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!
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!
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