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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot – Hot Mama from Tea and Tins

Cinnamon comes in two common forms when it comes to tea.  There’s the natural, cinnamon-stick flavor, which is warm and spicy, and slightly floral, evoking the smell of baked-goods and breakfast. And then there’s the cinnamon candy flavor, which is hot, hot, hot like flaming Fireball candies or like red cinnamon chewing gum.  I like both kinds of cinnamon, natural and artificial, but I always find it helpful to know which kind of cinnamon I’m getting into before I take a sip. Expecting one and tasting the other is not always a pleasant experience. Let it be known: Hot Mama Read More

Aria Blend

Aria blend from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.

Immediately evident in the dry leaves are whole cloves and some seed pods that I thought at first were anise but, after looking at the ingredients, I decided must be fennel. The attractive-looking combination also includes bits of licorice and marshmallow root as well as orange peel and peppermint plus cinnamon and ginger. I used a heaping teaspoon of the tea leaves in a cup of water at approximately boiling temperature and then watched it steep for about the next four minutes. It smelled all nice and licorice-y while steeping and became a nice light yellow color, which reminded me Read More

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Firebird Chai by Wendigo

While sniffing this tea before steeping (what? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this) I can definitely pick up a big whiff of ginger in the dry leaves. The leaves are better-looking than average for chai; they also have more of a presence in the blend (as far as fragrance and so on) than some do. I also observed lots of chunks of other stuff (spices?) in there with the tea leaves. The curls of dried ginger were the most noticeable of these. (And also were quite impressive. Don’t most chais just have minced ginger or something? These Read More

brambleberry

Bates’ Brambleberry Black Tea from The Republic of Tea

In addition to being a fandom tea that I’m sure everyone who watches Downton Abbey will love, this tea has a wonderful flavor and is an awesome eco-friendly offering from the Republic of Tea. It comes in a round unbleached tea bag with no strings, staples or tags, and can be composted after you use it. It looks insubstantial enough that you could even throw it in your own non-industrial-strength compost pile (I understand some municipalities have compost pickup along with trash and recycling pickup, but mine is not that lucky so I do my own composting). It smells excellently Read More

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Himalayan Shangri-la from Teabox

If I had to choose between dark oolong or green oolong, for me it would be green every time. I find them characterful and unique, with more variation in flavour than I’ve typically found (at least so far…) among their roasted counterparts. And that’s coming from a habitual black tea drinker. Himalayan Shangri-la is a Nepalese Oolong from 2015. It’s a first flush, or spring, oolong comprising highly graded leaves taken from a single estate. The leaf here is pretty impressive – they’re long and twisty, with a high predominance of downy buds, and vary from a dark khaki to Read More