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!

Orange Spice from PaperBoxGoodies. . . .

One of my favorite things with the cold weather is being able to add spice to everything: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, the more the merrier!  One of the best partners to all this spice, is juicy orange and citrus flavors. I love the idea of decorating my home with clove-studded oranges for the holidays to release their sweet and spicy aromas throughout the house.  Not to mention, a nice slice of orange is the perfect garnish for a chai-based hot-toddy, with honey and lemon.

These are all the delicious orange and spice combinations I think of when brewing a cup of Orange Spice from PaperBoxGoodies.  I’m not entirely sure what all is in this brew, since it’s not currently active on the PBG Etsy shop, but I believe it is an herbal blend from its amber color and sweet taste.

The best part of this blend is that the dry leaf does not contain hibiscus, so the tangy, pink herb can’t take over the blend.  The orange is the main ingredient, adding plenty of sweet and tart flavor.  This fruity, juiciness is balanced by a large helping of cinnamon, adding its warm, herbal tones.  I think I see bits of ginger in the dry leaf, but the flavor is very gentle in the actual brew.

Juicy orange is the main flavor, closely followed by warm cinnamon.  Neither ingredient gets too tart or too spicy, and they don’t overpower each other.  It’s hard to go wrong with a classic taste combination like orange and cinnamon, so support a special tea Etsy shop and give one of the PaperBoxGoodies teas a try today.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: PaperBoxGoodies Etsy shop

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

White Christmas from 52Teas. . . .

Imagine a jar of rainbow gumdrops.  These sweets could go one of two ways: fruity, gumdrops, or seasonal spice drops.  Is the dark purple candy grape or anise?  Are the red ones cinnamon or cherry?  Peppermint or pineapple?  Orange or clove?  If you’re not into these herbal-flavored treats, spice drops must be the bane of your existence.  Sassafras instead of lemon?! Fooled again!

I like both kinds of candy drops, for different reasons.  But the one reason I love White Christmas Tea from 52Teas is that it smells and tastes just like a sweet spearmint spice drop.  The dry leaves are strongly fragrant with mint and vanilla, and the tea brews up with the same scents.  The blend smells so sweet and perfectly creamy and minty, you can almost feel the spice drop sugar crystals on your tongue already.

This blend doesn’t feature the icy harshness of pure peppermint, but the gentler more herbal tone of spearmint.  The natural creaminess of the spearmint is complimented by the vanilla notes from marshmallow root, bringing additional sweetness to the blend.  A touch of cocoa and the black tea leaves add robustness to these candy-cane flavors, making the blend strong enough for any cold winter night.

52Teas is known to change their inventory on a regular basis, so I am not sure if this blend is in stock at the moment, but keep an eye out if it pops up in the future.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description:

Here’s our premium black teas blended with peppermint, marshmallow root and organic flavors. I know we’ve done a few marshmallow/mint blends this year, but this might just be the crowning jewel. As a few of our 12 Teas of Christmas sampler purchasers have already commented, the black tea lends a faint chocolate note to the mixture of mint and marshmallow.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Candy Cane from PaperBoxGoodies

Just because the holiday season is behind us doesn’t mean that the time for holiday-themed teas is over!  In the spirit of keeping the good holiday vibes going, I brewed up a cup of Chocolate Candy Cane from PaperBoxGoodies.  I don’t see this flavor listed on the PaperBoxGoodies Etsy shop so I’m not sure of the ingredients, but it looks to be an herbal blend with mint, chocolate chips, and licorice root.

 

I was excited about the herbal nature of this blend.  I love candy cane teas, but they all seem to have a black tea base which makes it hard to drink when I don’t need all the caffeine.  Having an herbal decaf option was just the tea I needed when relaxing and recovering from the busy end of the year.

 

Brewed, this blend is smooth, sweet, and minty.  The dry crispness of the mint is lessened by the licorice root.  Any herbal harshness that sometimes comes with pure mint teas is lessened by the rich chocolate chips.  Minty candy cane is the main flavor, followed by a mild cocoa aftertaste.  The licorice root doesn’t impart a specific flavor, but adds a natural sweetness and a smooth mouthfeel.

 

This is one of those teas that would benefit from a strong brewing and then made into a latte with whipped cream.  I didn’t quite have enough in my sample to go the whole latte route, so I’ll have to try it next time.

 

Overall this was a great decaf candy cane blend that I would try again next holiday season.

 

 

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: herbal

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jack Frost from Bluebird Tea. . . . .

There are a lot of minty candy-cane inspired teas out there this time of year, so I was excited to try a more focused, herbal take on mint tea, with Jack Frost from Bluebird Tea.

 

This herbal blend is mainly spearmint and eucalyptus with a hint of sweeter flavors like coconut and vanilla.  That hint of sweetness makes all the difference– pure spearmint tea has a bit too much icy bite, feeling more like medicine than a calm cup of tea.  Jack Frost was smooth and cool without being too fierce or leaving me frozen.

It might sound odd to drink a mint tea at a hot temperature, but I’ve found it very calming both in my mind and in my cookie-crowded stomach.  Mint is supposedly good for your digestion, so it’s been a nice blend to have on hand with all the rich eating of the holidays.  If nothing else, the crisp, minty feeling on my tongue helps me feel refreshed during the bustle of the winter season.  Since Jack Frost is an herbal blend, it’s naturally decaf and perfect for that before-bed brew.

The first time I brewed this tea, I was a bit baffled to see blue-green glitter in my mug.  Had my holiday crafting spilled over into my tea?  It turns out that the extra sparkle is from the snowflake sprinkles in the dry leaf.  Once heated, the sprinkles melt and add a little shimmer and a little sweetness to the lush, green spearmint.

Jack Frost is a great blend for when you want to clear your mind and have the power and focus of fresh, clean, winter snow.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea
Description:

The mischevious Jack Frost is a crisp, cool cuppa. With icy spearmint, frosty coconut + snowflake sprinkles, Jack Frost will sure nip your nose + toes!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!