If It Seems Too Sweet To Be True …

“If need to be known for a medical reason, your physician may contact us in writing.” This is what I was told when I asked the company about their “natural flavors” …

Sweet and Spicy Tea and Herb Blend is the name. It comes in a box with a sketch of a man plowing a field with a horse. The trees are billowy, the colors faded – compelling evidence of its purity.  And lest there be doubt, the brand name references goodness and the planet. Oh and it says “natural” on the package…

The tea is an unsweetened black tea with herbs, so logically (I reasoned) the “sweet” was coming from the herbs. I let it steep and cool and then sipped. It was Coca-Cola sweet!!

What was in this herb mixture?!

Rose hips         Not Sweet
Cinnamon         Can be sweet if there is enough of it
Chamomile       Not Sweet
Lemongrass      Not Sweet
Peppermint       Not Sweet
Papaya             Sweet in papaya form, but water’s not sweetened by it
Jasmine tea      Not Sweet
Anise seed       Sweet but the amount here seemed too small to make it this sweet
Ginger root       Not Sweet
Orange peel     Not Sweet. Have you ever licked the outside of an orange?
Orange oil        Not Sweet

And then I saw it, Natural Flavors. I had glossed over it at first, but natural flavors was actually the VERY FIRST  ingredient listed after black tea (meaning the largest ingredient by volume of all the herbs).

I emailed Good Earth (the brand in my cup) and asked about their flavoring. This is what they said…

“The natural flavoring is a natural cinnamon flavor derived from the oil extractive, part or in whole, and from oil extracts of citrus which could include mandarin orange, orange, tangelo or tangerine.  The specific components are proprietary. If need to be known for a medical reason, your physician may contact us in writing with the specific request. There is no MSG or gluten in the blend or flavors used.”

The medical reason is that I want to know what’s going into my body. I emailed Good Earth back to ask specifically how it was that the tea was so sweet and whether it was the flavors that were adding to thew sweetness.

No response.

For some reason, “flavor” in herbal teas bothers me more than”flavor” in other foods (which I avoid). And “sweet” as flavor bothers me even more than than a specific “food” flavor. My mouth can imagine tasting say cinnamon flavor, as it could logically be coming from the cinnamon, but when the flavor is telling my mouth”sweet” and there’s nothing sweet there, there is too much of a disconnect between my “sensing” mouth and my “reasoning” brain.

Tea brands that use “natural flavors” (Not all flavors used by these brands are used to make the tea sweet, and not ALL use natural flavors in ALL their teas, but ALL of them use flavors in SOME of their teas. That make sense?)

Allegro
Bigelow (Also use artificial flavors)
Good Earth
Celestial Seasonings
Choice Organic Teas
Kusmi Tea
Mighty Leaf
Salada
Stash
Tazo
Teavana
The Republic of Teas
Tulsi Tea
Twinings
Two Leaves and a Bud
Yogi

Tea brands that don’t use “natural flavors” (They don’t use flavors in ANY of their teas. The taste is from actual herbs, fruits and oils.)

Numi
Teatulia
Traditional Medicinals

It’s lonely in the herb field – that’s because herbs, fruits and (non-tea) leaves, once dried, and infused in a cup of water are often quite bland. Unless it’s mint or ginger that have some oomph, most are subtle, and unless exceptionally fresh and high quality, most verge on tasteless. They also lose potency on store shelves, an inconvenient character “defect” not suffered by “flavors”.

So why the concern over natural flavors anyway.  Because they’re not natural. The more natural a food “claims” to be, the less it is. A truly natural food, rarely calls itself “natural”, it just calls itself “lemon” or “cinnamon”. Moreover, the chemical called “flavor” is virtually identical whether natural or artificial. Banana flavor for example is created by distilling the flavor molecules from a banana using a chemical solvent, while artificial banana flavor is created by mixing chemicals, that result is the identical chemical output.

And what about MSG. MSG used to be lumped into “flavors” but is now required to be listed separately, though there is no law requiring it to be listed separately if the MSG is a component of the natural flavor (which seems to be the case with some natural flavors though you will never know which unless your doctor submits the request in writing…)

To me they’re spiritual cousins. MSG is created in a lab to enhance flavor in order to create an illusion of something that does not exist. Flavors are  created in a lab to add flavor to create an illusion of something that does not exist. The sole purpose of this alchemy is to trick our taste buds – the food equivalent of sleight of hand, dropped in from the sleeve when the mouth is focused on thinking that the taste is coming from the real thing.

