Apple and Cinnamon from Teapigs. . . .

Recently I ordered the “cheeky” sample set from Teapigs and got a small taste of a dozen of their teas.  One of my favorites from the bunch was Apple & Cinnamon. When the weather gets cool, my apple and cinnamon consumption grows exponentially, (I mean, for breakfast I’m exclusively eating these apple pie overnight oats).  And this tea is my new obsession for an herbal evening brew.

Apple & Cinnamon tea from Teapigs is fitting into my autumn menu perfectly.  This herbal blend is all fruit and herbs, no rooibos or honeybush or decaf tea leaves.  Lots of little yellow cubes of dry apples, sprigs of cinnamon, and blackberry leaves.  The tea brews up a pale amber color, but is jam-packed with sweet, apple-pie flavors.

This tea does “apple spice” better than every limited edition snack-cakes or seasonal scented candles that are on the shelves this time of year.  This brew is juicy and full of authentic, fresh apple flavors, with plenty of the spicy warmth of cinnamon sticks.  My sample from Teapigs only included two tea bags so I’ll have to place an order for a big bag of loose leaf.  I could see this tea being used as a healthier alternative to mulled apple cider, or used in baked goods to add a gentle apple spice infusion.

If you’re having trouble getting into the autumn season, brew a cup of this herbal tea and relax into your favorite sweater and get ready to watch the leaves change color.  Don’t worry, this tea will keep you warm and comfy.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Teapigs

Whether its in grandma’s pie, giant muffins or American pancakes nothing beats the flavour of sweet juicy apple with punchy cinnamon spice. It’s the perfect combination for a lovely fruity, punchy and spicy tea. Thanks go to the team at Olive and Bean, one of our lovely stockists in Newcastle who suggested this blend of apple and cinnamon.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Anything but Basic – Louisa May Alcott from Simpson and Vail

There is nothing better than sharing a hot cuppa with hot ladies. Wait, did that came out wrong? I mean strong, independent, educated ladies. Yeah, that’s who I’d have tea parties with! So, I invited two amazing students from my “Women’s Contributions to Science” class for a tea party. And, what better tea to drink than one inspired by the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott.

Simpson and Vail created fandom teas for several authors, and this green blend has a soft spice scent with the dried apple bits – is it nutmeg that it reminds us of? Pine? As we brew up this pumpkin pie colored treat, we bring up recent TED talks, STEM, swiping right… Hey, just because we love Autumn doesn’t make us totally basic! And neither is this literary tea – it’s good for multiple infusions and it builds flavor as you drink it. There is a midweight mouthfeel, and a certain sweetness from the Rose that lingers into the aftertaste.

It’s a heartwarming blend, and we have high spirits for the coming equinox, including brainstorming for Halloween costumes. If our Louisa May tea was alive today, we picture her costumed as T.Swift in a flannel, and this tea is the perfect embodiment of that.  Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve been inspired to go crochet a scarf for some eligible but aloof bachelor.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy:   Simpson & Vail

Early in Little Women, while visiting a sick Laurie, Jo says that her sister Meg’s blancmange is made “very nicely.” Later, her own attempt turns out “lumpy” and accompanied by strawberries that were “not as ripe as they looked.” Our blend follows Meg’s example and is almost, as Laurie says, “too pretty to [drink].” Combining almond and strawberry flavors, this blend brews to a delicious tea that is fruity and aromatic. It manages to be both sweet and light thanks to the Chunmee green tea base and the gentle floral notes added by the rose petals.

Ingredients: Green tea, apple pieces, flavoring, strawberry pieces and rose petals.

Certified Kosher

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Apple Sage from Simpson and Vail- A Holiday Experience

Fall flavors are usually dominated by pumpkin and cloves and cinnamon and spice, but Apple Sage from Simpson & Vail focuses on the less obvious sensations of the season. With fresh apple and savory sage, this blend should definitely be in everyone’s fall rotation. Apple pieces in the dry leaf immediately give off a fragrance that transports me to my hometown orchard: juicy, sweet-tart fruit, maybe paired with a cinnamon honey-stick from their local honeybee hive.  The apple pieces are numerous, and provide a true, luscious, apple flavor.

What really makes this blend unique is the sage.  I can’t say I’ve tried a tea with sage before, even if I have used the herb in other places in the kitchen.  Sage is a smell I associate with Thanksgiving dinner, an herb that goes well with turkey and stuffing or with chicken pot pie.  When brewed hot, this tea is both sweet and savory, almost like taking bite of everything off your holiday dinner plate.

In a way, it’s like the Willy Wonka 3-Course-Meal chewing gum! (Only without the disastrous blueberry-transformation consequences).

Sage evokes the taste of main course dishes like poultry or roasted potatoes, while the blackberry leaf adds a bit of tart berry like cranberry sauce, and finally the blend is topped off with sweet fruit flavors akin to apple pie.  The black tea base is strong enough to hold its own with all these flavors and give the blend a hearty undertone to pull it all together.

