Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: English Tea Shop
Holiday Blend: Black tea, cinnamon pieces, ginger pieces, cardamom pieces, nutmeg pieces, pepper, cloves and orange peels with vanilla and apple flavours.
I received a lovely tea package from a friend for the holiday, and this Holiday Blend Black Tea from English Tea Shop is one of the teas that she sent me. And because the ingredients sound very “chai-like” to me, I decided to categorize this as a chai tea as well as a black tea.
However, I must admit that it doesn’t taste quite as chai-like as it sounds. (Yes, I know that chai means tea … but I’ve come to think of chai as a blend of spices and tea rather than just “tea.”) This is a bagged tea, and I’ve never made any secret about my feelings about bagged teas, but for what this is (that being a bagged tea) it’s really not bad. I steeped it for 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water and the flavor is sweet and warmly spiced with tasty fruit notes.
The black tea base is a mild-tasting black tea, leaving me to suspect that it is probably a Ceylon. It has a medium body, and it has a smooth, even taste – it’s not an overly assertive tasting tea.
The spices are not assertive either. They’re gently warming, and I think that with this particular blend, it is the moderate spice levels that make it work … there is just the right amount of spice here. In one sip, I notice subtle touches of cinnamon, ginger and clove. In the next, I’ll pick up on hints of cardamom, and nutmeg. In the next, I’ll notice the softness of vanilla peeking through, and a kick of pepper toward the finish. Every spice is represented without the blend ever tasting too spicy.
The same is true for the apple and orange notes. The apple is smooth and sweet, and the orange brightens the cup with a sunny note of citrus, but neither fruit tastes overly done. All the flavors here have been carefully balanced so that all the flavors are accounted for without any one flavor profile overpowering the blend.
It’s a pleasant cup of holiday cheer!