So what to do when you want flavor in your herbal tea without chemicals? This is a tough one. I recently learned that Bengal Spice (a personal favorite) has natural flavors and some of these flavors make it sweet and that giving this up will have serious implications for my afternoons. But I’m going to switch to a pure ginger tea and add some bee-created honey.

Any more tea brands to add to either list?  What are your thoughts on “flavors” in teas?  Is it surprising to you that they’re added?

Related Posts
But It’s Naturally Made In The Lab!
(Flavors from the perspective of soup stock)
Dressed To Kill
(What’s really in your salad dressing)
Soy Milk: A Bowl of Froot Loops In Every Glass?

 

Get Posts By Email

  • Naomi

    I was concerned about this as well, being a phenylketonuric (nutrasweet makes me loopy,) and learned that there are now artificial sweeteners that are SO concentrated, that at less than 1% or so of ingredients, they still allow for “natural” labeling. Yet, these ingredients may still have adverse health effects on people.

    Here is one: http://www.arnhemgroup.com/about-us.html

    “Oh! So Sweet is an all-natural flavor enhancer derived from citrus
    extract, it contributes zero calories & zero carbohydrates to
    finished products. Oh! So Sweet works synergistically with sweeteners,
    allowing food manufacturers to reduce current sugar levels by as much
    50% while preserving clean (Natural Flavor) labeling.”

    Another is “Neotame,” made by Nutrasweet, and is approved for labeling even in organic foods!!

    http://farmwars.info/?p=4897

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neotame

    The mystery ingredient could very well be stevia- it has a similar bitter aftertaste- or some other innocuous plant sweetener, but then, why wouldn’t they just say that! Suspicious.

    I’m assuming it’s something like xylitol (used in gum and other products,) or one of the aforementioned enhancers. In any case, I now add tea to the list of things I have to buy with caution (yogurt, gum, ice cream…) I won’t be buying this one again.

  • Noniitis

    Thank you so much for this post! I am super sensitive to sugars and have cut out any known sweetners from my diet. I stopped drinking coffee and have been drinking the Good Earth sweet and spicy decafe tea and I had a hypo glycimic reaction to it. I thought I must be going loopy since there are no sugars listed.

  • Kundalini

    If you ever taste pure essential oil of cinnamon you will find it to be exceptionally sweet. I believe that is what makes the tea so very sweet.

  • Sotta

    Wow !!! Thank you so munch I been trying to figure out why was this tea so sweet with no calories, lol  I feel betrayed.

  • Brooklynjewel

    FYI, a friend just bought me a box of this tea.  It tastes great, but my concerns are the same as everyone else regarding the sweetness.  Doing some searching online, Good Earth has just been bought by TATA Beverage Group.  The Good Earth website selling direct to consumers states “Good Earth is now part of the Tata Beverage Group, the largest India-headquartered multinational in North America. The Tata Beverage Group also includes award-winning Eight O’Clock Coffee and Tetley Tea”. Just one more reason to question their ethics in my book.

  • http://twitter.com/kennestler Ken Nestler

    Yeah, I’ve read “natural and artificial flavor” in the ingredients of Good Earth teas. Yogi Teas are on the flavored list but have not seen “flavors” in their ingredients. I find Yogi Chai Rooibos  authentic tasting and not “flavory” like Bengal Spice.

  • Christine

    I also am concerned about “natural flavours in tea”. Why does everything need to be enhanced, let it just be the way it is in nature, then it will truly be natural. I don’t want to drink something artificial.

  • Mcsuhy

    Thank you so much for your good work!  I’ve spent almost an hour in tea isles in grocery stores not inspired to buy any of the teas because of the mysterious “natural flavors”!

  • Sarah

    When i tried my first cup of Good Earth “spicy and sweet” I was shocked at how very sweet it is, I was expecting a very subtle natural sweetness similar to an after taste. I immediately looked at the ingredients- the third ingredient is artificial flavor- what? How contradictory from a brand that boasts “no artificial colors, or preservatives” I guess you really do have to read the labels on everything

    • lilymanx

      Great answer.

