Bonfire from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas might be known for the fandom-inspired blends submitted by their users, but the tea company also offers their own seasonal blends.  One of my favorite flavors they have created is a fall blend called Bonfire.

This blend is mainly comprised of honeybush herbal tea, which brings the perfect caramel, woodsy notes to start as a baseline.  If you are wary of red rooibos teas, don’t worry about this blend, the honeybush is much more gentle and less medicinal than the rooibos. The honeybush is paired with just a smidge of smoky black lapsang souchong.  There is little enough lapsang souchong to keep the caffeine level low, and to not overwhelm you with its bacon-like scent. Truly, the smokiness is relaxed and minimal, if you are on the fence, give it a try. Personally, I’ve grown to like smoky teas, so I add an extra scoop of lapsang souchong to the Bonfire loose leaf to really pump up the robustness.

What takes this blend to the next level are all the other herbs and additions.  Apple pieces add some juicy sweetness and their trademark fall flavor. Aniseed and cacao nibs add some dessert tones to make this brew feel like a treat.  Orange peels and cloves bring their wintry spice combination, and red peppercorns add a pop of color and just a hint of cracked pepper flavor.

This tea is delicious on its own, but also goes well with lemon and honey, or could be a tasty starting point for a hot toddy.  The blend is not available all year round, so I always make sure to stock up and make it last.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush and Black
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Description:

Crisp autumn nights call for warmth and comfort and little can better provide them than an autumn bonfire. Behold our bonfire blend: Honeybush hazelnut and cocoa nibs relax and ground you, while a spice blend of aniseed, cinnamon, clove and orange peel offer cozy comfort and zest. Apples and rose hips add soft sweetness while lapsang and red peppercorn offer hints of smoke and the flickering spark of heat. A perfect tea for fireside enjoyment or downtime dreaming.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!

Classic Masala Chai from Chai Safari. . . .

As a chai tea lover, I’m surprised I haven’t run into more Chai Safari teas in my experience.  Needless to say, I was excited to brew up a cup of spicy tea and try a new flavor.

I took one look at the dry leaf of this tea and immediately wanted to look up the ingredients.  The black tea leaves are processed into small pellets, which is typical for some types of chai, but I was confused when I saw the green tulsi leaves mixed in.  It’s not everyday that you see green ingredients in a chai tea, it’s usually lots of golden ginger and warm, brown cinnamon. Classic Masala Chai blend from Chai Safari has many of the classic chai staples like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, but it mixes in some more surprising ingredients like black pepper, tulsi (holy basil), and saffron.

Brewed this is everything you would expect from a chai tea: bold and warming, with the spice-cookie flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.  I love the idea of the peppercorns in my teas, but it is hard to pick out the pepper flavor in this brew. Maybe some of the heat I associated with the ginger is actually from the black pepper.

The piece that sets this chai appart is the inclusion of tulsi and saffron.  These herbs add just a hint of floral sweetness in the scent and aftertaste. These refined flavors are an unexpected compliment to the bolder spices and made me realize that there is more to chai than ginger and cinnamon alone.

I will have to adventure into Chai Safari again and check out more unexpected chai tea flavors!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Chai Safari
Description: The Classic Masala Chai is India’s most popular chai. India’s own home grown recipe and consumed as a staple beverage across the country. This blend of exotic spices is the experience that will take you for a trip on this journey. The chai has dominant flavours of dried ginger and cardamom pods with a touch of black pepper’s spicy aftertaste. The sweet undenotes are delivered by cinnamon, Tulsi and a pinch of Saffron.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

I’m CooCoo for White Coco Choco Chai from Nelson’s Tea

When I’m trying to cut caffeine, but still want some chai spice, I often drink nutty rooibos chais or lemony herbal chais. Depending on the blend and my mood, these alternatives can be tasty, but sometimes I find myself wanting more.  White Coco Choco Chai from Nelson’s Tea is the perfect solution.

This tea has a white tea base along with the usual suspects of chai spice: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom.  But it also has the addition of allspice, black pepper, coconut and chocolate chips.  There’s the same heat I know and love from black tea chais, the kick of ginger and pepper, but there’s also a creaminess from the coconut and chocolate that gives decadence and body where the black tea is absent.  The white tea base is light on the caffeine and astringency, making for a spice-driven cup that’s okay to drink just about any time of day.

