Advent Tea 14: Alpine Punch

The name of this tea made me think of someone on skis attempting to punch someone else. I may have taken the name too literally. To be fair the colour of the tea combined with the smell of cinnamon did remind me of winter and snow.

I tend to be slow to warm up to red rooibos teas but this one was mellow enough to be tasty.  I was hesitant about the fact this tea contains rose blossoms and two different types of coconut.  My fears were unfounded I didn’t taste any coconut and the floral note wasn’t overpowering.  I like that this was subtle and that the fruity, floral notes weren’t over the top like so many of the other advent teas have been.

Advent Tea 13: Buddha’s Blend

Anything with the name Buddha in it has a tendency to remind me of the Laughing Buddha in Sudbury and the tasty pizza that could be procured there. Today’s tea, Buddha’s Blend, is a mixture of white tea and green tea with jasmine pearls, white hibiscus blossoms, and natural and artificial flavouring.

The tea smells sweet, juicy, and a bit like peach.  It has a floral smell and the floral note seems to be the strong point in the taste of the tea.  I think you need to be really careful of how long you steep this tea  – less would be more in this case – or else you’re going to end up with a floral, perfume tasting beverage that isn’t particularly enjoyable.  The more bitter aspects come out in the tea came out as it cool, so I’d recommend not leaving the tea to sit while you do other things around the house…as I normally do.

But if you like floral or the fake peach flavour that was so common the peach fountain drinks of our childhood, this is probably you a good tea for you.  Otherwise I’d recommend doing a very light steep as the taste is a bit overpowering.

Advent Tea 12: The Spice Is Right

When I told Andrew the name of today’s tea he made a Price is Right pun.  It can’t be a bad tea if it’s pun worthy, right? This green tea has cinnamon, orange peel, cloves, and chili pepper.  The dry leaves are very fragrant and smell spicy with a touch of sweet cinnamon.  The smell mellow a bit when brewed but it still has a hint of orange and cinnamon fragrance.

The cinnamon is the dominant flavour in the tea with the cloves and orange barely noticeable.  It’s a sweet blend that could probably use some of the tartness from the orange. Kind of like a cup of spice with a bit of tea.

Advent Tea 11: Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate Tea.

Hot Chocolate Tea.

I wasn’t overly excited when I opened today’s little box of tea from the advent tea calendar. A tea named hot chocolate does not sound like a good way to start the morning.  This is also one of the tea’s that has a huge list of ingredients: Pu’erh tea, black tea, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), chocolate curls (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, chocolate liquor, whey powder, lactose, soy lecithin, vanilla), stevia extract.

It’s tea that is designed to taste like hot chocolate.  It smells sweet and like a mug of coco.  I didn’t expect to like this tea but it wasn’t nearly as overpoweringly sweet as I anticipated.  I love that you can actually see chunks of chocolate in the dry tea – it’s not just all added sweetener.

The pu’erh tea and black tea aren’t overwhelmed by all the chocolate.  It’s a mild chocolate falvour that is oddly comforting and would be a great tea to have on a snowy day.  And it might be a tea that I could convince Andrew to drink…

 

Advent Tea 10: Nepal Black

Another black tea! This organic black tea from Nepal is apparently sources from “from a small family-owned tea garden named Jun Chiyabari.” The dry leaves are thin, long, and slightly curled and smell slightly malty.

The tea has a slightly honey note and a very mild astrignecy. It’s a fairly standard black tea and I could see it becoming bitter if you let it over steep — I was at work and not paying a ton of attention to the tea making process and it was borderline over-steeped. A nice simple tea with a dash of honey sweetness.

Advent Tea 9: Organic Cinnamon Rooibos Chai Tea

Today’s tea was the first rooibos tea featured in the advent calendar of tea.  The name of the tea is a very apt description of the ingredients: rooibos, cinnamon, and apple.  Simple with few additives. The dry tea has a beautiful rusty colour to it and when steeped the tea smells faintly of cinnamon.   It’s caffeine free so didn’t provide a morning pick me up but was a tasty warm beverage.

