Holiday Blend from Tea of Life

This year has flown by to say the least. Even with just having hosted our fall Stitchin’ Camp weekend-before-last, I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that there are only two months left in this year. I can hear my mom telling me when I was a kid wishing for Christmas or my birthday to come not to wish my life away because it’d go by quickly enough when I got older. Boy, was she ever right.

Last month we spent a week in Gatlinburg, TN which isn’t too far up the road from here. We’re typically couch potatoes when we go there but do have a few haunts that we have to visit before the week ends. One of those haunts is the Lenox outlet in Sevierville, TN. This go-around my long-time friend, Beverly, came down from Fall Branch to spend a day with me while Rick went a bit further up the road to visit his parents. Rick’s very accommodating when shopping at the Lenox outlet, especially given that I need more china like I need another hole in my head, but getting to shop with Beverly was so much fun. I can’t tell you when the last time was that I shopped with another female, besides Victoria of course and we tend to do our shopping via photos taken with our phones depending on who is at a store and who is elsewhere.

Beverly and I met at Books-a-Million and had to buy books and magazines of course, not to mention snacks. She then surprised me with a visit to a nail salon. It was the first time I’d been to one since 1987. Talk about being out of my depth… Eventually, we made it to the Lenox outlet. I’m not sure her husband is going to ever let her go with me again though because she ended up buying a lot more than I did—a whole lot more. My goal was to find any and all of the holiday-themed cup and saucer sets they had in stock because I realized back at the first of the year when I started these Christmas tea posts that I didn’t have but a couple of sets that were Christmas themed. I wanted to correct that oversight on this trip. As for Beverly, I don’t think she expected to buy anything at all. Still, she ended up with several lovely pieces that I know she’ll enjoy using this holiday season.
20C74F42-1C01-4CA8-9741-86CA6160C73A
One of the sets that I chose isn’t really a set but go well enough together I think. The cup is from the Holiday Tartan group which, sadly, is no longer in production. I’ll find the correct saucer one of these days and may even buy a cup to go with the saucer you see here. This saucer is from the Winter Greetings Plaid group which was discontinued last year. Why did I not buy the cup that went with this saucer when I was at the shop? Because I really didn’t like the shape of the cup. It’s just a bit too round and squatty for my taste. I’m strange about a lot of things, and the shape of my teacup is one of them.
E80C8C42-D47E-4541-9234-BA3F72359294
So, now that you know where this cup and saucer set came from let’s talk about the tea in it. This selection was one of four that came in a large box which I purchased right after Christmas earlier this year from Tuesdays. When I found the box, on sale no less, I was hoping that the Holiday Blend inside would be the same as the Holiday Spice tea that I reviewed in March. Alas, it was not. This blend does have some of the same flavorings, but it is definitely not the same as the other blend. It’s quite good though, and I’ve enjoyed it on several 79FD263E-EDCD-4BDC-8E8D-DFE64A9C5020occasions even though it’s a bit heavy on the vanilla flavour side. The spices are there, but you really have to think about them in order to taste them. Of course, I added honey even though honey is one of the ingredients listed on the box. While one can have too much honey in one’s tea a little more than what was already included in the blend didn’t hurt it one bit. I think if anything it might just have added to the smoothness and flavour.
E0F99FBA-8FCA-4019-BC81-66A9DF3B72CE
If I run across this tea again this season I will definitely buy more. While there were 100 bags of tea in the box, there were only 25 bags of this flavour. I use two bags each time I make tea in my little teapot that I won from teadog.com several years ago, so that only gives me twelve full tea-times and one extra cup to enjoy. If you do the calculations, that’s only enough for once a month. It’s a good thing that I have enough tea in my stash to take care of all the other days in the month…and I keep buying more.

