I Counted Down to Christmas With Tea

I Counted Down to Christmas With Tea

It’s been awhile since I wrote about tea. Anyone who follows me on social media will be aware, however, that my husband brought home an extra special gift for me in November. It was the DavidsTea advent calendar for 2018.

Davids puts out an advent calendar every year. I always stare longingly at the description, but I’ve never been able to justify the price, considering how much I already spend on tea throughout the year. But this year, my husband made the decision and brought one home. Which means I got to count down to Christmas with twenty-four delicious teas.

Since I’d like to devote more than a sentence or two to each of these teas, I’m going to split this post in half. Part two will go up next Monday.

Day 1: Candy Cane Crush

I’m not a huge fan of mint, but I wasn’t surprised this was where the calendar started. It’s a Christmas calendar, after all. This tea features white chocolate and candy cane shards blended with black tea. The peppermint and white chocolate flavors complement each other nicely, and the richness of the white chocolate keeps the peppermint from overpowering everything else.

Overall, this wasn’t one of my favorites because mint. But it balanced nicely with a few drops of honey and a splash of milk. If you’re a fan of candy canes, this is the tea for you!

Day 2: Organic Cinnamon Rooibos Chai

Labeling a tea as Chai gives me expectations. Chai teas are generally associated with rich, spicy flavors. Sadly, this tea fell short for me. It’s flavored with apple and cinnamon and uses Rooibos tea for a base.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Rooibos. But it’s a light, grassy tea. It doesn’t have the boldness or depth to support a Chai. And until I looked up the ingredients for this post, I didn’t even realize there was apple in the tea.

That said, this tea isn’t bad. It might not be my favorite, but it does have a nice balance to it. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a cup full of comfort on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Day 3: Let It Snow

In keeping with the holiday theme, this is an eggnog flavored tea. Much like peppermint, I’m not a huge fan of eggnog. Can’t stand the stuff. And I never would have imagined you could get eggnog flavor out of a green tea. But it turns out, you can!

The ingredients list for this tea is odd. It includes candied pineapples, black currants, apple and white chocolate, to name a few. It also includes stevia extract; and I have to admit that I’m not a fan of teas with stevia extract included. I find that stevia works better in cold drinks and yogurt than it does in hot drinks like tea and coffee.

All that said, I didn’t mind this tea. It was interesting, though I wouldn’t drink more of it. My husband adored it and he hates green tea, so it obviously nailed the flavor.

You might be thinking this advent calendar didn’t work out to be as exciting as I’d hoped. I was thinking the same thing, at the time. But then I got to…

Day 4: Apple Cider

YES PLEASE! I was half-convinced my Domerin plushie would fight me for this one.

If you’re wondering what I like about the holiday season after denouncing candy canes and eggnog, here is your answer. For me, it’s all about a mulled cider. This tea delivers exactly what it promises; it tastes like apple cider. It would be a perfect addition to any mulled cider, and I’m guessing it also tastes great iced.

The ingredients list is simple: apple, sweet blackberry leaves, and a touch of artificial vanilla flavoring. This tea needs nothing to enhance it. It is perfect the way it is.

Day 5: Cream of Earl Grey

If you’ve read any of my other tea posts, you’ve probably spotted my obsession with Earl Grey tea and its offshoots. Not only do I keep a box of Earl Grey on hand for my regular iced tea, I keep a box of Lady Grey in the cupboard at all times. (It is still one of my top five teas.) I’ve also still got a fair amount of DavidsTea’s Countess of Seville in my stash, which is a green tea version of Lady Grey.

Apparently the only way to improve on regular Earl Grey is to add a touch of vanilla. This tea is delightfully creamy, especially with a splash of honey. I might just have to add it to my regular rotation.

Day 6: Forever Nuts

I didn’t know what to make of this tea when I pulled it from its box. It basically looks like nut slices. I had no idea you could make tea from nuts!

The ingredients for this tea are apple, almonds, cinnamon and beetroot. It is amazing. It tastes something like an apple nut pastry or, perhaps, a fancy granola bar. And it turns the most beautiful shade of red when you steep it. This is definitely on my list to acquire.

