Wildest Mints from Story of My Tea. . . .

Sometimes I can’t believe I haven’t tried a combination of some simple, favorite ingredients.  Wildest Mints from the Story of My Tea blends peppermint, clove, and licorice into an herbal brew.  Three simple, flavorful ingredients, no added flavoring, no caffeine. Wildest Mints is a great herbal blend to keep in your cabinet for soothing mint with little something extra.

Story of My Tea recommends this brew be iced.  Drinking it cold enhances the already refreshing rush of brewed peppermint and is just the right flavor for an especially hot day.  The licorice and cloves add some herbal sweetness and bring more texture to the feeling of this tea on your tongue and throat.

I also like this as a hot brew, maybe as an after dinner cup with plenty of peppermint to help with digestion.  When warm, the peppermint brings a little creaminess to the cup along with its familiar cool, crispness. The cloves are more prominent in a warm brew, and I adore their dark and spicy aftertaste and buzzy mouthfeel.  As always, the licorice is sweet and soothing.

Who knew there could be so much going on with just three classic ingredients?  Story of My Tea clearly did!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Story of My Tea
Description:

The main ingredient of this calming blend is peppermint, this herb has several millennia of history. There are records that show Peppermint was used by the ancient Egyptians around 1,000 B.C. The Romans grew peppermint gardens for its use as a digestive aid they also used it as a grown cover between the stepping stone pathways. The Japanese valued it so highly that they carried peppermint in small silver boxes that hung from their belt. Peppermint was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 as a hybrid between water mint and spearmint. Today this plant is cultivated in many regions of the world.

The second ingredient is licorice root, a plant native to southeast Europe and southwest Asia. It brings a natural sweetness to this blend and is valued by both eastern and western medicine for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and “harmonizing” properties.
Finally, the cloves. These aromatic dried flower buds used in Asian, African, Mexican, Near and Middle East cuisine add just the right spice balance to this blend.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chinese Five Spice from 52Teas. . . . .

I love spicy teas, so when I saw that 52Teas has a special spiced blend for the Chinese New year, I had to try it.  Chinese Five Spice from 52Teas is one of my favorite chai blends I’ve tried in a while. In the dry leaf, you can smell the Szechwan peppercorns, adding a little heat and a little tingly, earthy ground pepper scent.

The peppercorns are well-balanced with the sweeter spices like anise and ginger.  The orange peels are specifically mandarin oranges, and there’s something distinct in the citrus flavor that makes it feel different than the usual orange notes. Finally, there are also plenty of cloves that add their own sweet-spice, almost making the dry tea leaves have a fragrance like Dr. Pepper or Moxie soda.

Brewed, the black tea really shines and shows off its quality, tippy tea leaf origins.  Somehow both smooth and tart, it makes the pepper and orange pop on my tongue but without any spicy after-burn on my throat.  There is still a very full-flavored scent in my mug with cloves and ginger, but it’s not sweat-inducing spicy in taste, very drinkable.  No honey or milk needed (though you can always add them if you love it), the blend is well-balanced right out of the bag.

I ordered the sample size but I’ve already finished it, so I’ll have to put the full size bag in my shopping cart soon.  This is a tasty, unique chai for spicy tea lovers everywhere.


Here’s the scoop!

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

Since China is a very important part of what I do (since most of my tea comes from China!), I decided it was important to do something to celebrate the ringing in of the Chinese New Year this year (The Year of the Dog)! I started with two black Yunnan teas – a Yunnan Black Gold and a tippy Assamica grown in the Yunnan Province – and added dried mandarin wedges and the whole spices of a Chinese 5 Spice blend: Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, Fennel and Szechwan peppercorns. Then I added just a wee bit of ginger to enhance the peppery notes just a little. The result is a cuppa that is a little bit sweet, a little bit savory and a little bit spicy! It’s a really nice, round flavor! The mandarin orange flavor is bright and adds a nice touch to the spices here. It’s kind of like an orange flavored chai – Chinese style! I’m really happy with how this one came out – the spices are strong enough to be inviting but don’t blow out the taste buds with the spice – and the mandarin is really lovely: sweet and juicy!

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
Description

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!

Healthy Wellness Tea from Simpson and Vail. . . . Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana) – Yoga Herbal Tea

I’ve been wanting to try Simpson & Vail’s Yoga Teas for a while so when a bag labeled “Swadhisthana” was in the most recent shipment from S&V I did a little ‘Snoopy Dance’ for sure!

The Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana), the seat of life, is located in the center of the abdomen. It is associated with the color orange and symbolized by the six-petal lotus flower. The Sacral Chakra is the seat of our creative and sexual energy and is associated with what our bodies need.

When in balance, the Sacral Chakra, will enable us to accept and solve the challenges of life in a creative manner and allow us to feel compassionate and friendly. It will enable us to express our emotions and connect us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement.

I have done a lot with a trio of chakras the past year or two. My personal trio is the Red, Orange, and Yellow! I have plant based resin coated balance crystals that I have necklaces made out of and also have the yellow and orange balancing cones on each end of my desk.

Some may think this is all ‘hippie dippie’ stuff but I don’t mind. I’ve been called a hippie on more than one occasion and I wear the label others give me with a smile on my face!

What I will say about this herbal tisane and yoga tea is that it’s a harmonious blend of herbs that features a golden cup with a light earthy, spicy flavor and a delicate lemon and mint aftertaste. Simpson and Vail suggests says to connect to this energy center by trying new ways of expressing yourself creatively through dance, art, writing or music which is pretty much my daily life in both work and play.

Ingredients include Orange Peel, Rosehips, Annatto Seed, Cloves, Allspice, Organic Peppermint & Organic Lemon Grass.

The Orange is what shines here – first and foremost – and rightfully-so! The seed, clove, and spice are prominent as well. The Peppermint and Lemongrass pair up for a creative take of its own. This was incredibly satisfying, comforting, bright, juicy, and energizing! LOVED IT!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

The Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana), the seat of life, is located in the center of the abdomen. It is associated with the color orange and symbolized by the six-petal lotus flower. The Sacral Chakra is the seat of our creative and sexual energy and is associated with what our bodies need.

When in balance, the Sacral Chakra will enable us to accept and solve the challenges of life in a creative manner and allow us to feel compassionate and friendly. It will enable us to express our emotions and connect us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement.

This harmonious blend of herbs has a golden cup with a light earthy, spicy flavor and a delicate lemon and mint aftertaste. Connect to this energy center by trying new ways of expressing yourself creatively through dance, art, writing or music. 3 oz. box.

Ingredients:
Orange Peel, Rosehips, Annatto Seed, Cloves, Allspice, Organic Peppermint & Organic Lemon Grass.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea by New Mexico Tea Company

I steeped 1 tsp of this tea for 5 minutes in one cup of 212 degree water.

First of all, this tea isn’t kidding when it says “hot.” (Currently I’m able to smell the cinnamon flavor through the bag even though I double-bagged it, which means it has about the same strength as lapsang souchong). You can clearly see, when measuring it out, that there’s tons of cinnamon in the tea leaves. The ingredients list says it has natural and artificial flavorings too in addition to the three types of cinnamon–I didn’t know three types of cinnamon existed, did you? But apparently they do.

I don’t expect the black tea flavor to come through much at all at this point (it’s probably mainly there for caffeination purposes.)

It smells very spicy and strong as it steeps, too. After steeping I note that it has a very dark brown, fittingly cinnamon-ish color. It’s nearly opaque and has bits of dissolved cinnamon in it. Kind of like spiced cider. It also has a faintly sweet cider-ish smell, but of coursewithout the apple factor. (It does have clove and orange peel though, so that’s probably why it’s reminding me of cider.)

First sip: yes, it’s quite sweet and quite spicy. And no, I don’t really taste the black tea at all. There is a slight bit of astringency, but I’m not sure if it’s from the black tea or from the cinnamon. There’s a depth to the cinnamon flavor, which is probably caused by the blending of several types of cinnamon and cinnamon flavorings to create a more complex cinnamon blend rather than one that hits you all in a wave. It’s very effective, too. It’s like a tour of cinnamon.

With milk (no sugar needed as it’s already sweet): it’s creamier, of course, but the milk doesn’t really bring out the tea flavor the way it usually does with spicy teas (though maybe there’s a hint). The excellently warming, invigorating cinnamon flavor isn’t quelled by the milk either, though perhaps a bit tamed.

Overall I like this tea very much both with milk and without. I’d recommend trying it both ways to see which strikes your fancy the most.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  New Mexico Tea Company
Description

.This blend brews very sweet even though no sugar is added. A cinnamon lover’s dream come true. A combination of hearty Chinese and Indian black tea and invigorating cinnamon.
Many cinnamon teas have a watery aftertaste due to the use of low grade teas. The black tea here has the stamina to last through the whole tasting process

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!