Welcome back, fellow tea addicts! Today for teatime I have a tea that was gifted to me by my tomodachi ijou koibito miman Todd (that means “more than a friend, less than a lover” in Japanese, and as an asexual I love the term as I feel it truly captures a deepness in a relationship beyond what the cultural standards of what the American term “friend” tends to carry!), which comes from my favorite breakfast restaurant when I’m visiting him in the Bay Area in California!
This tea is the house blend from Hobee’s Restaurants, a breakfast restaurant with several locations around the Bay Area in California. They have the most amazing blueberry coffee cake, and it’s impossible to not take a slice to go! They serve this tea sweet-tea style in large glasses and it’s amazing! I doubt my abilities to make iced tea as good as theirs, not knowing exactly how they prepare theirs, but I did want to give it a go!
The tea is a Cinnamon Orange black tea and can be ordered off their website in either a small 8 oz. bag for $9.95, pictured above, or in a huge 5 lb. bulk bag!
The ingredients for the tea are black tea, orange peel, cloves, rose hips, and natural and artificial flavors. It smells lovely, with the clove and cinnamon scents tickling the senses! The tea is super fine! Since it is so fine, even with my Apace Living infusers being very carefully and slowly lowered into hot water (the only way to use infusers, never put them in the cup first and pour water over them, as the sudden rush of water can dislodge very fine particals of tea out of the infuser and cause floaters!), I still have problems with floaters with this tea. Therefore, I use fillable seal-bags for this tea, due to the fineness of the leaf, instead of my infusers. I currently have Art of Tea’s filter bags since they came inside a sampler set, but you can find cheeaper ones on Amazon if you have Prime (I prefer the drawstring kind, they are way easier to keep from causing floaters than the ones with an “open top” on them).
As one might guess from that leaf, this tea steeps very dark! It almost reminds me of a dark coffee! But the spiciness gives it a lovely warm taste that bursts on the tongue. It’s a bit more full-bodied than the Cinnamon Black Tea that I reviewed before, but the clove balances it out nicely. I was surprised to find that I can sip my cup without needing to add sweetener! The tea itself has lovely orange hints that keep it from being too overbearing, despite being such a dark tea, and the spices just give it so much flavor that it has a natural sweetness. It is a wonderful orange spice blend, with all the ingredients working together to create just the right flavor profile. It makes a tasty warm cup, and if you like orange spice teas, I’m sure you’ll be impressed by this one!
Because the tea was such a full-bodied black tea, I decided that to ice it, rather than trying a “warm rinse” and then cold brewing like last week with Lady Londonderry (which was admittedy a much lighter-bodied black tea), I decided I’d just hot brew this tea. My gut instinct just felt that was likely the best way to release the flavors of this tea, and I felt that was probably how they made it at Hobee’s (and then they likely just served it over ice to chill it quickly!). So I simply boiled four cups of water, put four teaspoons of leaf into a fillable teabag, and left it in the sealed mason jar to steep for five minutes. It got nice and steamy! Once it was done steeping, I removed the teabag, and using potholders (careful, that glass jar will be hot!) placed it in the fridge to chill.
Once my tea was thoroughly chilled, it was ready for sampling! I actually was quite surprised to find that I enjoyed this tea just as much as when I tried it made by Hobee’s! I was also surprised that I didn’t need to sweeten my iced tea, the mix of spices just give it this natural sweetness that holds no matter if the tea is prepared warm or cold! I would recommend giving your cup a brisk stir to let all the spices thoroughly mix throughout the tea and really give it a wonderful flavor! This tea came out with a very full flavor, so I think hot steeping it and allowing it to chill was probably the best choice for iced preparation! Of all the black teas I’ve tried iced so far, I think this one has come out the best so far for a really rich flavor! If you are on the fence that cinnamon and clove would be a poor choice for an iced tea, seriously… give it a try! This tea would also be fabulous with some orange slices as a garnish!