InTheBag Tea has no bags, actually, aside from the one containing your tea.
Otherwise, it’s all loosey caboosey–just the way we like it, because this Etsy enterprise’s mission is to provide a loose leaf alternative to the herbals found in unsa-tea-sfying supermarket bags. (How many times have you picked up a box of sawdusty herbal just because it’s cheap and you need a decaf something? Exxxxactly.)
Let’s see what’s in their bag of tricks.Dry Jazzberry has a cool, lake-ish smell, as we have the blueberry meeting the earthy green tea and hey, they just might elope. So far, the jasmine flowers add nothing but decoration. Hey, it’s aesthetically pleasing! And as it turns out, the aesthetics aren’t just for show–once in the cup, you get that florality taking over as far as it can get. The blueberry and green dissipate like swan maidens at dawn. However, if you hide your crossbow and wait, the berry comes back low and sweet.
With a chartreuse-y liquor, this tea tastes like there’s zero green in here. The flavors are completely on the blue spectrum, as the berries have their natural coolness swishing around your mouth, which is only heightened by the intensity of the jasmine. It’s a flower tea–no buds about it. It’s a shame that adding the blueberry, which is a great accent in and of itself, makes it a bit gaudy. There’s no finesse about the way the jasmine hits you. You’re pummeled with it with every sip, so by the time you get to the dregs and that green flavor finally, finally comes in, you’ve lost interest. Not very jazzy.
Sweet tooths will be happy to know that adding a pinch of sugar (or whatever tastes like it) could alleviate the unfortunate aspects of this tea. Honey is a warm-palette flavor, which throws in only stranger notes to the flower power brigade–best to avoid it. No milk. Luckily you don’t get too much caffeine out of Jazzberry, so it can work as a standalone tea anytime before dinner.
Rooibus Chai immediately gives you fluffy, warm baking smells when you take a whiff of the dry blend. It even manages to trick you into believing that there’s vanilla in there! Nevermind drinking this one, stuff it into muffins and you’ll have a real party. In the cup, you’d think that the spices would kick into high gear, but the rooibus soon takes back the reins. People underestimate how overpowering rooibus can be, so you have to be careful when using it as base tea if you’re looking to showcase other flavors.
It tastes like an apple crumble.
Right down to the uber-dry finish at the end of the sip, Rooibus Chai is liquid pastry for your mouth-pleasure. Even its liquor is the color of a flaky crust. If you’re looking for a hearty, caffeine-free breakfast tea, this will do the job. (If you’re looking for a black chai substitute, keep looking, because as soon as you start drinking this tea, it’s all, “Chai? What chai? I’m just a delicious slice of all-American cooking.”)
Barely any sweetener, please, unless you want to drown yourself in sugar. However, milk would actually be sock-rocking here. A lightly flavored addition, like almond, would really drive home the breakfast buffet sense of this tea.
Let’s get crackin’ on Cracklin’ Rosie. The dry blend has a very good ratio of rooibus to fruitiness, neither bullying the other when you take a sniff. In the cup, hooboy does this mellow out to something nice. There’s no Snap, Crackle, or Pop in the aroma of this tea, but that’s not a bad thing! The notes meld together in a warm, happy mess. So far it seems that In The Bag Teas don’t go for refinement in their blends, so you just get honest flavors; undiluted sincere-tea.
Our redhead in the mug, Cracklin’ Rosie is exactly that. From sip to swallow, the three ingredients–rooibus, hibiscus, and rosehips–each boldly proclaim their in-tea-pendence. Chill out, guys! Next thing you know, they’ll want separate countries, and we have neither Ghandi nor Mother Teresa still alive to stop them. As it is, you have these loud voices jostling for your attention all through the cup. Rooibus goes, “I’m woodsy!” while hibiscus shrieks, “Hear my tang!” and somewhere between the two of them, the rosehips are muttering, “Savory, savory, savory…” But it’s all in good fun. Swear.
Since it’s caffeine-free, you’re good with this anytime. It’s not very sweet on its own, so do what you will with honey. Milk could be an option if you’re already partial to having it with a rooibus, otherwise you’re better off keeping it clear. Rosehips and hibiscus just don’t marinate well in dairy-type things.
Next up, we’ll see what IntheBag Tea’s other herbals have to say for themselves.