'Spot of Tea' on Serious Eats

Have You Ever Tried Guayusa?

Guayusa (pronounced gwhy-you-suh) is only starting to make inroads into the U.S., but it's hardly new. The flavor is similar to yerba mate, but with a more plush, fruity flavor and a complete lack of bitterness. Tasting invites comparison to green tea, but the flavor is less tannic and the texture is more creamy. Unlike green tea, drinking it on an empty stomach won't give you a stomach ache. And just as important, it's nearly impossible to overbrew, and leaves can be resteeped half a dozen times before their flavor starts to wane. Have you ever tried it? More

Spot of Tea: Le Palais des Thés Grand Yunnan Imperial

This smooth and earthy Chinese tea has buttery flavors and hints of cocoa—it's mouthfilling, satisfying, and stands up well to multiple infusions. The first comes out lush and soft, the second deeper, wrapped in dark-caramel flavors, with a bit more malty grassiness coming out in subsequent steepings, though by the fifth and sixth it circles around, growing velvety and fruity. This tea just keeps going. Brewed in a gaiwan, it's light on the tannins—a delicate black tea but not a wimp. More

Spot of Tea: Numi Pu-erh Teas

I tend to associate jasmine tea with the warm cups poured at local Chinese restaurants—those teas tend to be delicate and floral, not big or bold in flavor. But the Jasmine Pu-erh tea from Numi Organic Tea is quite a robust cup, bringing together savory black Pu-erh with green tea and jasmine flowers. The tea is earthy enough to keep the perfume from taking over. Though Pu-erh purists might wince to see these blended teas, most of the combinations make for very tasty infusions. More

Spot of Tea: David's Tea The Earl's Garden

The Earl's Garden is a blend of Black Ceylon tea, bergamot, dried strawberries, and black currant. Taken straight, it has a distinct but mild strawberry flavor up front followed by the citrus notes of bergamot and the earthiness of black tea. Fans of Celestial Seasonings' fruit teas will enjoy this blend, with its red berry flavor and light body. More

Spot of Tea: Choice Organic Masala Chai

My favorite chai is steeped loose, with whole spices, but at my desk in the morning, I often reach for the easy way out. This blend from Choice Organic teas smells so amazing that I don't feel bad at all: sweet ginger, cinnamon, and clove waft up like freshly baked gingerbread. More

Spot of Tea: Yogi Ginger Tea

Looking back on my early tea drinking days, it's clear that I was a total noob. I took my tea, regardless of type, morning, noon, or night, loaded with milk and sugar. But since then, I've come to appreciate the dry astringency of Scottish Breakfast Tea and the nutty roundness of Genmaicha. The simple act of getting older is mostly to credit for my change in habits, but I did have a crutch during my transitional phase: Yogi teas. These teas are the most naturally sweet of any I've tried. More

Spot of Tea: Japanese Twig Tea

I'd never noticed a box of Japanese Twig Tea before, but it seems to be the hot new thing in the Whole Foods tea aisle, so I nabbed two boxes to try it out. Kukicha, also known as bōcha, is actually made from the twigs and stems of the tea plant, sometimes with some leaves mixed in. The woody bits are roasted to bring out a nutty flavor that reminded us a bit of Kashi cereal in liquid form. More

Spot of Tea: Republic of Tea Holiday Spiced Plum

If you're a green tea lover with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, you'll enjoy this seasonal offering from Republic of Tea. This subtly spiced tea makes for a nice change from standard chai—the smooth green tea is just delicately laced with cinnamon and plum. (The flavoring, they promise, is 'all natural.') More

Spot of Tea: Palais des Thés Créations

If you've ever been to the Palais des Thés in Paris, you've probably found yourself coveting these well-designed tins of aromatic teas. Since they've recently launced a US e-commerce site, you can order them at home now (or buy a fancy gift for someone special.) We recently tried a few of their flavored teas (called Créations) and found a lot to like. More

Spot of Tea: Numi Holiday Chai

I'm not in favor of holiday creep, but this spiced-up Assam tea has such a delicious winter-appropriate aroma that I'm almost feeling ready to deck the halls. Cinnamon, ginger, anise, and cardamom come together with brisk, malty tea flavors for a spicy, eye-opening cup. More

Spot of Tea: Tazo Organic Apple Red

It's important not to expect fruit teas to taste like juice or cider; if you do, they'll always disappoint. And it's important to remember that the flavor is often less intense than the scent. But with those points in mind, Tazo's caffeine-free apple and cinnamon rooibos blend is a calming tea for fall, fragrant but delicate, and just lightly spicy. More

Spot of Tea: Village Tea Company Lemon Ginger Green Tea

Ginger root dominates over the delicate green tea in this blend, so if you're not a fan of the spicy stuff, skip this one. If you are, though, this is a nice example of warming ginger brightened with lemongrass. It's definitely herbal from the lemongrass and lemon myrtle, and it's a bit grassy-tasting, but not bitter. It will likely calm your stomach after a big meal. More

Spot of Tea: Stash Premium Green Tea

The scent of this tea was immediately appealing—as soon as the bag touched water, a nutty aroma burst forward. It's almost like drinking Honey Smacks cereal: it's rich, full, and smooth, lightly herbal, but not at all bitter. This blend makes the perfect cup to sip on a cool, foggy morning, as long as you're craving that toasted flavor. More

Spot of Tea: Artichoke Green Tea from Adagio

Artichoke tea? Why not? In Vietnam, artichoke leaves are traditionally boiled to make a caffeine-free tea. And since green tea is already a little vegetal, it's a natural pairing. This whole-leaf tea from Adagio has a vivid sweet (almost peachy) scent and the flavor is a little grassy, with only a hint of artichoke leaves. When poured a sample blind and not told about the artichoke flavoring, the folks at SEHQ didn't taste it. More

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