52Teas’ the 12 Teas of Christmas – Day 12

Day 12!

Wow!  It’s finally here, Christmas morning!  And the final tea of the 12 Teas of Christmas is Gingerbread Brûlée Black tea.  It is a perfect choice for the grand finale: after all, what is more showy and celebratory than creme brûlée?

This black tea features fragrant and delicious pieces of candied ginger accompanied by festive gingerbread spices.  The dry leaf smells like putting your nose in a tin of gingerbread cookies, dark, spicy, a little peppery, and plenty sweet.

Brewed, this tea is robust and flavorful, don’t let the dessert theme lull you into thinking this is a mild blend.  The black tea base has plenty oomph to wake you up no matter how early your family is opening Christmas presents.

I personally love kick-your-tastebuds strong chai flavors, but this tea made me realize that there is more than one way to have a tasty ginger tea.  I really appreciate the caramelized black tea tones and I’m glad the ginger isn’t so hot that it drowns out the other flavors.

The molasses tones from the gingerbread are a perfect match for the crispy, burnt sugar flavors of the brûlée.  There is just a perfect hint of heat from the candied ginger root, and the comforting warmth of other cookie spices.  If you can’t bake a tray of gingerbread cookies, brew a pot of this tea instead and make your kitchen smell like the holidays.

Merry Chistmas!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas

This is a tea that I had planned out way back when I was still in the planning stages of taking over 52Teas – but kept putting off again and again. Why? I don’t know. But I sure am glad I finally blended this because WOW! It’s ah-ma-ZING!

I started out with a blend of black teas (Yunnan, Assam & Ceylon) and added ginger & candied ginger, a bit of cinnamon & cloves, some freshly shaved nutmeg as well as some creme brulee essence to complete the tea. 

The cuppa starts out with strong gingerbread notes with mere hints of the creamy brulee. The ginger is definitely present in at the start, so there’s no mistaking that this is, indeed, a GINGERBREAD brulee. As I continue to sip, the custard-y notes of the creme brulee start to emerge and the flavors seem to come together and become more smooth with each sip. By the end of the cup, I find a very lovely balance of both creme brulee (and I even some of that bittersweet burnt sugar in there!) and gingerbread. 

And of course, this is organic, VEGAN, gluten-free & allergen free!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Peach Brulée Black Tea Blend from Tea Forté

peachbruleeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tea Forté

Tea Description:

This refreshing black tea offers a masterful blend fragrant with floral and fruit. Mango and marigold blossoms embrace the lushness of sweet juicy peaches with a lingering finish of tropical cut coconut. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

While shopping the other day at Chuck’s Produce, I stopped by the tea section (as I usually do) and this tea caught my attention.  Maybe it was the slick, black “Tea Noir” tin that drew me in, or perhaps it was just the name:  Peach Brulée … um, yes please!  That sounds amazing.  I also liked that this was a loose leaf selection, rather than the tea pyramids that Tea Forté is probably best known for.  So, maybe it was a combination of the three things, but there was something that came over me and told me to put that tin into my cart.

And I’m glad I did.  This is yum!

The black tea base is a very BOLD tasting black tea.  And the reason it’s so bold is that this tea has a pan-roasted Assam to serve as the base.  Awesome!  I can taste the richness of the Assam, notes of malt, and I’m getting a really nice roasted flavor from the pan-roasting.  It has an almost “coffee-like” flavor to it.  This would make an excellent alternative to those who are trying to switch from coffee to tea, but miss that rich, robust coffee flavor.  This tea has that!

And the flavoring here doesn’t overpower the rich, roasted flavor of the tea.  This is a tea that has been flavored with notes of peach and hints of mango and a very subtle kiss of coconut … and not the other way around.  That is to say, that this doesn’t taste like a tea where the flavors have been overdone.  The flavors are right on point, allowing me to enjoy the really flavorful Assam tea first, and then celebrate the juicy, delicious fruit notes.

The peach is the most prominent flavor after the roasty-toasty notes, and then the mango sort of weaves its way in and out throughout the sip in a very soft, subtle way.  The coconut is very delicate, and I notice it more in the aftertaste than I do in the sip itself.