Note: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Holiday Cheer Tea – A Downton Abbey Ltd. Edition

Since the new Downton Abbey movie was released this past weekend, I thought this would be a good time to review a limited edition tea that was gifted to me a couple of years ago. While it was made by The Republic of Tea it was purchased at TJMaxx. Sadly the tea is not showing as a current offering on The Republic’s website, BUT they are showing a Christmas themed tea that you’ll probably want to snag before it’s gone. I’d be surprised if it isn’t just as good as the one that I’m sharing with you today. They’re also offering free shipping on U.S. orders over $25. That makes it a great time to get your Christmas shopping done for those tea drinkers on your list, which includes yourself of course.
A6FBBF05-A45A-4E70-B14B-CC340EEB2D3D
The Holiday Cheer tea of Christmas’s Past is a caffeine-free red rooibos with natural vanilla and cinnamon flavours. While I did not add milk to this tea, it is said, according to the description on the canister, to be lovely when added. The smell that emanates from the container when opened gives you a slight hint at the treat in store for you. Once steeped, it does not fail to deliver a lovely rich flavour that can be savored not only at Christmas time but all year long. The balance of cinnamon and vanilla is just right with neither overwhelming the other. I did add honey to my tea and greatly enjoyed it after a long day. A day when I welcomed cheer of any kind be it holiday or otherwise.

The only other Downton tea that I have on hand is the Bates Brambleberry tea. It is another good choice for those who enjoy a bit of tang with their tea. It’s not too tart but not sweet either. Great for those times when you need to add a little zing to your day without overwhelming your tastebuds.

NOTE: Non of the links given are affiliate links. They are given for the ease of use only.

Christmas Tea by Darvilles of Windsor

It’s time for another tea review! So far, I’ve given you positive reviews about Christmas tea blends that I’ve enjoyed. Now, however, I am going to give you a review of one that I did not enjoy. It’s only fair that I give you the opposite side of the spectrum since life in general is not always rosy.
Pic-Darvilles Christmas Tea
When searching for Christmas teas a few years ago, I ran across this brand on one of my favorite sites for ordering tea, teadog.com. I decided to give it a try since the description said it was “a very special blend of tea to celebrate Christmas.” At that time, there was one review on the site that said it was “heavenly” and figuring out how to make it last through the year would be a challenge for that buyer. Sounded like a positive endorsement to me so I was all for giving it a try.

It took a couple of seasons of watching the site before I managed to secure a box of this tea since Christmas blends are often made in smaller quantities. I guess some tea vendors think that we who enjoy drinking tea only want to drink Christmas blends around the holidays. How wrong they are, at least where I’m concerned anyhow. Finally my vigil paid off and a box of this tea found its way into my home.

Getting a box of tea selections in the mail is always exciting, and I couldn’t wait to make my first cup of the long-waited for Christmas Tea from Darvilles. I read the information on the side of the box and was thrilled to see that I would soon be enjoying “An irresistible blend of fine black teas flavoured with warming winter spices, orange and cinnamon, creating a truly festive experience.” I’m all for festive experiences and since I like spiced teas and orange flavoured teas I thought this would be a winner.

When I opened the foil packaging inside the box, I was greeted with a mild aroma of spices. Even thought it wasn’t a strong aroma, I thought, “So far, so good.” Once the tea had been steeped, however, I no longer smelled the expected aroma. The first sip took me by surprise. What I was expecting and what I tasted were two totally different things. There was very little spiciness at all. Talk about a let down.

Never let it be said that I give up easily. I decided to try the tea a second time just in case I had done something wrong in making it the first time. I reread the instructions on the box and on the second go-around I didn’t bring the water to a full boil, steeping the tea for less time than the first try. While it was a little better the second go around, it still did not live up to my expectations of a spicy, warm flavoured Christmas tea. In other words, no festive experience for me.

What went wrong? Maybe it’s just my taste buds. Or, maybe the fact that the blend is 98% black tea and 2% spiced orange flavour is the answer to why this blend did not wow me. Needless to say I still have the box of Darvilles Christmas Tea sitting on my shelf even though the “best by” date came and went almost two years ago now. I hate throwing away tea, unless it’s really bad, and this wasn’t a bad tea. It just wasn’t what I had expected it to be. I had thought of throwing one of the teabags in with another spicy tea that I do enjoy to see if it toned down the very powerful taste of cinnamon. A bit of experimentation might be just what this tea needs in order to jazz it up and insure that it doesn’t go to waste. After all, experimentation is the spice of life…right?

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links given are for ease of use only.

Photo credit: Teadog.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 94 other followers