Every year since we’ve been doing this SororiTea Sisters thing, I’ve done a Holiday countdown/Advent calendar of tea. For the previous four years, I’ve done a 12 Teas of Christmas, but this year, I’ve decided to do things a little different. This year, I’m going to double down on the 12 Teas of Christmas and go for a full Advent Calender of 24 Days of Tea!
The company I’ll be featuring for the countdown this year is Teanzo 1856! I’m so excited! The teas arrived in a bright red gift box with a festive label on the top featuring Teanzo’s cute elephant logo. Inside the box were 12 coppery colored, small sample packets, each with a numbered label on the front. They are glued – rather securely, really, I think they need a glue less tacky for this job – to a strip of card-stock. On the back of each packet is the name of the tea and the list of ingredients. Inside is the good stuff: a sample portion of each tea – just enough for my Kati Tumbler! Also included is a package of DIY loose leaf tea bags so that you can brew these right in your favorite mug.
Because the packets are securely attached to the card-stock strip, it isn’t easily revealed which tea will be enjoyed the next day (so it’s a little bit of a surprise until you remove the sampler from the box), which helps keep those that are inclined to “cheat” at bay a little bit. A persistent “cheater” would be able to find out easily what future days have in store, of course, it’s not that difficult and it’s not like some of the other countdown boxes that I’ve had in the past where I either would need to open the pouch to find out what tea is inside, or scratch off a “scratcher” (like the lotto cards) to find out what tea is inside.
While the element of surprise is a fun thing, it isn’t the most important thing about these calendars. For me, I like the idea of having a different tea every day. I like counting down to the holiday with tea. Mostly because – and this may come as no big surprise to you – I like tea.
So without further ado, I will announce the first day of the countdown – there are 24 days until the big day – today’s tea is:
Winter Earl Grey
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teanzo 1856
Our Winter Earl Grey Tea is sure to please with this creamy twist on a classic Earl Grey. The vanilla tones down the citrus flavors and is a perfect way to warm up this season.
Learn more about this tea here.
So my first thought is: Teanzo knows how to kick off a countdown right! Earl Grey baby! This Winter Earl Grey Tea is – essentially – an Earl Grey Creme tea. I’ve had some really good Earl Grey Creme teas and I’ve had some less than memorable ones … and I’ve had some that aren’t even worth mentioning. This Winter Earl Grey Tea is a really good Earl Grey Creme!
My first indication that this is a good Earl Grey Creme? When I opened the pouch I could smell a strong bergamot aroma. STRONG! I like that. I like that while I could smell the creamy vanilla tones, the bergamot stood out – loud and clear! This is an Earl Grey first, a creamy Earl Grey second.
And what can I say? I’m a happy tea drinker at this moment. There are few teas out there that elicit as much joy from me as a good Earl Grey tea and/or a variation of the classic Earl Grey (like an Earl Grey Creme).
To brew this: well, as I said above, these little sampler pouches holds just the PERFECT amount for my Kati Tumbler. This Advent Calender does include 24 unbleached loose leaf tea bags (and the amount in the sampler pouch is also just the right amount for these tea bags, should you decide to use them instead of the Kati Tumbler), but I prefer my tumbler.
I poured the contents of the sampler pouch into the basket of my tumbler and then added boiling water to the tumbler and let it steep for 3 minutes. Earl Grey Creme (or Winter Earl Grey!) perfection!
I’m overjoyed that this tastes as good as it smells. The bergamot has a clear and well-defined profile in this cup. The creme does not overpower the Earl Grey. The sharper notes of the bergamot are softened by the notes of vanilla. The creamy vanilla adds a sweetness to contrast with the tangy bergamot. It’s a nice contrast: sweet, creamy (almost fluffy!) vanilla together with the sharp, vibrant notes of bergamot.
And let’s not forget about the black tea base because without it … we wouldn’t be drinking tea, now would we? The black tea is not overwhelmed by the presence of the bergamot and vanilla. Conversely, the black tea is not an overly assertive flavor in the cup. Instead, it offers a smooth and rich backdrop of flavor and allows the sweet vanilla and citrus-y bergamot do their thing in the foreground. It’s not a bitter tea nor is it what I’d call astringent.
Overall, a really LOVELY tea, this Winter Earl Grey. It’s a fantastic way to kick off this countdown to Christmas Day!