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peppercorn

Coco Chai No. 5 from Bird and Blend Tea

This tea is named for Marilyn Monroe’s use of the perfume, Chanel No. 5, but I can’t help but think of the pop song that involves No. 5 instead (if it is stuck in your head now, you’re welcome).  The blend suits both sassy scenarios. With a bold assam base it is full of life and flavor. Added heat from ginger and peppercorns keep things spicy without being too fiery. Earthy cardamom adds a little maturity and depth to the chai flavors.  Last but not least, coconut, the “coco” part of the namesake, adds its trademark buttery creaminess to make the blend feel extra decadent.

I love chai teas on their own without milk and sugar, and this one is perfect in that style.  The fattiness from the coconut makes it feel lush even without milk. If you really want to treat yourself, brew this as a latte for that perfect mix of soft foam and warming spices.

This is also a tea that looks pretty in the loose leaf, so be sure to snap a picture as you scoop it into your cup.  There are golden nibs of ginger root, vibrant red peppercorns, boxy light green cardamom pods, and dark russet arcs of cloves.  For a blend with plenty of style, personality, and flavor, brew up Coco Chai No. 5 from Bird and Blend Tea.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Bird and Blend
Description:

When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe famously replied ‘five drops of Chanel No.5.’ We’re not sure about getting you into bed with blonde bombshells, but five drops of Coco Chai No.5 will definitely satisfy your taste buds with its delicious loose leaf blend of spices and smooth coconut.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bonfire from Adagio Teas

Adagio Teas might be known for the fandom-inspired blends submitted by their users, but the tea company also offers their own seasonal blends.  One of my favorite flavors they have created is a fall blend called Bonfire.

This blend is mainly comprised of honeybush herbal tea, which brings the perfect caramel, woodsy notes to start as a baseline.  If you are wary of red rooibos teas, don’t worry about this blend, the honeybush is much more gentle and less medicinal than the rooibos. The honeybush is paired with just a smidge of smoky black lapsang souchong.  There is little enough lapsang souchong to keep the caffeine level low, and to not overwhelm you with its bacon-like scent. Truly, the smokiness is relaxed and minimal, if you are on the fence, give it a try. Personally, I’ve grown to like smoky teas, so I add an extra scoop of lapsang souchong to the Bonfire loose leaf to really pump up the robustness.

What takes this blend to the next level are all the other herbs and additions.  Apple pieces add some juicy sweetness and their trademark fall flavor. Aniseed and cacao nibs add some dessert tones to make this brew feel like a treat.  Orange peels and cloves bring their wintry spice combination, and red peppercorns add a pop of color and just a hint of cracked pepper flavor.

This tea is delicious on its own, but also goes well with lemon and honey, or could be a tasty starting point for a hot toddy.  The blend is not available all year round, so I always make sure to stock up and make it last.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Honeybush and Black
Where to Buy: Adagio Teas

Description:

Crisp autumn nights call for warmth and comfort and little can better provide them than an autumn bonfire. Behold our bonfire blend: Honeybush hazelnut and cocoa nibs relax and ground you, while a spice blend of aniseed, cinnamon, clove and orange peel offer cozy comfort and zest. Apples and rose hips add soft sweetness while lapsang and red peppercorn offer hints of smoke and the flickering spark of heat. A perfect tea for fireside enjoyment or downtime dreaming.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Classic Masala Chai from Chai Safari. . . .

As a chai tea lover, I’m surprised I haven’t run into more Chai Safari teas in my experience.  Needless to say, I was excited to brew up a cup of spicy tea and try a new flavor.

I took one look at the dry leaf of this tea and immediately wanted to look up the ingredients.  The black tea leaves are processed into small pellets, which is typical for some types of chai, but I was confused when I saw the green tulsi leaves mixed in.  It’s not everyday that you see green ingredients in a chai tea, it’s usually lots of golden ginger and warm, brown cinnamon. Classic Masala Chai blend from Chai Safari has many of the classic chai staples like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, but it mixes in some more surprising ingredients like black pepper, tulsi (holy basil), and saffron.

Brewed this is everything you would expect from a chai tea: bold and warming, with the spice-cookie flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom.  I love the idea of the peppercorns in my teas, but it is hard to pick out the pepper flavor in this brew. Maybe some of the heat I associated with the ginger is actually from the black pepper.

The piece that sets this chai appart is the inclusion of tulsi and saffron.  These herbs add just a hint of floral sweetness in the scent and aftertaste. These refined flavors are an unexpected compliment to the bolder spices and made me realize that there is more to chai than ginger and cinnamon alone.

I will have to adventure into Chai Safari again and check out more unexpected chai tea flavors!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Chai Safari
Description: The Classic Masala Chai is India’s most popular chai. India’s own home grown recipe and consumed as a staple beverage across the country. This blend of exotic spices is the experience that will take you for a trip on this journey. The chai has dominant flavours of dried ginger and cardamom pods with a touch of black pepper’s spicy aftertaste. The sweet undenotes are delivered by cinnamon, Tulsi and a pinch of Saffron.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Marshmallow Spicy Chai from 52Teas

Chocolate-Marshmallow-Spicy-Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

Following the success of our Spicier Chai, one of our faithful customers requested a version with chocolate and marshmallow.  How could we not do that?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yum!  I’m loving this Chocolate Marshmallow Spicy Chai from 52Teas.  It’s the perfect tea to enjoy on a cold, wet afternoon!

