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Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes

I didn’t have much information on this tea going into my first cup, so I was surprised to see these black tea leaves unfurl into a deep, dark, red brew.  This tea almost seems like a pu erh rather than an astringent black tea.  The base is earthy, almost smoky, and much richer and more savory that I expected. Aftelier Perfumes describes the tea as “red tea rolled into pearls and roasted,” which makes sense with the musky, toasted notes I tasted. The orange and cardamom are minimal, the most noticeable on the back of each sip.  There’s something sweet Read More

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Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water. This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like Read More

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Bonfire in a Cup: Smoky Spice from 52Teas

As we endure the last cold nights of the season, it seemed the perfect time to brew up a cup of Smoky Spice from 52Teas.  This blend combines two of my favorite cold-weather sensations: woodsmoke and cardamom. Nothing quite makes me feel as cozy and nostalgic as holding a hot cup of spicy tea, with the smell your neighbor’s wood stove on the wind. Growing up in New England in a family with an Eastern European heritage, it seemed like we were always having winter bonfires and mulled cider or tea, celebrating some equinox or natural deity.  These winter memories Read More

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I’m CooCoo for White Coco Choco Chai from Nelson’s Tea

When I’m trying to cut caffeine, but still want some chai spice, I often drink nutty rooibos chais or lemony herbal chais. Depending on the blend and my mood, these alternatives can be tasty, but sometimes I find myself wanting more.  White Coco Choco Chai from Nelson’s Tea is the perfect solution. This tea has a white tea base along with the usual suspects of chai spice: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom.  But it also has the addition of allspice, black pepper, coconut and chocolate chips.  There’s the same heat I know and love from black tea chais, the kick of ginger Read More

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Firebird Chai by Wendigo

While sniffing this tea before steeping (what? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this) I can definitely pick up a big whiff of ginger in the dry leaves. The leaves are better-looking than average for chai; they also have more of a presence in the blend (as far as fragrance and so on) than some do. I also observed lots of chunks of other stuff (spices?) in there with the tea leaves. The curls of dried ginger were the most noticeable of these. (And also were quite impressive. Don’t most chais just have minced ginger or something? These Read More