I have some of Bigelow's Sweet Dreams herbal tea/tisane on tap for today. It contains chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint, rose petals, spearmint, spice and orange blossoms. It has a pleasant, mostly minty smell, with an underlying thickish floral scent. I brew it for 5 minutes with almost boiling water. The scent continues. The taste reminds me of why I don't care for most herb teas. It is sort of pleasant, sort of minty, but over all it is far too muddied a flavor for me to think of it as really good. It tastes like a hundred other herb teas I have had. If I am going to have a “sleep prep” herbal I would much prefer the one I got from Wild Thyme Whole Food and Tea http://www.wildthymetea.com/ in Ballston Spa, NY. It is blended by the tea master there she has done an excellent job with it. All of the teas I purchased there were organic and reasonably inexpensive, but of high quality.
Speaking of high quality, how do you maintain that at home? The 3 biggest enemies of tea are light, air and smell. Light and air will make your tea go staler, faster. Keep your tea in an air tight container that is either metal or porcelain or in the zip lock foil bags they come in. If all you have is glass, put them in a dark, cool cupboard. Please don't put them in plastic, the tea will absorb off odors and you'll have wasted your money. This is because tea really absorbs odors so well. That is how the manufacturers make Earl Grey, rose, jasmine and the other lovely scented teas. Some just absorb scent from the plants they are grown with. Almost all tea vendors will have some sort of canister that will keep tea well. The best are ones with a rubber gasket. They are, however, expensive. If you buy a large quantity of tea , break it up into smaller containers to keep the air out, since every time you open it, the air flows right in.
McCormack's, that old familiar spice company, is coming out with a line of teas. So far, they are in Central America and the Caribbean and in San Francisco. Maybe they will come East, as well. Something new to look for. The tea is flavored with cinnamon, with Jamaican Sorrel and with lemongrass. Could be interesting.