Spicy Turmeric Tonic from MEM Tea. . . .

A new specialty shop opened up nearby, and when I poked my head inside I discovered they also served coffee and tea.  On a blustery, cold day I ordered a cup of Spicy Turmeric Tonic from MEM Tea to warm my body and spirit.

This tea was listed as having flavors of cacao, ginger, and cinnamon, all long-time favorites of mine.  Oddly, the turmeric in the name wasn’t listed as a main flavor.  I had this blend brewed hot without milk or sweetener.

As a lover of chai teas, this was a delicious new blend filled with familiar spices.  The cinnamon and ginger were very forward, warming and gently spicy.  The cacao shells gave the blend more body, almost fooling me into thinking it was a black tea instead of an herbal.  The cacao brought its usual sweet-and-savory cocoa notes to balance out the sweet-and-hot ginger.

The turmeric was subtle, appearing as just a touch of earthy spice behind the brighter flavors.  The turmeric does show up in the color of the brew, with its trademark bright yellow ochre color.

Full disclosure, cacao shells don’t have caffeine, but they are stimulants, so this might not be a true decaf blend. Either way, it was a wonderful new take on an herbal chai and I will definitely plan to brew another a cup of Spicy Turmeric Tonic sometime soon.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: MEM Tea

This unique and healthful blend of Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon and Cacao is rich and smooth, with warm spicy flavors and a zesty finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

On the Rebound – Teavana-Styled Rebound Teas from Adagio Teas. . . .

Late last year, Adagio teas offered a free set of “rebound teas” for recent customers of David’s Tea and Teavana.  While David’s Tea isn’t going anywhere as far as I know, Teavana has been closing its doors and sold out of the final stock in its online shop.  Adagio’s rebound teas were blended to be familiar to tea lovers from those other shops in the hopes of encouraging these tea-fanatics to try out more teas from Adagio’s selection.

Now, I am a little biased because I got my loose-leaf start with Adagio, but I feel as though different tea suppliers have different specialities, and I’ve enjoyed tea from both David’s Tea and Teavana.  David’s Tea and Teavana tend to have more specialized themed blends.  They are a great choice when you want a tea that tastes like a peanut butter cup or an over-the-top tropical peach iced tea. Not to mention, they have some very cute tea tins, mugs, and accessories to jazz up your tea shelf.

Adagio’s Rebound Sampler featured 5 teas (though they are adding new rebound blends all the time, see their listing of comparable teas here)

Teavana had a few popular peach teas, so this sampler has two peach teas of its own: Peach Bellini and Peach Serenity.   They are subtly different, with Peach Bellini focusing on more tropical flavors like mango and papaya, and Peach Serenity with more herbal ingredients like lemon verbena and chamomile.  In both blends, the strong peach flavoring drives the smell and taste.  I think these would be best suited for cold brews, where the sweet candy peach flavor can add sweetness without sugar.  These teas are great if you are a fan of peach rings candy.  I’m always in favor of having more herbal blends, but I think I prefer the more subtle peach taste in Adagio’s peach black tea or peach oolong.

Raja Oolong is an oolong blend with lots of delicious inclusions like chicory, ginger, and cocoa nibs.  Likewise, White Ayurvedic Chai  is a white tea with a long list of flavorful spices and fruits, like cloves, pineapple, lemongrass and cinnamon.  Despite the varied ingredient listing for both blends, the strong cinnamon flavoring takes over.  These teas would be great for fans of Adagio’s hot cinnamon spice tea, or for fans of Hot Tamales candies.  I’m all for a spicy tea, but I wish there was more variety in the spice.  It would be great to have some sweet ginger heat or herbal black pepper spice share the spotlight. I would recommend trying Adagio’s original White Chai blend as another take on the white tea and spice combination.

Samurai Mate is a sweet and tropical mate blend, with lots of sweet papaya flavoring.  The fruit pairs well with the green yerba mate, but it is a little one-note.  This might be more subtle when iced, not to mention a cold brew would suit the tropical fruit theme.  Not the blend for me, but a very striking fruity blend.

