As we endure the last cold nights of the season, it seemed the perfect time to brew up a cup of Smoky Spice from 52Teas. This blend combines two of my favorite cold-weather sensations: woodsmoke and cardamom. Nothing quite makes me feel as cozy and nostalgic as holding a hot cup of spicy tea, with the smell your neighbor’s wood stove on the wind.
Growing up in New England in a family with an Eastern European heritage, it seemed like we were always having winter bonfires and mulled cider or tea, celebrating some equinox or natural deity. These winter memories hit hard when I stuck my nose in the bag of these tea leaves, and I was caught up in the heat of the fire and the warmth of the spices.
52Teas does a great job with their smoky blends, the smoke is not too savory or bacon-like, just the perfect charcoal-nutty waft of roasting logs on the fire. The smoke is this blend is balanced, with a solid black tea base and a generous scoop of cardamom pods and vanilla beans, with no one flavor coming on too strong.
Drinking this tea is like sitting next to the fireplace and eating snappy spice cookies, or sipping on a spiced tea from your thermos out in the snow, watching a bonfire crackle away. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for this blend when the weather turns again in the fall and you smell that first wisp of wood smoke on a crisp, cool day.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
This tea actually began as my Masterpiece Chai. While I was blending the spices, I toasted my cumin and I think either the cumin was especially fresh (not a bad thing at all) or I used too much cumin (much more likely) but the resulting blend ended up tasting strongly of smoky cumin. So I decided to add some Lapsang Souchong to amplify the smoky notes and create a Smoky Spice blend. This is a chai with a pleasant smoky tone – it’s not overly smoky – which is fine with me because I’m not a huge fan of a strong smoky essence. This has just the right level of smoke with a pleasant spicy note that isn’t too spicy, and it’s a little sweet and a little savory. It’s really nice.