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Tea of the Week for February 12, 2018: Chinese 5 Spice (Black Tea)!

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 Chinese Five Spice Black Tea!

Tea 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! 

ingredients: black teas

organic ingredients: cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves, szechuan peppercorns, ginger root, mandarin oranges & natural flavors

Occasionally, when I blend a tea, it sounds a lot better than it ends up tasting. It's these times that I need to either do some tweaking or scrap the tea and start over. I was worried that this tea was going to end up being one of those teas - but I'm happy to say that it didn't!

And I'm so glad - not just because I really don't like scrapping teas - but also because I really wanted this to work. I love each of these spices and I really love a Chinese 5 Spice Blend - although the Chinese 5 Spice that I use in my recipes uses black pepper rather than szechuan pepper, so if you know of a spice company that uses szechuan pepper in their blend, please let me know! I've been looking for one!

This has a really lovely flavor - I find that the spices are nicely rounded - it doesn't really taste more like one than another spice to me. I get notes of licorice from the anise and fennel, sweetness and cozy warmth from the cinnamon and clove, and just a little bit of peppery spice from the peppercorns and ginger root. The orange isn't overwhelmed by the spices - nor does it overwhelm them. It really has a nice balance of all flavors. And the Yunnan offers a wonderful taste to the cup - rich and full flavored and smooth!

to brew: because this one has a bit of spices in it, I recommend giving the pouch a good shake before measuring. I also recommend using just a little more tea than you might do for other teas - I used 4g of tea for 12 ounces of nearly boiling water (205°F) - and I let it steep for 2 1/2 minutes. strain and let cool for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

This tea does not need sugar, but I find that about half a teaspoon of raw sugar enhances the spices nicely.

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