For today’s inspirational piece of artwork, I am again looking to one of the gifts that I received in one of the 12 Days of Christmas mail art swaps that I was involved in. This cute mitten was made by Sue Foster, and it hangs proudly on my tree.
I love how perfectly the stitches are on this. It would take me hours – literally, hours! – to do something like this. I’m not as handy with a needle and thread, I’m afraid.
Thank you, Sue, it’s beautiful and whimsical and a perfect addition to my handmade tree.
Today’s tea from Teanzo is one that should inspire happy dreams.
Dream Spa Blend Tisane
Leaf Type: Herbal/Spice Melange
Where to Buy: Teanzo 1856
Ingredients: Cardamom, saffron, licorice root, fennel, ginger root, cinnamon, rosebuds, lemongrass & rose scent.
Learn more about this blend here.
This tea smells amazingly good, especially after it’s been brewed. The dry leaf smells remarkable as well, but the brewed liquid is almost intoxicating – it smells so good! The combination of the spices and the rose is simply amazing. It doesn’t smell too spicy, it doesn’t smell too rosy, it just smells dreamy. Much like the name of the tea suggests.
Seriously, this scent should be made into potpourri or something. Or soap!
To steep it, I poured the contents of the sampler pouch into the basket of my Kati and added 12 ounces of water heated to 195°F and let it steep for 6 minutes. Originally, I thought that I’d steep it for 10 minutes, the length of time I would normally steep a tisane without hibiscus, but the aroma of the dry leaf was strong and I felt that if I went for the full 10 minutes that this would come off tasting too strong.
After I finished steeping, I kept the cup up to my nose for several minutes, just inhaling the fragrance. So beautiful! Then the thought that enters my head before I take a sip is: should I be drinking this? It smells TOO GOOD to drink, as in it smells like something I’d want to wear or possibly perfume my living room with but would I want to consume it?
But the ingredients suggest to me that this should be alright to drink. There are some of the “usual ingredients” for a chai and I like chai. There’s saffron and I like that too. Licorice root and fennel are two of my favorite tea ingredients. And I love rose teas and I enjoy lemongrass. There’s nothing here that offends my palate so even though it smells like perfume hopefully it won’t taste that way.
So, I let the tea temperature drop to a drinkable temperature and took my first sip. This is actually really nice! It’s a strong taste – I’m glad I didn’t go ahead and steep it for my usual 10 minutes – but it’s quite pleasant. There are a lot of layers to the flavor because I can taste each ingredient.
I notice hints of citrus at the very start of the sip. It’s a warm, spicy citrus note, and about half a second after the citrus comes through clearly, the cinnamon and ginger come into focus. Then I pick up on the rose and the saffron. By mid-sip, the licorice and fennel are recognized by the palate. In the aftertaste, I notice notes of rose and a cola-like flavor that I attribute to the cardamom. It’s a warm and soothing cup, but it does have some invigorating quality to it too.
It’s a really unique beverage but I find myself enjoying it much more than I expected to. To be honest, when I saw that today’s tea was an herbal, the thought going through my head was “again?” You know, a kind of disappointed “again.” But now that I’ve tasted it, I’m really happy with this!
Thank you, Teanzo for this beautifully fragrant dream of a tisane today!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy
Could it be? A perfectly balanced chai tea? Yes, we know chai means tea and we are saying tea tea. But we like tea tea. Anyway. 9 Spice Chai is a smooth, deep, and complex black tea with just enough spiced flavor to penetrate the Indian and Sri Lankan black teas. Finally, a cup of chai that isn’t literally a cup of cloves or a cup of cinnamon nutmeg! Rejoice! This blend is part of the Original 20 M&K’s Blends.
Learn more about this tea here.
If you’ve read many of my reviews, you know by now that I love a good chai! So, I looked forward to trying this 9 Spice Chai from M&K’s Tea Company. After reading the description, it would seem that M&K’s is promising me a good chai here, so I am eagerly anticipating that!
And I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the humor in M&K’s description. I know that ‘Chai’ means tea and when I say “Chai,” I am more often than not – 99 times out of 100 – referring to a spiced tea blend. But I also often find myself worrying about those purists out there that might read one of my post titles that say “chai tea” and they’re snickering about me saying “tea tea.” I like that M&K’s addresses this “confusing” subject with humor. Thank you.
