Christmas in September: Winter Cheer from Virginia Tea Company

I’m a bit out of season to review Winter Cheer from Virginia Tea Company, but today is a grey and dreary day so a cup of tea with “cheer” in the name feels like a good fit.

This blend features black tea, peppermint, and cinnamon.  Even in the dry leaf you can smell all three distinct flavors.

Having peppermint and cinnamon in the same blend is like sitting in a snowbank next to a campfire: there are both cooling and warming elements happening at the same time.  I enjoy blends that make use of these flavors. Beyond their flavor profiles, both peppermint and cinnamon bring their own type of sweetness.

Peppermint has a creaminess beneath all its icy mint, almost tasting like vanilla.  Cinnamon has a more earthy, herbal sweetness, more in line with cloves or licorice.

With both of these flavors set against the robust backdrop of black tea, you get a full-bodied brew with a very tactile mouthfeel, both cooling and warming. This is a fresh take on the “spiced black tea” trend that pops up every fall and winter.  The mint and cinnamon together really make this unique and festive.

I’m feeling full of cheer already!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Co.
Description:

Sit back and relax with your family this holiday season while sharing this delicious, guilt-free tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Let’s Get Sassy with Pootea Tang from Modest Mix. . . .

Modest Mix has some seriously sassy tea names, often involving satisfying expletives.  If that sounds up your alley, I highly recommend browsing their store for some blends with fired up names that suit your attitude.  The blending services of BlendBee were used to craft these teas, so you know they will be flavorful and balanced.

In line with the Modest Mix theming, the Pootea Tang blend is a bold and flirty treat.  With cacao nibs and orange peel, it is equal parts smooth and chocolatey, and bright and tangy.  Juicy citrus is the driving force in this blend, powered up even more by the complementary flavors of tart rose hips. The taste of the cacao nibs and the black tea itself come to light in the back of each sip, and in the soft mouthfeel that follows the first burst of orange.

In a stroke of tea-blending genius, this blend uses an assam black tea base.  The assam is strong enough to carry the flavorful orange, but smooth enough to compliment the cocoa, dessert-like flavors. This is a tasty blend when you are feeling a little sweet and sour and want a tea blend to match your mood.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Modest Mix
Description:

You f**king love chocolate don’t you? How about some added orange for that tangy zest that your bad*ss body craves? You’re welcome.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Classic Masala Chai from Chai Safari. . . .

As a chai tea lover, I’m surprised I haven’t run into more Chai Safari teas in my experience.  Needless to say, I was excited to brew up a cup of spicy tea and try a new flavor.

I took one look at the dry leaf of this tea and immediately wanted to look up the ingredients.  The black tea leaves are processed into small pellets, which is typical for some types of chai, but I was confused when I saw the green tulsi leaves mixed in.  It’s not everyday that you see green ingredients in a chai tea, it’s usually lots of golden ginger and warm, brown cinnamon. Classic Masala Chai blend from Chai Safari has many of the classic chai staples like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, but it mixes in some more surprising ingredients like black pepper, tulsi (holy basil), and saffron.

Brewed this is everything you would expect from a chai tea: bold and warming, with the spice-cookie flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.  I love the idea of the peppercorns in my teas, but it is hard to pick out the pepper flavor in this brew. Maybe some of the heat I associated with the ginger is actually from the black pepper.

The piece that sets this chai appart is the inclusion of tulsi and saffron.  These herbs add just a hint of floral sweetness in the scent and aftertaste. These refined flavors are an unexpected compliment to the bolder spices and made me realize that there is more to chai than ginger and cinnamon alone.

I will have to adventure into Chai Safari again and check out more unexpected chai tea flavors!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Chai Safari
Description: The Classic Masala Chai is India’s most popular chai. India’s own home grown recipe and consumed as a staple beverage across the country. This blend of exotic spices is the experience that will take you for a trip on this journey. The chai has dominant flavours of dried ginger and cardamom pods with a touch of black pepper’s spicy aftertaste. The sweet undenotes are delivered by cinnamon, Tulsi and a pinch of Saffron.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf. . . .

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf already made me feel warm and relaxed just from the name.  Makes me think of being under a quilt out at a cabin, maybe beside a warm fire. Beyond the name, this tea had a surprisingly pleasant long list of spices in its ingredients list.  Cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, I expect, but not all chai teas comes with cloves and anise, and the never seem to come with fennel. What a lovely change of pace.

Brewed, this is a sweeter chai, thanks to a hearty serving of anise and cinnamon.  The anise isn’t strong enough to make this a black jelly bean chai, but it does add its token throat-soothing, candy-like properties.

Much to my surprise, the ginger and clove take a back seat in this tea, subtle enough that you might miss them if you’re not paying attention.  The fennel and cardamom are gentle and earthy, and add a much needed almost-savory pairing to the anise and cinnamon.

Just when I’ve thought that I’ve tried every chai tea I can think of, I find something new.   I look forward to getting cozy with another cup of Country Chai Spice from the Cozy Leaf sometime soon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Cozy Leaf
Description:

Full-bodied black tea chai made with real chai spices of rich cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and sweet anise and clove for a healthy and delicious treat.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Rainy Day Pu’erh from Plum Deluxe. . . . .

This pu’erh chai blend is recommended by Plum Deluxe to counter “literally a rainy day or just some emotional dark clouds.”

I really like the phrase “emotional dark clouds.” Plum Deluxe has this cute, holistic, meditative quality to their writing. They take into consideration the human response and culture surrounding tea.

And what might be the solution to such a dark day? A corresponding dark tea. Something strong enough to withstand a battle. If this were Lord of the Rings, maybe a sturdy dwarf warrior with a raven-colored beard would do.

When I steeped this, the leaves’ darkness whooshed into the water immediately, settling onto an amber that descended into brown over the next few moments.

The resulting flavor is very earthy and rich, with little spice notes, and a sweetness that’s a bit reminiscent of molasses. It’s strong, and it’s just what you need to blaze forth into your day with a little more fire.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Puerh
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

Whether it’s literally a rainy day or just some emotional dark clouds, our sweet-n-spicy puerh blend is just what you need for a comfort kick.

We use a rich, earthy puerh as the base, add in the cinnamon bark, ginger, and other spices, then pair them with a sweet cinnamon oil reminiscent of brown sugar. It brings sweetness while keeping it balanced — just what a rainy day calls for!

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!