On The 6th Day of Christmas . . . (And Our Tea of the Week!)
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Happy 6th day of our holiday countdown!
Today's tea is an 'original' (not a reblend) - and one I created with the holiday season in mind and since the "6th Day of Christmas" happens to land on a Monday - this tea is our Tea of the Week as well!
My favorite teas this time of year are chai teas - that is, the warmly spiced teas that invigorate and warm you up from the inside out. So I decided that a chai tea definitely needed to be on my 12 Teas of Christmas 'advent calendar' - and would also make a welcome addition to our tea of the week line-up so I created this, my
Tea Description: I'm not exactly sure how to explain my inspiration behind this tea except to say that I wanted to create something that evoked thoughts of a little cabin out in the woods during a winter snowstorm. Inside the cabin, it's warm and toasty, there's a fire cracking in the fireplace and you're - yes you! Not me, I'd prefer no snowstorm please. Since I'm the one writing the story, you'll be the character in the story, m-kay? You're curled up in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a warm, fuzzy blanket and you're roasting marshmallows. I wanted a chai that captured that story.
I wanted something warm and spicy but also sweet and toasty. Something that hints of slightly charred marshmallows while still letting you know that it's a chai you're sipping. I wanted the spices to be in the forefront but not so aggressive that the delightful roasted marshmallow flavor is overpowered.
And I think I've accomplished what I set out to do - try it yourself and see if you agree!
organic ingredients: black teas, honeybush, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, black pepper, nutmeg, marshmallow root, vanilla bean and natural flavors.
Oh wow - I LOVE this chai!
Granted, I love chai anyway - but I get really giddy when I manage to accomplish a flavor that I envision - especially when I feel a little worried that maybe, just maybe the flavor won't be what I hoped for. As I mentioned above in the description - it was a little hard for me to describe my inspiration - it actually started with a photo. Specifically, a photo (or perhaps a drawing or painting) that was turned into a holiday card. The card was a simple enough picture - a snowy, forest-y place and right in the middle was a snow covered cabin with a little bit of smoke wafting out of the chimney.
A winter-y vision.
And I found myself for just a moment traveling to that place in my mind and the next moment, I found myself wondering what kind of tea I'd want to drink if I found myself in that place. (Yeah - I'm freaky about tea and really, most things I try to translate into tea!) The first thought that came to my mind was CHAI! (Of course!) I'd want a rich, flavorful chai with plenty of spice - but not spicy-hot. Just very warmly - comfortingly - spiced. Something that would warm the throat as I sipped and that warmth would radiate through me. Something abundantly ginger-y and peppery and cinnamon-y cloved. And cardamom! Something well rounded and something that brought a smile to my face as I sipped it.
Then my mind continued to wander and I imagined roasting marshmallows and one of those perfectly roasted marshmallows slips off the stick and falls right into my cuppa chai! For me a perfectly roasted marshmallow is one that is partially charred. You know - the marshmallow catches on fire and you have to blow it out and then let it cool before you pop that molten marshmallow puff in your mouth. And there it sits, atop my cup of chai - melting. Before I know it, it dissolves into the liquid and becomes part of my tea.
And that's what I'm tasting with this cup! The spices are zesty! The pepper and ginger come through and start to work immediately at warming the back of my mouth. The cinnamon, cloves and cardamom offer a warm, inviting flavor. The chicory works with the black teas to create a nicely round base flavor. The honeybush offers a tad of sweetness that helps bring the marshmallow notes into focus. All at once, the sip is sweet, savory, spicy and absolutely delicious.
To brew: Shake! Shake the pouch to distribute the spices and other ingredients evenly! use 1 1/2 teaspoons of tea (remember, there's a lot of spice to this, so you need your measurement to accommodate those spices!) to 12 ounces of boiling water. Let steep for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes. Don't oversteep this - the Assam may become bitter and that will ruin those delightful marshmallow notes!
Strain and let cool for 10 minutes. I recommend a little bit of raw sugar (or honey) with this as it does enhance the flavor of the spices. This makes a lovely latte - just remember to brew it strong (use a little extra leaf) so that the milk doesn't dilute the tea!