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!

Full Moon Chai from Plum Dexlue. . . .

I often find chai a little bit too aggressive. It’s SO. MANY. SPICES. It’s sometimes bitter, or overbearing with the cinnamon. Many people seem to agree, since mixing milk into chai is the typical approach.

Plum Deluxe wondered: What if chai were combined with… cream? Naturally? Without you having to add sugar or milk in yourself?

As a dessert tea aficionado and someone who travels around a bit, let me tell you, I am ALWAYS on board with such a notion. I don’t always just HAVE milk on me. Sometimes I want to throw some loose leaf in a travel container and GO. I want that sweetness, but not that effort.

This is a good solution to a problem you may have not considered. I’m really happy that this happened. Give it a whirl!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

Full Moon Chai was one of our original blends, now back with even more creative energy.  We’ve taken our classic, signature masala chai and added a splash of vanilla butternut extract. This simple twist adds a depth, warmth, and vibrancy to your traditional chai, and also gives the flavor a hint of sweetness and creaminess without having to add lots of sugar or milk (though we do like this blend prepared as a traditional masala chai or chai latte).

It makes a great pairing for those indoor days where you need something warm and comforting.  It’s also a lovely companion for those moments when you need a high-caffeine blend to give you focus and momentum, and it’s even good for a delicious chai cocktail or three!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Arawak Chai / Pasion Tea

Back in April I went on a mom-cation with my sister.

On the island of Nassau one of my main missions was to find a traditional tea or tisane.

Thanks to Google I found two different stores that sold tea but there didn’t seem to be a specific Nassau blend at either.

I picked up a chai at the first shop and didn’t like the sales tactics used at the second shop so didn’t buy anything there. At the time when I bought the chai I didn’t know what Arawak was.

Apparently the Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples of South America and the Caribbean who, unfortunately, are believed to be extinct (though I am sure some of their heritage lives on in that of their ancestors). Why they decided to name this chai that I am unsure of though.

As far as I can tell it has the same ingredients as most other chai, though the dried cardamom and black pepper pods seem more pronounced. The taste and dry aroma are lovely. A steeping time of at least four minutes is advisable though.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Pasion Teas
Description:

The website is currently under construction

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!

Roasted Almond Chai from Fava Tea Company. . . . . . . .

I was lucky to discover Roasted Almond Chai from Fava Tea Company thanks to a tea trade with fellow Sororitea Sisters, and now this is one if my favorite chai teas.

This is a decaf blend, so I find it most satisfying as a sweet treat to ease me through a rough afternoon or evening. This tea is perfectly both sweet and spicy. The dry leaf in the bag smells exceptionally creamy and a touch fruity, like marzipan candies. In the loose leaf, there are cloves, cinnamon, and huge cardamom pods, promising more spice in the brew.

Brewed, this blend is surprisingly pink, and I had a moment of worry: pink?! Is there hibiscus in here?  I read the label again and saw beetroot as an ingredient but no hibiscus. Taking a sip, I was relieved. The pink color was clearly from the beetroot which added a wonderful natural sweetness that did not get in the way of the other flavors.

The one change I would make is to rename this blend Marzipan Chai, instead of Roasted Almond Chai. There is not much in the way of tasted flavors or pure nut-like flavors. The beetroot and almond make for a blend that is sweet like a  cake with creamy frosting. This tea is driven by its candied almond taste, coupled with the warming spices of cinnamon and cardamom. Even without milk, this tea is so smooth and creamy, a perfect dessert. I will be stocking up on this chai the next chance I get!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Fava Tea
Description:

This is the sweet taste of almond magically blended with rooibos and chai spices. Smooth, delightful and a perfect compliment with dessert. Or in place of dessert! Either way, enjoy!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!