52Teas’ the 12 Teas of Christmas – Day 11-Spoilers!

Day 11!

Christmas Eve already: are you excited?  The penultimate tea of the 12 Teas of Christmas is Caramel Monkey Bread Rooibos.  Monkey Bread is known for its cinnamon sugar and bouncy yeast bread base. This tea has plenty of cinnamon scent as soon as you open the bag.  But the cinnamon is sweet, not too hot or spicy, just the comforting warmth of a kitchen spice cabinet.

Brewed, the caramel notes come forward, enhanced by the natural toasted-sweet flavor of the rooibos.  If I were blind folded, I might guess that this tea flavor was snickerdoodle, with all the cinnamon sugar goodness that I taste.  There is that hint of caramel or caramelized sugar among all the spice. Is there such a thing as caramel- drizzled-snickerdoodles?  If not, this tea is making me think that maybe there should be.

The great part about this blend is that it is a decaf rooibos base, so you can drink it before bed (or as you are setting out the cookies for Santa), and still get some sleep before Christmas morning.  Well, as much sleep as you can with all the excitement and sugar plums dancing in your head!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Red Rooibos
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description:

This is one of the final teas (tisanes) that Frank crafted during his time with 52Teas and I have a wee confession – I hadn’t tried it until a day or two before I blended this batch. I had the tea in my stash – but it was still sealed … never opened! At the time when I received this tea in my subscription package, I was preparing to take over 52Teas: testing samples from my wholesale sources, setting up the website and blending teas. I was so busy back then I was running around like a crazy woman with her hair on fire and to be honest, I really didn’t have time to sit back and enjoy a cuppa. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed most of the samples that I was sent by my wholesale sources, and I definitely was enjoying the teas that I was blending and then taste testing – but I didn’t have any time left to sit back and enjoy a cuppa that wasn’t directly related to taking over the operations of 52Teas.

So I stashed this tea away in my tea cupboard and – forgot about it! Yes, I forgot about this blend completely until someone mentioned that they’d like this tea to be reblended as part of this year’s 12 Teas of Christmas box. So a few weeks ago, I dug out that pouch and tried it out before I attempted to reblend it – so that I could get a fairly good idea of what I was going to do with this blend.

And as I sit here now, sipping on the results of that blending session, I must say that I’m a little bit impressed with myself. I often worry that I’m just not good enough to be a tea blender – but it’s times like now that I realize that I AM good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, I’m worthy of my self-appointed title of “Mad Tea Artist” because this is REALLY GOOD. It’s sweet, caramel-y, with a nice cinnamon note and a bread-y note that tastes a lot like … well, it tastes like freshly-baked monkey bread!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas might be known for the fandom-inspired blends submitted by their users, but the tea company also offers their own seasonal blends.  One of my favorite flavors they have created is a fall blend called Bonfire.

This blend is mainly comprised of honeybush herbal tea, which brings the perfect caramel, woodsy notes to start as a baseline.  If you are wary of red rooibos teas, don’t worry about this blend, the honeybush is much more gentle and less medicinal than the rooibos. The honeybush is paired with just a smidge of smoky black lapsang souchong.  There is little enough lapsang souchong to keep the caffeine level low, and to not overwhelm you with its bacon-like scent. Truly, the smokiness is relaxed and minimal, if you are on the fence, give it a try. Personally, I’ve grown to like smoky teas, so I add an extra scoop of lapsang souchong to the Bonfire loose leaf to really pump up the robustness.

What takes this blend to the next level are all the other herbs and additions.  Apple pieces add some juicy sweetness and their trademark fall flavor. Aniseed and cacao nibs add some dessert tones to make this brew feel like a treat.  Orange peels and cloves bring their wintry spice combination, and red peppercorns add a pop of color and just a hint of cracked pepper flavor.

