Coco Chai No. 5 from Bird and Blend Tea

This tea is named for Marilyn Monroe’s use of the perfume, Chanel No. 5, but I can’t help but think of the pop song that involves No. 5 instead (if it is stuck in your head now, you’re welcome).  The blend suits both sassy scenarios. With a bold assam base it is full of life and flavor. Added heat from ginger and peppercorns keep things spicy without being too fiery. Earthy cardamom adds a little maturity and depth to the chai flavors.  Last but not least, coconut, the “coco” part of the namesake, adds its trademark buttery creaminess to make the blend feel extra decadent.

I love chai teas on their own without milk and sugar, and this one is perfect in that style.  The fattiness from the coconut makes it feel lush even without milk. If you really want to treat yourself, brew this as a latte for that perfect mix of soft foam and warming spices.

This is also a tea that looks pretty in the loose leaf, so be sure to snap a picture as you scoop it into your cup.  There are golden nibs of ginger root, vibrant red peppercorns, boxy light green cardamom pods, and dark russet arcs of cloves.  For a blend with plenty of style, personality, and flavor, brew up Coco Chai No. 5 from Bird and Blend Tea.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Bird and Blend
Description:

When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe famously replied ‘five drops of Chanel No.5.’ We’re not sure about getting you into bed with blonde bombshells, but five drops of Coco Chai No.5 will definitely satisfy your taste buds with its delicious loose leaf blend of spices and smooth coconut.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Arabian Kismet from Swallowtail Tea. . . .

I love black tea with unusual combinations of spices, so I was very excited to try Arabian Kismet from Swallowtail Tea.  This is a blend based around orange pekoe special Assam black tea with added sage and cardamom.

The full flavors of the black tea itself pair perfectly with the fresh and earthy sage, and the sweet and mellow cardamom.  This is one of those teas that will work for any occasion. It has classic black tea for those staunch pekoe drinkers and a little bit of spice for chai lovers.  But without the classic chai spices like cinnamon and ginger, this tea is much more versatile and unexpected.

Sage always makes me think of Thanksgiving, so this feels very much like a fall tea to me.  The cardamom helps that image, bringing up spicy visions of the upcoming winter spice cookies.  This tea smells like a classic kitchen or herb garden, but its flavor combination in a tea blend is a new and exciting change of pace for me.  Great for breakfast or afternoon, or anytime you want to feel a little cozy and a little dreamy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea
Description:

This delightful blend of Assam, sage, and cardamom might make you believe in Kismet after all.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Green Tea Chai by Vahdam Teas

Steeped with a heaping tablespoon of leaves at 175 degrees in about 1 cup of water.

This tea was a new experience for me! I’ve tried lots of flavored green teas, but never one where the green tea was a substitute for black tea in a chai blend. As a result of this tea, I’ve realized how different these spices are outside of a conventional chai context and how much I take the black tea base for granted in chai blends!

As it steeps, I can detect a fragrance of spices; it smells like cinnamon and possibly cloves. The tea liquid isn’t very dark. In fact it’s only achieved a pale honeylike color after it’s finished steeping; it’s a little viscous, with nearly invisible flecks (of cinnamon, perhaps?) swimming in it.

The flavor is very different from any chai I’ve ever tried. The spices, instead of melding with a malty black tea flavor to form a rounded flavor profile, are instead mingling with the bright astringent green tea notes (grassy almost, but not much on the floral side that I can detect). This makes for a very focused flavor overall. It’s highly concentrated in the bright and forward flavor notes and not so much rounded out with the deeper tones that a black tea normally imparts to a chai (in my experience). It’s almost bitter, but then again, I may have oversteeped it a bit–I like my chais strong.

With milk, it’s suddenly not very strong at all. It still has spice flavors, but I’m really missing the black tea base here. And I know you aren’t really “supposed” to put milk in green tea, but that’s what I normally do with chai so I figured why not?

