Sensibly Script reports back on Thyme Chai by Balcony Tea. . . .

This tea is truly an adventure–and yet warm and comforting at the same time!

I brewed it in freshly boiled water (~8-10 oz) for 3 minutes as suggested. I love loose leaf tea, but the pyramid sachets this tea comes in are super cute and convenient. It’s just one less step (putting the tea into the brew basket) but can make a big difference, especially if you’re in a hurry.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thyme tea before, so this was new and exciting to me. This tea doesn’t seem to have any other herbs/spices besides thyme (the ingredients are black tea, thyme, and vanilla) but the flavor is pretty strong and the vanilla gives it more depth and richness. It’s a nice medium-dark, transparent honey-brown when steeped and smells both Thymey and sweet.

First sip: There’s a bit of cognitive dissonance here because I’ve only ever had Thyme in savory dishes so my brain is expecting this tea to be savory rather than sweet. It is sweet, though. I can identify the tannic astringency of the tea base, along the sides of my tongue, while the Thymey bouquet invades my nose. The astringency transitions into a sweetness on the top and back of the tongue that somehow connects it to the flowery herbal fragrance, keeping the whole thing somewhat coherent. So although the black tea flavor is mostly subsumed and the astringent component is the only part of it that really sticks out to me, it still contributes to the overall taste profile.

I next added a bit of sugar (only a little, since it’s so sweet already), which helped the various flavors flow together even better. I then added milk, which worked out great. It made the tea taste warm and strengthening (I mean, it technically already tasted warm, but still) and helped my taste buds get over the funky “no really, this should be savory because it has thyme in it” idea. I think I like it best with milk, but then I usually do with chais and other strong black teas.

This is a very different sort of chai, with a Mediterranean rather than a South Asian inspiration, but I really enjoyed it and I think I could add it to my rotation with great success.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Balcony Teas

This is what my papa called “a signature tea”: refreshing in summer and protective in winter. We love the distinctly herbaceous, yet sweet and comforting taste of this black tea.

Black Tea – The finest Ceylon tea. Fortifying, yet refreshing.Wild Thyme – Our thyme is wild-harvested in the Mediterranean to ensure its intense aroma and taste. The Romans believed Thyme to be a mood enhancer. My family used to drink it whenever we were feeling under the weather.Vanilla Pieces & Flavour – Smooth, sweet and luxurious.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water.

This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like sounds like a very clever idea. I only wish I’d had it. In fact, I think I might have the rest of that sample packet of Lapsang somewhere; maybe I should go experiment with mixing it with various chais.

But I digress. . . .

After steeping for four minutes I took a good whiff–it smells tantalizingly smoky. This could be either a good thing or a problem, as mentioned above. The color is amber-ish–on the light side for a chai, I think (and I do have the unfortunate tendency to judge my tea’s strength by its color! I’ve been known to waaaaay over-steep my tea just because it didn’t look dark enough to me). A few crumbs of leaf have escaped my basket, so maybe I’ll use the finer mesh next time I steep this. What’s really exciting is that although the smell is smoky, I can smell spices too! Cinnamon, ginger, and possibly clove, I think.

First taste: it’s definitely not tasting like liquid smoke here, which is good! The flavor combo is hard to describe, though. The smoky tang and the warmth from the spices hit me at approximately the same time with each sip, which means it really has a kick! It’s not a super spicy chai, though, so if you’re sensitive to spice that probably won’t be a problem (depending on just how sensitive you are, of course. Some people manage to complain of spiciness in foods that taste basically bland to me).

The smokiness combines especially well with the ginger notes for some reason. Does ginger have a smoky component normally? I don’t know. I just know that this tastes really, really good. The smoke lingers a bit after each sip, but like I said, it’s not overpowering.

I also tried this tea with milk and sugar and found it still enjoyable, although less unique. That could just be due to the fact that I have a tendency to put milk and sugar in all my tea, though the milk does seem to muffle the brightness of the spice notes a bit too.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

We like to do things a bit differently at Bluebird. Our latest infusion is a thoughtful blend of Lapsang Souchong, malty Assam + aromatic masala chai spices. A BREWtiful blend of tea + culture alike!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Happily Headless (Custom Blend) from Adagio Tea

happyheadlessTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black/Green

Where to Buy:  Adagio

Tea Description:

You’ll lose your head over your loyalty to this kingly brew!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:


(But really this is season one so if you’re not aware of this you might be living under a rock…)

I have to say, I’m quite happy I watched enough GoT to understand the character reference here! I’ve really only seen the first two seasons and part of the third. I think the ingredients picked out by this blender are pretty well thought out too; though I do think there might just be a bit more “Fire” than “Ice” – although to be fair there certainly are a lot of very visable candy cane pieces in the dry leaf. Aun-Juli Riddle is a pretty good blender; in particular her Doctor Who blends tend to be pretty good and well thought out.

This is essentially a Chai, though an unconventional one, so I wasn’t the most excited about this blend because I’m not a Chai fan myself, but it came out pretty tasty! The clove is easily the strongest flavour here, and since that’s the one ‘conventional’ Chai spice that I personally feel you can never have too much of that works very well in my favor.

The rest of the flavour is pretty nice too; there’s an even dispersal of ginger, cardamom and cinnamon with just the faintest little touch of smoke from the Lapsang. It’s not enough smoke for people who are fearful of Lapsang to be worried about, though. The candy cane isn’t as strong as I expected given how much I could see in the leaf and the fact that this is inspired by Ned Stark which obviously ties into the whole “Winter Is Coming”/Ice thing. It is present, but subtly so and it’s more acting as a sweetener than really contributing any strong mint flavour. The finish is a little bit peppery, with maybe a touch too much cardamom.

Overall I think this is better than most Adagio fan blends though; they tend to get pretty muddled because blenders pick out ingredients that are either too similar so there’s no contrast or playing off one another or they pick ingredients that fit the ‘character’ but clash with one another/don’t compliment each flavour. This kind of avoids that for the most part, while still being fairly thoughtful.

I definitely wanted more “ice” – but maybe it’s poetic irony that the “fire” was the most dominant thing…