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spiced black tea

Day #1 Adagio Teas Advent Calendar -CuppaGeek-

Today is the second official day of the tea advent calendar season but to avoid spoilers- I’m going to review the lovely Adagio Teas Advent Calendar a day behind so without further ado. . . . .

Day #1- Spiced Apple Chai

Spiced Apple Chai is a tea blend from Adagio Teas that I know very well.  I have enjoyed this one quite often.  This lovely black tea based flavored chai is pretty much like fall in a cup but I like to enjoy this one with a twist. A shot of rum or a dollop of cream just adds a nice next level feel to this brew.

Brewed with fresh prepped water at boiling and steeped for right around 2-3 minutes this blends yields a distinctive distinctive apple flavor along with what I would consider the traditional chai spices-ginger, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon .  Flavors that you would expect to go well together and a chai you want to enjoy on a cool day where wrapping your hands around a mug brings your tea loving soul so much love.

Adding the additional extras of course are optional to enjoy this lovely cuppa and what is great about this particular blend, there are so many different ways you can enjoy- western brewed, as a latte, adult like with a shot of this or that, cold brewed with or without a touch of maple syrup, truly the possibilities are endless which makes this one of my favorite Adagio blends.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description

Our Spiced Apple Chai features the timeless, comforting combination of apples and spice. A lively blend of black tea, classic spices from Indian Masala Chai and bright notes of crisp apple. Juicy and pleasantly sweet, like warm applesauce, with clean, refreshing texture. We suggest two heaping teaspoons per 8 oz cup. Sugar, cream or soy if desired.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Nepali Breakfast/Nepal Tea

When prepping breakfast, I learned that I can’t use my toaster oven and kettle at the same time. That was an interesting discovery that made for a two-step breakfast: bagel first (since the toaster oven was already on) and tea second.

Another discovery: Nepali Breakfast by Nepal Tea is not a straight black tea like I thought it was. When I opened the package, I immediately got a big whiff of masala spices which surprised me. Upon closer inspection of the package, it turns out the package says black tea + spices so I guess this confusion is just on me. Oops.

Anyways, when brewing this up, I did so according to the company suggestion on the package which is to steep the tea in boiling water for 5 minutes. That is against my usual steeping parameters but hopefully Nepal Tea knows best.

After steeping the tea I brought up the Nepali Breakfast page on the Nepal Tea website only to notice that the site says to use not quite boiling water for 4-5 minutes. I also noticed on the Nepal Tea website they recommend steeping this with milk and/or sugar. Again, I did not see this until after I steeped the tea so I did not do this.

Trying the tea, the first thing I noticed is how much sugar probably would have helped this tea. I normally don’t add anything to my tea (unless I am having a latte or smoothie, etc.) but this tea is more bland than the scent of the dry leaf would have you expect. I think perhaps sugar might coax out those spices nicely since nothing really stands out. With that said, despite the fairly harsh steeping parameters, there is no bitterness or astringency here. Mostly just some cinnamon, a touch of clove, maybe a little pepper and a smooth black tea that doesn’t really impart much flavor.

I think this tea has potential but for me it fell short. The smell of the tea really had me thinking I was in store for a punch of spice but barely got a tap on the shoulder.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Nepal Tea

Description

Start the day the Nepalese way with our unique Masala Chiyah.

A blend of Orthodox, CTC teas and our special masala spice mix. Experience the color of CTC, flavors of Orthodox with the ‘zing’ of the home-made spice mix.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

San Francisco Blend/Coffee Tree and Tea Leaves Co. . . .

Thankfully, for the past holidays, I was gifted more tea to enjoy! I actually smelled the San Francisco Blend in my gift box before ever opening it. This has a strong, pleasant, aroma which has cinnamon notes to it. Though it is strong, it is not a negative aroma. I will admit, however, that I actually had to store the San Francisco Blend outside of my standard tea storage because I actually started smelling this blend on my other teas.

