Not many people enjoy frigid temperatures, but there’s no denying that it brings some exciting smells, flavors, foods, and drinks. So with colder weather finally beginning to settle in, we thought it would be a great time to discuss some of our favorite teas that help keep the cold weather at bay.
- #3 – Wuyi Rou Gui Cinnamon Oolong – One of the most famous Wuyi rock oolongs is a wonderful tea known as Shui Xian, showcasing a beautiful bouquet of floral aromatics and roasted almond. In fact, all of the rock oolongs have a distinctive flavor, owing in large part to the cliffs on which the tea bushes grow. This environment, lush with fresh spring water, gives these teas a smooth texture and mineral flavor, amplified by deep roasts.
Of the Wuyi rock oolongs, less well known but equally deserving of recognition is Rou Gui Cinnamon tea. Rou Gui features a potent aroma of true, Ceylon cinnamon, which gives it a nice spicy character appropriate for the coldest of mornings. This note of cinnamon is complemented perfectly by additional notes of roasted dark cherries coated with a pinch of Nutella.
Spice It Up – Try pouring your tea over a couple ounces of milk, mixing in a teaspoon of dark, fall honey, and sprinkling a dash of cinnamon on top.
- #2 – 2007 Xinhui Mandarin Gongting Puerh – These days, it seems almost impossible to get enough puerh with both raw and ripe varieties readily available. What is less commonly available, however, is a good mandarin puerh. To make this raw puerh, a tea master ages the tea for nine years and stuffs it into an authentic, dried Xinhui mandarin shell.
This twist makes something truly special, a tea with all of the characteristics of a good raw puerh—earthiness, raw cocoa, caramel-like texture, hint of smokiness—punched up with a kiss of citrus. The secret to making this tea well is to remember to break off a small piece of the shell to infuse along with the tea leaves.
Spice It Up – Try pouring your tea over a couple ounces of milk for a creamier experience. Adding a teaspoon of dark, fall honey as well as a few pieces of the mandarin shell directly into the drink really give this tea a great late fall / early winter flavor. Pair it with a pumpkin pie for a great dessert.
- #1 – Lapsang Souchong Black Tea (Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong) – It should come as no surprise that the ultimate tea for fall and winter is Lapsang Souchong. It is the original “smokey” tea, making us feel like we’re sitting at a campfire with roasted marshmallows and the best of friends. What is not commonly known, however, is that there are different qualities of Lapsang, as well as many inferior imitations. The original Lapsang, known as Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, hails from Tong Mu Guan village, and it is an incredibly difficult and dangerous tea to make.
Unlike commonly available Lapsang Souchongs in the marketplace, tea masters in Tong Mu Guan see the crafting of this tea as the art that it is, refusing to let it get burned and charred. As a result, we are treated with a black tea that has the signature pinewood smokiness as well as a tea that retains flavor with sweet, fruity, and floral notes alongside the smokiness. This makes the tea have more depth and complexity than more common Lapsangs, making for a far more interesting experience.
Spice It Up – Lapsang surprisingly pairs really well with cream. Pour some over your favorite cream, such as a vanilla, chocolate, or even pumpkin spice cream. If you opt for something unflavored, then be sure to add just a pinch of dark, fall honey to amplify the natural sweetness of the tea itself.
We hope the list above inspires you to have a little fun and experiment with your favorite teas this season. Do you have a favorite tea recipe for the colder weather? If so, please share it in the comments section below!