Generally, I stand by a strict life philosophy of giving every experience at least three chances.
The first time you try anything, you’re bound to have preconceived notions or interference due to opinions you’ve heard from others. On the second time around, you’re likely more open and able to figure things out a bit–work out the kinks. The third time, you are completely available to the experience. You’ve gotten rid of any ingrained biases and had enough time to formulate a real opinion of your own.
That being said, I had a general sense of foreboding surrounding this review. I despise bagged tea. There is not enough of an experience for me in simply unwrapping a tea bag and plunking it into my mug.
That’s just my first issue.
Once you’ve tried loose leaf tea, you begin to notice how obviously stale most bagged tea is. It tastes of cardboard and cotton and other nasty flavors which should never muddle the lovely leaves, herbs, and spices. It is convenience tea–a poor substitute, but a seemingly necessary one. Yet, I reminded myself that I should be open to the experience and not immediately jump to conclusions. Statistically speaking, someone eventually has to be able to get it right.
Enter Inca Tea, a company founded by Ryan Florio of Parma, OH and powered by the beauty and nutritional value of purple corn. While hiking the Andes, Florio was exposed by his guide to an invigorating and curative brew made from purple corn and apples. He was so transported by the way this beverage aided him on his journey, that he made capturing it and introducing it to the public-at-large his life’s work.
You can read more about Inca Tea’s accolades and business growth on the Inca Tea site, but today we’re here to talk about how it tastes.
Flavor: Peruvian Spiced Berry
Blended with: hibiscus petals, elderberries, currants, purple corn, apple pieces, pineapple pieces, cinnamon, cloves and natural flavors
Steep: at 200° for 4-6 minutes
Caffeine level: herbal
This tea gets its beautiful red-purple hue from the combination of the corn and the berries. Out of the two Inca Tea blends I tried, this one was the clear winner.
I was able to pick out all the flavors in the blend over the course of several tastings. While this is an herbal blend, it does have a very bold kick in terms of how it hits your palate–if you’re looking for something along the lines of a chamomile, keep looking.
Inca Tea’s box claims that each individual bag should produce two servings of tea–and Peruvian Spiced Berry delivers. While it’s still very clearly not loose leaf, I would be reservedly happy to continue drinking this warming blend. As an added bonus, the sweetness from the fruit comes through so this can be comfortably sipped without any added sugar.
Flavor: Pachamama Green Tea
Blended with: organic green tea, purple corn, organic coconut and organic ginger
Steep: at 180° for 3-4 minutes
Caffeine level: low
I won’t dance around the point here–I did not enjoy this tea, even after I gave it my all.
The experience wasn’t pleasing to any of my senses. Purple corn may have health benefits beyond compare, but it brews into one unattractive green tea. My cup was the color of slightly watery hunter green ink the first time I tried this, and the off-putting sludge shade in the photo above when I tried it again later in the day.
Where the ginger is in this blend remains an unsolved mystery, as every other flavor is buried under coconut. I love coconut, but the way it’s presented in this tea makes me feel like that percentage of the population which is genetically predisposed to taste soap when eating cilantro.
You certainly could get a second serving out of this tea bag–if you wanted to drink vaguely coconut-flavored water.
I was going to try just these two and leave it at that, but reading about Ryan’s journey and tasting that enchanting currant and apple concoction changed my mind. I have something different up my sleeve for next week, but stay tuned as I plan to try more of Inca Tea’s blends in a few weeks. I don’t want to leave you on a sour note, Inca Tea! Everyone gets three shots in my book.
Let me know if there’s a particular blend you’d like to see a review of, as always.