Despite the strong aroma of the tea in both dry form and while it is being brewed, it does not have a strong cinnamon taste! If you’ve had Adagio Tea’s Fiery Cinnamon Spice, this blend is lighter in cinnamon flavor than Adagio’s blend. I can drink it without any sweeteners or creams. If you wanted to, you could add some milk or almond milt to make a really nice mock-chai.

The independent tea shop is based in Chicago, Illinois, and I would recommend The San Francisco Blend if you are a fan of black teas with cinnamon. This is a great blend for your cup!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Coffee Tree and Tea Leaves Co

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Yule Fuel from For Tea’s Sake. . . . .

Scent is one of the strongest senses tied to memory, and there is something distinct for all of us about the holidays! There are the cinnamon pine cones in every store, you start being able to use you fireplace, and everything smells like apples. Yule Fuel by For Tea’s Sake is hands down the best holiday tea I’ve ever had. It smells like the holidays with cinnamon and cloves immediately confronting your senses. One encounter with the aroma of this tea will make it obvious that it is aptly named.

I brewed this black tea at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius) for five minutes as directed. It brewed into a nice rich color. The cinnamon and cloves which are prominent in the aromatic profile of this tea are reduced to supporting, but important, players when brewed. The flavor that comes out in the brewing process is a lovely vanilla which helps remove the bitter aftertaste that is common for black teas and often puts people off of drinking black teas without sugar or cream. Saying this is a smooth black tea may be an understatement for this blend. This blend needs no assistance from sugars or cream, but I suspect that the addition of either would create a lovely flavor profile as well.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this blend. From the aroma to the flavor profile that is presented once brewed, this tea is one that you need to have in your collection.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  For Tea’s Sake
Description

This is a holiday blend tea so if interested click below right around the holidays to see if the blend is coming back!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chinese Five Spice from 52Teas. . . . .

I love spicy teas, so when I saw that 52Teas has a special spiced blend for the Chinese New year, I had to try it.  Chinese Five Spice from 52Teas is one of my favorite chai blends I’ve tried in a while. In the dry leaf, you can smell the Szechwan peppercorns, adding a little heat and a little tingly, earthy ground pepper scent.

The peppercorns are well-balanced with the sweeter spices like anise and ginger.  The orange peels are specifically mandarin oranges, and there’s something distinct in the citrus flavor that makes it feel different than the usual orange notes. Finally, there are also plenty of cloves that add their own sweet-spice, almost making the dry tea leaves have a fragrance like Dr. Pepper or Moxie soda.

Brewed, the black tea really shines and shows off its quality, tippy tea leaf origins.  Somehow both smooth and tart, it makes the pepper and orange pop on my tongue but without any spicy after-burn on my throat.  There is still a very full-flavored scent in my mug with cloves and ginger, but it’s not sweat-inducing spicy in taste, very drinkable.  No honey or milk needed (though you can always add them if you love it), the blend is well-balanced right out of the bag.

I ordered the sample size but I’ve already finished it, so I’ll have to put the full size bag in my shopping cart soon.  This is a tasty, unique chai for spicy tea lovers everywhere.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description:

Since China is a very important part of what I do (since most of my tea comes from China!), I decided it was important to do something to celebrate the ringing in of the Chinese New Year this year (The Year of the Dog)! I started with two black Yunnan teas – a Yunnan Black Gold and a tippy Assamica grown in the Yunnan Province – and added dried mandarin wedges and the whole spices of a Chinese 5 Spice blend: Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, Fennel and Szechwan peppercorns. Then I added just a wee bit of ginger to enhance the peppery notes just a little. The result is a cuppa that is a little bit sweet, a little bit savory and a little bit spicy! It’s a really nice, round flavor! The mandarin orange flavor is bright and adds a nice touch to the spices here. It’s kind of like an orange flavored chai – Chinese style! I’m really happy with how this one came out – the spices are strong enough to be inviting but don’t blow out the taste buds with the spice – and the mandarin is really lovely: sweet and juicy!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!