Friday, 11 January 2019

How to keep the holiday feeling going for longer

Christmas is a cruel mistress. We have to wait the best part of a year for it to arrive and when it does, it passes in the blink of an eye. Now the twelfth night has happened upon us, it's time to say goodbye to the Christmas tree, pack up all the decorations, and erase every trace of festivity from the house. However just because the holidays are over for another year, it doesn't mean that we have to let go of it completely.

One of my favourite things about the Christmas period is cosying up with a hot drink. I'm talking mulled wine / cider at the Christmas markets, grabbing a festive cup from [insert High Street coffee brand here] or staying home with tea and extravagant hot chocolates piled high with whipped cream. And seeing as Christmas markets and festive cups are no more, this only leaves the latter. Which is as good an excuse as any to cosy up on the sofa with a box set, right?


Just before Christmas, Adagio Teas very kindly sent me some of their Holiday Cheer range for me to try over the Christmas break. For the purposes of clarity, "holiday" in this sense has a wider meaning as the gift set also contains autumnal flavours like toffee apple and pumpkin spice, as well as traditional Christmas flavours such as chestnut, candy cane and gingerbread.

Gift set can be found here @ Adagio Teas

Each tea is individually wrapped and comes in the form of a pyramid tea bag, eliminating the need for a tea strainer (as is the case with loose leaf teas). All teas in the set are black tea and there are five of each variety, making for 30 in total. It's a great little set (I haven't seen some of these flavours before!) which would make a really lovely gift for tea lovers.


GINGERBREAD TEA


Opening this up brought back all the Christmas feels. Containing black tea, ginger, cinnamon, orange pieces and gingerbread flavouring, it was easy to see why. In all honesty, I couldn't really taste the ginger or the orange, but the cinnamon did come through and gave it a subtle spice. I'm not usually a fan of black tea, but I did like this one because it had additional flavouring so it wasn't your average black tea. Even the cat thought it smelt good.


CANDY CANE TEA


I was intrigued by this one - plus you can't really get any more festive than candy canes! Again this called for 5 minutes steeping time, and as well as black tea, this contained candy cane pieces (yes really) and peppermint flavouring. I expected this tea to smell of mint whilst brewing, but to me this was more like liquorice (I didn't really get a minty scent from the initial opening either). I was a little nervous about this one as I don't like traditional black tea OR mint tea, however I needn't have worried as the mint flavour wasn't too strong. Initial tasting brings a very subtle mint flavour, then out of nowhere cleverly comes a cooling sensation in your mouth like you would get with a peppermint candy cane. Our cats love anything mint so Bailey just had to get involved.


CHESTNUT  TEA


Fun fact: I've never had chestnuts before or anything chestnut flavoured, so you may want to try this one for yourself and make your own verdict! The contents of the tea bag were very brown and comprised of black tea, sunflower petals (yes really!) and chestnut flavouring. I left it to brew for the recommended 5 minutes and was struck by how it filled the air with a sweet aroma. I'm not into overly sweet things, but thankfully the tea didn't taste as sweet as it smelt. All I know that is that I couldn't taste the black tea at all (which works for me as I'm not a fan of traditional black tea), meaning there must have been another flavour coming through. I cannot comment on whether this flavour was chestnut or not, and it's hard to describe, but overall I really enjoyed the flavour. There was nothing offensive about it and it covered the traditional strong black tea taste which earned two thumbs up from me!

PUMPKIN SPICE TEA


What hit me first was how amazing this tea smelt - both in the tea bag and when brewing in my tea cup (perhaps thanks to the addition of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin flavor to the black tea mix). It had that wonderful autumnal smell that you associate with Halloween and the lead up to Christmas. I expected such a strong scent to be more subtle in taste, however the cinnamon and pumpkin both really came through and held their own against the black tea (an achievement in itself). The benefit? A much healthier alternative to spiced pumpkin lattes with huge dollops of cream!

.... and apologies in advance: I lost the pictures for these last two...  > . < 


CRANBERRY TEA

Cranberry isn't one of my favoruites (although Body Shop did an amazing Cranberry gift set a few years back!), but the combination of black tea, cranberries, raspberry leaves and cranberry flavouring sounded intriguing. I left it to brew for -  you've guessed it - 5 minutes and there was this amazing aroma drawing me in. Admittedly this aroma reminded me more of strawberries than cranberries, but it was every bit as inviting. I was a little disappointed with this one as it didn't taste as strongly flavoured as it smelt, however saying that, it was flavorsome enough to cover the taste of traditional black tea (works for me!).

CANDY APPLE TEA

Admittedly I have never once said "you know what tea I fancy? Toffee apple!" - but reading through the ingredients (black tea, apples, cinnamon and caramel flavouring FYI), I did very much like the sound of apples paired with cinnamon (a classic). I also really admired the fact that the tea contained real, actual apple rather than apple flavouring. For this reason, I thought the apple flavour wouldn't edge its way past the black tea as apple isn't the strongest of flavours compared to black tea. I WAS WRONG. In all honesty,, I couldn't really taste any caramel or cinnamon (it did smell of these things though) but you could really taste the apple. Apple tea was a new one for me, and I really enjoyed it.
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This tea set couldn't have come at a better time because I've been enjoying many a night in and Netflix are SMASHING IT RIGHT NOW. Who else has been watching You and Bird Box? (I am addicted to You!)


Adagio Teas have very kindly offered one of my readers a holiday tea gift set of their own. The teas in the gift set don't mention any expiry dates, so you can crack them open now and at the same time save some for Halloween and next Christmas! To enter, pop on over to my Instagram, taking into account the following:

** COMPETITION CLOSED **

* Tea set and teas very kindly provided by Adagio Teas for review purposes, but as ever, all opinions are my own. I also have another set for one lucky reader (for more details, read above or head on over to my Insta)