If you were able to take advantage of the rebound deal, I hope all the Teavana and David’s Tea fans out there enjoyed your first taste of Adagio.  I think Adagio’s strengths lay with their more naturally flavored or unflavored teas. Let’s not forget their lively fandom blends where customers design themed flavors using the tea blender tools.  If there’s a discontinued tea flavor that you’re missing, why not try your hand at creating a signature blend of your own to bring it back?

Here’s to a healthy rebound in your loose leaf tea life!

Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy: Adgaio Teas

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ginger Spiced Pear Cake from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

If you’re looking for some tea to go with your post-holiday fruitcake, or just some tea that tastes a bit like holiday fruitcake, brew up a cup of Ginger Spiced Pear Cake from A Quarter to Tea.

This black tea smells sweet in the dry left and in the brew.  The taste of the blend is not too sweet, mainly driven by the appropriately clean and tart breakfast black tea base.  There is a hint of juicy pear with each sip, and a touch of ginger heat behind the pear.  The ginger is not too spicy, mainly adding a little herbal flavor and sweetness to make the tea feel festive.  I don’t taste any buttery cake or pastry flavors, just pear and ginger.

It’s possible that my small sample wasn’t at peak freshness or maybe I just needed a bigger serving of tea leaves to get the flavor intensity I was looking for.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for this blend in the future and give it another try.

This is a gently flavored blend, but very drinkable.  There are not many pear teas on my shelf, so this was a nice brew to have in my mug.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White/Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea

Sweet pastry with pear, spicy ginger, and cinnamon and clove accents.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Firewater from Pelican Tea. . . . .

Firewater from Pelican Tea gets its name from the addition of hot habanero peppers to the tea.  But hot peppers aren’t the only unusual ingredient, this solid black tea also has toasted brown rice, an ingredient that is usually found in green tea genmai cha teas.

I always like to get a whiff of my tea leaves before I brew them, but I was a little nervous about sticking my nose in the bag this time.  Would I get a noseful of hot peppers and run away sneezing like in the cartoons?  Well, I got lucky, this tea smells savory and earthy and a bit like baked bread from all the starchy brown rice, but no burning or sneezing.

I let the leaves steep and took in the scent of the brewing tea.  Still no bite of spice, just more toasted cereal tones from the rice, and a robust black tea. Taking a sip, I finally get a glimpse of the hot peppers.  At the back of each sip there is the slightly smoky, chipotle flavor of habanero peppers, and a warm burn of capsaicin down my throat.  It’s not so spicy as to be unpleasant, but it is definitely a distinctive experience.  All the forward flavors of the tea focus on the nutty, roasted rice.

This would be a great tea for those who like rice in their tea, like in genmai cha.  Or this would be a winner for those of you who like the spicy soup sipping broth products out there. The brown rice and earthy black tea take over most of the flavor palette in this tea, but the passing flame of hot pepper spice with each sip makes this something special.

All in all Firewater is a really unique blend that would be a fun gift for any lover of all things hot and spicy.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Pelican Tea

The original Pelican Tea, and an instant classic.  Habanero-infused Orange Pekoe black tea and toasted brown rice contribute to an unpretentious blend that’s as comforting as it is spicy.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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 from Tea and Tins tastes like blazing cinnamon candy!  Even double-sealed behind zip bags, I can smell the cinnamon in this tea buzzing into my nose when I walk by my tea shelf.

In the dry leaf or brewed, this tea tastes like Hot Tamale candies, warm in temperature and in sensation.  As a fan of Hot Tamale and Fireball candies, I enjoy the saturated, artificial cinnamon taste of this tea and it feels marvelous down my dry throat on a cold winter day.

This is a perfect tea when you need something fierce and fiery.  The cinnamon in this blend goes beyond the usual kick of chai spices.  It’s so hot, it might rival some of the teas out there seasoned with hot chili spices.

Ay caramba!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Tea & Tins

Loose leaf black tea, super hot and spicy! For cinnamon lovers!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!