It’s a really flavorful, unique take on tropical fruit flavored tea, and with all this bold, hefty flavor, it’s a great way to start the day.  It also tastes outstanding as an iced tea – in fact, I’d find it difficult to say which way I like it best.  I think right now, seeing as we’re experiencing the hottest part of the summer thus far, I’d go with iced.  But, in the cooler weather, I’d probably say that this is better hot!

Crème Brulee Black Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

Creme-Brulee-BlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

This luxurious tea is almost as fun to drink as it is to crack the crust of the famed dessert. A crisp black tea balances the creamy, caramel-like flavour of Crème Brulee for a delectable cup of tea, perfect for an after-dinner treat. This creamy tea is best served hot.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s NEW Selection Club subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

My fifth installment of my customized subscription with Simple Loose Leaf arrived the other day!  It’s a happy mail day whenever there’s tea in the mailbox!  And I was really looking forward to this package from Simple Loose Leaf because I had a feeling that I’d love this Crème Brulee Black Tea from Simple Loose Leaf Black Tea!

I’m sure I’ve probably mentioned this once or twice on this blog:  crème brulee is my favorite dessert.  I’ve tried a few different teas that have attempted to capture the flavors of crème brulee and some have been pretty successful at bringing the decadent flavor of the dessert to the teacup.

This one is really good!  I can taste the creamy, smooth flavors of vanilla intertwined with the robust notes of black tea.  These two distinct notes seem to swirl together and are present throughout the sip.  The tea is strong, slightly malty, and has some distant fruit notes that are especially discernible in the aftertaste.

And then there is a caramel-y taste to this that tastes very much like the caramelized sugar that is browned on top of a crème brulee custard.  All that’s missing here is that crackle of the crispy sugar crust!  This tea is incredibly YUM!

Before I posted this review, Simple Loose Leaf got in touch with me to tell me about their new “Selection Club” subscription.  Here is some information about this subscription:

The Selection Club is the only member curated Tea of the Month Club.  Each month Simple Loose Leaf assembles a menu of 5 unique teas (a traditional green, a traditional black, a white, a oolong or pu’er, and a flavored tea) for our club member’s consideration.  From this menu each member selects the two teas they want included in their next box of tea. Alternatively members can select to receive a half-weight sample of each of the 5 teas.  Simple Loose Leaf also includes a list of the teas being featured on the next month’s menu and each member gets to select one of these 5 teas and we include a free 6 gram sample of the selected tea.

This allows you to try more teas each month, but you still get to customize your experience!  Sounds pretty awesome, right?  Well, I’ve got some more awesomeness for you!  Use this code:  SISTERSELECTION25 and get a 25% discount when you sign up for the selection club.  This discount is not applicable on the retail selection of teas, and is only good for the selection club subscription.

I really like this company.  They are very accessible!  They respond to email inquiries in a VERY timely manner, and as I’ve mentioned before, they go above and beyond to make their customers happy!  And they’ve got yummy teas too!  Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Creme Brulee Chai Blend from Herbal Infusions

cremebruleechaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Herbal Infusions

Tea Description:

We use a well rounded flowery orange pekoe as the base for this decadent and luxurious chai mix. Hand blended ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, anise, peppercorn, and clove is accented by a rich creme brulee flavour. 

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

Chai blends are among my favorite teas to drink this time of year – when it’s blustery cold outside, there’s really nothing nicer than to have a steaming cup of spicy chai in my tea mug!  So, I’m glad I found this Creme Brulee Chai Blend from Herbal Infusions in my stash today.  And, YUM!  It’s just what I want from a chai:  warm, spicy and delicious.

There is a good level of spice to this chai.  It’s spicy, but, it’s not over-the-top.  It isn’t a jarring level of spice.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  It’s not so spicy that I’m tasting way too much spice and not enough tea flavor.  Here, the spice is strong – stronger than the tea, but that’s alright – but it isn’t overpowering the tea.  The tea is tasted.  It’s alright if the spices are stronger than the tea in a chai,  Most of the time, I prefer it that way when it comes to chai!  But I don’t want it so spicy that the flavor of the tea becomes completely obscured by the spice.

