This seasonal tea only shows up in stores for the few months around the winter holiday season, but I could easily drink it year round. It’s a caffeine-free herbal tea, good for late evenings, and it’s in the convenient form of tea bags, also good for that late-night cup.
The first two ingredients in the tea are cinnamon and ginger, which gives it something of the taste of chai, although it doesn’t have all of the chai spices. Unlike many herbal teas, it has a rich, dark taste rather than a light or flowery taste, and that’s because the base it’s built on is chicory and roasted barley. Chicory is a root that, when roasted, tastes a little bit like coffee – in fact, it’s added to some coffee for a spicier flavor. It doesn’t have any caffeine, though. So one gets a bit of a coffee’s body and aroma, without any bitterness or caffeine. The darker taste of chicory also goes well with strong spices. Roasted chicory is a little bit malty, a little bit like carob. The roasted barley adds a note that is slightly like oatmeal, but in a good way – with the cinnamon and ginger, an oatmeal note fits right into a baked-goods, comfort-food aura.
The tea also contains a bit of a natural sweetener called luo han guo, which comes from the monk fruit, and is calorie free. There’s not much of it, so the tea doesn’t taste too sweet, and if you want to add a little sugar or honey, that would make the flavor richer.
The chicory and barley base, plus the strength of the spices, also stand up well to milk, if you want to treat this tea the same way you would a chai. It goes particularly well with almond milk or hazelnut milk, since those add to the baked-goods aroma of the tea.
Celestial Seasonings describes this tea as:
“Stepping into a cozy kitchen warmed by the spicy aroma of freshly baked gingerbread — what a wonderful way to thaw a frosty winter chill! This handcrafted blend is a nostalgic medley of ginger, cinnamon and other time-honored ingredients. Because it’s naturally caffeine free, you can indulge in this unmistakably merry tea any time!”
- All Natural:This product contains all-natural ingredients and no artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives.
- Ingredients: Cinnamon, roasted chicory, ginger, natural flavors, (soy lecithin) roasted carob and luo han guo.
- Caffeine Status: Naturally Caffeine Free
- Gluten Status: Gluten Free (New For 2012/13)
Since I like chicory so much, and I love spices, I plan on getting enough of this tea while it’s in season to last me through the winter!