My wife and I have been drinking various Celestial Seasonings® teas for a long time, and have always found them to be excellent, flavorful blends. There is also a sense that the company's philosophy -- natural ingredients, healthy teas, sustainability, etc. -- gives consumers confidence that consuming Celestial Seasonings® products will always be a satisfying and wholesome experience.
That's how we felt… until today.
A few days ago, I bought a new type of Celestial Seasonings® tea -- "Sweet Harvest Pumpkin" -- which I'd seen on display at the local Big Y supermarket. Knowing my wife has a liking for things pumpkin, I bought some. (I don't drink caffeinated tea anymore, so I wasn't going to try it.)
Today my wife told me about the odd taste left in her mouth after she'd had a cup of the tea -- she said her mouth felt "puckery" after drinking it, and there was an unpleasant aftertaste which lingered even after she brushed her teeth. This experience prompted her to look at the list of ingredients on the box of tea… and to her surprise and dismay, she saw that one of the ingredients was "stevia extract".
Stevia is a so-called "natural sweetener" derived from the Stevia plant. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about that plant:
"The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations."
I've tried a couple of drinks sweetened with Stevia… and I think they're vile. Worse than stuff sweetened with Saccharin or Aspartame, in my opinion... and they're pretty bad. That Celestial Seasonings® could think it was a good idea to put this wretched crap into their tea… well, it just boggles the mind. Not only that, they don't warn you that this junk is in the tea -- you have to read the fine print, and that's something I never expected to have to do with the products of this once-excellent company.
As someone who gave up adding sweetener of any kind to his tea many years ago, I find it extremely offensive that Celestial Seasonings® has taken it upon themselves to sweeten their teas for us, especially with something as loathsome as Stevia. Really… do we need this? I don't think so. -- PL