Christmas in September: Winter Cheer from Virginia Tea Company

I’m a bit out of season to review Winter Cheer from Virginia Tea Company, but today is a grey and dreary day so a cup of tea with “cheer” in the name feels like a good fit.

This blend features black tea, peppermint, and cinnamon.  Even in the dry leaf you can smell all three distinct flavors.

Having peppermint and cinnamon in the same blend is like sitting in a snowbank next to a campfire: there are both cooling and warming elements happening at the same time.  I enjoy blends that make use of these flavors. Beyond their flavor profiles, both peppermint and cinnamon bring their own type of sweetness.

Peppermint has a creaminess beneath all its icy mint, almost tasting like vanilla.  Cinnamon has a more earthy, herbal sweetness, more in line with cloves or licorice.

With both of these flavors set against the robust backdrop of black tea, you get a full-bodied brew with a very tactile mouthfeel, both cooling and warming. This is a fresh take on the “spiced black tea” trend that pops up every fall and winter.  The mint and cinnamon together really make this unique and festive.

I’m feeling full of cheer already!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Co.
Description:

Sit back and relax with your family this holiday season while sharing this delicious, guilt-free tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!

Root Down Tisane from Swallowtail Teas

The colorful label for Root Down Tisane from Swallowtail Tea features a yellow and orange sun on the horizon.  It must be a sunset, as this tea is perfect for after dinner or before bed.

This tisane is driven by licorice root.  I’m a fan of licorice in all its forms, including as a root in herbal teas.  Licorice root is a natural sweetener, adding a bit of spicy anise flavor along with its sugary perk.  Licorice is also a throat soothing herb, so it brings a very smooth mouthfeel and soothing sensation.

Beyond the bold licorice, this blend features some cinnamon warmth and just a ghost of mint and orange peel.  There are also dandelion root and nettle leaf in the blend, but they are more for color and health benefits than taste.  I wish the mint and citrus were just a little bit bolder to add more flavor texture to the brew.

Root Down Tisane would be a great blend for those who are tired of herbal teas having ginger, chamomile, or even rooibos, as none of these ingredients are included.  This blend is all licorice and herbs, and is a nice change of pace for a naturally caffeine free blend at bedtime. I’ll have to save the rest of my tea sample for when I need to set down some roots and snuggle in for the night.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea (Red Rooster Coffee)
Description:

This signature tisane was artfully crafted as a warming and supportive infusion. Perfect as an after dinner treat.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Isla de Coco from Pacific Tea. . . . .

Isla de Coco from Pacific Tea just conjures images of tropical islands, palm trees, and coconuts.  While there is coconut in this blend, it’s not the pina-colada herbal tea you might expect!

Isla de Coco has an unusual mix of spices, with chai flavors like ginger, cardamom, and clove, as well as more dessert-like flavors like cocoa shells, cocoa beans, and licorice root.  The result is an amazing, sweet and savory, cookie-flavored blend.

The cocoa shells are surprisingly nutty, almost salty like the sweet-and-salty mix of caramel corn.  These flavors pair especially well with the buttery coconut pieces.  As for the other spices, there is a little heat from the ginger on the back of each sip, and the licorice and cloves add their own herbal sweetness and silky mouthfeel.

Despite all the cocoa shells and cocoa beans, this blend is not dominated by chocolate.  There is just a hint of cocoa powder, mainly adding to the warming, bakery notes of the overall blend.  In fact, vanilla almost ends up being the strongest flavor, between the creamy coconut and smooth vanilla bean.  No milk or whipped cream needed to get that smooth vanilla taste (though, you can’t really go wrong with adding whipped cream to a tea latte).

This is a great blend when you’re tired of the usual chai, but still want a fun herbal tea with a variety of herbs and spices.  Not to mention it has a much-need hint of chocolate to reward yourself on those especially long days.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Pacific Tea
Description: Live life a little less ordinary with a grounding melody of coco-cocoa, vanilla perfection. This caffeine-free herbal blend entices with ‘natural-sugar, spice and everything nice’.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Candy Cane from PaperBoxGoodies

Just because the holiday season is behind us doesn’t mean that the time for holiday-themed teas is over!  In the spirit of keeping the good holiday vibes going, I brewed up a cup of Chocolate Candy Cane from PaperBoxGoodies.  I don’t see this flavor listed on the PaperBoxGoodies Etsy shop so I’m not sure of the ingredients, but it looks to be an herbal blend with mint, chocolate chips, and licorice root.

 

I was excited about the herbal nature of this blend.  I love candy cane teas, but they all seem to have a black tea base which makes it hard to drink when I don’t need all the caffeine.  Having an herbal decaf option was just the tea I needed when relaxing and recovering from the busy end of the year.

 

Brewed, this blend is smooth, sweet, and minty.  The dry crispness of the mint is lessened by the licorice root.  Any herbal harshness that sometimes comes with pure mint teas is lessened by the rich chocolate chips.  Minty candy cane is the main flavor, followed by a mild cocoa aftertaste.  The licorice root doesn’t impart a specific flavor, but adds a natural sweetness and a smooth mouthfeel.

 

This is one of those teas that would benefit from a strong brewing and then made into a latte with whipped cream.  I didn’t quite have enough in my sample to go the whole latte route, so I’ll have to try it next time.

 

Overall this was a great decaf candy cane blend that I would try again next holiday season.

 

 

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: herbal

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!