Spicy Turmeric Tonic from MEM Tea. . . .

A new specialty shop opened up nearby, and when I poked my head inside I discovered they also served coffee and tea.  On a blustery, cold day I ordered a cup of Spicy Turmeric Tonic from MEM Tea to warm my body and spirit.

This tea was listed as having flavors of cacao, ginger, and cinnamon, all long-time favorites of mine.  Oddly, the turmeric in the name wasn’t listed as a main flavor.  I had this blend brewed hot without milk or sweetener.

As a lover of chai teas, this was a delicious new blend filled with familiar spices.  The cinnamon and ginger were very forward, warming and gently spicy.  The cacao shells gave the blend more body, almost fooling me into thinking it was a black tea instead of an herbal.  The cacao brought its usual sweet-and-savory cocoa notes to balance out the sweet-and-hot ginger.

The turmeric was subtle, appearing as just a touch of earthy spice behind the brighter flavors.  The turmeric does show up in the color of the brew, with its trademark bright yellow ochre color.

Full disclosure, cacao shells don’t have caffeine, but they are stimulants, so this might not be a true decaf blend. Either way, it was a wonderful new take on an herbal chai and I will definitely plan to brew another a cup of Spicy Turmeric Tonic sometime soon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: MEM Tea

This unique and healthful blend of Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon and Cacao is rich and smooth, with warm spicy flavors and a zesty finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

On the Rebound – Teavana-Styled Rebound Teas from Adagio Teas. . . .

Late last year, Adagio teas offered a free set of “rebound teas” for recent customers of David’s Tea and Teavana.  While David’s Tea isn’t going anywhere as far as I know, Teavana has been closing its doors and sold out of the final stock in its online shop.  Adagio’s rebound teas were blended to be familiar to tea lovers from those other shops in the hopes of encouraging these tea-fanatics to try out more teas from Adagio’s selection.

Now, I am a little biased because I got my loose-leaf start with Adagio, but I feel as though different tea suppliers have different specialities, and I’ve enjoyed tea from both David’s Tea and Teavana.  David’s Tea and Teavana tend to have more specialized themed blends.  They are a great choice when you want a tea that tastes like a peanut butter cup or an over-the-top tropical peach iced tea. Not to mention, they have some very cute tea tins, mugs, and accessories to jazz up your tea shelf.

Adagio’s Rebound Sampler featured 5 teas (though they are adding new rebound blends all the time, see their listing of comparable teas here)

Teavana had a few popular peach teas, so this sampler has two peach teas of its own: Peach Bellini and Peach Serenity.   They are subtly different, with Peach Bellini focusing on more tropical flavors like mango and papaya, and Peach Serenity with more herbal ingredients like lemon verbena and chamomile.  In both blends, the strong peach flavoring drives the smell and taste.  I think these would be best suited for cold brews, where the sweet candy peach flavor can add sweetness without sugar.  These teas are great if you are a fan of peach rings candy.  I’m always in favor of having more herbal blends, but I think I prefer the more subtle peach taste in Adagio’s peach black tea or peach oolong.

Raja Oolong is an oolong blend with lots of delicious inclusions like chicory, ginger, and cocoa nibs.  Likewise, White Ayurvedic Chai  is a white tea with a long list of flavorful spices and fruits, like cloves, pineapple, lemongrass and cinnamon.  Despite the varied ingredient listing for both blends, the strong cinnamon flavoring takes over.  These teas would be great for fans of Adagio’s hot cinnamon spice tea, or for fans of Hot Tamales candies.  I’m all for a spicy tea, but I wish there was more variety in the spice.  It would be great to have some sweet ginger heat or herbal black pepper spice share the spotlight. I would recommend trying Adagio’s original White Chai blend as another take on the white tea and spice combination.

Samurai Mate is a sweet and tropical mate blend, with lots of sweet papaya flavoring.  The fruit pairs well with the green yerba mate, but it is a little one-note.  This might be more subtle when iced, not to mention a cold brew would suit the tropical fruit theme.  Not the blend for me, but a very striking fruity blend.

If you were able to take advantage of the rebound deal, I hope all the Teavana and David’s Tea fans out there enjoyed your first taste of Adagio.  I think Adagio’s strengths lay with their more naturally flavored or unflavored teas. Let’s not forget their lively fandom blends where customers design themed flavors using the tea blender tools.  If there’s a discontinued tea flavor that you’re missing, why not try your hand at creating a signature blend of your own to bring it back?

Here’s to a healthy rebound in your loose leaf tea life!

Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy: Adgaio Teas

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!

Jump Start You Day with This Blend from Adagio Teas

Jump start your car with a blast of electricity.  Jump start your brain and your day with this high caffeine cuppa!  For tea lovers everywhere, it’s no secret that mate tea is a powerful pick-me-up, and often cited as a great alternative to coffee.  Well Jump Start blend from Adagio teas has toasted mate and so much more.

There’s not just mate, there’s traditional black tea in the blend as well, a staple of every breakfast blend around.  But let’s take this caffeine level a step further:  kola nuts.  Kola nuts are caffeine-containing tree nuts, previously used as an ingredient in sodas, hence where we get the term “cola.”  So there’s caffeine from the mate, from the black tea, and even from the kola nut inclusion.  This tea should come with a warning, like roller coasters: don’t brew this tea if you have a heart condition.  You’ll be rocketing out of your socks in no time!

So how do all of these ingredients taste?  The toasted mate brings roasty, earthy, dry hay notes, which serve as a compliment to the more traditional boldness of the black tea.  With additions like smooth, sweet cocoa nibs, and warm, spicy cinnamon bark, it’s hard not to imagine the kola nuts adding their own kind of cola sweetness.  I brewed this blend black, how I take most of my tea, but it is bold enough to hold up its flavor, even if softened with a bit of milk.

This will be an amazing tea for those of you who just can’t seem to get enough caffeine.  Skip your espresso-laced red-eye cold brew coffee, and just brew a cup of Jump Start instead!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Herbal
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas
Description: Mate, Kola, and Black tea make up this well-caffeinated blend to make your mornings deliciously efficient.

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

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!