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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Cusa Instant Teas > Test Report by joe schaffer
Test Report by Joe Schaffer
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HOME: Bay Area, California USA
I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.
Product: Premium Instant Tea
Manufacturer: Cusa Tea
Weight: 0.04 oz (1.2 g) net
Lemon Black Tea
Mango Green Tea
•Hot or cold
•Single serving package
My Specs: (single package)
Weight: 1.93 g (0.07 oz) avg.
Length: 4 1/4 in (10.8 cm)
Width: 7/8 in (22 mm)
Thick: 1/8 in (3 mm)
MSRP: $9.99 US for 10-pack
Received: 15 packets September 11, 2017
3 Lemon Black Tea
3 Mango Green Tea
3 Oolong Tea
3 English Breakfast
3 Green Tea
This product is a single-serve portion of instant tea available in five different flavors. I don't find any information regarding caffeine. There are no additives to the tea. It comes packaged in 10 packets per flavor, or in a variety pack of two packets of each flavor.
What's not to like about a tiny packet of anything that tastes good? I can open the packet with just my fingers. Directions are short enough to read and call for mixing the product in 12-14 oz of hot or cold water. (Warm water is suggested to start ice tea, then add ice and cold water--which sounds terrifyingly non-instant.)
I tried the Oolong, a flavor with which I am not familiar. I started with 17 oz of tap water in a bottle and shook it vigorously, (not yet having read the directions). Evidently the product does not like being shaken as it developed and maintained a large head. I found the taste a little strong for me, with a bit of harsh aftertaste. I kept diluting the mix until the liter bottle was full and at that point I thought the taste was OK. I wouldn't say it's great, but I was thirsty and had no problem draining the bottle. I did not put ice in it. I don't like chilled drinks. I seem to dilute any type of drink mix, so beefing up the water is not at all unusual for me.
Next morning I tried a second packet of Oolong. In hot water it bubbles ever so slightly--kind of fun to watch while waiting for the toast--and doesn't require stirring. However I did notice that the very bottom of my 16 oz mug got stronger, so next time I will stir if I think of it. I was amused by the bubbles, wondering if my eyes were still asleep. They are so slight as to require an exact angle of light on the surface in order to see them. I couldn't feel them as I sipped the tea. The product is pretty strong for my taste, but I sucked up to the stature of being a good tester and drank it hot not very diluted.
At first taste I didn't care for the Oolong that much, but after drinking 1.5 L I'm looking forward to the third package of it.
My initial impression is that it has the taste of instant. For the record, I drink tea almost every night camping. But I recycle the bag from my partner's cup and put it in my hot chocolate. I think that suggests I'm not a monster fan, but I do like it. I generally don't drink straight tea as it often makes me ravenously hungry and even jittery. I think that's the caffeine.
I like that the product is organic and sourced from smaller farms. Of course that the package weight and size are minuscule earns a high mark.
1. Sep 14-21, 2017: Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, California. 17 mi (27 km) backpacking. 32-65 F (0-18 C). 8,000-10,100 ft (2,440-3,080 m).
2. Sep 26-28, 2017: Maidu Lake, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. 12 mi (19 km) backpacking. 70 F (21 C). 5,600-6,100 ft (1,700-1,860 m).
3. Oct 7-13, 2017: Emigrant Wilderness, California. 26 mi (42 k) backpacking. 32-70 F (0-21 C). 7,200-8,100 ft (2,200-2,500 m)
4. Oct 21-27, 2017: Emigrant/Yosemite Wilderness, California. 31 mi (50 k) backpacking. 40-85 F (4-29 C). 4,700-8,100 ft (1,400-2,500 m).
a) Oolong: I finished the third packet in two consecutive mugs of 20 oz of hot water around the evening's campfire. I've gotten to liking the tea more as I developed a taste for the strong, earthy flavor. It seemed I then had a hard time falling asleep, which I convinced myself was caffeine-induced. I tested the rest of the product during daytime and not in evening.
b) English Breakfast: I had one packet in a 20 oz mug of hot water on a chilly morning and found it had a little too much zip to my liking. I drank each of the other two in a liter of cold water.
c) Lemon Black: This tea tastes almost like sucking on a lemon, and I generally don't care for lemon. I tried it only in cold water, eventually reducing the dose to three liters of water per packet. At that level the lemon was faint and the tea an aftertaste that felt pleasant enough on hot hiking days.
d) Green: This tea is not as strong and I guzzled it mixed in a liter of cold water for each packet. The flavor is much more subtle than the other teas and I enjoyed thinking about how much healthier I would be from drinking green tea, which I usually don't have in inventory.
e) Orange: I found this to be the most refreshing for hot hiking, mixed in a liter of cold water for each packet. The picture at right shows this tea mixed in a clear, liter bottle. I don't usually care much for citrusy tea, especially hot. But I did like this one cold, the only way I tried it.
The most notable impression I formed for each of the teas is how strong they are. On the first packet of each I sampled a taste at about the higher end of the recommended dosage and found it overpowering. Of course simply adding more water easily resolves that. At levels of three to four times the recommended amount of water the product seemed just right for my taste. I find an "instant" aftertaste to the product that seems to linger the same in each flavor, and I make this remark only as an observation and not as a criticism. I like the teas and being able to mix them instantly. I often put a tea bag in my water bottle, but flavor develops slowly and inconsistently--gets stronger the longer it steeps and ever more so as the bottle is drained. With this product the flavor is there without the wait and doesn't change. There's also no wet bag to fish out or carry.
The product dissolves quickly in hot water; takes a little longer in cold. In the teas I tried cold there were particles that never dissolved, which did not trouble me. I wouldn't have noticed had I not seen them in the clear bottle.
While it may be a matter of brain conditioning where the taste of tea prompts an otherwise unprovoked physical response, I don't seem to get over the feeling that this tea has a lot of caffeine. I enjoyed drinking it, but always seemed to get hungry even when the product was substantially diluted. There are times when getting hungry doesn't matter, but I don't like the symptoms of low blood sugar when I'm hiking. (This is not at all unique to tea--any caffeinated product causes the same reaction.) Suggestible as I am, if the product is not caffeinated and the packaging made note of such, perhaps the bodily reaction would not be taste-triggered.
It defies my nature to sip daintily at a beverage. I would say the strength of this tea suggests it is more for sipping, certainly at the dosage recommended by the vendor. The way I mixed it in cold water--significantly diluted--I found the product a refreshing guzzle. I like to drink about three liters of water during the day and much as mountain water tastes good, I like a boost of flavor to some of it. This product worked well in that regard.
The packaging suits me, but I could offer one teensie observation. Cleanly pouring out the contents requires tearing the top of the package completely off, and thereby loose. As I don't use the entire contents of the package in one serving, I'm left with a small piece of package and nowhere to put it. Seems it often goes in my shirt pocket, and then winds up in the dryer. Maybe that flat spot on the top of the package is there for the purpose of making the package easier to tear open, which admittedly it seems otherwise not. (Can't use my teeth as that invites a pinch of powder that sets the mouth on a path to unhappiness.)
SUMMATION: This product packs small and light with a powerful punch; is indeed instant. Minimal packaging and no wet bag.
Thank you Cusa Tea and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. This report concludes my test.
Read more reviews of Cusa Teas gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer
Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Cusa Instant Teas > Test Report by joe schaffer
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