Bonfire from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas might be known for the fandom-inspired blends submitted by their users, but the tea company also offers their own seasonal blends.  One of my favorite flavors they have created is a fall blend called Bonfire.

This blend is mainly comprised of honeybush herbal tea, which brings the perfect caramel, woodsy notes to start as a baseline.  If you are wary of red rooibos teas, don’t worry about this blend, the honeybush is much more gentle and less medicinal than the rooibos. The honeybush is paired with just a smidge of smoky black lapsang souchong.  There is little enough lapsang souchong to keep the caffeine level low, and to not overwhelm you with its bacon-like scent. Truly, the smokiness is relaxed and minimal, if you are on the fence, give it a try. Personally, I’ve grown to like smoky teas, so I add an extra scoop of lapsang souchong to the Bonfire loose leaf to really pump up the robustness.

What takes this blend to the next level are all the other herbs and additions.  Apple pieces add some juicy sweetness and their trademark fall flavor. Aniseed and cacao nibs add some dessert tones to make this brew feel like a treat.  Orange peels and cloves bring their wintry spice combination, and red peppercorns add a pop of color and just a hint of cracked pepper flavor.

This tea is delicious on its own, but also goes well with lemon and honey, or could be a tasty starting point for a hot toddy.  The blend is not available all year round, so I always make sure to stock up and make it last.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush and Black
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Description:

Crisp autumn nights call for warmth and comfort and little can better provide them than an autumn bonfire. Behold our bonfire blend: Honeybush hazelnut and cocoa nibs relax and ground you, while a spice blend of aniseed, cinnamon, clove and orange peel offer cozy comfort and zest. Apples and rose hips add soft sweetness while lapsang and red peppercorn offer hints of smoke and the flickering spark of heat. A perfect tea for fireside enjoyment or downtime dreaming.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Aronia Plum Berry from Saint Fiacre’s Farm

I had not heard of Aronia Berries prior to this lovely tea blend from Saint Fiacre’s Farm.  Apparently the berries are so sour when they are fresh off the bush they make your mouth pucker, hence their familiar, less glamorous name, chokeberry.  These berries are a new fruit flavor I haven’t encountered in herbal tea before. They are a bit sour, but not quite the same flavor as cranberry or hibiscus.  They have a little bit of darker elderberry or raspberry flavor among the tart pop, maybe that is where the “plum” comes in.

What really makes this blend so fantastic is the balance of fruit and spice.  The tart berries and juicy hibiscus are counteracted by the sweet licorice root and earthy fennel seed.  Coconut and vanilla round out the blend with some comforting bakery-like tastes.

Rich and relaxing, this is a great blend for when you want that wintry mulled wine or cider experience. Always a pleasure to find new, robust flavors in my herbal tea collection.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy:  Saint Fiacre’s Farm
Description:

This tea features Oregon grown aronia berries, plums and cornflowers. A spin off the traditional sugar plum which is a candy that has a hard outer coating of sugar… think along the lines of the Jordan almond or an M&M type candy. A sweeter, desert like tea which comes from the licorice root and organic extracts.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Fireside Spice from Tiesta Tea. . . . ,

The holiday season means– okay, well, a lot of things. But one of them is definitely INDULGENCE. And frankly, friends– it gets a little exhausting after a while. My body needs a break from all the sugar and carbs and alcohol and parties and and and– well, you get the picture.

Enter this tea. A delightful hibiscus (don’t run away, hibiscus-haters– it works here!) based with loads of fruit and spice, it’s a perfect ringer for actual mulled wine, but without that liver-taxing alcohol. Even just the dry leaf is impressive on this one: loads of spices, huge bits of cinnamon sticks and fruit all suspended in a beautiful, bright red hibiscus base. Rather than the off-putting and overwhelming tartness that make so many dislike hibiscus, the strong flavors of the spice are actually the perfect balance, and can totally stand up to that infamous pink flower. The tart actual mimicks wine here, giving you that same mouthfeel so ubiquitous with a plummy red.

All the indulgence of the holiday season with none of the negative consequences– sign me up!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Tiesta Tea
Description

This tea is no longer available but could come back for the holiday season.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Super Nettle from Republic of Tea. . .

So, let’s talk about what I know about nettle. (It’s not much, but bear with me here.) 1. It’s an herb (shocking, I know) 2. It’s chock full of minerals. 3. It’s great for when you need hydration. Annnnd 4. It’s kinda bitter.

(Quick disclosure: I’m not a doctor. Of herby things or otherwise. Over and out.)

So you’ll imagine my surprise when I brewed up this cup and found it to be… buttery? Smooth, a little sweet. Not bitter in the slightest. Upon some further research, I found that this brew is blended with some peppermint and vanilla, perfectly rounding out any herbal-ness that could have been too… herbally. Dare I even say it tastes a little bit like a treat? Nothing added, and it’s the perfect dessert-y nightcap that’s actually good for you!

This pleasant surprise of a cup is a great way to get more yummy herbal teas in your diet without them being (well, let’s face it)– icky. Nicely done, Republic of Tea!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Republic of Tea
Description

Nettle leaves have been known to support the body in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that it can help reduce joint inflammation and can help support kidney function.* Nettle tea has also been popular as a tonic for centuries to help women through all phases of life, from menstruation, through pregnancy and breastfeeding, to menopause.* A touch of mint and vanilla makes this tea a joy to sip.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Fruit Jam from Tea Sparrow. . . .

When it comes to getting me gifts, my friends and family often turn to one of two things: mugs or tea subscriptions. One such subscription that I received as my Secret Santa gift this past holiday season was several months of tea from Tea Sparrow. If I am being honest, as someone who loves really out there flavors, I have been underwhelmed by the more basic options I’ve been receiving.

With that said, this Organic Fruit Jam tea did catch my eye. It has the usual fruit tea ingredients such as apples, hibiscus, rosehips, and strawberries but it also has more exciting flavors like barley malt, cream extract, etc.

I made this iced in light of the potential for tartness thanks to the hibiscus and rosehips. Unfortunately, despite the unique ingredients, this tastes a lot like many of the other fruit tisanes I have had before, tart and with a vague fruitiness. It also has a sharp tart note atop the rest of the tartness that hits the back of your mouth near the end of the sip. Alas there is nothing here that says “jam” to me.

I also brewed this hot and intended to try it that way to compare it with the iced tea but life got in the way and the mug cooled before I got to it. However, the hot brewed tea which has then cooled is smoother than the iced tea. It also is a bit less tart than the iced tea which makes more room for a muddled fruit flavor to come through. Still not a “jam” tea to me but this cup is definitely closer to that desired flavor than the iced tea given there is more sweetness here.

Ultimately, I just feel like I’ve had this tea time and time again. The hibiscus/rosehip tartness is overwhelming with a generic fruitiness taking a back seat. The unique ingredients that intrigued me in the first place add nothing or if they do, their addition is drowned out. It’s not bad per se but it just doesn’t stand out at all in a world filled with tea.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Tisane
Where to Buy: Tea Sparrow
Description

With your Tea Sparrow subscription, you’ll receive 4 select loose-leaf teas each month: one black, one green, one rooibos and one herbal tea. You can expect about 35 cups of tea per month: more than enough to spread the love or completely hoard for yourself.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!