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!

A Unique Pumpkin Chai from Love Tea

As soon as the weather turns a little cooler, or when I just get tired of summer, I decide that it’s pumpkin season and start looking for all things pumpkin spice. I love the warming cinnamon and ginger, the herbal clove, cardamom, and allspice, and the general sweet juiciness of pumpkin puree.  Each pumpkin spice product has its own blend of sweet and spicy, which makes it all the more fun to try them all.  

This time, I tried Pumpkin Chai from Love Tea.  I got a chance to try this company’s more summery blends earlier in the year, and really enjoyed what they had to offer, so I thought I’d try their version of my favorite fall flavor.  This Pumpkin Chai really stands out from other teas and coffees with the same name.  Love Tea’s blend has lots of chai spice and pumpkin flavor, but it also has prominent citrus flavors.  

In addition to the crisp black tea base and warm spices, this blend has hibiscus, orange, rosehips, and lemongrass.  These ingredients set this apart from other pumpkin blends, and it offers a great change of pace to have the tart kiss of citrus alongside the usual herbs and spices.  The hibiscus bring enough tart red fruit flavor, that this almost feels more like a mulled wine-flavored tea.  The oranges and cloves together make for a delicious cold-weather flavor combination that often pops up in winter-themed candles and baked goods as the season goes on.  

If you think you have tried every pumpkin spice that the world has to offer, try Pumpkin Chai from Love Tea.  Even beyond the Halloween, the orange and spice flavors will warmly guide you into the winter season.  

 


Here’s the scoop!

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

Our 2016 Brillliant Winter Blends started with this one.    Put your Pumpkin Chai Latte on notice!   This is all the flavor without the coffee.  A black tea blend with Izmir Chai Spice all rolled into the perfect winter warmer.   Serve this with a splash of milk (or flavored creamer) and a dash of sugar and your friends will never believe you are drinking tea.   Start your holiday shopping now and get in the spirit with us.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Apple and Cinnamon from Teapigs. . . .

Recently I ordered the “cheeky” sample set from Teapigs and got a small taste of a dozen of their teas.  One of my favorites from the bunch was Apple & Cinnamon. When the weather gets cool, my apple and cinnamon consumption grows exponentially, (I mean, for breakfast I’m exclusively eating these apple pie overnight oats).  And this tea is my new obsession for an herbal evening brew.

Apple & Cinnamon tea from Teapigs is fitting into my autumn menu perfectly.  This herbal blend is all fruit and herbs, no rooibos or honeybush or decaf tea leaves.  Lots of little yellow cubes of dry apples, sprigs of cinnamon, and blackberry leaves.  The tea brews up a pale amber color, but is jam-packed with sweet, apple-pie flavors.

This tea does “apple spice” better than every limited edition snack-cakes or seasonal scented candles that are on the shelves this time of year.  This brew is juicy and full of authentic, fresh apple flavors, with plenty of the spicy warmth of cinnamon sticks.  My sample from Teapigs only included two tea bags so I’ll have to place an order for a big bag of loose leaf.  I could see this tea being used as a healthier alternative to mulled apple cider, or used in baked goods to add a gentle apple spice infusion.

If you’re having trouble getting into the autumn season, brew a cup of this herbal tea and relax into your favorite sweater and get ready to watch the leaves change color.  Don’t worry, this tea will keep you warm and comfy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Teapigs
Description:

Whether its in grandma’s pie, giant muffins or American pancakes nothing beats the flavour of sweet juicy apple with punchy cinnamon spice. It’s the perfect combination for a lovely fruity, punchy and spicy tea. Thanks go to the team at Olive and Bean, one of our lovely stockists in Newcastle who suggested this blend of apple and cinnamon.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Anything but Basic – Louisa May Alcott from Simpson and Vail

There is nothing better than sharing a hot cuppa with hot ladies. Wait, did that came out wrong? I mean strong, independent, educated ladies. Yeah, that’s who I’d have tea parties with! So, I invited two amazing students from my “Women’s Contributions to Science” class for a tea party. And, what better tea to drink than one inspired by the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott.

Simpson and Vail created fandom teas for several authors, and this green blend has a soft spice scent with the dried apple bits – is it nutmeg that it reminds us of? Pine? As we brew up this pumpkin pie colored treat, we bring up recent TED talks, STEM, swiping right… Hey, just because we love Autumn doesn’t make us totally basic! And neither is this literary tea – it’s good for multiple infusions and it builds flavor as you drink it. There is a midweight mouthfeel, and a certain sweetness from the Rose that lingers into the aftertaste.

It’s a heartwarming blend, and we have high spirits for the coming equinox, including brainstorming for Halloween costumes. If our Louisa May tea was alive today, we picture her costumed as T.Swift in a flannel, and this tea is the perfect embodiment of that.  Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve been inspired to go crochet a scarf for some eligible but aloof bachelor.


 

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy:   Simpson & Vail
Description:

Early in Little Women, while visiting a sick Laurie, Jo says that her sister Meg’s blancmange is made “very nicely.” Later, her own attempt turns out “lumpy” and accompanied by strawberries that were “not as ripe as they looked.” Our blend follows Meg’s example and is almost, as Laurie says, “too pretty to [drink].” Combining almond and strawberry flavors, this blend brews to a delicious tea that is fruity and aromatic. It manages to be both sweet and light thanks to the Chunmee green tea base and the gentle floral notes added by the rose petals.

Ingredients: Green tea, apple pieces, flavoring, strawberry pieces and rose petals.

Certified Kosher

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire in a Cup: Smoky Spice from 52Teas

As we endure the last cold nights of the season, it seemed the perfect time to brew up a cup of Smoky Spice from 52Teas.  This blend combines two of my favorite cold-weather sensations: woodsmoke and cardamom. Nothing quite makes me feel as cozy and nostalgic as holding a hot cup of spicy tea, with the smell your neighbor’s wood stove on the wind.

Growing up in New England in a family with an Eastern European heritage, it seemed like we were always having winter bonfires and mulled cider or tea, celebrating some equinox or natural deity.  These winter memories hit hard when I stuck my nose in the bag of these tea leaves, and I was caught up in the heat of the fire and the warmth of the spices.

52Teas does a great job with their smoky blends, the smoke is not too savory or bacon-like, just the perfect charcoal-nutty waft of roasting logs on the fire.  The smoke is this blend is balanced, with a solid black tea base and a generous scoop of cardamom pods and vanilla beans, with no one flavor coming on too strong.

Drinking this tea is like sitting next to the fireplace and eating snappy spice cookies, or sipping on a spiced tea from your thermos out in the snow, watching a bonfire crackle away. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for this blend when the weather turns again in the fall and you smell that first wisp of wood smoke on a crisp, cool day.


Here’s the scoop!

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

This tea actually began as my Masterpiece Chai.  While I was blending the spices, I toasted my cumin and I think either the cumin was especially fresh (not a bad thing at all) or I used too much cumin (much more likely) but the resulting blend ended up tasting strongly of smoky cumin.  So I decided to add some Lapsang Souchong to amplify the smoky notes and create a Smoky Spice blend.  This is a chai with a pleasant smoky tone – it’s not overly smoky – which is fine with me because I’m not a huge fan of a strong smoky essence.  This has just the right level of smoke with a pleasant spicy note that isn’t too spicy, and it’s a little sweet and a little savory.  It’s really nice.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!