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On the 8th Day of Christmas . . .

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Happy 8th Day of our Christmas Tea Countdown!

Today's tea is a brand-new creation. I wanted to create something that was seasonal but not something specifically "Christmas." Something that could be enjoyed throughout the long, cold days of winter - something warm and inviting!

 Hot Buttered Spiced Rum Green Tea!

Tea Description: Hot Buttered Rum is a traditional winter drink - something that will help warm you up when it's cold outside. As I've often mentioned, I'm not much of a drinker of alcohol - tea is my drink of choice - but I still enjoy the idea of a warm, soothing cup of hot buttered rum - so I decided to create a tea that brought those flavors to life while still enjoying my favorite drink.

I chose a buttery Chinese Sencha as my base because I felt that the natural buttery tones of the tea would highlight the 'buttered' part of the buttered rum. Then I added a few spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. The spices aren't overwhelming because I wanted a gentle, warm spice flavor but not something that would overpower the flavors of creamy butter and rum. A couple of the recipes that I found online for Hot Buttered Spiced Rum called for orange zest - instead, I added some dried orange segments. The orange flavor is delicate here, just a touch of orange to brighten the cup. As I already mentioned, my goal was to highlight the buttered rum flavor so I didn't want those flavors overwhelmed by other profiles in this blend.

The result is a gentle, warm, soothing beverage. Something that makes me want to curl up next to a crackling fire and read a good book. This one's really nice!

organic ingredients: green tea, oranges, cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice, nutmeg and natural flavors.

This one required a little bit of tweaking for me to get it just the way I wanted it. The first time I tested it, I wasn't getting enough of a buttered rum flavor. Oh, I could taste them, but they seemed to be lurking somewhere in the distance. The second time I tested it, the buttered rum flavor was a little more dominant which made me happy, but I wasn't getting enough from the spices. So I added a few more spices to the blend before I tested it for the third time. 

Now that's the stuff! 

I managed to get a nice balance between butter and rum here - and it ends up tasting a lot more like the candies (you know, the popular candies with the hole in the middle?) - like, imagine if you were to liquefy the candies and add that liquid to a cup of green tea - yeah, that's the flavor I'm getting here. I haven't really had a hot buttered rum recently (I seem to remember being offered a sip of the drink once when I was young but it either: a) not memorable, or; b) I was either drunk or well on my way to getting there so I don't remember what it tasted like. I was a bit more of a drinker in my youth than I am today.

The orange is delicate but it develops as I continue to sip. Now that I'm more than halfway finished with my cup, I'm picking up on just a little more orange. Still not a dominant flavor - it's still much more there than it was at the start and I also notice a hint of tangy citrus lingering on my palate in the aftertaste.  

The spices are not strong - this isn't meant to taste like a chai - but they're definitely there. 

Overall, I think that this drink comes together really nicely. It's warm and cozy - like something you might want to sip after coming in from the snow. Something soothing and calming and really pleasant.

To brew: Give the pouch a gentle shake to make sure that the spices are incorporated throughout the blend. I used a rounded teaspoon - with Chinese Sencha, it might be easier to use a regular teaspoon from the cutlery drawer rather than one of those 'perfect' teaspoons because the leaves are long and spear-like and they don't fit very well in that perfect teaspoon measuring spoon. Steep in 12 ounces of hot water (heated to 180°F) and let steep for 2 1/2 minutes. Strain and let cool for about 5 minutes. Enjoy. 

I personally think that this tea is better hot rather than cold so don't let it cool too long! Also, a small dollop of honey will accentuate the spices in a very pleasant way so I highly recommend it! 

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