I liked that the cinnamon wasn’t overpowering in this blend.  But I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t really have the flavour that I normally associated with chai.  It’s good just not what I was expecting.

Advent Tea 8: Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom Tea.

Cherry Blossom Tea.

As soon as I saw the name of today’s tea I figured it would be one I didn’t enjoy.  I don’t tend to like fruity teas. Though I was intrigued by the fact that Cherry Blossom was a white tea and not a herbal tea – maybe there was hope?

Cherry Blossom is a mixture of white tea, green tea, cherries, coconut chips, rosebuds, natural and artificial cherry flavouring.  I anticipated the tea being red in colour from the rosebuds and the cherry flavouring.  The dry tea is pretty neat looking with pops of colour provided by the rosebuds.  Surprisingly when brewed it’s an off white shade and the smell is a mixture of floral and cherry, it doesn’t smell like cough syrup like most cherry teas tend to.

As predicted I wasn’t a huge fan of this tea.  The cherry wasn’t overpowering but it provided a bittersweet flavour to the tea that I didn’t enjoy. I’m also not a huge fan of hidden coconut so no surprise that this isn’t going to be added to my preferred tea list.

Advent Tea 7: North African Mint

Yesterday’s tea was my favourite calendar tea to date so this morning’s tea had a bit of work to do to impress me.  The organic North African Mint has a slight minty smell and I had hopes that it would be green tea tasting with a hint of mint.  The flavour I associate with green tea is very subtle in this brew and is overpowered by mint, reminding me more of an herbal mint tea than anything.

This green tea has mint, cardamom, ginger and licorice.  There is also fennel, clove, and black pepper in the tea but it’s hard to make out those bits in the dry tea and I didn’t really get a taste of any of those ingredients.  Even the ginger and licorice taste are fairly muted with the mint overpowering everything. It’s a good mint tea – but I think as mint tea’s go I still prefer the St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters T Line peppermint tea if I’m looking for a soothing, stomach calming tea.

Advent Tea 6: Glitter and Gold

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” – Tolkien

The name of today’s tea, Glitter and Gold, reminded me of one of my favourite Tolkien passages.  Not all those who wander are lost.  And not all tea that has glitter in it’s name is actually made of gold.  Though there are gold coloured stars in the loose leaf tea, which apparently sparkle when steeping.  Mine might have sparkled — but I wasn’t paying close enough attention to notice.  Brewing it in a glass or white coloured mug or pot might bring out the sparkle a bit more.

The tea smells like cloves, cinnamon and a hint of ginger.  This black tea is slightly sweet and the cinnamon really comes through as the dominant spice. I think this would pair well with some homemade gingerbread cookies or a snowy day.  This tea is probably my favourite so far from the #24daysoftea.

Advent Tea 5: Banana Nut Bread

Banana Muffin and Banana Nut Bread Tea.

Banana Muffin and Banana Nut Bread Tea.

Today’s tea was Banana Nut Bread and is designed to taste like banana bread in a mug.  The dry tea smells overwhelmingly like banana. The tea also contains dates, almonds, currants, and artificial flavouring. So despite the tea name it actually doesn’t contain any true tea and is more of a hot beverage infusion than anything. Once steeped it continued to smell very much like banana.

I read a bit about this tea prior to steeping it and a few people suggested using an easy clean infuser as there’s a good chance you’re going to be left with a sticky mess.  I used a silicone infuser and seemed to wash out okay. I steeping guidelines suggest 4-7 minutes.  However after 5 minutes the tea was still fairly weak.  I let it steep longer and it improved the tea.  It’s kind of like desert in a cup.  Tasty but definitely not a tea in the traditional sense.  It paired really well with the banana muffins I picked up a local bake sale.

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