The assault was immediate.  Most of us have had that experience where suddenly a bruised onion or a forgotten potato announces its rotting presence with an exclamation point right up the nostrils.  The only choice is to chase it down by rifling through the pantry and the root cellar. No? Check the compost pail? Hmmmm, maybe I left the laundry too long in the washing machine?

I circled back to my cup, where just two minutes prior I had placed a “Wize Monkey Mango Party” sachet into 208 degree water.  No doubt the source of the foul odor. I removed the “tea bag” and tentatively tasted the brew. No easy feat given the complex funk emanating from the vessel and filling my kitchen.  The brew was an olfactory nightmare of rotting root vegetables and a vague mango spray.

I could not drink it.

Admittedly, I am an easy mark for adorable packaging, especially adorable packaging featuring monkeys. Add to that the alluring oxymoron “coffee leaf tea,”  the fact that it was on sale for half price, AND the certificate “Best New Product at World Tea Awards.” The purchase price was making its way out of my pocket on its own given that many layers of intrigue!  The overarching question, of course, is “Is the brew any good?” The “variety pack” made its way into my shopping basket.

Before trying the Mango Party flavor, I gave away the Jasmine and Ginger Lemon flavored sachets to Sandy and Michelle, the driving force behind TChing.  I hope they are still speaking to me.

The mango party experiment was two weeks ago.  Even knowing this post was due days ago, I could not force myself to endure “strawberry hibiscus,” or “minty marvel.”  I was left with the choice of “original” or “earl grey.” Earl Grey is my go-to tea when I am out in the world of bagged tea.  Given my experience with the mango flavor, I worried that the coffee leaf version of earl grey would forever ruin my reliable retail cuppa.  For this post, I opened the Original with trepidation.

The directions on the impossibly cute box call for leaving the bag in the cup and continuing to add hot water, mate style.  Almost immediately, the kitchen was filled with the sharp odor of rotting walnut husks. I removed the tea bag after two minutes: no way was I going to let a malodorous bag bob against my nose as I tried to sip.  Unfortunately, the brew tasted exactly as described. There was a palpable tannin hit, cleaving my tongue to the roof of my mouth for several minutes. Why would I willingly take another sip?

Although the “tea” will never be a taste I acquire, the business philosophy of the company (WizeMonkey.com) is admirable.  Creating jobs and opportunity in Nicaragua, each box can be carefully dismantled to reveal a company mural created by Nicaraguan artists.  The sachets are biodegradable.

As a novelty, the “tea” could enjoy a flurry of interest.  The only impediment to success is the taste.

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