Day 7: S’mores Chai

This is basically the Chai of my dreams. You might think that S’mores are too complex a flavor to fully express in a drink, that they would have to pick a singular flavor to focus on. But every sip of this tea is a trip, let me tell you. It starts sweet and chocolaty. Then it moves on to creamy marshmallow. And it finishes off with a hint of graham cracker.

In a word, it is fantastic. And I’m sad that it’s one of the limited editions.

How does this tea achieve its fantastic flavor? Pu’erh, pieces of brittle, cinnamon, marshmallow and chocolate chips. With a sprinkle of honey and a splash of milk, this tea is pure heaven.

Day 8: Zest Wishes

The back of the advent calendar box describes this tea as orange cinnamon bun. Its ingredients include cinnamon, orange peel, oolong, apple and cardamom.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t taste a lot of cinnamon bun. I did taste a lot of orange, cinnamon and spice. The cardamom is a great addition to this blend, gives it an interesting zing. Even though it didn’t taste like a cinnamon bun to me, this was still a delightful tea. I have a soft spot for anything that features orange flavor, and the backdrop of spice certainly made this one stand out.

Day 9: White Cranberry Bark

This is one of the teas I was excited to taste. I’m not the biggest fan of cranberry, but I think it pairs really well with white chocolate and I was hoping this would taste like some kind of baked good. Included in the ingredients are apple, papaya, raisins, cranberries, elderberries, hibiscus and white chocolate. This is another tea with stevia extract, but I tried not to let that put me off.

If I had to pick a disappointment from the first half of the advent calendar, it would be this one. To this point, even the teas I didn’t particularly like still struck me as decent. But this tea doesn’t taste like anything. It has a fantastic smell and a delightful dark red color, but all the flavor gets lost in the cup. I tried adding some milk to make bring out the white chocolate and some honey to bring out the cranberry, but to no avail. I guess not every tea can be a win.

Day 10: Nutty and Spice

The description for this tea is simply fruit cake. It’s ingredients list is such a mishmash that it blew my mind. It starts with oolong and adds roasted chicory root, pineapple, papaya, cinnamon, walnuts, ginger, apple, rose pepper, roasted almonds, cardamom, pistachios, cranberries, and rose blossoms.

My experience with teas that have such a long ingredients list is that they tend to end up tasting like so much of a bizarre mishmash that they don’t taste strongly of anything. But this tea tastes exactly like fruitcake. If ever there was a distinctive bizarre mishmash of flavors, fruit cake is it.

I’m not actually sure if I liked this tea. If you like fruit cake, you will love it. It nailed being fruit cake. I guess I’m just not sure if I actually like fruit cake! Ultimately, the teas flavors blend well enough that nothing stands out above the rest, but they form a unique flavor. You can tone it down a bit with milk, but I think the half I drank without the milk was actually better.

Day 11: Snow Day

In an ironic twist of fate, it snowed the day this tea popped up in my calendar, making it quite apt. This is a mint chocolate tea. And mint chocolate is the one flavor I actually like when it comes to mint.

Unfortunately, this tea didn’t do it for me. It’s primary ingredient is peppermint leaves, to which it adds cocoa beans, chocolate chips, white chocolate pieces and sugar sprinkles. The primary taste of this tea is mint; which is great, if you like mint! I like my mint chocolate to be mostly chocolate with a hint of mint. This tea is mostly mint with a hint of chocolate.

Which doesn’t make it a bad tea, just not my particular cuppa.

Day 12: Red Velvet Cake

Another tea I was looking forward to. I’ve cut a lot of decadent treats out of my life lately, so using tasty teas as a replacement treat is top notch. This is a black tea with milk chocolate, white chocolate, and beetroot.

The bad news is, I don’t think it tastes much like cake. The good news is it does taste like caramel and I adore caramel flavored drinks. This tea was delicious. It makes an excellent dessert replacement, and it’s another I’m tempted to add to my regular rotation. I drank it with a few drops of honey and a splash of milk, but it was just as good without the milk as well.

That’s it for my first round of thoughts on the advent calendar. I’d say it was worth the price for the first twelve days alone!

You may have noticed that I didn’t link to all of the teas like I normally do. That’s because many of these are limited edition teas that will be gone by the time the post goes up. But if there’s one you’re interested in, they’re easily searched on DavidsTea’s site.

Be sure to check back next week for more tea talk!

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