This is not just the first decaffeinated tea on my tea blog – it’s my first decaf tea ever! Tim Hortons Decaf Tea is an orange pekoe quality black tea that’s decaffeinated with the ethyl acetate method.
Unsure if decaf tea will be right for you? Or maybe you just want to know if decaf tea tastes different? My review is perfect for you.
In my full tea review below, I’ll cover what this tea tastes like, how I brewed it for the optimum cuppa, and where you can buy it. Bonus: I’ve also included some details about the decaffeination process!
Tim Hortons Decaf Tea at a Glance
In a single word, this tea is odd. There are definitely some recognisable black tea flavour notes hidden in the cup, but you can tell instantly that it’s not quite right. The decaf process has left traces of chemical sweetness that are impossible to ignore.
Full Review – Tim Hortons Orange Pekoe Black Tea
- Type: Tagged paper filter teabags
- Tea: Black tea, orange pekoe grade
- Decaf Method: Ethyl acetate
- Flavour Notes: Smooth, plain, chemical, sweet
- Aroma: Warm, rich, slightly malty, slightly sweet
- Milk or Lemon: Milk, if desired
- Where to Buy: Amazon
My initial thought when ripping open the tea wrapper is that the tea is either stale or just terrible quality. After checking the best before date (still years away), I can confirm that this tea is just naturally plain and lacking in aroma. There’s also a tinge of chemicals that will only get more pronounced as you brew and drink it.
Tim Hortons Decaf Tea brews into a dark peat black-brown colour, which is typical for a tea like this. It’s designed to be consumed with milk, as a quick cuppa from a takeaway style place.
Strangely, the aroma of the brewed tea has that malty, creamy sweet smell that you usually get after you’ve added milk. It’s still warm and rich, however, which makes it very promising!
It’s a shame, really.
This tea just does not taste good. The body is smooth and without bitterness, but very plain, lacking flavour and without any depth. But the real problem is this chemical sweet flavour that is at the forefront of every sip. It’s just unavoidable.
Sorry, Tim Hortons. Your decaf black tea is a miss for me.
How to Brew Tim Hortons Decaf
Use boiling water straight from the kettle, as we’re brewing black tea even though it has been decaffeinated. I let mine brew for 3 minutes, but Tim Hortons recommends up to 5 minutes. If you like a strong brew, definitely go for the full 5 minutes but be prepared to add milk.
Personally, I will have to eat something as I drink this tea just to mask the flavour. But if you happen to like the flavour (we all have different palates, after all) then you can just sub this tea in for whenever you’d normally have black tea.
With breakfast, at work, dunked with biscuits, etc. Go wild.
As this is decaf tea, you can drink it late at night as well without worry about staying up all night.
Why Tim Hortons Tea Bags?
Let’s start with the good things. The tea bags are all individually wrapped, so they stay fresh. The bags themselves are made of paper, so totally biodegradable. And the price of this tea isn’t extortionate either.
Unfortunately, there are more bad things to consider than good.
Besides the flavour, there’s also the “Orange Pekoe” label, which isn’t all that good. I mean, it’s a bit better than your standard builders tea, but it’s not even close to a fine loose leaf tea type. Sometimes, the grade of the tea is irrelevant if the flavour is superb. But that’s not the case here.
There’s also the decaf method. Ethyl acetate is a chemical found naturally in many fruits, which is why some decaf labels (both for tea and coffee) can get away with calling this decaf method “natural”. But the ethyl acetate used is made synthetically.
Furthermore, to draw out the caffeine, the tea is soaked in an ethyl acetate solution to draw out the caffeine, then dried again. This will draw out some of the flavour too, which explains why this tea is so dull.
If you want to learn more about the decaf tea methods, check out this easy-to-read guide by Pique Tea.
Do I recommend this tea? No, not really. I can’t wholeheartedly say that I would tell a friend to go buy this tea. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t like it! If you’re interested in decaf teas or know that you don’t mind the ethyl acetate flavour, then go for it. Amazon is the easiest place to buy this tea besides Tim Hortons directly.
Need a caffeine-free tea but don’t want to try decaf? I don’t blame you. My default decaf tea is still a nice herbal or fruit tea! Read my full review of Naturaplan Wild Apple and Rosemary for one tasty and unusual example. It’s just one of my many obscure tea reviews here at Immortal Wordsmith!