Friday, November 2, 2007

Desert Sunrise from World Market

Scent in tin: lightly fruity, with a slight alfalfa smell
Brewed in: stoneware teapot, unbleached filter bag
Steeped: 4 min.@ just under boiling (less the second time)
Cup(s): Porcelain teacup, café mug

I was shopping at World Market last weekend, trying to decide what tea to try since I haven’t been able to order any recently. I needed something inexpensive (since I was strapped for cash), yet preferably loose leaf and…well…*good*. I saw these tins of tea branded with the World Market name, and decided to try one, since it’s been awhile since I’ve tried a store-brand anything. I was mostly just impressed that they had loose tea.

So after reading a few descriptions, I settled on this one. The tin says that it is a blend of California sunflowers (are those different than the Montana sunflowers we grow here?), cactus blossoms and rhubarb flavors mixed with China black and green teas. Unfortunately, no mention is made of which black/green teas are used, but one must assume they are probably not “top of the line” leaves for a blend like this. It is quite pleasing to look at though, and the leaves are decent sized, some of them very long and twisted.

I realize that I’m a glutton for punishment. The last time I tried two different “colors” of tea blended together it was not pretty at all (Tsar’s Blend from Dragonwater). But I’m also ever the optimist, so I thought I’d give this blend a try, at least. It was also one of only two teas there with a “high caffeine rating” on it, the other being Earl Grey (which I have too many varieties of anyways).

All that being said, this surprised me as being a fairly good tea. The scent is very nice, fruity like very sweet grapes married to an alfalfa note (which doesn’t really *sound* all that great, but it really is a nice combination when you sniff it). If that doesn’t work for you, imagine warm strawberry jello, right when you pour the hot water in and mix everything together. It’s really quite enticing to the nose.

The flavor is quite good when it’s very warm – the fruity rhubarb and sunflower tastes are at the forefront and the two teas complement each other very well (though it’s hard to distinguish one from the other. The flavoring tastes quite natural – the first cup “bubbled” a little, but the second looked just like a reddish brown soup. The texture is quite nice as well, it’s thick and smooth on the tongue, with only the slightest hint of astringency (probably from brewing the green tea a bit hotter than one normally would).

Obviously, it’s not a premium tea (despite what the well-designed tin would have you believe). As it cools, the taste and texture both seem to go flat, and the astringency increases. Ironic, since the tin claims that this tea is “excellent iced”. It’s too cold here now to be drinking iced tea, but should I still have some of this left next spring, I’ll be certain to test that claim. But all in all, it’s a good, solid tea for those who like flavored teas, and it does have better flavoring in it than many I’ve tried, which is a bonus. I do think it’s overpriced for what it is…$6.99 for a 4oz tin isn’t a premium price, but I think it’s a bit over-enthusiastic for this particular tea.

Not bad though – don’t be afraid to try it for yourself, if you’re so inclined.


  1. Most teas blended with flavorings use low quality leaves. The flavorings are used to mask the poor quality and is a common practice. If you like a blend of black and green tea try English Evening tea from Tea Laden. This blend has white monkey paw that is a high quality green tea from China.

  2. If you brew the tea at rumbling temperature (180 degrees) for 3 minutes, like a green tea, it cuts down on the astringency. And in doing so, IMO, it does make great iced tea. Also, from what I've heard, World Market no longer carries this tea, but if you want to get more, Upton sells it (a better version of it actually) under the name Midsummer Dream. Upton says that it is a blend of China black tea and green Sencha.

  3. What wonderful comments for this tea! I had rather become attached to it as a pleasant afternoon/evening respite -- and then Cost Plus discontinued it. I have spent many mornings camping in the high Nevada deserts (USA) and this tea caught that early morning desert essence which is why I enjoyed it so much. I am looking forward to trying ALL suggestions from both comments and will report back. Thanks!

  4. Hi again. I am following up on the Midsummer Dream (formerly Desert Sunrise with Cost Plus) and the English Evening teas. Both are delightful and the Midsummer Dream is actually better than the original Desert Sunrise (especially with honey). I would also like to strongly suggest a tea from Tea Laden: Buckingham Palace. It is a delightful tea served at the annual May Tea at Buckingham Palace. You won't be disappointed!
    As described: "Flavorful with medium body and delicate earl grey and jasmine notes. A very flavorful blend of Ceylon, Earl Grey, Assam, and Jasmine."


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