Monday, November 30, 2020

Let's Get Cozy - Lidl Pumpkin Spice Tea Review

Pumpkin Tea - Lidl

I normally like to be detached and light hearted in food posts, and I know this has been a difficult time for everyone, but somedays I'm able to take it in stride, and other days it just sucker-punches me in the gut. This month was filled with a lot of sucker-punch-days. 

But in the end, my little food blog here is one of my happy places on the internet. So let's all take a breath, get cozy, and have a cup of tea to forget about all the hard stuff for a minute.

I'm certainly no stranger when it comes to pumpkin teas. Over the years I have had three different varieties: Celestial Seasonings, Trader Joe's, and HT, and while that is but a mere scratch on the pumpkin-themed-tea surface, I still feel like I have a pretty good base to judge this new contender.   

Lidl, if you're unfamiliar, is a German-based company, similar to Aldi, but they are ultimately rivals. Both stores offer the same "love it" guarantee, both offer an impressive array of low cost and imported goods, and both offer fun seasonal products for reasonable prices. There are a few minor differences, like Lidl having a larger bakery selection, with fresh baked on-premises goods, and a much wider selection of refrigerated and frozen food, but, when it comes down to basics like milk and butter, I still prefer Aldi. (The dairy goods I have bought at Lidl seems to expire much faster.)  My personal ranking goes Aldi>Lidl>Trader Joes, but in terms of consistent variety, it's more like Lidl>Trader Joe's>Aldi.

This tea was one of Lidl's seasonal selections, and even though I thought I was pumpkin'd out after all these years, I found myself tossing this into my cart anyway. I think what ultimately sold me was that this was a black tea. Trader Joe's and HT opted for red/Rooibos teas for their bases, which are well and good, but Celestial Seasonings and their black tea base was my number one favorite. Could this be a no-frills dupe? 

For no frills, the packaging is pretty nice. Of the four main panels, two are repeats, one allows the box to displayed sideways instead of up-right, with two different ways to open/dispense the tea, and then that last panel offered brewing and basic information. Here is where things took a turn for the interesting. Looking at the ingredients, this contains black tea (duh), cinnamon and...rooibos? So along with black tea, there's also red tea in here? After that the rest of the ingredients are rather standard, but impressively different from Celestial Seasonings. Guess it's not a dupe after all. 

I heated up a kettle and brewed myself a cup. (Side note: I hate that the teabags are individually wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. I hope to see that change in the future.) 

This is not the normal mug I drink from, but I thought it would be cool to use a clear cup for photo purposes, and it was! 

When brewed, the tea smells cinnamon-heavy, with a hint of clove, lemon, and ginger. It's a warm, comforting, aroma that is a bit spicier than I expected. (But that's not a bad thing.)

As is, steeped and unsweetened, it tastes more mild than it smelled. I can taste the cinnamon, for sure, but all the other flavors take a back seat to it and the black tea base. It's not bad at all, but much more-so a cinnamon tea than a pumpkin one. It I had to designate this flavor to a season, it would more-so be winter than fall. 

I tried drinking a few cups this way, plain, and I found myself never finishing the cup. I always started out strong, but losing interest and finding my mugs abandoned, cold, and with a few sips left. It's good, but not finish-the-cup good.   

So to change things up I added a splash of whole milk. The added creaminess was a welcome change of pace, and gave this more of a chai-vibe, which I really liked. I found myself finishing the cups more easily this way and it was my favorite way so far to drink it. 

When it comes to sweetness, I didn't feel like the tea needed much sweetener at all. I normally didn't add anything to my cups, but I could see a vanilla coffee creamer or cinnamon coffee creamer really amping things up in the chai latte department. 

So, in conclusion, this is definitely not a Celestial Seasonings dupe. The flavor profile here leans into wintery cinnamon territory, which is nice and all, but as a pumpkin tea, this just did not deliver. If you like cinnamon, and winter blends, you will probably love this, but fall lovers will be left wanting more. 

Fans of these would also like: Battle of the Pumpkin Teas - 3 Teas Enter, One Tea Leafs
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  1. it smelled amazing but the taste was lackluster. i didn't detect the lemon. i'll have to try celestial seasoning's pumpkin tea next

    1. Agreed, I had high hopes but this just didn't deliver.