Tea Tuesday: Cinnamon Rooibos Chai, from David’s Tea

Winter is a great time for chai. It’s warming, it’s sweet, and it just plain makes me happy. This also seems to be the year of cinnamon for me, since it’s the second tea I’ve reviewed this month alone that has cinnamon as a main flavour. Today, I’m drinking some cinnamon rooibos chai, from David’s Tea.

cinnamonrooiboschairNow, I like my tea sweet. I’ve cut back on my sugar a lot over the past few years, but I’m still generally a fan of sweet versus not-so-sweet. And being used to chai, I put my usual amount of sugar in my usual sized mug.

It was too sweet.

However much sugar you think you’re going to need while drinking this, it’s probably best to cut back a little, and that may well be because of the small pieces of apple in the mix, adding their sweetness to the tea before you even think of putting anything extra in. As much sugar as I had in it, it actually overpowered most of the other flavours, making me taste sugar most of all and pretty much relegating the cinnamon flavour to a faint backgroundy aftertaste.

So I made a second cup and added less sugar, and it was much better then. The cinnamon flavour comes to the forefront, not drowned out by sweetness, and it’s a very warming flavour, just perfect for winter nights. It doesn’t have a lot of the stuff usually found in chai, like cardamom, so some of the flavours that hardcore chai lovers enjoy will be absent, but as a warm comforting drink to perk you up, it’s still really good, and I anticipate many cups in my future!

So long as I remember not to go overboard with the sugar.

Tea Tuesday: Cinnamon Vanilla Herbal Tea, from Stash

cinnamonvanillateaI’m going to start off by saying that this tea has been a huge hit in this house. We expected it to be good. We didn’t expect it to be so ridiculously addictive! Stash’s Cinnamon Vanilla herbal tea is one that I’m going to miss if/when I can’t find it in stores anymore or they discontinue it.

As soon as you open the individually-sealed bags you can smell the cinnamon, which at first seems like it’s going to utterly overpower the vanilla. While steeping, this tea makes my kitchen smell like delicious cookies are baking nearby.

Most herbal teas I drink without sugar and definitely without milk. I tried a bit of sugar at first, and it tasted fine, but the flavours didn’t quite blend the way I’d hoped. I tried adding milk to see if that helped, and did it ever! The flavours of cinnamon and vanilla blended really well and turned nice and mellow, still with a strong cinnamon flavour but with a stronger vanilla flavour to balance it out, leaving a mild and pleasant cinnamon aftertaste. I drink it more like I do a black tea than an herbal one, really. The base is rooibos, so however you tend to drink that kind of tea will likely be the way you most enjoy drinking Stash’s cinnamon vanilla variety.

I really can’t get enough of this stuff. The scent is great, the flavour is soothing, and 1 box in a household of heavy tea drinkers really isn’t enough. Definitely a tea worth trying, if you can find some; I highly recommend this blend!

Tea Tuesday: Chocolate Peppermint Tea, from King Cole

It’s the first Tea Tuesday of the year, and today I’m bringing you a limited edition holiday tea that I really wish wasn’t so limited edition, because it’s delicious and addictive. King Cole’s Chocolate Peppermint Tea.

chocolatemintteaIt’s a black tea, which means that it’s got that bitterness to it that wakes you up, but isn’t a taste everyone enjoys. I first tried it with just sugar, and it didn’t quite eliminate the bitterness to the degree I wanted. Then I tried it with both milk and sugar (which is typically how I prefer my black teas), and while the cooling mint flavour was lessened by the addition of milk, it did mellow out the bitterness and made this stuff wonderfully chuggable. I think I’ve had a mug of chocolate peppermint tea every day since I bought this box, and I love every cup.

Not so fond of the style of teabag, though. The string is attached to the bag on both sides, so if you have a mug with an open handle you can loop it onto the handle to keep the string out of the liquid, but if your cup doesn’t have an open handle… I find myself gently tugging the string out one side of the bag so that it becomes a freely-dangling string that I can position as I prefer… and this doesn’t always work. I lost one bag due to it tearing as I tugged the string free. The design looks neat, but is pretty impractical.

But design flaws aside, this is a fantastic and delicious tea that I really enjoy and I really wish wasn’t only available at certain times. I feel the need to go buy up all the boxes in the store so I can have my stash when I need it later!

