Friday, January 11, 2008

Hot Cinnamon Sunset from Harney & Son’s

Scent in tin: Spicy! Very strong cinnamon scent
Brewed in: silk sachet bag
Steeped: 5 min. @ boiling
Cup: Café mug

I gave out small tins of this tea as gifts for Christmas, and ended up getting a big tin as a gift from my mom. Serendipity, karma, whatever – it was a most welcome present.

Cinnamon is the star of this particular tea, from the moment you open the tin. That scent just wafts up into your nose, reminding you of hot cinnamon rolls and making you almost want to sneeze at the same time. Brewed, the tea smells like red hots or cinnamon bears – hot and spicy. Normally I’m not big on too much heat, but I have to say, this is the only tea I could really taste when I was sick for the past few weeks.

The taste of this tea is…well…not “tea”. The viscosity is thick, and you can see the spice solids as they settle at the bottom of the cup (which is very clear, maple-brown). It’s all about the cinnamon, baby – but very sweet at the same time. The cinnamon is hot, but not “burn your tongue” hot – just pleasantly warm and stimulating. The sweetness comes from cloves that mingle with just a touch of orange not really noticeable until the finish. I really, honestly, can’t taste the tea at all…just the spices and that very slight hint of orange at the end.

In short, this is a tea for chai lovers – those who enjoy the spicier side of things. I can imagine it would be phenomenal with milk and honey (and I plan to try that soon), but unlike chai spiced, it’s not too strong to drink on it’s own, and it makes a great “pick-me-up”, especially on a cold day.

Try a smaller tin first – I have a feeling that it’s one of those love it or hate it type blends. I’m firmly in the “love it” camp, and it was one of the best gifts I got this year.

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