  • John Kalmatiz

    I realize this post is quite old.. but I’ve been doing some research to figure out what the “natural flavor” is and have come across a couple possibilities. The first is cinnamaldehyde and related compounds, derived from cinnamon oil. When used in very small quantities with some “helper” compounds, you can get significant sweetness without the normal pungency at tiny amounts (20 ppm). The other is naringin dihydrochalcone, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone and some related compounds. These are derived from citrus oil, but are technically artificial because they’re modified afterwards. This stuff is thousands of times sweeter than table sugar, and is used in tiny amounts. I think the combination of these, or something related to these, is what Good Earth is using to sweeten their teas. I must admit, they hit on a truly delightful blend…it can be hard to get alternative sweeteners to taste “just right”. This probably has something to do with why the natural flavor composition is “proprietary”. 

    While these sweeteners are probably harmless, I personally don’t feel comfortable with a company supposedly devoted to health, wellness, and natural ingredients that doesn’t have enough respect for its discerning customers to tell them exactly what is in their tea. So as much as I enjoyed my first cup, I’ll happily go back to mixing my own teas from the dried ingredients I have on hand and whatever is growing in my garden. Sweeteners in teas never made sense to me anyway. 

  • Coop713

    The second ingredient (after Black Tea) in Good Earth Original Sweet and Spicy Tea is “artificial flavor”…

  • Anonymous

     ”So what to do when you want flavor in your herbal tea without chemicals?”

    1) Good lord, do you seriously not realize that all known matter in the universe is composed of chemicals? It kills me every time when people make a statement like this without realizing how much it makes them look like they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    It baffles me that you’d even care about flavouring when you yourself admit that it’s generally chemically indistinguishable from its natural counterpart.

    2) Also, I highly doubt this tea was “Coca-Cola sweet.” As someone who was horribly addicted to soda pop before giving it up for tea, I have yet to find a tea which even remotely approaches “Coca-Cola sweet” unless I add a LOT of sugar to it, and I have tried well over 100 different teas by now.

    3) I’m also shocked that anyone suggested Teavana as an alternative! Talk about not knowing what you’re putting in your mouth!

    Anyway, I’m clearly not the audience for a blog about only eating “natural” foods, as I think it’s overwrought nonsense. So I will take my leave. But I did want to point out – and leave in the comments for others to see – that saying, “oh noes, chemicals in my food,” makes you sound as though you’ve never taken a chemistry course in your life. And that makes it hard to take anything you have to say about food ingredients seriously.

    • Nay

       Actually, some chemicals, natural or synthetic, are dangerous to some people. Imagine that!! You say that “natural flavor” is “chemically indistinguishable from its natural counterpart.” And what chemical would that be, exactly? Being undisclosed, we can’t even identify the composition of this substance for certain!

      -Apple seeds and some packaged fruits can contain traceable amounts of naturally occurring arsenic. No one is up in arms or worried about that here. If you took that same arsenic and concentrated that and synthesized it, it could be deadly.

      -Chemical BPA in our plastic, AND natural unfermented soy are BOTH known
      to have endocrine and hormonally disruptive properties.

      -Millions of people eat tree nuts all the time, yet there are some people whom these nuts will kill. Once they experience a reaction, they’re sure to prevent a life-threatening histamine fit by avoiding nuts.

      There are many who are allergic to a prevalent sweetener- Nutrasweet, that contains PHENYLALANINE. They experience documented and studied neurological and physical symptoms. One of the known “natural sweeteners” in use is highly concentrated and very close to this substance. Don’t they deserve to know if they’re ingesting this??

      What you’re saying is that just because something is labeled as “natural” and included in small amounts, we don’t deserve to know what we’re putting into our bodies? If we’re allergic to something similar, we shouldn’t bother our little heads over how this substance might affect us, unless we’re educated as chemists? The food industry’s main motivation is to MAKE MONEY, not keep you healthy. (Just like those sodas you kicked, kudos on that.) I suppose you trust them all to know what’s “good” for you. Flavored tea is just one tiny facet of a daily bombardment of unnatural (or synthesized from natural) substances our bodies are pummeled with on a daily basis when we eat processed, convenience, or fast foods. It’s amazing that you don’t ‘get’ this.

      I find it hard to take anything you say seriously, because you slam a wide swath of concerned individuals and then ‘take your leave,’ like a 10 year old throwing rocks and running away. But more importantly, you have a hard time understanding the purpose of critical discourse or awareness on an albeit small part of an issue that is so complicated, global in scale and consequence, and may affect peoples’ health, whether they’re aware of it or not.

      • Anonymous

        …I get automatically subscribed to this thread just for posting, huh?

