My gut instinct here is that there's nothing particularly special about this tea. Which is why I've never picked it up, even though it's a Trader Joe's classic. Just check out the old school TJ's packaging.
So expect not a typical review here, but rather a recipe I played around with to suit my taste. I picked it up mainly to make mango iced tea, because all this mango mania plus my mango bubble tea addiction has triggered a craving for mango iced tea. I've never worked at a bubble tea shop before, but I'll doubt most places actually brew their mango teas with actual mango, so sometimes the end product actually tastes rather artificial.
Natural mango flavor doesn't really convince me that this will actually taste like mango.
For the record, I first made this according to package directions, more or less. It was okay, but the mango flavor was lacking as I suspected. The tea tasted more like tea with sugar rather than a mango-flavored tea. I made a mango-flavored simple syrup to sweeten the tea, and the results were fantastic.
So I came up with this pseudo-recipe to optimize the mango in mango tea. Pseudo-recipe because I did minimal measuring.
For the tea:
- Tea Bags
- Optional: mango chunks, orange slices
For the mango syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup frozen Mango chunks (more or less depending on your preference!)
To make the tea:
Boil water. Steep the tea bags in the boiling water per package directions, 3-5 minutes (longer if you like stronger tea). They recommend 2 cups of boiling water per 4 tea bags. You can do that, but I think it's a marketing tactic to make you run out of tea faster. I used about 1 tea bag per 1 cup of boiling water (though I actually used 5 bags of tea for 4 cups of water). Instead of adding two cups of cold water to the mixture, I reused the tea bags and brewed another 3-4 cups of tea and added that to the pitcher. Set aside.
Make the mango syrup:
In a saucepan, heat the sugar, water, and mango chunks. When the mixture boils, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely. Strain out the mangoes and save them for the tea or another use (smoothies, yogurt topping, etc).
Stir in as much or as little mango syrup to suit the sweetness of your liking. Finish with orange slices and the mango chunks from the simple syrup. Chill overnight in the fridge or serve immediately over ice.
The mango chunks add extra mango flavor, and the citrus adds a pleasant brightness to the tea. Altogether refreshing, simple to make, and cheaper/more customizable than the store-bought stuff. Now I just need some boba.
Trader Joe's Mango Black Tea: An arbitrary 6 out of 10, because I will repurchase to make this delicious mango iced tea. $1.99 for 20 tea bags. Try it and let me know how it goes!