This tea is like an x-ray, just the white bones of a chai; spice, distilled.  Even in the bag, it’s lovely to look at with big cardamom clusters, allspice pods, cinnamon bark, and the white curls of coconut shavings.  The tea leaves seem so few in proportion!  The smell of this blend in the bag and while brewing is strong and cozy, filling my kitchen with its spicy scent. This tea has all the comfort of a delicious baked good, livened up with the zing of allspice and pepper.
I got to taste just a few cups from a small tea sample, but I will definitely be stocking up on White Coco Choco Chai from Nelson’s Tea as soon as I can!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Nelson’s Tea
Description:

Spicy chai blend in a warm and sweet white tea base with succulent chocolate and coconut.  It’s dessert in a cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Golden Dragon Yellow Tea from Teavana

GoldenDragonYellowTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy: Teavana

Tea Description:

We are proud to offer one of the rarest teas in the world; our limited edition yellow tea direct from China. The name ‘yellow’ tea refers not only to the unique processing and the lovely, bright golden infusion color, but due to its rarity it is also associated with the imperial yellow worn exclusively by emperors for centuries. Unlike any tea you have tasted before, at first sip it evokes the exquisite pleasure of everyday luxuries. Captivating high floral notes mingle with a smooth honeyed body and a subtle creamy, buttery finish. A perfectly balanced tea curated just for you.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

First a brief disclaimer of sorts;

I am NOT a fan of Teavana. I have never purchased a blend from them and likely never will. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with the blends they sell themselves.While the store serves it’s purpose of acting as an introductory loose leaf tea shop, for which I am grateful (as I’m sure they’ve turned many people on to drinking loose leaf tea) I cannot personally support their business model nor will I give money to a company with such consistently reported poor customer service.

Any of their teas that I’ve ever tried has been received as a sample, and not purchased out of my own pockets. That said, I’ve never let my personal views of the company’s business model affect the way I perceive their teas. This has meant occasionally finding a great blend but not pursuing a revisit, which can be disappointing, but is something I can live with. As for this tea, I’m going to review it as if I didn’t know the company from which it was sourced and give my opinion PURELY about the tea itself.

And so carrying on…

Visually, the dry leaf of this blend looked like somewhat tarnished, lightly browned Yin Zhen (Silver Needle tea) but a little more twisty. Steeped up, the liquor is a very flat, dull golden yellow. It’s very beautiful, even if it’s not a more lively looking liquor. Personally, I’ve only had three or four other plain yellow teas and they’ve been prepared in blue teaware, so I can’t really use my personal experiences to say whether this colour is normal for steeped up yellow tea though. The aroma is interesting; it’s soft with a bit of a buttery vegetal smell and some malt and sweeter notes as well.

Drinking this, it was really apparent to me that the nuances of flavor take after traditional Yin Zhen and Green Tea pretty equally; of course that makes sense given that yellow tea is halfway between white and green tea. I could actually tell it was produced in China without reading the description though; China’s green teas tend to have a more distinct smokey and nutty flavor to them while Japanese greens lean more heavily on the marine side of this (seaweed) and the flavors here weren’t an exception to that. On the greener end of the spectrum, I noticed very gentle smokey notes, buttery vegetal notes, a bit of a peppery flavor leaning towards lemon pepper more so than black pepper (or the actual vegetable; bell pepper, etc.), and some less distinct herbaceous notes as well. That lovely peppery quality definitely falls in line with other yellow teas I’ve been lucky enough to sample.

On the whiter side of things; there was a lovely supple sweetness that reminded me of honey or, combined with the weaker floral tones present, honeysuckle. A more vague hay-like flavour was present, and a flavor that kind of crossed over between malt and cream with a soft fruity edge; very similar to some of the Kenyan white teas I’ve gotten to try. I like to describe that flavor as kind of tasting like a Hot Cross Bun/Easter bun, in a way.

This was a super interesting tea, and I loved all the flavors present that bounced off one another; I’ve only gotten to try a few different yellow teas, and this isn’t my least favourite but it’s not my favourite either: so far Camellia Sinensis’ Meng Ding Huang Ya is my favourite. Both this tea and CS’s heavy big price tags; but with the quality difference I’d go with CS’s yellow tea. However, I think this is definitely worth trying if you get the chance because it WAS lovely.