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!

Easy Like Sunday Morning from Plum Deluxe. . . . .

A love letter to this delightful, chocolate-y lavender tea, from Mary (a fan).

Dearest chocolate-lavender honeybush, you unexpectedly tricky surprise. Prior to our first meeting, did I think you might be a little much? Perhaps– and yet, I added you to my tea order regardless. And when you arrived, did I not shove you to the kind-of-back of my tea cabinet, purposefully ignoring you a little bit until the time was right? YES. And YET: when your brewing time arrived, did I know we’d soon fall in tea-sipper-and-tea-leaf love? Certainly not. Did I assume your notes of chocolate would be that strange combination so often found in chocolate teas, that of overwhelming, fake, and flat– all at once? Did I doubt that you’d be the one in a million to change my mind and actually make me believe that could chocolate tea could be delicious? I mean– I hoped. But I was skeptical.

(Interlude: I’m well aware that if this were a REAL love letter, there sure would be a lot of caveats in my profession of love. Let’s be grateful that tea isn’t a sentient love-letter-recipient.)

OH, but you chocolate lavender tea– you are just perfect. You’re mild and sweet, comforting and cozy and rich just as a chocolate tea should be, but rarely is. You require no added sweetness, but you’re a match made in heaven with a dollop of decadent coconut cream on top. You’re the standard I now hold all other chocolate teas against– this is now a much, much higher bar than it ever had been before.

Dear chocolate lavender honeybush tea, you truly are as easy as a Sunday morning. And any Sunday that involves chocolate is a win by me. Mmm.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

When we launched our line of hot chocolate blends, we found our favorite flavor was chocolate and lavender.  The rich decadence of the chocolate was enhanced by a tiny flourish of floral calm.  So that’s when we realized it would make the perfect herbal tea!

Everything feels easier after a calm cup of this blend.  Honeybush tea and cacao nibs are paired with fresh Oregon lavender to make a dreamy cup of perfection.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Healthier Childhood Fave: Fruit Punch from The NecessiTeas. . . . .

Fruit Punch tea from The NecessiTeas totally smells like a juice I’d have had as a kid…. Not sure if I’m very into it now as an adult though, as there is an grape additive that isn’t quite doing it for me, but we know with teas,  smells can be deceiving. There looks to be more oolong tea leaves than fruits/herbs, which is always a plus.

It brews into quite a beautiful golden pear liquor, I’m so so glad this does not include hibiscus’ neon magenta “punch” color, kudos to the maturity shown with this modernizing twist. Fruit Punch need not be just for children anymore 🙂

OoOoo it tastes very different than it smells! Actually there’s a really beautiful flavor transition through the different fruit flavors, a warm strawberry that becomes citrus. I love the playful complexity of this oolong choice. I want to personify it as similar to me, older and wiser but secretly musing on what shenanigans I can expect at the next high school reunion.  I  think the lemongrass brings some brightness and keeps it away from the saccharine extreme I expected from a “childish” seeming name… yeah, yeah, I’m judgy with names, moving along. There is a short and sweetish aftertaste, even before I added stevia. This blend is good for a resteep, and despite my first-whiff-misgivings, it’s really pretty enjoyable. Aptly deemed a necessary tea when catching up with a school days pal and feeling nostalgic.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: The Necessiteas

This blend brings back childhood memories of me at the pool with a red stained smile on my face. What is even better about this tea, you don’t have to have a red stained smile to be happy. Fruit punch is a spring and summer must have around here! If it’s a party, shower or barbecue, they just seem to go hand in hand. So obviously I had to create a punch inspired tea. If you’re anything like me and enjoyed that sweet red punch as a kid then you’ll love this refreshing combo of strawberry, cherry and orange.

Your tea is hand packaged in an airtight tin at no additional charge.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

White Cap Chai from Beach House Teas. . . .

