Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How the mighty have fallen...

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


Anonymous said...

write to them, Pete! Make a fuss! You might get free tea coupons....

Mark H said...

I warned my wife Sarah that the new "Pumpkin Spice" tea from Celestial Seasonings had Stevia in it after reading your post. She is not a fan of Stevia. She does not like the aftertaste. Low and behold she had a box of the "Sweet Pumpkin Spice" tea in her tea stash. She said she knew something tasted funny but, she never looked at the ingredients. It has not stopped her from drinking it though. I'm guessing her desire for a pumpkin flavored tea overrides her dislike of Stevia's funny aftertaste. If I recall correctly Celestial Seasonings had a "Pumpkin Spice" tea last fall that had no sweetness to it. I wonder what made them change it. Personally, I am not crazy about a lot of the Celestial Seasonings teas my wife buys. At any given time we have about a half dozen boxes in our pantry. I will occasionally have some of the "Sleepy Time" tea if I'm in the mood. Usually if I have a cup of tea it is good ol' Earl Gray. All the other kinds my wife has in the pantry are not my cup of tea. (sorry I could not help myself)