Product Review: Art of Tea’s 1896

“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? – how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”

– Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

I drink tea… a lot of tea. With Mr. Wonderful’s gift of a personal Keurig for my office I drink probably more tea than I should. Though this is one of the tastier teas I have ordered from Art of Tea, it is by no means my favorite (I will review that one later). Still, this review will remain open and honest in my opinion of this tea on its own…  not comparing it to any others.

1897 is fair trade certified. While this does nothing substantial in the flavor of the tea, it does tell you that the quality and standards of life of those that grow and harvest this tea are greater than those who earn below living wage for what they produce. This is neither the time or the place for standing on a soap box… so I will not digress further at this time into the definition of fair trade. There are wonderful explanations on the Art of Tea website and you are more than welcome to go view the videos and learn about what they are doing to ensure a higher quality product.

Please also note that my Keurig is not the recommended way to brew this tea. While it might be the easiest way for me to enjoy tea throughout the day… they recommend steeping 1 teaspoon for 3-5 minutes in 206 degree water. The fill line on my eco-cup is about 2 1/2 teaspoons and I get the best flavor from my 2nd and 3rd cup. And yes… I do brew the same leaves all day at I believe is 165 degrees, but I have no setting control for the temperature. 1897 is a loose tea. You can order empty teabags from Art of Tea or from Amazon or go to the grocery store and get them there if you do not have a strainer or a eco-cup/my-k-cup.

I love that 1897 is a black tea blend and it does hold up well as a black tea even though it does lack a bit of the strength and power one would generally expect from a black tea. That said, if it is steeped for a longer time, at a higher temperature and only brewed once… it would probably be stronger.

1897 has an incredible aroma and it is incredibly calming. It is a book reading on a rainy-day type of tea.

All this said, it is lacking a certain depth. It has the hint of a citrus note from the orange peel and the stomach settling properties of the hibiscus… but is almost malty, but not quite.

I would recommend this to those who are not into incredibly bold black teas, malty tastes and those that are new to blended black teas.


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