In my family, the holidays mean nothing without our traditions. Buy Christmas PJs together the day after Thanksgiving? Check. (Even as adults. Yup, this is a real thing, you guys.) Go to the orchard every autumn and come home with enough apples to keep us flush with homemade applesauce until the cows come home? Check. (Still eating that applesauce, btw). Surprise each other with new books on Christmas Eve and spend all day cozied up (in our Christmas PJs, naturally) and reading? Check. (That’s one of my faves).
But no Thanksgiving tradition runs as deep in our family as pumpkin pie. My grandma used to make the MOST delicious pumpkin pie yearly, only for Thanksgiving, and my plethora of cousins and I would duke it out for the biggest slice year after year. Even now after she’s gone, my mom and aunts carry on her tradition at our family gatherings. I’ve tried to play with her recipe a few times, tweaking it to be grain- and dairy-free– and while I’ve gotten it close, nothing tops the memory I have of the sweet, creamy, spicy, toothsome (and hard-won) pie of my childhood.
That said, if a tea is going to claim to taste not just like pumpkin, but pumpkin PIE? I’m going to hold it to some high standards. This black tea blend from Bluebird Tea Co hits many marks– not every mark, but enough that I can definitely give it my pie-stamp of approval. A bagged black tea with visible chunks (pumpkin sprinkles? maybe dried sweet potato?), it definitely delivers on the pie flavors I’ve come to know and love– sweet, creamy, almost vanilla crust-like notes, complimented by a heart dose of squash and spice. This tea takes cream and sweet well, and my dash of added maple syrup only likely elevated these flavors.
The only downfall I found was that when hot, this tea has a bit of a bitter aftertaste that I didn’t care for. When my cup cooled down, this bitter-ish flash all but disappeared, and the rest of the cup was a sweet delight. This might not be my grandma’s pie, but it’s close. Sipping on cups of this in November just might be a new addition to my autumn traditions!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Flavored Black Tea
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
This tea is no longer available but these holiday teas are!
As with any seasonally-significant stereotype (I love them ALL, you guys), pumpkin spice is my jam. I’ve tried a fair number of pumpkin teas in my day, and let me tell you– they can be tricky to nail down. Too often, the pumpkin flavor comes across as fake, or barely-there, or the “spice” is way overdone, leaving no “pumpkin” to be found. I was eager to try this blend from Simpson & Vail as in my experience, they always knock it out of the park when it comes to flavors.
Did they capture a delicious flavor? Totally. Was it entirely pumpkin-y? I’m still not sure. This tea has absolutely none of the fake-y pumpkin flavor I’ve come to despise in my seasonal teas (woo hoo!), but it’s coming across more gingerbread-y to me in my first cup. Maybe my brain is just jumping ahead a season or two, but while the spices are on point, I’m having a hard time picking up pumpkin in my freshly-steeped cup. As it cools, however, the pumpkin begins to sneak in a bit more, and I’m greeted with a delightful cup of fall goodness.
Later, I try it as a tea latte with a scoop of pureed pumpkin stirred in and a splash of coconut cream and maple syrup, and BAM– there’s that autumnal flavor I was looking for! I’ll definitely be drinking this one again.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail
The stories of pumpkins, both in history and fables, make this fall fruit a staple in American diets. Their importance in American history began when the Native American Indians saved the Pilgrims from starvation by sharing this fall favorite. From fairies creating a pumpkin coach for Cinderella to Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater to the endless faces of Jack-o’-lanterns, we have grown up with pumpkins as a part of our culture. Every Fall I watch with delight as the pumpkins reach maturity, anxiously awaiting the tastes of pumpkin soups, pumpkin breads, and, of course, pumpkin pie!
This blend combines black teas with pumpkin and spice flavor to create a deep amber cup that is velvety smooth and aromatic. Its light, delicious taste is reminiscent of pumpkin custard. This tea, enjoyed year round, just adds another sensory delight to the mystique of the pumpkin!
Ingredients: black teas, pumpkin flavor and marigold petals.