1 December Christmas Black Tea

“A warming combination of cocoa nibs, zesty Clementine and soothing Christmas spices – this festive blend is a delicious brew that is best enjoyed alongside some all-butter shortbread in front of a comforting fire.”  https://www.fortnumandmason.com/christmas-spiced-black-tea-200g

Well, Happy Christmas to me! All-butter shortbread is a specialty. 

No information on the website about the specific ingredients in the tea. The back of the box has the following: Black Tea (75%), Cocoa Nibs (15%), Cloves (5%), Safflower Petals, Flavourings (Orange, Ginger, Clementine, Chocolate). Brewing: Use boiling water and brew 5 minutes. Best served without milk.

We are kicking off December in fine style here.  I knew these would be silky bags of tea (I can’t have every cuppa loose leaf, I suppose). The tea leaves and spices inside the bag are not crushed beyond recognition. It smells like oranges and cloves – like a pomander from primary school or the memory of Constant Comment tea. My thumbs still smart at the memory of that craft. I’ve had Constant Comment as an adult – the childhood memory is better than the cup. 

*Waves* I was impressed by the mostly intact tea in the tea bags too. I still don’t like tea bags silky or not. BUT! I’ll be nice. Mostly. 

I could not taste the cocoa for the first several sips. Just the orange and spice and black tea. About half way through the cup I finally got the scent of cocoa, but not the flavour. At the end of the cup I got ALL THE GINGER AND CLOVES. Holy Kessel run of spice trading, Chewie! 

I never tasted anything but boring black tea. I actually didn’t even know there were other notes to look for. I brewed it as I would any other black tea. I drank the whole cup because I felt that I was missing something. I didn’t use milk or sugar. It never got past the first sip test for me. Honestly, and I don’t mean this as a total diss, this drank like Lipton to me. I don’t hate it, but it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. 

I started dating a new man this year. I shan’t bore you with the details. He makes his own liqueurs with a vodka base. He adds whole cloves to the blends to deaden the tongue. Perhaps this is why I couldn’t taste the cocoa. Cloves in the tea bag got in the way. 

After I put my cup down I had a strong orange and clementine aftertaste. This was pleasant. 

*cries* I just got none of that. 

Really? This was such a dynamic cup! I’m sorry, luv.

I give F&M’s Christmas Black Tea 5 out of 5 orange pomanders. Not sure I’d buy it. But if someone wanted to get me a gift, this would be most appreciated. 

I give it 1 orange pomander because it was black tea and not green tea or Lapsang. 

Pet peeve of mine is not knowing what type of black tea is being used. We all know the soil and weather affect the flavour of tea. Ceylon tastes obviously different from black teas from China. So, Fortnum & Mason – where do you get your black tea from? Some of us want to know! 

About Safflower petals – yes this is the plant cultivated for vegetable oil. It was grown in the new world and used by the Spanish as a substitute for saffron. It might help reduce cholesterol, reduce fever, and help arthritis pain. It has long been used in both TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Native American herbal medicine. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, folate, phosphorous and fatty acids. I tried to find a description of what straight up safflower tea tastes like. All I could find was it “has a mild and pleasant taste”. Not useful. 

Two things for me to possibly follow up on – obtaining some safflower petals for tisane, and doing more research into non dairy calcium sources. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/06/02/317444736/native-americans-have-superfoods-right-under-their-feet

One Reply to “1 December Christmas Black Tea”

  1. What an adventure to have a tea advent calendar! This is a lovely way to explore a few of the many variety of teas on offer around the world. I generally find when a black tea has ‘bits’ in it – especially chocolate – it is better to brew it for a tad longer than usual.


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