        From your first and sixth paragraphs, I don’t think you understood what I said at all, which essentially proves my point. “Chemically indistinguishable” means exactly that, i.e. nature-identical lemon flavour is chemically identical to actual damn lemon, and no more harmful to your body than lemon – unless you were allergic to lemon, that is. Most tea companies use nature-identical flavouring. Unfortunately, I understand that American labeling standards require even nature-identical flavouring to be labled by the catch-all “artificial,” so you’d have no way of knowing how completely safe it was. Irony. And the OP points out herself that “natural” flavouring is from the natural foodstuff itself, just distilled. Why would you have a problem with natural banana flavour unless you had some sort of problem with banana? The OP essentially undermined her own point there by making clear that flavouring is often chemically…harmless!

        So no, I’m not actually against clearer food labeling (why would
        I be?), I’m just laughing at “chemicals in our tea!” Of course there
        are chemicals in your tea; tea is composed of chemicals. Not to mention
        the chemical WATER. You don’t have to be a chemist (I’m not) to recognise that sounds stupid.

        You won’t convince most people that you have a valid concern if you can’t express it clearly. Not to mention, they are less likely to be able to HELP YOU the less specific you are. 

        As for people who have genuine medical issues with artifical sweetners, they have a right to be
        concerned about that not being disclosed on the packaging (part of why I mentioned Teavana; they have been notorious in the past for not
        properly disclosing their ingredients); but I highly doubt
        they make up the majority of people who read a blog like this,
        considering how rare they are. The OP certainly doesn’t sound like she has those concerns, or she wouldn’t have swallowed the tea BEFORE checking the label.

        I work in a retail store that sells soap and lotion, and we get people coming in all the time saying cluelessly that they want
        products, “without chemicals.” Well, we can’t help them (and
        unfortunately, can’t strangle them, either…), because our products are
        obviously composed of chemicals, and we don’t have a specific idea of
        what they want to avoid. We laugh at those people, naturally, because
        they’re clearly a bunch of boobs who’ve heard that “chemicals” in their
        lotion are “bad,” and “give you cancer or something.”

        From my time in
        the tea-drinking community, most people who complain about flavouring
        are of the same ilk – people who complain about “chemicals” without the
        slightest idea of what they’re talking about.

        • Anonymous

          Okay, I have no idea why that formatted so weirdly.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Steinacher/783260236 Mark Steinacher

          Your point is well-taken. I wish people would be more specific about the kinds of chemicals that concern them.

    • Chefmb

      I find Celestial Seasonings Bengel Spice tea close to Coca Cola Sweet. It has the same cloying nature. It is disgusting and I was shocked when I first tasted it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Steinacher/783260236 Mark Steinacher

      The Bengal Spice is SO sweet that I find it cloying. Yes, it does seem as sweet as Coca-Cola. I don’t think I’ll buy another box of it.

    • lilymanx

      I think you understood what they meant even if the language was not precisely accurate. How would YOU describe the difference between the following two ingredients in tea: “banana” and “natural flavor of banana.” Clearly they tampered with the banana in some way in the second case. And don’t tell me they tamper with everything in tea – that may be true – they obviously didn’t put a chunk of banana in the tea – and yet they call one ingredient “banana” as opposed to “natural flavor of banana” – the latter is clearly not simply banana.

      RE: teavana, I have loved their teas but understand your comment – I was surprised to hear that they let you return teas if you don’t like them. They just re-weigh the bag and give you back the money for what you haven’t used. I am probably being too squeamish but am not wild about the idea of people being able to take tea into their homes, stick their spoons or whatever in it, and then return the rest …

  • Yosemiteheather

    Thank you for this (and great job!) b/c I was searching on the net trying to figure out how harmful “natural flavors” would be. I  often feel sick after drinking Tazo Passion tea even though it’s one of my favorites.
    Good Earth wrote you back and said the components were “proprietary”… so they own the right to not disclose that info, they probably worry someone is going to steal their recipe. But really, it should be disclosed, it’s only ethical.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1467280360 Kristy Whited Champion

    I don’t know anything about teas, but I recently tried to buy a healthy cereal. Ingredients list included “organic cinnamon and natural cinnamon flavor.”  The natural cinnamon flavor part raised a flag in my mind and sent me searching the internet to understand what that means. My search led me to this conversation string.  I guess there is simply no way to guarantee 100% clean eating.  The best we can do is minimize the pollutants in our food.  As long as I don’t see ingredients listed that sound like they were manufactured in a petroleum refinery in Louisiana, I feel safe that I’m making a reasonably healthy choice.

