Tag Archives: spices

There’s Snow Day Like a Snow Day for Tea

Cardamon Cinnamon
by The Republic of Tea

(Available here, or trudging out in the snow to a store where Republic teas are sold.)

What is it about cinnamon that warms our souls? How can a physical substance transform our inner countenance to one of peaceful reflection and thankfulness. It is truly a spiritual spice.

Maybe the 5 or 6 inches of snow blanketing the world outside my home has brought out the philosopher. Work was canceled. The roads were deemed unsafe to drive on this morning. This Midwest town is closed for the morning. My husband rolls over and goes back to sleep; I creep downstairs to start the kettle boiling. Dreams of cinnamon dancing in my head.

A snow day is really like Christmas in January or February. You stay up a little later than you normally would the night before, having almost convinced yourself that your company would be nuts to make you clean off your car in the morning and brave the hazardous highways. The alarm goes off (and in my case, goes off again and again). You walk to the window and behold the dumpings of last night’s weather phenomenon. And it’s still falling! A pre-recorded message waits for you, reassuring your giddy little heart that you won’t be going out today. You have a snow day.

OK, I guess I feel like a kid again, so the narrative above (which some of you may have skipped over to get to the good stuff) is to prepare you for a steamy, cinnamelicious experience.

The first sip of Cardamon Cinnamon only builds the anticipation for the next sip. The hodgepodge of steeped spices and herbs caresses your tongue and you feel the warmth spread to your fingers and toes. This is especially pleasing on a cold morning. Perfect, even if you don’t have snow on the ground. Most regions are experiencing “unseasonably” cold weather this time of year, or so the meteorologists have been telling us.

Citizens, The Republic of Tea really put together a nice line of loose-leaf herbals, including today’s feature. If you’re going to add pink peppercorns to the mix, it has to be loose-leaf. It’s a list of ingredients more commonly associated with culinary creations than herbal tea. Cinnamon (of course), ginger, carob, cardamom [spelled with an n in the name], chicory, pink peppercorns, star anise, cloves, and cassia oil. What a mouthful, literally.

The spice in this tea is delightful. The peppercorns really give it a kick, but the ginger and cloves tone it down just enough to kill the shock factor. It’s spiceful, not spicy. The canister reads “spicy depth and fresh perspective.” I think they nailed it. You can feel the burning spice in the layers beneath. The aroma of this potpourri is to-die-for. You know cinnamon smells good, but what about peppercorns and carob and star anise (oh my!) all steeping together. It smells like magic.

But, what’s a carob? (It’s always good to know what you’re consuming–and thrilling when you have to look it up to find out!) Carob trees are small evergreens that yield carob pods, which are used as cocoa substitutes. It’s the brown, chopped stuff.  Cardamom is easily identified as the large, green seed pod-looking things. The bright red of the pink peppercorns gives the mix some color pop. It’s overall very pleasing to all the empirical senses.

Have a warm, spicy day!

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Pink Thanksgiving

Herbal Unwind Citrus, Cinnamon and Spices
by Twinings of London
(Order here, or look for it at your local grocery)

Looking for a light herbal that will satisfy your taste for all things Fall? May I prescribe hibiscus, a touch of orange, and some cinnamon? For herbal tea lovers, Twinings’ Herbal Unwind collection will send you over the moon (or into the cornucopia). Good for any season, but particularly satisfying to me during this early holiday season, the Citrus, Cinnamon and Spices variety has a blend of flavors that will festively delight your taste buds.

Hibiscus flowers have a natural sweet, tangy flavor that is reminiscent of cranberries and raspberries (popular opinion is that it is more like cranberries–decide for yourself). Combine this with a hint of orange and cinnamon, and you’ve got the perfect Thanksgiving herbal cuppa.

If that’s not incentive enough, let me explain to you the genius of pitting cinnamon, peppermint, and ginger against one another so that you have a smooth blend of spices that doesn’t overwhelm and doesn’t distract from the hibiscus. Don’t worry about the orange overpowering; it’s just enough to give it a citrus flair.

Unlike straight hibiscus tea (see Republic of Tea), this blend makes for a pink tea, perhaps a magenta. Definitely not red, like you would expect from this “superflower.” The rosehips and rose petals also provide more flower to your cup. It’s a very romantic and charming mix.

Enjoy a cup with friends and family!

I’d like to wish all my readers a happy Thanksgiving holiday, full of good food, loving companionship, and, most importantly, tasty tea.

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