I taste the clove and cinnamon above all the other spices, but the cardamom is coming through nicely too.  I can even taste that subtle “citrus” note from the cardamom here.  The ginger and black peppercorn offer a peppery kick that I like.  And there is a subtle hint of licorice-y anise to this as well.  Anise is one of my favorite spices to use in a chai, and I’m glad that Herbal Infusions chose to include it in this chai.

And then I taste the creamy, custard-like flavor of the “creme brulee” flavoring in this.  Personally, I am wishing I could taste more creme brulee here, not just because the chai is called “Creme Brulee Chai” and I think if it’s going to be called Creme Brulee … I should taste the Creme Brulee front and center and I’m just not getting it that strongly here.  I taste it, it’s definitely there, but I want more, because, well, Creme Brulee is my favorite dessert.  I was hoping for more custard-like flavor, and also that caramelized note of the burnt sugar atop a creme brulee.  As it is, I do taste some creamy notes, some custard-like notes … and barely-there hints of caramel.

This is a very finely chopped chai – the spices and tea are both finely milled into a very fine cut.  And because of this, I suggest using a shorter brew time than you might normally employ.  It’s good with a dollop of honey or a sprinkling of turbinado sugar to bring out the flavors, however, I found that the creamy notes of the custard flavoring gave this a satisfying latte-like taste so I didn’t need to add milk.

Overall, this is a very flavorful chai.  Lots of spice flavor to warm you from the inside out!  It’s just the ticket on cold days like this one.

Cocoa Creme Black Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

Cocoa-Creme-BlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

For the first time, the bold, aromatic flavors of coffee are introduced to our smooth South Indian black tea. This marriage is celebrated with spicy cocoa and creamy yogurt chips, surprising our senses and delighting anyone who thought they would never savor the best of both worlds. Incredible hot.

South Indian Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea, Ground Coffee, Cocoa Powder, Yogurt Chips, Creme Brulee Flavor

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s customized subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

I think that I should have read the description and the ingredients in this Cocoa Cream Black Tea before I added it to my subscription with Simple Loose Leaf – it has ground coffee in it!  Yikes!  I don’t drink coffee because it tends to make me upset to my stomach, and I’m hoping that this tea has enough polyphenols in it to buffer the effects of the coffee!

When I opened the pouch, I was blown away at how much it smelled like coffee!  Again, I smelled the tea before I read the description, so, I thought it was a little weird to be smelling coffee in a chocolate-y tea.  Then I saw the ingredient list on the package and saw “Coffee Grounds” listed.  Yep … that’s why I smell coffee!  Fortunately, I really like the smell of coffee.

And I can definitely taste the coffee too.  The coffee flavor is – disappointingly – stronger than the chocolate notes, and I was hoping that the coffee grounds were added to enhance the chocolate flavors, but it seems to me that it’s obscuring them.  I can still taste chocolate; however, the coffee is stronger.  I don’t taste a whole lot of “creme” from the yogurt or the creme brulee flavoring although I do taste a hint of sour/tangy from the yogurt.  I do taste a slight creaminess, but again, I feel like it’s being overpowered by the coffee.

Even the black tea notes are dominated by the coffee notes.  The coffee seems to have vanquished every other flavor in this cup, and while I do taste subtle notes of the other flavors,  the coffee permeates every sip strongly.  I would like for the coffee to be a more subtle flavor.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

I was lured in by the name of the tea:  Cocoa Creme.  I mean, it sounds amazing, doesn’t it?  I mean, as a chocoholic, why wouldn’t I want to try a tea called Cocoa Cream?  But I think that this tea suffers from a misnomer.  It should be called MOCHA Creme.

So far, I have tried three teas from Simple Loose Leaf with this subscription order, and this is the first one that I found disappointing.  I’m still not disappointed in the service … but this tea is just simply not up to par with the other two I’ve tasted.