  • http://pitcherandplate.com/ Resa

    Thank you for looking into this.  I’ve become more aware and discerning of what goes into “natural” foods the last few years.  I suspected that Good Earth tea had something unsavory in it.  So sad, because it is so delicious!  Thank you, though, for clarifying.  I am working on my own truly natural tea blends.  But, yes, the flavors will be much for subtle.

  • Mateus Beus

    A friend shared Yogi Tea with me for the first time recently, and had some very interesting flavors I had to admit. She gave me a box as a gift and I drank a cup or two when I went home, but started to wonder why it tasted so sweet compared to my Kukicha or Numi tea. It was just too strange. I could not find anything in the ingredient list on the box, and so started to search the internet. VERY difficult to find clarity anywhere. Yours was the first place where the issue began to become clear. They go to great lengths to hide their sweeteners. I just do not trust them. It really makes me angry when people, or companies, are not transparent and above board… especially where food is concerned! It is MY body and I have a right to know what I am putting into it!

  • Carrie

    The sweet flavour in Bengal Spice tastes a lot like the sweetness of luohan guo, also known as monkfruit – a naturally supersweet-tasting fruit related to mangosteen that gets its sweet flavour from glycosides, like those found in stevia, and can be used as a low-calorie sweetener. I know they list luohan guo in the ingredients of their Gingerbread Spice tea, which is how I found out about it. I went out and bought some dried luohan guo at a Chinese market to try it and the flavour is remarkably similar to the sweet notes in Bengal Spice. I’m not sure why it would be listed as an ingredient in one tea and not another, however, so I could be wrong. Then again, Bengal Spice is a super-popular tea, so even if it doesn’t contain shady ingredients that the company wants to hide, I can see why they’d think it was in their best interest to keep the formula secret, so it’s still possible.

    Also, although luohan guo on its own is a natural sweetener, the way that it’s processed for commercial use as a sugar substitute doesn’t sound very healthy. Apparently they bleach out the “interfering” flavours with solvents. Gross.

  • Annie

    Okay, here’s what I found out on this subject. I called Good Earth’s customer hotline, and they informed me that there are two varieties of Good Earth’s original tea: an organic one, which can be found in 24-count boxes (that come in the original packaging and are marked “ORGANIC”) and one with artificial flavoring, which is available in the 18-count boxes (that have “artificial flavors” printed right on the front of the box). According to the customer service representative, there is a reason for this. Apparently, this tea has had that artificial flavor in it since it first came out on the market; it gives the tea that extra cinnamon-y “zing”. A few years ago, they reformulated the tea to make it all organic, without the artificial ingredients (I can attest to this, since my second encounter with this tea was an 18-count package with no artificial flavoring listed anywhere in the ingredients, and I was surprised that the tea no longer had the extra bite–this was in 2009); however, Good Earth apparently received a lot of complaints because many people really liked the added spiciness of the artificial flavor. So instead of doing away with the un-flavored blend altogether, they now make 2 versions of Original Sweet and Spicy. Don’t believe me? You can probably find the organic version right next to the flavored one in your grocery store’s tea aisle.

  • Trudence

    Thank you . EVERYTHing seems to have natural flavors. I refuse to eat or drink anything with them. The options are very limited.

  • Brenden

    Another tea company that uses absolutely no added flavors is Whispering Pines Tea Company.

  • Herb Essentia

    Very interesting post. I have a small hand-crafted herbal tea business called Herb Essentia where I blend herbs for a variety of health needs, and have struggled with the worry of competing with those added “natural flavors” out there. I tell all of my customers that my teas are naturally earthy flavors, without anything added. I do make sure none of the teas taste bad and are all palatable with a bit of honey, but it is still my concern that customers will be comparing my teas to those fake flavor additive teas out there.

    Might it be possible to use your post on my site to help educate my customers?

  • Chef MB

    I just purchased a box of Bengel Spice tea from Celestial Seasonings and was appalled at first sip. It was cloyingly sweet. I searched the box for where that sweet might be coming from and nothing gives it away. Must be what they list as “other natural flavorings.” I reached out to their consumer relations department to find out what it is and to ask what the other natural flavors in this tea might be. We will see if they disclose it or not. If they don’t, I will never buy another box of their brand nor let a bag of their tea infuse my hot water ever again.

