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Apple Pie

Apple and Cinnamon from Teapigs. . . .

Recently I ordered the “cheeky” sample set from Teapigs and got a small taste of a dozen of their teas.  One of my favorites from the bunch was Apple & Cinnamon. When the weather gets cool, my apple and cinnamon consumption grows exponentially, (I mean, for breakfast I’m exclusively eating these apple pie overnight oats).  And this tea is my new obsession for an herbal evening brew.

Apple & Cinnamon tea from Teapigs is fitting into my autumn menu perfectly.  This herbal blend is all fruit and herbs, no rooibos or honeybush or decaf tea leaves.  Lots of little yellow cubes of dry apples, sprigs of cinnamon, and blackberry leaves.  The tea brews up a pale amber color, but is jam-packed with sweet, apple-pie flavors.

This tea does “apple spice” better than every limited edition snack-cakes or seasonal scented candles that are on the shelves this time of year.  This brew is juicy and full of authentic, fresh apple flavors, with plenty of the spicy warmth of cinnamon sticks.  My sample from Teapigs only included two tea bags so I’ll have to place an order for a big bag of loose leaf.  I could see this tea being used as a healthier alternative to mulled apple cider, or used in baked goods to add a gentle apple spice infusion.

If you’re having trouble getting into the autumn season, brew a cup of this herbal tea and relax into your favorite sweater and get ready to watch the leaves change color.  Don’t worry, this tea will keep you warm and comfy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Teapigs
Description:

Whether its in grandma’s pie, giant muffins or American pancakes nothing beats the flavour of sweet juicy apple with punchy cinnamon spice. It’s the perfect combination for a lovely fruity, punchy and spicy tea. Thanks go to the team at Olive and Bean, one of our lovely stockists in Newcastle who suggested this blend of apple and cinnamon.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cinnamon Apple Blossom from The Tea Can Company

In the fall and winter, I keep cinnamon sticks and whole cloves on hand for brewing hot apple cider. As much as I love the spicy, sweet fruit drink, the mulling process can be a bit slow and the cleanup, a bit sticky. When I don’t feel up to the whole hot apple cider shebang, I might just reach for a cup of Cinnamon Apple Blossom from the Tea Can Company instead.  

This is a pure fruit and herb tisane, no rooibos or tea leaves included. This blend is wholly made up of apple and cinnamon pieces. Dry, this tea smells like cinnamon candies, the strong artificial cinnamon flavor like Hot Tamales. I let this blend steep long and hot, because I love my teas extra spicy, especially this time of year.

When this tea is brewed, the flaming cinnamon candy scent cools slightly, showing up strongest in the scent rather than the taste. The apple really gets a chance to shine in the hot brew, adding fresh fruit cider flavors to the tea. Despite the strong candy fragrance, this tea isn’t overly sweet, mostly filled out with natural, authentic apple flavor. Add a touch of honey if you want a sweeter experience. Mixed with cream and sweetener, this blend will taste like cinnamon apple pie and whipped cream.

It’s hard to go wrong with apple and cinnamon, and this blend is perfect for your fall festivities or to warm you up during the holidays.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: herbal
Where to Buy: Tea Can Company
Description: Crisp apple and warm cinnamon spice. This cinnamon and apple herbal blend combines the health benefits of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into a delicious cup of tea. Naturally caffeine-free.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

As American As Apple Pie from CatSpring Tea

Yaupon, as a tea varietal, is entirely new to me, At first glance, it looks a lot more like a mate or a guayusa; flakes of greenish-brown leaf that put me in mind (albeit fleetingly) of fish food. Closer inspection reveals that they’re actually quite sizable chunks of (very shiny) tea leaves, although not as oxidized as I expected given that they’re referring to this as a “black” tea. Generously scattered among the leaves are cubes of dried apple, almond slivers, small pieces of beetroot, and cinnamon chips. Even dry, the scent is pretty amazing – spot-on apple pie spices!

Yaupon is the only caffeinated tea plant native to North America, and was used by Native Americans during male-only purification rituals. Despite a wane in popularity, CatSpring now farm  Yaupon sustainably on their family-owned land in Texas. They’ve also got sound ecological credentials, as they’re producing without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic weed control.

I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The recommendation is 4-7, so it’s probable that this could be extended if that’s what you prefer, but I’d likely reduce to 1 tsp of leaf if I were brewing for over 4 minutes. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, with a distinctive orangey tint. The apple pie scent isn’t as strong once brewed, and there’s a light underlying dankness, like wet leaves in autumn. Once again, I’m reminded of guayusa.

