Sweet Dreams are Made of This—Fiesta Winery
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Though I drink hot tea year round, no matter how hot the summer gets, I go through it like crazy over the winter holidays. (So much that it often replaces my morning coffee.) My favorite winter blends usually feature warm, citrusy flavors, spices, bold vanilla, and the occasional chocolate tea. (Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! I didn’t think I’d like it, either.)
Starbucks left a gaping hole in my list of favorite places to get tea when they acquired Teavana some years ago. Luckily, Adagio is still going strong and offers a few similar blends to help fill the gap. (This was also shortly after our one and only local tea room closed down after the owners moved back to England—they are missed.)
However, comparing them to Teavana doesn’t quite do them justice. Not only do they offer similar blends and an array of their own—they allow you to create your own custom blends, as seen in the Fandom collections (like these magical tea blends).
But onto what I’ve been drinking. Here are some of my favorite cold-weather favorites.
I know the first thing that comes to mind when you think “winter” typically isn’t “lavender” (or anything really floral, for that matter). This tea has a bit of a kick to it, especially if you brew your pot of Grey longer, but the lavender mellows it out a little.
Not big on tea? Try half steamed milk, half Earl Grey Lavender with a shot (pump) of vanilla flavoring or a tiny bit (1/8 tsp) of vanilla extract.
This tea features orange, cranberry, and cinnamon for a light, tangy flavor that breaks away from some of the darker, heavier teas customary of winter blends.
It does have an odd, fruity bubblegum flavor if you don’t steep long enough, so I’d definitely recommend steeping 10-12 minutes to bring the spicy. Warm your cup and pot up with some hot water beforehand so it doesn’t go cold while you’re steeping.
Adagio recommends a tablespoon of honey, a squeeze of lemon, and 1 oz bourbon of your choice.
Masala Chai is everything I want out of a warm, winter drink. The batch I ordered is a little light on cinnamon but steeped with an orange slice, anise, a cinnamon stick, and just a little bit of honey, this makes one of my favorite spiced drinks.
Not big on tea? Break out the cranberry juice and boil 2 cups of cranberry juice with 1 cup of this tea (prepared as I talked about above, but steeped about twice as long) for juice with a bite.
Lapsang Souchong is definitely one of my favorite black teas. It was also my first loose-leaf tea. (My roommate at the time claimed the “campfire smell” was too much, and couldn’t get past the smell to try it. The taste is much milder, and almost a little sweet.)
Adagio offers a blend that isn’t overly smoky tasting like some of the other ones I’ve tried. (I’m a little picky about smoky flavors and often end up tossing samples or turning them into a dry rub instead).
This is also great for infusing bourbon (or whiskey) as long as it isn’t already smoky.
If the smoky flavor is too much, you can also try an overnight infusion of room-temperature water instead of brewing it hot, which will drastically cut back on the bitterness and mute the smoky flavor. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and want more of a smoky flavor, look more into tarry souchongs with a stronger flavor.
This blend has a nice, subtle chocolate flavor with lots of caramel and vanilla, but is really easy to over-steep. I like my tea pretty bitter, but over-steeping this one was a mistake! Definitely brew in single servings and don’t let the tea sit in the pot for long. (If the recommended 3 minutes makes it too bitter, drop to 2—you won’t miss much.)
This goes great with some milk and sugar (or half-and-half, if you want something a bit creamier), and drinking it iced brings out the sweet chocolate/caramel a bit more. I’ve recommended this to a few people who “don’t drink tea” and they’ve made an exception for this one.
This decaf tea tastes mostly like hazelnuts and caramel, with undertones of fruit and chocolate. It’s rich for a rooibos and a little sweet for my tastes, but the nutty flavor kind of balances it out. Definitely not something I’d drink on a regular basis, but perfect if you have a hankering for something sweet. Goes great with honey or brown sugar, but you only need a fraction of what you’d normally put in a cup of tea!
Be sure to be quick about your order if you do like the sampler you try—this one seems to go out of stock pretty quickly, and is only available as a limited seasonal blend.
Another caffeine-free alternative if you get headaches or jitters from too much caffeine. If it didn’t remind me so much of the hazelnut cream I put in coffee, I’d probably go to sleep after a cup of this.
If you like warm, nutty flavors, this tea is perfect. Its mellow vanilla-hazelnut taste goes great with brown sugar. Similar to rooibos, but a bit stronger, sweeter, and doesn’t have the “medicinal” smell sometimes associated with rooibos.
This is probably my favorite chai, and I much prefer it to black chai. It’s a lighter tea that allow the masala flavor to come through a lot more, but not to the point of being so overpowering. You can also leave the tea in for a while without having to worry about the overly bitter flavor that usually accompanies over-steeping.
I’d definitely drink this more in the morning. Best to skip the coffee and have this instead!
This one more than held up to the similar Teavana blend, so if you liked Teavana’s White Chai, you’ll be really pleased with this one.
Adagio’s White Chai is blended with ginger, lemon grass, cinnamon, white tea, pineapple pieces, cloves, coconut, cardamom, red peppercorn, apple pieces, and cinnamon flavor. There’s a lot going on, but it’s much milder than a lot of other spiced teas. Softer flavors like the coconut and other fruit flavors pair well with the spices. It’s also lower in caffeine, so you can enjoy it throughout the day.
Not quite seasonal, but matcha was something I used to use a lot of over the winter. Coffee replacement, smoothie ingredient, and I’d even use it in some of the desserts for work parties. (Like this Matcha Swiss roll!)
And while I love it as a tea, I love it even more in things like cake rolls, cookies, iced cappuccinos, lattes, and other sweets.
But even just as a tea, it’s pretty fantastic. It has a bright, almost kind of grassy flavor that’s typical of green teas, and it froths up nicely when you whisk it. It’s high in caffeine, but it doesn’t give me headaches like some coffees do.