So to sum up, don’t expect this to taste like a more conventional chai! Instead, expect a bright, spicy, focused flavor that’s intended to be enjoyed alone or with a little sweetener; I recommend trying it without milk. In fact, I bet this would make a great iced tea!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Vahdam Teas
Description

A superior blend of fresh green tea from Darjeeling blended with choicest Indian spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove & Black Peppercorns. Discover a smooth fulfilling aroma of fresh greens with delicious undertones of raw spices in every sip. The liquor is bright green with an energizing aroma. A unique chai tea which can be served with or without milk.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Travel the World with #SirStuartBlackAndGreen from #Kent&Sussex Tea Co.

Sometimes I try out unflavored teas with one kind of leaf, and a flavor that all about the purity of the process.  And sometimes I try out teas that are exactly the opposite– just like today’s blend, Sir Stuart Black and Green.

This tea has both black and green tea leaves, three types of flower petals, and rich spices like cardamom, fennel and ginger.  Visually, this blend is full of diverse colors and shapes, and the smell of the dry leaf is luscious and complex.  It smells like someone lit floral incense in a kitchen, where other smells like fennel or orange peel are being mixed together as someone starts cooking.

The flowers are most prominent in the scent of the tea, with bergamot and sweet orange dominating the taste.  The flavors of the tea leaves themselves are minimal: no grassy greens and no bitter blacks.  Instead, the varied ingredients list really dominates the flavor spotlight.

As I drank the tea, more of the unexpected herbs like fennel or cardamom popped up in the taste and smell, though the ginger was slow in arriving.  I finally got some of my favorite buzzy, spicy mouthful from the ginger after I let the teabag steep beyond the recommending steep time.  Overall the blend is sweet without being cloying, and the bright citrus lingers on the tongue without being to tart.
According to Tea & Coffee, this blend is named after the well-travel Sir Stuart Cleary of Cranbrookshire.  With all the varied treasures and eye-catching beauties hidden within this tea blend, it feels like a bounty gathered from exploring the reaches of the world.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Green
Where to Buy: Kent & Sussex Tea Co.
Description:

Sir Stuart a fine Black Tea and Green Tea. A flavoured Tea with hints of Bergamot and Orange. Named after the explorer Sir Stuart Cleary of Cranbrookshire following a trip to the Orient. A beautiful looking loose leaf tea with magical flavours when brewed. A Fruity aroma combined with Spicy Ginger and Fennel create something special and fresh tasting. Ingredients Black Tea, Green Tea, Ginger pieces, Fennel, Cardamom seeds, Natural flavouring, Rose petals and Cornflower blossoms.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Don Quixotea by Novelteas

I steeped one very heaping teaspoon of dry leaves in one cup of 210 degree water for about 4.5 minutes. (I decided to be generous with the amount of leaves I put in, probably because it just smelled so amazing and I was in the mood for something strong.) I could see whole cloves and bits of cinnamon bark in the dry leaves of this tea–lots of them.

I always enjoy trying out new chai blends and seeing which spices come to the front and how the chosen spices blend together and so on. This one seems to be heavy on the spice bits and relatively light on the black tea bits, and the spices include plenty of cinnamon and ginger.

After steeping: Cinnamon does seem to be a prominent flavor, going by the smell of the steeped tea. It’s remarkably light in color for a chai, with a sweet rich smell (not just spicy but deeper and sweeter) and has an orangey tint also.

First sip: As foreshadowed by the scent, some of the spices are sweet! The sweet smoothness is what I notice first. The spiciness isn’t overwhelming and doesn’t hit until the sip reaches the back of the mouth. I think I’m mostly tasting clove, cinnamon, and ginger. (There’s pepper in the blend too but not too much.)

With milk: as expected, this delivers a much more well-rounded cup. It’s still not very spicy though. My personal preference would be to steep this one much stronger next time as I consider it fairly mild when steeped to these specs. And I’d probably steep it in milk instead of steeping it first and then adding milk.

Overall, there’s great flavor here, and as a bonus you don’t have to add sugar because it’s so sweet already.  Plus, it’s organic as well.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  NovelTeas
Description

Join book-lovers and tea-lovers alike and take up your arms to a cup of our traditional organic chai spices –  red cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and the root of ginger.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!