    • lilymanx

      I just spoke to someone at Celestial Seasonings about the “natural flavors” in their Tropic of Strawberry Tea. She said the natural flavors are derived from fruits, herbs, and spices – nothing else. I asked why it said “natural flavors of strawberries, pineapples, etc.” if they were actually using the fruit. (In fact on the same ingredients list, banana is listed by itself and as one of the “natural flavors.”) She said that they can only say that if they put actual fruit in. I asked if she meant what was used was some oil extracted from the fruit or something. She said she didn’t know exactly – she could only say for sure it was nothing but fruits, herbs, spices. Not sure what to make of that …

  • Louise Garnaut

    Great to read such an informative post with lots of info in the comments. I live in Hong kong and have a limited choice of natural herbal teas available. I noticed that many of them are sweet and ended up on this post. Thanks for sharing and helping me to make an informed choice. Bye bye celestial seasoning, bigelow, london fruit and herb company all of which have flavours as their second or third ingredient.

  • Louise Garnaut

    Thank goodness that I can get alvita which is mentioned below. They mention that their pillow style tea bags are oxygen bleached not chlorine bleached. Does that make a difference? I’ve also just bought the Heath and heather brand which looks to be totally natural. Does anyone know of small companies like those mentioned below that ship outside of the US.

  • RhythmSister

    Thank you for this comment. So many people assume natural flavor means “natural”, pure and genuine. Duh, what a marketing scheme! Look for teas without flavors… at all.

  • Ash

    Buy organic, I’m convinced that the FDA is trying to exterminate people.

  • Cassie

    Another fantastic company that doesn’t have flavoring is Rishi. Most of their teas are organic and all have true “natural” flavors (herbs, fruit, oils). The one exception is their Sweet Matcha tea, which has cane sugar and Matcha (but explicitly lists the cane sugar, of course). I believe all their teas are loose leaf or pearls (blossoms). I especially love their Jasmine Pearl Green tea and their Tangerine Ginger tea.

  • Guest

    I heard Rishi Tea was another good one, that provided tea without natural flavoring. I looked here to confirm it and this is what I found: http://www.rishi-tea.com/product_faq#natural-flavor

  • teri stanaford

    different sized boxes of the same tea have “natural flavors” aand other size say artificial flavors. This is coppied from their website.

    Original Sweet & Spicy Tea & Herb Blend

    ABOUT THIS BLEND

    An aromatic sweet

    cinnamon tea with hints
    of orange. Our full flavored signature blend offers up a rich, spicy
    fragrance followed by a sweet, warming, clean taste without added sugar.

    INGREDIENTS

    25-Count Box: Black tea, natural flavor, rosehips, cinnamon,
    chamomile, lemongrass, peppermint, papaya leaves, jasmine tea, anise
    seed, ginger root, orange peel and orange oil.

    18-Count Box: Black
    tea, artificial flavor, rosehips, chamomile, cinnamon, lemongrass,
    peppermint, jasmine tea, papaya leaves, anise seed, ginger root, orange
    peel and orange oil.

    Loose Tea:
    Black tea, rosehips, jasmine tea, cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint,
    chamomile, papaya leaves, artificial flavor, anise seed, orange peel,
    ginger root, orange oil.

  • lorettarox

    Celestial Seasonings gave me the runaround a few years ago, as well. I don’t trust them. The closest thing that I have tasted to this tea that is organic and healthy is the Numi Organic Rooibos Chai (warming spices and earthy vanilla tones). It has cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardomom. I requested that Numi create another version with less ginger and a whole lot more cinammon, so hopefully they will do that, since the Bengal Spice is a popular taste. I added xylitol (from the birch tree) and some stevia to it, to give it a sweet flavor.

    • lorettarox

      Yogi makes Classic India Spice, which is similar to Bengal Spice. It has many organic ingredients in it, but not 100% organic ingredients. Another questionable ingredient is the “natural butterscotch flavor”, which most likely comes from GMO corn, and even if it’s non-GMO corn, millions of Americans can no longer tolerate any corn products. I wrote to Yogi to bring this to their attention. I do wish companies would be more forthcoming about their “natural” flavors.

  • Daniel

    Teatulia Jasmine Green Tea lists “other natural ingredients”. its front label also states a hint of sweetness. I found this site because I too was curious where this sweetness derived from.

  • gailzmoon

    A substance that is 98% or more of glutamate must be called MSG. If it is less that 98% it can be called natural flavor or a variety of other terms. I find the ingredient quite suspicious as I have contacted Celestial Seasonings myself and gotten dubious answers.