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!

Orange Pekoe Special from Swallowtail Tea

When the tea has “special” in the name, it starts with a lot of expectations to live up to.  Good thing Orange Pekoe Special from Swallowtail Tea truly is a special mug of tea.

Right away, I was taken in by the scent of the dry tea leaves.  This is a pure black tea, not flavored, not a chai, and yet the leaves smelled sweet and earthy and strongly of cinnamon.  It was so comforting and flavorful it was hard to take my face out of the bag.

When I brewed this tea, the cinnamon took a backseat and more of the traditional black tea flavors came to the forefront.  The tea was bright and crisp, with just a touch of citrus that says to me it would be delicious if served with a wedge of lemon.  All of these forward flavors were quickly chased by smoother, toasted tones, almost malty and starchy like a not-too-sweet dessert.

The brewed tea smelled like crushed leaves and old wood, with just a whiff of woodsmoke.  The more I drank the tea the more the smoky notes came forward. This isn’t full-on chimney-bacon smokiness like you find in some lapsang souchong teas, this was more delicate, like the appealing sugar char of a creme brulee, or the faded campfire smell after the logs have long gone out.

All these natural flavors like wood and smoke and leaves in Orange Pekoe Special really put me in the mood for fall.  With a beautifully illustrated tin and such a rich flavor experience, this is now the tea I imagine when I think of someone stumbling upon a cabin in the woods and the owner pulls out “the good tea” for a special occasion.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea
Description:

Grown at the base of the Himalayas, this tea was first discovered growing wild in the jungles during the mid 1800’s. Assam is known for its deep, burgundy-red cup and pungent but sweet-starchy flavor. This is India’s most popular variety because of its intense flavor and ability to mix well with milk and honey.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Orange Raspberry Green Rooibos from 52Teas . . .

The word I’d use to describe this blend is “tangy.”

It’s a pleasing mix of tart and sweet. You can taste the bite of the citrus, the dance of the raspberry, and the wink of the rooibos. All of this flavor, none of the tireless, tedious bed-flipping evenings that come as a consequence of caffeine.

This reminds me of something moxie-bright I might have chugged as a child. It is sunshine and playing tag, bottled. It’s like Van Gogh’s brushstrokes have swirled this flavor profile into being.

All in all, this is a charming companion to sit by your bedside as you drift off to dreamland.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green Rooibos/Herbal
Where to Buy:  52Teas
Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Raspberry Jam from Perkse Tea

I’ve been on a berry kick lately. I just can’t get enough of that sweet, tangy, juicy goodness.

Today’s pick comes from Perkse Tea, a shop I found on Etsy when I typed in “tea sampler.” (Yes, this is how a LOT of our posts come to you. We tea reviewers can’t resist a sampler kit. So many new things to try and report back on!) They’re a Canadian company that encourages you to “embrace a positive mind-set and live a beautiful life.” Hard to find fault with that plan!

This tea really nails that raspberry vibe. It’s sweet and a little bit tart, just like chomping on the real thing — minus those aggravating seeds. There’s also a touch of blueberry and rose floating along to vary and deepen the flavor profile. The base is robust enough to hold up these flavors without losing itself. This reminds me of the base of a delicious cobbler. Throw some crunch and cream on there and you’d be SET. I’m currently out of my Almond Breeze, but I think that this tea would take it with aplomb.

I feel like I’ve fast-forwarded to a season of late outdoor dinners. There are citronella candles everywhere and I’m eating off a red gingham-check tablecloth on a picnic table. There are friends, and maybe even their kids, chatting and laughing. Dogs sitting at our feet. Like a country music video depicting good ol’ Amurrrica.

Oh man. This tea is SUMMER at its BEST.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Perkse Tea
Description

A deliciously hardy black tea infused with freeze dried raspberries cultivated from California.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Sun AKA Earl Grey Mandarin from TeaLeafs

Earl Grey Sun – or Earl Grey Mandarin – I believe they are one in the same – but I could be mistaken.

When I last bought this tea it was labeled Earl Grey Sun but the only one I can currently find on their website is Earl Grey Mandarin but I think they are the same tea because I can distinctly remember the lovely orange notes of the flavored Earl. But it was more than just your standard Bergamot. And more than your common Orange. I’m pretty sure the glorious ray of sunshine in the flavored black tea – flavored Earl Grey (more specifically) was that of the might mandarin.

Regardless – this was a fantastic cup! One of the more impressive flavored Earl Grey’s I’ve had to date. And probably in my Top 5 teas offered at TeaLeafs.

The black tea base itself is that of a High grown Ceylon tea and it’s sturdy and tasty in its own right.

This is surely a tea that has brightened my day and I hope you are able to try it at some point because I think you will, too, be a fan!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Tea Leafs
Description

Ingredients: Black Tea, Bergamot, flavoring from Germany, Mandarin

High grown Ceylon tea with Bergamot and Mandarin

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!