It’s rainy and cold and all I want today is a cup if orange pekoe. It’s not a whole leaf blend or anything fancy but sometimes simplicity is the most comfort.

Starbucks brand Tazo Awake Tea. According to the starbucks website this is ‘A black breakfast tea of boldness, depth and character, invigorating any time of day.’ It has gotten fairly good reviews but the batch I have at home does not seem to live up to the description. Even with the tiniest bit of sugar, in my large tea mug, and the nice bold flavour that I generally expect from a breakfast tea is overpowered. It’s decent enough if you don’t have anything to drink, but it’s definitely not my preferred breakfast tea.

Introduction

I figured I should just do a quick introduction post. I am 24 years old and living in Ottawa, Canada. Tea has always been a wonderful part of my life. My mom would always drink tea growing up, and I remember not being allowed to drink it as a child (some parents actually worried about their kids having caffeine at a young age). I also remember drinking the ends of her tea when she left it on a table or around the house. It was always Red Rose and I recall it being very milky and sweet. I can’t remember the exact age I had my first cup of “real tea”,(I was probably around 11 or 12 and it was Red Rose) but my mom had a special tea party for me, and we made blueberry tea cake and used the fancy china. It is one of my favourite memories, especially growing up in a household with three younger siblings. It was one of the  few times where I actually had my mom to myself, no interruptions. 

        We have since switched our regular tea from Red Rose to Tetley, and yes I am aware it is simple, but it’s those little comforting things that can be as simple as a nice hot cup of plain old tea that can make the day that much better. 

     I want to use this blog as a way to explore tea, and learn the history behind it, as well as explore various memories, not just review teas and that be it. Tea is a part of culture and I like learning and discussing with others about their experiences. I don’t really have any expectations for this, and I may not post everyday, but I am going to try to. I currently have two jobs and go to school full time, so any submissions and stories are encouraged. I’m more so just using it as a project for myself and others should they be interested in joining. We are shaped by our memories and experiences, and  I feel like there is something of value in remembering that.  :) 

Second Cup’s Holiday Tea

        Today’s tea is Second Cup’s Limited Edition Holiday Tea. It is only produced during the holiday season, and only available while supplies last at various stores. I just bought this box a few weeks ago but that generally depends on how many cases you order for the holiday season. We ran out of this tea at my store probably halfway through December.

       The Second Cup blog describes it as ‘A holiday favourite for many years, this festive blend features fine black teas infused with hints of cherry and orange. Rich and lightly spicy.’ I tried to find the exact ingredients used but so far I have not had any success. It is a whole leaf blend, but it is fairly ground up in a manner of speaking. I also think that a little bit more tea could be added to the bag, but that is just me. It is one of my favourite teas from Second Cup, and for a coffee chain the quality of the tea is a lot better than what it used to be. It’s similar to their old cherry tea, but much stronger in flavour form what I can recall. I find that the orange in the tea is very mild and not apparent, even just from the scent of it.The cherry overpowers the orange in smell and in taste but the description is quite accurate about it being lightly spicy. It has that little hint that makes you think of the holidays.

        I enjoy this tea with a little bit of milk and sugar,(sometimes honey!) but I never sweeten it too much. Just a touch helps bring out the cherry in the tea. Another way to prepare this tea, and is a favourite drink at Second Cup is the Holiday London Fog. It’s just Holiday Tea, steamed milk, and vanilla Torani syrup (or another vanilla subsitute). Since boiling water isn’t used in the official recipe, I find that the milk isn’t hot enough in order to bring out all the flavours from the tea. I always customize my drink and make it with 3/4s of a cup of boiling water, then add a little bit of steamed milk instead. The flavours blend very nicely together this way, and it’s a good method of cutting a lot of milk from your diet. I recommend this method for most tea lattes as well, depending on where you go. Some places make it the way I do whereas some places use only milk. It’s also a very nice tea to drink black. I have yet to try it iced though, but I am sure that would be good as well, especially with added orange slices and cloves.

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