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The Little Glass Sipper: Cinderella Tea

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Cinderella Tea

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Very little is certain in this world. Science is ever-analyzing, adjusting the data we have about what we know as reality. Historians constantly adapt the classic narrative to incorporate newly discovered tomes of information. However, it seems like a safe bet that Cinderella did not eat mango.

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But let's not split hairs: Cinderella Tea from Margaret's Fine Imports (5872 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill) has more going for it than chunks of Mangifera indica; it's a seasonal tea -- rooted in black Ceylon leaves -- that endeavors to tie a bit of the tropics to a series of helpful herbals in harmony. This wants to be the tea that Prince Charming spends weeks and months matching to its lost glass tea strainer.

Before we learn if a dream really is a wish that this tea makes, let's take a look at the ingredients: Black Ceylon Tea, Rosehip, Blackberry leaves, Hibiscus, Apple, Pineapple, Mango, Orange, Elderberries, Clove, Mallow, Cornflower Petals, Jasmine Buds, Cinnamon, Calendula, Sunflower Petals, Natural Flavors

Part one: "Natural Flavors"? This isn't Coca-Cola. Most tea drinkers want to know what they're tasting, and it's unclear why, with all of these other ingredients, extra flavoring was necessary. But that's a question for Margaret's supplier, no doubt. The other ingredients range from the flavorful (jasmine; orange; elderberry) to the useful (mallow to ease the stomach; blackberry leaf to heal the insides; calendula -- that is, marigold -- for cramps and constipation).

With all those actors on the digestive system, one wonders if Cinderella Tea isn't intended to make us leave the party before midnight.

Attesting to the effectiveness of herbs is not your Tea Examiner's strong suit, so let's focus on the flavor. It's a black tea at its base, so Margaret's rightly recommends a four-minute steeping time. The herbs might be more beneficial if we brew it longer, but it would leave the main sensation somewhere between sandpaper and tree bark. Still, it does a fine job (along with a selection of fruits) of masking the herb flavors, which are kind of in conflict with one-another -- sweet, spicy, aromatic, bitter . . . but in bits, they can do their jobs in the background.

Still, this leaves the four-minute-brewed Cinderella feeling a little watered down. On the bright side, with sweet and tangy fruit inside, you'll never need to add your own lemon; on the dark side, her wicked step-sisters need have no fear -- Cinderella is as low-key and mundane as they might hope. Yes, even with the extra "natural flavors."

If you'd like access to this variety of herbs, but are not usually an herbal drinker, and would like something more familiar, Cinderella might be a good fit. However, if you need something as exciting as the ball at the palace, I wouldn't go climbing into that pumpkin just yet.

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