Anyway … let’s move on to the chai tea that sits in front of me, tempting me with it’s lovely aroma. It smells warm and spicy, like the kitchen during the holidays when there are lots of tasty things being baked.
Especially when I was a kid in my gramma’s kitchen … not so much now because if tasty things were being baked in the kitchen, that would mean that I was baking them and doing all the work. Things smell a lot better when I’m not the one doing the work. I think that’s why the childhood memories of pies, cakes, cookies and other yummies “smelled” so much better than when I make those things.
I’m just full of tangent today, aren’t I?
As I was saying, this chai smells good. It has a lovely, warmly spiced fragrance. And, I’m happy to say that it tastes as good as it smells! The spices are nicely balanced (as promised in the above description), I taste gentle notes of cinnamon and cardamom and clove. Hints of nutmeg and vanilla. The pepper and ginger are zesty. The allspice and coriander round out the flavors. The spices have been carefully considered here to create a pleasing, round flavor that warms you from the inside out without coming across as too spicy.
It has a flavor that is reminiscent of a homemade spice cookie. It isn’t too strongly spiced – but it isn’t subtle either. It’s somewhere in between a very strong, spicy chai and a more softly spiced chai. The spices aren’t competing with one another and there isn’t one spice that overpowers the others. This isn’t all about the cinnamon or ginger or clove. I get a little bit of each spice in each sip and that’s what I mean by a nice balance of spice.
The black tea base is a blend of Ceylon and Assam, and these two teas provide a solid background of flavor. It’s robust and holds its own against the strong spices so that I’m not just tasting spices in each sip, I’m also tasting tea. The teas don’t taste bitter but there is some dryness toward the tail – a slightly astringent sensation – but it isn’t unpleasant. I like the way the dryness allows the spice notes (a contrast between spicy and sweet) to come through in the aftertaste.
I really am enjoying this chai. I think if I’m to offer any kind of criticism about it at all, it would be that I think I’d like just a tad more vanilla to this. The vanilla here is rather subdued, perhaps because it’s in the presence of so many other spices but I think I’d like to experience a little more of the sweet, creamy notes of vanilla here. A little more vanilla and you wouldn’t need to add dairy to make this a latte – it would be like a latte in a cup without the dairy!
For the first time in quite a few years, I can say that I am ready for it. Usually, we are down to the wire and doing our shopping at the last minute. But this year, we managed to get some of the major shopping (ie: shopping for the kids!) done early, which has helped immensely! I don’t feel stressed or rushed like I usually do this time of year! Yay!
What a unique tea Della Terra Teas sent to me on this Ninth Day of Christmas!
Leaf Type: White & Green Teas
Where to Buy: Della Terra Teas
On your eighth day you may not have ladies dancing, but you do have a Snow Fairy prancing around your tastebuds.
This magical tea will brighten your day, any time of day with it’s fruity flavors of pineapple & apple with creamy vanilla and white tea. Oh, you are in for a treat today!
Learn more about this tea here.
A quick glance at the ingredients of this tea, and I found myself wondering why Della Terra Teas chose this as a “holiday” tea … I don’t usually think of pineapple as a holiday flavor. But, the flavor of this tea is so nice, that I don’t really care if it’s especially holidays-y!
The base of this tea is a blend of fluffy Bai Mu Dan white tea leaves and Chinese green tea. By brewing this at a low temperature (170°F) for four minutes, I was able to get a nice balance of both the green and the white tea flavors. I like that I can taste both here, a slightly buttery, vegetative taste from the green tea, and a light, sweet taste from the white tea, and they don’t seem to be competing with one another for the spotlight. This two teas are working together very well in this blend.
The pineapple is sweet and soft … curbed slightly by the vanilla and the apple. I am not trying to say that the flavor of the pineapple is obscured, really, it is just not quite as clear a flavor as it might be without the vanilla and the apple. But I like how these two ingredients soften the flavor – it does give it a somewhat “snowy” kind of flavor … like pineapple ice cream. I also do taste a hint of spice here from the pink peppercorns. It isn’t a strong peppery note (pink peppercorns don’t deliver a strong peppery taste), but it is just enough contrast to the cup to keep the flavors from becoming dull.
Overall, the flavor is gentle and creamy … one of those types of teas you’d like to curl up to while reading a good book.