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 Pekoe Special from Swallowtail Tea

When the tea has “special” in the name, it starts with a lot of expectations to live up to.  Good thing Orange Pekoe Special from Swallowtail Tea truly is a special mug of tea.

Right away, I was taken in by the scent of the dry tea leaves.  This is a pure black tea, not flavored, not a chai, and yet the leaves smelled sweet and earthy and strongly of cinnamon.  It was so comforting and flavorful it was hard to take my face out of the bag.

When I brewed this tea, the cinnamon took a backseat and more of the traditional black tea flavors came to the forefront.  The tea was bright and crisp, with just a touch of citrus that says to me it would be delicious if served with a wedge of lemon.  All of these forward flavors were quickly chased by smoother, toasted tones, almost malty and starchy like a not-too-sweet dessert.

The brewed tea smelled like crushed leaves and old wood, with just a whiff of woodsmoke.  The more I drank the tea the more the smoky notes came forward. This isn’t full-on chimney-bacon smokiness like you find in some lapsang souchong teas, this was more delicate, like the appealing sugar char of a creme brulee, or the faded campfire smell after the logs have long gone out.

All these natural flavors like wood and smoke and leaves in Orange Pekoe Special really put me in the mood for fall.  With a beautifully illustrated tin and such a rich flavor experience, this is now the tea I imagine when I think of someone stumbling upon a cabin in the woods and the owner pulls out “the good tea” for a special occasion.

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

Grown at the base of the Himalayas, this tea was first discovered growing wild in the jungles during the mid 1800’s. Assam is known for its deep, burgundy-red cup and pungent but sweet-starchy flavor. This is India’s most popular variety because of its intense flavor and ability to mix well with milk and honey.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Root Down Tisane from Swallowtail Teas

The colorful label for Root Down Tisane from Swallowtail Tea features a yellow and orange sun on the horizon.  It must be a sunset, as this tea is perfect for after dinner or before bed.

This tisane is driven by licorice root.  I’m a fan of licorice in all its forms, including as a root in herbal teas.  Licorice root is a natural sweetener, adding a bit of spicy anise flavor along with its sugary perk.  Licorice is also a throat soothing herb, so it brings a very smooth mouthfeel and soothing sensation.

Beyond the bold licorice, this blend features some cinnamon warmth and just a ghost of mint and orange peel.  There are also dandelion root and nettle leaf in the blend, but they are more for color and health benefits than taste.  I wish the mint and citrus were just a little bit bolder to add more flavor texture to the brew.

Root Down Tisane would be a great blend for those who are tired of herbal teas having ginger, chamomile, or even rooibos, as none of these ingredients are included.  This blend is all licorice and herbs, and is a nice change of pace for a naturally caffeine free blend at bedtime. I’ll have to save the rest of my tea sample for when I need to set down some roots and snuggle in for the night.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea (Red Rooster Coffee)
Description:

This signature tisane was artfully crafted as a warming and supportive infusion. Perfect as an after dinner treat.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Stress Less from Lipton. . . .

I have to say, I was surprised when I first saw this Lipton tea. The branding and packaging was beautiful. It seems like Lipton is really striving to redefine their brand.

Anyway – this tea is a blend of chamomile, lavender, and cinnamon. When I opened it up, it reminded me of cinnamon swirl toast. The cinnamon was the most prominent but it was then mellowed out by the chamomile. I didn’t get a lot of lavender.

I steeped this in boiling water for about 5 minutes. I’m happy to say that it tasted just the way it smelled. I know it’s a bit odd, but it really had the taste of cinnamon toast! It’s a bit “dry”, so I think that quality combined with the cinnamon is what does it. I still didn’t really find the lavender in there, but the tea did have an almost floral finish.

I was surprised at how much I like this tea! If you’re in need of a quick and sweet cup, this is a great option. Bonus – since it’s a Lipton tea, it would probably be easy to find at your local store. I know that I wouldn’t hesitate to steep up many more cups of this!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Lipton
Description

Relax, rewind, then press play again with Lipton Stress Less Caffeine-Free Herbal Supplement, containing cinnamon, chamomile, and lavender. Stress Less is a comforting, cozy herbal infusion to help you unwind*. Carefully selected botanicals are blended with lavender essential oil that make every cup delicious. Enjoy a daily cup or two of Lipton Stress Less to supplement your varied, balanced diet.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf. . . .

Country Chai Spice from The Cozy Leaf already made me feel warm and relaxed just from the name.  Makes me think of being under a quilt out at a cabin, maybe beside a warm fire. Beyond the name, this tea had a surprisingly pleasant long list of spices in its ingredients list.  Cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, I expect, but not all chai teas comes with cloves and anise, and the never seem to come with fennel. What a lovely change of pace.

Brewed, this is a sweeter chai, thanks to a hearty serving of anise and cinnamon.  The anise isn’t strong enough to make this a black jelly bean chai, but it does add its token throat-soothing, candy-like properties.

Much to my surprise, the ginger and clove take a back seat in this tea, subtle enough that you might miss them if you’re not paying attention.  The fennel and cardamom are gentle and earthy, and add a much needed almost-savory pairing to the anise and cinnamon.

Just when I’ve thought that I’ve tried every chai tea I can think of, I find something new.   I look forward to getting cozy with another cup of Country Chai Spice from the Cozy Leaf sometime soon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Cozy Leaf
Description:

Full-bodied black tea chai made with real chai spices of rich cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, and sweet anise and clove for a healthy and delicious treat.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!