twinings Raspberry, Strawberry & Logaberry. (Not just because of that last bit!)

I'm amazed at the restraint of everyone here in avoiding the tired old "proper tea is theft" joke. I've saved you all the trouble.
Heh, a 'proper tea is theft' gag did cross my mind!

I think I tried the RS&L tea once and thought of you.

One star reflects the fact that it was my least favourite and less interesting than Ribena. I love Ribena, don't get me wrong, but if that was what I'd wanted that's what I'd have bought.
Such a traditionalist!
I had a rather lovely Mint and Chilli tea once....fresh mint with a hot kick. Haven't seen it around recently though.
Maybe the one several_bees mentioned? I will keep an eye out!
Oooh yeah, that's the one. I love it.
Mmm, that does sound nice.
WELL, let me tell you, I was feeling a bit flush and bought a box of Teapigs mint and liquorice teabags, because I like both those things. It was the sweetest tea I have ever tasted! Like drinking mint tea with a dessertspoon of sugar in it! However, I gave the packet to my colleague and she loved them, so what do I know.
I have to add sugar to their chilli one! I thought about trying the one that allegedly tastes of popcorn, but it's a lot of cash to throw down on something that may turn out to ming.
I've never tried chili tea; sounds interesting.

I prefer green tea; also like some white (which can be pleasant and delicate) and rooibos. There's a black herbal tea I like -- Harney & Sons' Hot Cinnamon Spice. (It used to be named Hot Cinnamon Sunset.)

Lapsang souchong is interesting, though it smells like a forest fire.

Also, I'm trying mugi cha, Japanese barley tea, and like it. It definitely tastes barleylike.
I like the sound of cinnamon spice! Barley would remind me of a horrible thing my parents used to drink in their veggie wholegrain days, though: Barleycup.
Okay, let's work with cinnamon, then. ;-) Tazo has Sweet Cinnamon Spice, which I like as well as the Harney & Sons I mentioned. Celestial Seasonings has a Christmas tea called Gingerbread Spice, which is pleasant.

Back to rooibos, Safeway has an Amaretto Rooibos that I've tried and liked.
I'm not sure Safeway exists round here any more, but amaretto rooibos sounds worth travelling for! Gingerbread Spice sounds amazing, too; I'm a big fan of Starbucks' gingerbread latte.
Places I have not noticed you mentioning: Nothing But Tea (nbtea.co.uk/shop) and Mighty Leaf (mightyleafteas.co.uk) - they're where I've got all my interesting loose-leaf redbush from.
Ooh, no, never heard of! I doubt I will ever get involved with loose tea, though. Life's too short.
The way to do loose-leaf teas is with something like this one (not necessarily a recommendation for this brand, it's just the first I found online of the general pattern). Pop a teaspoon of leaves in it, dunk in the mug to taste as you would a bag, and you're all done, fast as a bag and with no bits. Some mugs and teapots come with an infuser like this included. Don't mess about with tea balls and other types of infusers, you're right, they are a waste of time.
Interesting - I will consider this option! Thank you.
I usually drink cinnamon tea (a loose-leaf black tea with bits of cinnamon through it, not just a bagful of twigs). It looks a bit peely-wally with milk in, but the taste's sufficiently far from water to be pleasant. I hadn't come across the idea of chili tea but will have to look out for it now.
I will certainly try cinnamon if I see it - I think Yogi Tea do that sort of thing too.
I managed to get some of the Sweet Chilli from Holland & Barrett today, and just tried a cup before going to bed. At cup quantity, its wateriness doesn't bother me and the chilli is nice, so thanks for the recommendation. I can see myself getting more.

Edit: removed a greengrocer's apostrophe - the horror!

Edited at 2013-04-14 12:41 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad this has actually been useful for someone!
Yogi Tea has a Classic Indian Spice tea I think you'd like - it's not quite Chai, but has black pepper in it - no chili - and when steeped right, doesn't have that "flavored water" effect.

You've seen pics of my wall o' tea, right? Yeah. I have issues with it. XD I'm also a heavy coffee drinker too - just introduced Walter to the joys of Jasmine Green with wildflower honey with our little Chinese tea set - Jasmine Green has to be brewed with water that's like, only in the 120F range - any hotter and it gets bitter.
Oh yeah, you're one of THOSE people! :D I love pepper so I like the idea of having it in tea.
I like black tea with milk, and rooibos with and without milk, so I may be coming from the wrong gustatory place entirely...

A friend of mine likes caffeine-and-tannin type of tea (i.e. actual tea, not "infusions" of other members of the vegetable kingdom entirely), but doesn't like it with milk, and finds it too bitter without. He's found that that black-tea-and-fruit and green-tea-and-fruit varieties work for him, and I've tried them too and find them quite pleasant. (Though on the whole I'd still typically rather have either plain black tea in I want caffeine, and rooibos if I don't.)

The fruity black tea is hard to get around here, and I forget the varieties m'friend has been able to source. Mainly on continental Europe, I think. Twinings do both green tea with fruit/berry varieties, and non-tea fruit/berry infusions that do at least seem to taste less close to mere perfumed water than most "herbal" varieties.
Ooh, green tea with fruit does sound nice; I kind of expect green tea to be a bit watery, so I wouldn't be so disappointed by subtle flavours.
One I'd happily recommend, save for the minor concern that it's likely to be difficult to find, if indeed it's still even being made, is Celestial Seasonings' "Fast Lane". It's not a fruit tea, but rather, a black tea with some delightful spicing, leaving it smelling somewhat like Christmas pudding. Oh, and it's additionally caffeinated, to something like double espresso standard. ^_^

Thoroughly delicious stuff, as well as a great alternative for mornings when coffee doesn't feel like the right way to get started.
I like the name and I like the sound of it :) Never tried that brand but I know their gorgeous box art.