Tea Tuesday: Chocolate Hazelnut, from Stash

Chocolate-hazelnut is one of my favourite flavour combos. Seriously, just give me a jar of Nutella and I’m a very happy person. So discovering that Stash made a chocolate hazelnut tea? Gimmegimmegimme!

chocolatehazelnutteaThis is a decaf tea, which means even on days when I’m particularly sensitive to caffeine, I can happily drink cup after cup of this stuff and not worry about my sleep getting messed up. Which is a big yay in my books. Some decaf teas I’ve tried in the past have a weird sort of sharp taste to them, a bit similar to aspartame in diet pop, but the Stash chocolate hazelnut tea stays pretty mellow and I don’t notice that sharpness to it, which is also a yay.

It took me a little while to find the right balance of sugar and milk, though, and I think it’s one of those teas that will probably be a little bit different for everyone. At first I couldn’t taste anything that resembled hazelnut or chocolate. The second cup, some of the chocolate flavour came through but the hazelnut only seemed to be there as an aftertaste. By the third cup, though, I’d figured out roughly how much milk and sugar to add to really make the flavours come through, and they blend together really well into a mellow relaxing tea that, given the flavours in questions, feels kind of like a dessert in a cup sometimes.

Definitely a good tea to have around on cold winter nights, and when you’re settling in with a good book.

Tea Tuesday: Lemon Ginseng Green Tea, from Lipton

Green tea can be really hit or miss with me. I prefer black teas, really, since I get to add delicious milk and sugar to them and drink them by the gallon. (Not literally. …Not most days, anyway.) But sometimes I get cravings for green tea, and I’ve come across a variety over the years, ranging from really powdery bitter stuff that’s practically matcha, to very mild stuff that I find soothing and tend to drink completely plain.

71c44uvc9fl-_sl1500_I recently got a box of Lipton’s lemon ginseng green tea to try, and after a few cups, I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan. It’s not exactly mild, since there’s a slight bitter hit to it, but that’s balanced pretty nicely by the hint of lemon in the aftertaste. There’s also a strange flavour that I think must be the ginseng, that tastes vaguely herbal and also a bit like cereal grains. It’s a little difficult to describe properly, and it takes a little getting used to, but in the end I find I rather like it. For those who like their green tea a little sweeter, adding a bit of sugar diminishes a bit more of the green tea’s bitterness, too. Honey would probably do the same, and complement the subtle lemon aftertaste. (I’d have tried this already but I don’t have any honey at the moment.)

I now find myself looking forward to warmer months, because I think this stuff will make an excellent iced tea, without the hassle I previously went through to make lemon green tea (actually adding lemon juice, or sliced lemons, which was undeniably delicious but admittedly a bit of a hassle). For now, it’s a good wake-up drink, and I’m happy to have been given some to try.

Tea Tuesday: Bubbie’s Baklava, from David’s Tea

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows all too well how big a tea-drinker I am. Not just basic orange pekoe, but all kinds. I’m always on the lookout for new flavours. And I thought what better place to share my thoughts on the wonderful teas I try than here? Tea and books go together like… tea and books!

So every week, on Tuesday, I’m going to take a look at a different tea, and share it all with you.

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Today in my mug, I’ve got some Bubbie’s Baklava, from David’s Tea. Now sadly this seems to be a discontinued flavour, which means once my little sample container is gone, I won’t be able to get my hands on any more, and that’s a real disappointment because it’s really tasty.

In addition to its base of oolong tea, it has a variety of fruits and nuts mixed in, giving it a really warm spicy that doesn’t quite smell like any baklava I’ve tried, but it does smell like it’d be amazing in a pastry either way. Ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom provide that warmth of scent.

tea_image_51780_bannerThis is the first tea I’d ever tried that looked like you could just eat it as a snack. The chunks of papaya and pineapple are decently big, as are the walnuts that are scattered in the mix. (I did actually try one of the walnuts. Turns out they get kind of chewy when stored in a canister of tea. Who knew?)

As for flavour, you do get the nice warmth of the spices that I mentioned earlier, with some hints of sweetness from the dried fruit. But what comes across in the aftertaste is a weird slight bitterness that I think comes from the nuts, especially the walnuts. I personally find this is balanced out really nicely by a bit of sugar, though it would probably be fantastic with the rich mellowness of honey instead. Either way, something sweet helps cut down on the bitter aftertaste.

Definitely no milk required. Milk would just ruin this tea, I think. It’s made to be drunk with just a bit of added sweetness and nothing more.

Bubbie’s Baklava is the kind of tea that perfectly complements a chilly fall night with a relaxing homelike scent. A good companion to some comfort reading!