When I see those lovely spiced teas, I always get so jealous.  Being one that just doesn’t care for overly spiced teas or chai blends, I always feel like I’m left out of some cool kid’s tea drinking club.   I look at them longingly and try them on occasion, but always find myself having to add in a ton of agave or cream to help offset the brew.  And yes, I know that is part of the chai tea latte set up, but I want to be able to taste the actual tea itself, not just the add ins.

Enter White Cap Chai from Beach House Teas.

First off, this chai tea doesn’t have your traditional tea base.  Instead of having a black or even green tea base, this blend has a lovely white peony tea base that sets the tone in a more subtle way.  No fear of having a very bitter or astringent brew where you have to add in sweeteners or cream- no, this tea base has an all around lighter feel.

Add in your traditional spices like fennel seed cloves, peppercorns, cardamom pods, star anise, ginger, orange peel and my favorite part- cinnamon chips- not just a dusting of cinnamon but honest to goodness large enough so you can see cinnamon chips.  I should say that about all of the ingredients.  No need to squint your eyes to see that these inclusions are high quality and might I add organic.

The brewing parameters on the package had me a bit scared-1 heaping tsp with 6-8 oz- allow to steep for 6-8 minutes at 212F.  White tea is more delicate so I was worried about brewing at boiling but after timer went off at 6 minutes worth of steeping, I was so very happy I did.  I should have know that Beach House Teas would have my back and not steer me wrong.

Right out of the gate there is this lush slightly floral silky feel and some very bright flavors that provide this wonderful first sip.  I instantly fell in love with the cinnamon flavor that has a soft twist of ginger and a hint of the fennel undertones. As this is still a chai tea, those more noticeable chai flavors like cardamom and clove notes are present but they are more apparent towards the end of each sip.  Towards the end of each sip and after the sip is over, you are left with this spicy peppercorn touch on your tastebuds.

I eagerly sipped down my first cup and went back to brew more.  I’m a huge fan (if you couldn’t tell) of this tea and highly recommend anyone who isn’t a chai or spiced fan to check this tea out.  The flavors are light and crisp and are not heavy like a traditional chai or should I say the chais I’ve experienced in the past.  Heavier chais do have their time and place, but for me- White Cap Chai has stolen my heart.  This may be my new morning tea!

If you are interested in checking out this (and I highly recommend you do!) blend or any others, Beach House Teas is offering a 20% discount for our readers- just enter tealover3 at checkout!


Here’s the scoop!

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

White Cap Chai is a lighter version of the traditional chai making it delicate and unique. This beautiful chai is made with 100% organic white peony tea leaves and organic spices. It’s a modern twist on a sweet and spicy classic. The chai gives you a smooth, mellow taste with subtle layers of flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Full Moon Chai from Plum Deluxe. . . .

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, tea-friends– it takes a lot for a chai to impress me. Now, it also takes a lot for a chai to disappoint me– I find them to be the workhorse of my tea cabinet. Usually, most chais are pretty good: spicy, sweet, bold and earthy. Pretty good, no matter what you throw in there. But for a chai to be REALLY special? It has to go above and beyond.

If you know my love for Plum Deluxe’s offerings, you know where this is going– this one went above and beyond. The addition of vanilla butternut extract (which, hello– am I the only one in the world who didn’t know that “vanilla butternut” was a thing? because it’s delicious.) takes the perfectly-blended spices to the next level of creaminess– almost to the point where this chai could do perfectly well on its own, sans cream or sugar, and still knock it out of the park.

If you often find yourself just satisfied (rather than blown away) by a chai like myself, I’d highly recommend this one, friends. Perfect for cozying up on a chilly winter afternoon!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

Full Moon Chai was one of our original blends, now back with even more creative energy.  We’ve taken our classic, signature masala chai and added a splash of vanilla butternut extract. This simple twist adds a depth, warmth, and vibrancy to your traditional chai, and also gives the flavor a hint of sweetness and creaminess without having to add lots of sugar or milk (though we do like this blend prepared as a traditional masala chai or chai latte).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!