I get so distracted by all the pumpkin spice and cinnamon eggnog flavors of the holidays, that I forget there’s more to the fall-winter palette.  Apple Sage was an unexpected blast of Thanksgiving, apple pie, and all things fall.  Definitely worth a taste at this time of year.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: black tea
Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail


The taste of sweet apple and fragrant sage blend together wonderfully. The amber colored cup offers a depth of flavor that is warming and refreshing at the same time. This tea complements foods such as hard cheese, salads, sandwiches, fruits and more.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

As American As Apple Pie from CatSpring Tea

Yaupon, as a tea varietal, is entirely new to me, At first glance, it looks a lot more like a mate or a guayusa; flakes of greenish-brown leaf that put me in mind (albeit fleetingly) of fish food. Closer inspection reveals that they’re actually quite sizable chunks of (very shiny) tea leaves, although not as oxidized as I expected given that they’re referring to this as a “black” tea. Generously scattered among the leaves are cubes of dried apple, almond slivers, small pieces of beetroot, and cinnamon chips. Even dry, the scent is pretty amazing – spot-on apple pie spices!

Yaupon is the only caffeinated tea plant native to North America, and was used by Native Americans during male-only purification rituals. Despite a wane in popularity, CatSpring now farm  Yaupon sustainably on their family-owned land in Texas. They’ve also got sound ecological credentials, as they’re producing without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic weed control.

I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The recommendation is 4-7, so it’s probable that this could be extended if that’s what you prefer, but I’d likely reduce to 1 tsp of leaf if I were brewing for over 4 minutes. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, with a distinctive orangey tint. The apple pie scent isn’t as strong once brewed, and there’s a light underlying dankness, like wet leaves in autumn. Once again, I’m reminded of guayusa.

As it turns out, there’s a reason for this. Rather than the usual Camellia Sinensis, Yaupon tea is actually produced from the dried leaves of Ilex Vomitoria, which is a species of holly. Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis) and Guayusa (Ilex Guayusa) are both closely related plants, and all contain high levels of caffeine and theobromine. The flavours of all three are, to me, rather similar. Dank, slightly vegetal, very reminiscent of forest floor. They’re not tea varieties I would typically look to drink often unflavoured, and they’re a bit of a change from “normal” black or green teas if they’re what you’re used to.

Fortunately for me, this blend is flavoured, and it’s flavouring that works well with the choice of base tea. The apple is floral rather than crisp and sharp, but it manages to conjure a delicious, slightly mushy, “baked” flavour that’s very suggestive of apple pie. The cinnamon adds the requisite spicing, and the almonds round things out with a slightly savoury, slightly creamy nuttiness. I wasn’t expecting to be able to taste the beetroot, but it’s there in the background and it adds an edge of sour tartness that brings the whole thing together nicely. All told, it really does taste like apple pie.

The base tea is slightly distracting, because it’s quite a strong flavour. At times, it almost feels like a fight between the Yaupon and the other ingredients to establish prominence. A longer brew time might have helped to increase the strength of the flavouring, but it might also increase the strength of the base tea, and I’m not convinced that would be a good thing here. Still, experimentation is everything, and I’ll probably adjust my parameters until I find a combination I’m happier with.

On the whole, I’d say it just about works. The Yaupon is a very “autumnal” flavour, to put it politely, and apple pie makes me think of autumn anyway so it’s not as jarring as it could have been (a strawberries and cream Yaupon blend would make me nervous, let’s say.) It’s a very smooth blend, with no bitterness or astringency, and the flavours come over clearly. Tasting this, you’d be in no doubt as to what it was supposed to replicate – it definitely lives up to its name! I’d drink this again, and I’d try more teas from CatSpring in the future. Their offering is definitely unique, and it’s nice that it has a strong family heritage – it’s the exact opposite of the more faceless bigger brands. I’ll be interested to see where CatSpring go from here.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black Yaupon
Where to Buy:  Cat Spring Tea


As American As Apple Pie is our comforting black yaupon tea loose leaf blend as delicious as a slice of apple pie. Take a trip to grandma’s kitchen with every cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jungpana Premium Darjeeling Black Tea from Golden Tips

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Golden TipsJungpana_Premium_Darjeeling_Black_Tea_Autumn_Flush_Organic_3_large

Tea Description:

A first-rate Autumnal from the paradisiacal tea plantations of Jungpana. Amber liquoring with a riveting aroma, this is sure to become your favorite morning cuppa. Fittingly robust and bodied, the tea brings in whiffs & undertones of muscatel complimented by distinctive maltiness unique to Darjeeling black teas through the pre-winter harvests. Taste buds capitulate to the bold slightly-earthy character of the tea as it flushes your mouth with its dominant character. A slight palatableness engulfs as you roll the liquor. Floral and dark chocolaty notes are sustained during the entire experience. An excellent tea and among our best-sellers every season.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Golden Tips has some of the most incredible natural tasting black teas I have ever experienced and this Jungpana Premium Darjeeling Black Tea from Golden Tips is no exception.  Their black teas are so heavy on crisp flavor that THAT is what I always find the most memorable about the black teas I have had from Golden Tips.

Jungpana Premium Darjeeling Black Tea from Golden Tips is a full-bodied Darjeeling black tea that is robust and multi-layered in flavored.  It’s exceptional on many levels.  It’s slightly Earthy but in a delightful way.  There are crusty textures ad dark chocolate hints that keep you wondering with each sip.  The end sip on to the after taste provide a non-bitter floral flavor that lingers nicely and makes you crave me.  I can totally see why this tea is among their best sellers each and every season.

It’s an easy decision to add Jungpana Premium Darjeeling Black Tea from Golden Tips to my list of all time favorite black teas.  Yum!