If you read this blog regularly, you’re probably well aware by this point that I’m trying to raise funds so that I can take over 52Teas.  And if you aren’t yet aware of this, please check out my Kickstarter campaign by clicking right here.  (Remember, every little bit helps!)

Anyway, after taking my first sip of this tea, my immediate thought was, “oh yeah, I have to reblend this one!”  In fact, I just finished posting a comment on the campaign, stating that I nominate this for a reblend for the next vote!

Every time we reach another $2,000 in pledges, we vote on a new reblend.  So far, we’ve reached on $2000 in pledges and the winner of that vote was the Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish Honeybush.  If you want to get in on the next vote, you need to contribute and help me reach my goal!

So, yes, I guess you could say that I like this tea.  I like it a lot!

The black tea base is rich and flavorful.  That in itself is quite an accomplishment because the spices are spicy and the chocolate and marshmallow are both strong components to this cup too.  To be able to be tasted beyond the bold spices and the strong flavors, that’s impressive to me.

I also appreciate that the black tea isn’t astringent or bitter.  It’s smooth and robust, but not aggressively so.  It stands strong amid the other strong flavor profiles in this cup without having to be too harsh tasting.

The spices are very reminiscent of the Spicier Chai blend that 52Teas introduced a few weeks back.  And there’s a good reason for that.  It would seem that the Spicier Chai was the inspiration behind the request for a Chocolate Marshmallow version.  Genius.  It sounds like something I’d think of.  I didn’t.  But, whoever did think of it, you’re a genius.

The spices are spicy!  Peppery!  Zesty and invigorating!  It’s a good, strong, BOLDLY spiced chai.  It not only warms you from the inside out but it’ll feel a little like someone started a tiny fire in the back of your throat.  Yeah, it burns, but it burns SO good!

And then you have chocolate and marshmallow!  I’m usually quick to say that more chocolate is better, but I really am enjoying the level of chocolate in this blend.  It’s not SUPER chocolate-y but I think that more chocolate might have interfered with the spices a little bit and I like the balance as it is right now.  Spicy and chocolate-y deliciousness.

And the marshmallow is light and fluffy.

What this tastes a bit like is that someone brewed up a cup of that Spicier Chai, and then added a scoop of hot cocoa powder to it and stirred it up, and then topped it with a marshmallow that is now melted into the beverage, making it creamy and sweet and delicious.

So, yeah … totally yum.  Please help me save 52Teas so that I can reblend this one!!!

Barrel Aged Chai – Silk Road – from Tea of the People

silk-road_largeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea (Chai)

Where to Buy: Tea of the People

Tea Description:

Chai is to many tea drinkers to what The Beatles are to music. Paul sang, “Let it Be”, but we went “Across the Universe” and landed in Silk Road, the once legendary trade route between China, India and beyond. Barrel aged with Szechuan peppers, we made Imperial Keemun, “Come Together” with this Indian Chai. Sweet and spicy flavours will leave you wanting it “8 Days a Week”.

WHY BARREL AGED TEA?

Barrel aging is a new and exciting way to handcraft a sophisticated cup of tea. Our barrel aging process begins by carefully hand-blending the tea and ingredients together and placing the blend into charred white oak wood barrels. Flown in from France, the barrels are then stored in our private tea cellar for five months. The oak keeps the ingredients tightly stored, allowing for the ingredient’s flavours to fuse harmoniously with the tea. 

WHAT IS ORGANIC IMPERIAL KEEMUN?

Awarded both the prestigious designation for being one of China’s Ten Famous Teas and Official Imperial Tea of the Queen of England, Organic Imperial Keemun is one of the best black teas in the world. Great for stress management, studies have shown organic Imperial Keemun also promotes excellent oral, heart and bone health. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Most of the teas I have tasted – I can fully form my opinion about them – by the end of the cup.  This one took a while.  It took me until my 3rd cup to full form my opinion.  Not that it was a bad tasting chai – that couldn’t be further from the truth – it was just more complex than the others I have been sipping on as of late.  Barrel Aged Chai – Silk Road – from Tea of the People was quite the experience.

I read the ingredients label over and over again.  I couldn’t find anything that would make it different than the other chai’s to be honest.  Perhaps it was all of the organic ingredients – but – I have a hunch that the REAL taste difference is because it was barrel aged.  I have to say I haven’t tried many age barrels teas – a few – but not a ton of them – probably because there aren’t that many on the market.

That’s why I think this offering it wonderful!  It gives it that little extra something.  Something you can’t quite put your finger on – or in this case – your tongue on!  The spicy flavor blast of this chai really awakens your senses.  It forces you to taste and pick out each and every ingredients and ponder on it for a bit before completing your sipping adventure.  There seems to be a mysterious semi juicy undertone that is very much appreciated.  This is one chai that I will remember for a long time, that is for sure!  Very nicely done!