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Not Exactly a Review

August 08, 2008

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Fusion BreakfastI can imagine, with an admitted twinge of horror, the founders of Stash Tea sitting around an ugly yellow formica kitchen table on an overcast Oregon afternoon in 1972, when one of them perks up and says, “Dude! We should totally name the new company after our dope, man! ‘Cuz it’s like tea is also a dried plant, and we could totally even roll it into joints and smoke it. It would make tea sound totally way cooler.”

In all fairness, the genesis of the naming of the company may have been nothing like this, but the corporate image of the company has always leaned towards counter-culture, the name a coded wink and nod to those in the know. I don’t believe that the official story, quoted below from the Stash Tea site disproves my more colorful, albeit fabricated, theory:

The company derives its name from an entertaining aspect of tea folklore. In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity traditionally transported by clipper ship. The ship’s captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use. This supply was his “stash,” stowed carefully as his “private reserve.” Today, the term still is used to denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.

Stash’s corporate image is all well and good and appeals to a certain vital core element of the tea market. The company has been around long enough to prove its stability. However, I can’t imagine anyone sober coming up with the idea of “Fusion Breakfast Green & Black Tea.” This very odd concept blend contains: “Indian Assam black tea, Indonesian black tea, Chinese green tea, Japanese green tea, African black tea and Japanese Matcha.” Take note of the lack of precision in the identification of these ingredients. Combining black and green teas is strange enough, but: “Premium green and black teas make this an enjoyable morning tea. With Matcha.” Now that’s just crazy.

So what does it taste like? It tastes mostly like nothing. It’s not bad; it’s incoherent. No particularly distinctive tastes are present. After making and drinking a cup of this tea I took the spent bag apart, observing, as expected, that it contained a jumble of tea dust so unlike the aromatic verdant whole leaves I am accustomed to that it almost looked like coffee grounds.

It is quite apparent that I am not in the target market for Stash’s products, so my opinion must be viewed with a grain of salt. I find it an interesting experiment every so often to simultaneously violate several of the rules and preferences I have about tea drinking, but I think I’ll stick to my green oolongs and Chinese black teas.

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