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!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Genmaicha from 52Teas

Genmaicha was a type of tea that I came to later in my tea-drinking life.  I didn’t yet understand the toasty magic of having puffed rice brewed alongside a nutty green tea.  Since then I’ve been on the genmaicha train and I don’t plan to leave. 52Teas has a great variety of genmaicha teas, like banana marshmallow or rice pudding.  This time I’m trying Pumpkin Spice Latte Genmaicha from 52Teas.

In addition to the expected green tea and puffed rice, this blend contains pumpkin pieces, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  The peppery allspice and herbal nutmeg make this tea smell specifically like autumn and not just your everyday chai spices.

Brewed, this blend is exceptionally well-balanced.  There are the sweet flavors of a pumpkin spice latte, and a little warmth and depth from the spices, but they don’t drown out the toasty comfort of the original genmaicha.

As much as I love pumpkin spice everything, this might be one of my favorite takes on the flavor.  The brew is creamy without being cloying, spicy without feeling generic, and the genmaicha base makes me feel so cozy and easygoing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be ordering those PSL coffee lattes when they come back on the menu, but I’ll also be rooting for 52Teas to reblend this genmaicha beauty just in time for pumpkin season.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: 52Teas

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!

Hood River Rooibos from Beach House Teas. . . . .

Hood River Rooibos from Beach House Teas is a delicious decaf herbal blend with rooibos, ginger, and honeycrisp apples. I love the fall, and sometimes I love extra honey sweet apple teas with lots of cinnamon and flavoring, but Hood River Rooibos has me re-thinking what I want in my herbal apple teas this season.

This tea is simple and delightful.  The woodsy rooibos is flavorful without caffeine or bitterness. A touch of ginger root adds just enough sweet spice to make you think you’re drinking something special and seasonal.

The honeycrisp apples are really the ingredient that shines. The naturally sweet fruit flavor of the apples doesn’t need any sugar or honey to taste indulgent and refreshing.  Because there aren’t any powerful spices like cinnamon or cloves, you get to taste all the apples for themselves. Even a chai-lover like me doesn’t miss the cinnamon in this blend.

This tea makes me nostalgic for the fresh fall apples in the orchard of my hometown.  This is the perfect blend to warm you up when your picking apples off the tree, or when you’re just daydreaming about fall and all its wonderful flavors.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Beach House Teas
Description:

Hood River Rooibos is 100% organic rooibos tea blended with ginger root and Pacific Northwest Honeycrisp Apples. This combination of sweet apple mixed with the heat of ginger and the earthy flavor of rooibos is perfect for the winter season.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Candied Yams from Bluebird Tea

There’s something supremely fun about unusual seasonal blends that only come out at the most festive times of year. When I heard about the blend, Candied Yams from Bluebird Tea, I had to get a taste.  

So, Candied Yams?  I’ve had my fair share of mashed sweet potatoes (yams) and squash with butter and brown sugar, and the sweet, earthy, orange mash is a delicious side to any holiday dinner.  (We’ve even forgotten to put the sweet potatoes out during dinner one year, and ate it with spice cookies during dessert, and they were still a winner).  No wonder I like the cinnamon and nutmeg alongside the yams in this tea blend.  

This tea blend is going for an even sweeter version of sweet potatoes; the kind that were baked in a casserole and topped with marshmallows.  Cooking with marshmallows seems like the most nostalgic, American ideal, like putting marshmallows in ambrosia salad.  All you need to know is that this tea also has mini marshmallows, and plenty of them to make the tea leaves look festive and the blend taste sugary-sweet.  

Beyond the carrot-like yam sweetness, this brew also has a fair bit of tartness, like red cranberry, which comes from the small dash of hibiscus in the blend.  This red-berry flavor adds a touch of mulled wine flavor alongside the sweet earthiness and light spice.  I figure that if my family can put orange flavored dried cranberries in their Thanksgiving stuffing then this flavor profile makes some sense in this tea.  

Don’t worry if you’re more excited about the yams than the cranberries, the yams are the driving force of this blend, most noticeable in the scent and aftertaste.  After each sip, I get the sweet and starchy potato flavors, reminding me a bit of carrot cake with walnuts.  As the initial sweetness fades on my tongue, the brew has a great, mellow, nutty, taste.  

If you’re a fan of weird holiday brews, I’d recommend you pick up a sample of Candied Yams before the sweet-potato-yam season passes.  And if you get super inspired, you can even bake a marshmallow-yam casserole to accompany your cup of tea.


Here’s the scoop!

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

Always looking forward to those sweet candied yams at Thanksgiving? Wish you had an excuse to enjoy ’em all year round? We hear you!  Now you can get into the festive spirit with this Limited Edition holiday tea – it’s Thanksgiving in a cup!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!