As it turns out, there’s a reason for this. Rather than the usual Camellia Sinensis, Yaupon tea is actually produced from the dried leaves of Ilex Vomitoria, which is a species of holly. Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis) and Guayusa (Ilex Guayusa) are both closely related plants, and all contain high levels of caffeine and theobromine. The flavours of all three are, to me, rather similar. Dank, slightly vegetal, very reminiscent of forest floor. They’re not tea varieties I would typically look to drink often unflavoured, and they’re a bit of a change from “normal” black or green teas if they’re what you’re used to.

Fortunately for me, this blend is flavoured, and it’s flavouring that works well with the choice of base tea. The apple is floral rather than crisp and sharp, but it manages to conjure a delicious, slightly mushy, “baked” flavour that’s very suggestive of apple pie. The cinnamon adds the requisite spicing, and the almonds round things out with a slightly savoury, slightly creamy nuttiness. I wasn’t expecting to be able to taste the beetroot, but it’s there in the background and it adds an edge of sour tartness that brings the whole thing together nicely. All told, it really does taste like apple pie.

The base tea is slightly distracting, because it’s quite a strong flavour. At times, it almost feels like a fight between the Yaupon and the other ingredients to establish prominence. A longer brew time might have helped to increase the strength of the flavouring, but it might also increase the strength of the base tea, and I’m not convinced that would be a good thing here. Still, experimentation is everything, and I’ll probably adjust my parameters until I find a combination I’m happier with.

On the whole, I’d say it just about works. The Yaupon is a very “autumnal” flavour, to put it politely, and apple pie makes me think of autumn anyway so it’s not as jarring as it could have been (a strawberries and cream Yaupon blend would make me nervous, let’s say.) It’s a very smooth blend, with no bitterness or astringency, and the flavours come over clearly. Tasting this, you’d be in no doubt as to what it was supposed to replicate – it definitely lives up to its name! I’d drink this again, and I’d try more teas from CatSpring in the future. Their offering is definitely unique, and it’s nice that it has a strong family heritage – it’s the exact opposite of the more faceless bigger brands. I’ll be interested to see where CatSpring go from here.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black Yaupon
Where to Buy:  Cat Spring Tea

catspringteaDescription:

As American As Apple Pie is our comforting black yaupon tea loose leaf blend as delicious as a slice of apple pie. Take a trip to grandma’s kitchen with every cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Apple Pie from Suffuse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Suffuse

Product Description:

Caffeine free, red Rooibos herbal tea, rich in antioxidants is infused with festive fruits and spices. Savor the warmth and cheer of the holiday season with four exceptional blends of spices, fruits & flavors that capture the tastes and aromas of traditional homemade favorites including; Eggnog, Gingerbread, Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie. Naturally sweet tasting Rooibos boasts a wide array of health benefits that include unique antioxidant properties to counteract the impact of free radicals which harm the body. This combined with high quality fruits & spices creates a brilliant mix of health and taste.

Taster’s Review:

Mmmm!  Apple pie!  Is there any dessert more comforting than apple pie?

This rooibos blend has captured the flavor of apple pie filling very well, with delicate spice notes and a sweet apple-y taste.  And while I don’t get a lot of the pie or pastry flavor here, I do taste just a little.  And, really, unless I’m eating my gramma’s pie or perhaps a pie from Whiffies in Portland, I don’t get particularly excited about pie crust.

The red rooibos base has a nutty flavor that is also woody.  Unlike the other three flavors from the Festive Medley package from Suffuse, though, this rooibos blend still has a bit of that funky aftertaste that I get from rooibos sometimes.  I’m not particularly crazy about that funky taste, but, on the plus side, the apple-y flavor of this tisane is delicious enough that the funkiness is tolerable.  I also noticed that about a half a teaspoon of brown sugar nicely offsets that funky taste and enhances the apple pie flavor tremendously.  Without the sweetener, this tisane is alright.  But with the brown sugar, it is fantastic!

Apple Pie is the fourth and final tisane from the Festive Medley package from Suffuse.  The Festive Medley package is an assortment of flavored rooibos tisanes which were flavored with the holidays in mind.  The other three flavors available in the Festive Medley package are  Pumpkin Pie, Gingerbread, and Eggnog (Just click on the link to read my review of these other tisanes).