This tea is delicious on its own, but also goes well with lemon and honey, or could be a tasty starting point for a hot toddy.  The blend is not available all year round, so I always make sure to stock up and make it last.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush and Black
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Description:

Crisp autumn nights call for warmth and comfort and little can better provide them than an autumn bonfire. Behold our bonfire blend: Honeybush hazelnut and cocoa nibs relax and ground you, while a spice blend of aniseed, cinnamon, clove and orange peel offer cozy comfort and zest. Apples and rose hips add soft sweetness while lapsang and red peppercorn offer hints of smoke and the flickering spark of heat. A perfect tea for fireside enjoyment or downtime dreaming.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire Toffee from Bird and Blend Tea Co.

Bonfire Toffee tea from Bird and Blend should be part of everyone’s fall and winter brewing. A full bodied black tea is sweetened with the brown sugar and butter notes of caramel and toffee. The blend stops from being too sweet by the addition of crisp apple and smoky lapsang souchong.

If you aren’t into smoky teas, give this one a try. The smoke is mostly in the scent of the brew, and gets lost beneath black tea and toffee tones in the taste.

This tea feels like taking a walk in the fall. The robust black tea is wrapped around you like a wool scarf, and you can smell the pleasant char of your neighbor’s wood stove on the air. Take a bite out of a fresh apple and follow it up with something sweet, like holiday caramel candy.

I had been curious about trying Bonfire Toffee for its blend of sweet and savory, and the tea does not disappoint. Brew up a cup for your next leaf-peeper trip, or your next winter bonfire.


Here’s the scoop!

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

Traveling tea merchants used to carry tea from east to west,all the way across Russia… well, their horses did anyway! It’s said the campfire smoke would infuse into the loose tea leaves at night creating smoked teas. Add some caramel, apple and toasted cinnamon and you get a spectacular Bonfire Night treat!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Fireside Spice from Tiesta Tea. . . . ,

The holiday season means– okay, well, a lot of things. But one of them is definitely INDULGENCE. And frankly, friends– it gets a little exhausting after a while. My body needs a break from all the sugar and carbs and alcohol and parties and and and– well, you get the picture.

Enter this tea. A delightful hibiscus (don’t run away, hibiscus-haters– it works here!) based with loads of fruit and spice, it’s a perfect ringer for actual mulled wine, but without that liver-taxing alcohol. Even just the dry leaf is impressive on this one: loads of spices, huge bits of cinnamon sticks and fruit all suspended in a beautiful, bright red hibiscus base. Rather than the off-putting and overwhelming tartness that make so many dislike hibiscus, the strong flavors of the spice are actually the perfect balance, and can totally stand up to that infamous pink flower. The tart actual mimicks wine here, giving you that same mouthfeel so ubiquitous with a plummy red.

All the indulgence of the holiday season with none of the negative consequences– sign me up!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Tiesta Tea
Description

This tea is no longer available but could come back for the holiday season.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Green Cinnamon Spice from Fava Tea

Holy hot tamale, Green Cinnamon Spice from Fava Tea is a sweet and fiery brew!  The description of the tea says there are three different types of cinnamon in this blend and you can feel the heat and herbal intensity from all three.

I believe Fava Tea also has a version of this blend with a black tea base.  I find the green tea base appealing. The cinnamon is so powerful on its own, you don’t need the astringency of a black tea to compete with it.  The green tea provides a suitable, subtle background to let the herbs and spices dance center stage.

Beyond the cinnamon, this tea features orange peels and cloves which pair seamlessly with the cinnamon and make the brew naturally full and sweet.  This tea is perfect for lovers of cinnamon candies, or for those who like an extra sensory experience with their tea. Drank hot, the cinnamon spice feels hot and tingly all the way down your throat, providing a comforting warming feeling from within.

I know there are lots of specialty tea brews that come out in the fall and winter, but this delicious brew is available year round.  It is the perfect heat to help with a stuffy nose or sore throat. It is the most intense cinnamon brew to accompany your season dessert, like apple pie.  Feel festive, berry, and bright with a cup of Green Cinnamon Spice.

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

This green tea contains THREE types of cinnamon, sweet cloves, and orange peel. There’s no added sweetener in this tea, but you’d swear there is! The natural sweetness of the cinnamon really shines through!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!