12 Teas of Christmas

In the run up to Christmas I’ve made it a mission to try as many Christmas teas as possible, in order help fellow tea lovers find the perfect tea, whether it’s to gift or keep all to yourself, The Christmas Tea List is sure to have something that catches your eye. But with tasting notes for over 60 teas, the list less over whelming. In order to overcome this I’ve created The 12 teas of Christmas. to help highlight some of the very best! Remember, whist I’ve tried to be as impartial as possible, by not favouring particular brands and flavours, this is my personal opinion.

1. Taste

Where would we be without a great tasting tea? Obviously, most of the teas on the list taste great, making this the hardest to whittle down, but here are the ones that taste great and have a festive feel.

Gingerbread by The Kettleshed

Ingredients: Rooibos, Ginger, Cinnamon, Vanilla Pieces, Calendula Petals and Natural Flavouring.
Flavour: Caramel, Spiced, Pepper
Price: £4.49 for 15 Teabags
Tasting Note: A sweet rooibos base, with vanilla for additional sweetness and ginger for a long zingy finish, lingering on the tongue, making it seem like a bite of Gingerbread has genuinely been taken! A captivating spicy blend, that truly reflects the flavours of its name!

Runners Up:

Christmas Green Tea by Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co. – A toasted green tea that combines with marzipan and almond notes to create a sweet, creamy festive flavour.
Chocolate Orange by Birdhouse Tea Co. – A black tea and rooibos blend that create a dark chocolate citric flavour. A true reflection of its name!
Christmas Tea by Debonair Tea Co. – A light black tea that contains a hand full of flavours and magical colours, all joining to create something different, yet Christmassy.


2. Most Festive Aroma

Smell can be just an important as taste and with tea, what we usually encounter first is the smell. Who doesn't bury their nose deep in a packet to have a good whiff? And as the saying goes, first impressions matter, so here are the teas that made an impression.

The Wise Men’s Gift by Tea Route UK

Ingredients: Beetroot Pieces, Almond Pieces, Orange Slices, Star Anise, Cardamom Seeds, Apple Pieces, Rosehip Peel, Natural Flavouring.
Flavour: Nutty, Spiced
Price: £7.00 for 100g.
Tasting Note: A totally unique tea with a rich room filing aroma. The base is fruity with a nutty edge, but there's a deeper spiced essence, that brings a far off, exotic feel to the festivities.

Runners Up:
Christmas Green Tea by Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co. – A green tea with an almond aroma that carries a creamy marzipan edge.
Gingerbread House by Birdhouse Tea Co. - Strong citrus and fennel notes develop into ginger and spices, with a sweet note of rooibos, creating a homey aroma.
Christmas Tea by Wiltshire Tea Co. - An exceedingly Christmassy black tea with the classic notes of orange and clove.


3. Best Everyday

Where would we be without our everyday tea! These are the best teas for all day, every day, anytime of day drinking, yet still hint at Christmas.

Blend 45 by Edgcumbes Coffee & Tea

Ingredients: Assam, Darjeeling Second Flush, Chinese Keemun and Lapsang Souchong Black Tea.
Flavour: Malty, Smokey
Price: £5.75 for 100g
Tasting Note: A premium black tea blend of Assam, Darjeeling, Keemun and a pinch of Lapsang Souchong, to create a mild smoky hint. Blend 45 brings forth images of log fires, hygge moments and frosty mornings, making it a perfect winter companion. Its smooth flavour and subtly make it ideal for drinking any time of day.

I also loved the backstory behind the creation of the tea, which is also known as “Alice’s Wonderblend”, after being created to help Alice of Edgecumbes drink tea through her pregnancies, after she started to find it unpalatable. Such a cute tie in to the nativity story ;)

Runners Up:
Eggnog by The Kettle Shed – A sweet and creamy brew created from a mix of rooibos, spices and vanilla, perfect for staving off those sweet cravings through the festive season.
Christmas Tea by Debonair – A light, yet fragrant and tasty black tea, with candy colours and almond taste, that has a playful “Nut Cracker” type feel. Not being pungent, it’s perfect as an all-day.
Tie Guan Yin Oolong by Wan Ling Tea House - A heavy roasted oolong, fired over wood charcoal to give it distinct warming caramel and toasted notes. Something for those who prefer a little complexity without the added ingredients.


4. Guilt Free Sweet Tea

Christmas is ALL about food. Ok. So, maybe not all about, but food is a big part of it; stuffing your face with so much chocolate you feel sick, Christmas dinner, candy cake, Christmas cake and mince pies. Here's something if your just too full to eat anything more!

Winter Romance Fruit Tisane by Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co.

Ingredients: Apple Pieces, Hibiscus Blossoms, Rosehip Peel, Orange Peel and Flavouring.
Flavour: Fruity, Spiced
Price: £2.84 for 50g
Tasting Note: Cinnamon is key to this blend, entwined with a fruity side note and a joint musty sour finish. And it’ so unbelievably sweet! So sweet in fact, it will have you double checking the ingredients for sugar, due to its candied fruit taste.

Runners Up:
Eggnog by The Kettle Shed – Sweet and creamy notes created from a mix of rooibos and vanilla make this perfect for staving off those sweet cravings through the festive season.
Special Blend by Tregothnan - A sip and it's love, with smooth, sweet and succulent flavours from this Cornish grown tea mixed with manuka flowers and cinnamon.
Pistachio and Marzipan Black Tea by Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co - A creamy almond flavour, with a very light floral element, followed by a biscuit finish.


5. Something Unique

There's that tea lover that has every blend under the sun... Except these...

Cranberry Leaf by Tea in the City

Ingredients: Cranberry Leaves
Flavour: Fruity, Floral, Pepper
Price: £10.00 for 65g with storage tin.
Tasting Note: A delicately grown and tended cranberry, handpicked and processed in the same manner as black tea, to provide a depth not normally seen in herbal teas. Isn’t that fascinating!? It taste amazing and is something not easy to come by!

Runners Up:
Special Blend by Tregothnan - British grown tea leaves from a Cornish tea farm, mixed with manuka flowers, which aren't common in tea blends, making this tea twice as unique.
Yoga Chai by Tea Shirt - Ever had all the spice and none of the tea? No, me neither. This bold manoeuvre is surprisingly good.
Highland Chai by The Wee Tea Co. - Another tea grown in the UK, this one grown in Scotland!


6. Prettiest Packaging

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but we quite often do it anyway. We don’t mean to, but sometimes an enticing cover can draw us into a book we would never have picked up. The same applies to tea! Great packaing can draw us away from the comfort of our regular blends and into the cup of another. So here are the pretty one's that may also make great gifts!

Tsarevna by Kusmi

Ingredients: Aniseed, Black Tea, Cinnamon Cardamom Seeds, Ginger Root, Liquorice, Aroma and Orange Peel.
Flavour: Citrus, Spiced
Price: £24.80 for 250g in metal caddy.
Tasting Note: If a Russian Earl Grey and a Chai tea had a baby, this is what they would birth. Tsarevna is a regular winter tea for Kusmi, but this year it's donned a beautiful black and gold packaging. Behind the beauty, lies a story, with the designs being inspired by the tiaras worn by Tsar princesses, in celebration of the 150th year of Kusmi. How much more magical could you get!

Tsarevna by Kusmi

Runners Up:
Snow Princess by Bev's Tea – A plain white tea that has a basic resealable packaging, but pictures a wintery looking cat, surrounded by snowflakes, ramps up the festivities.
Cranberry Leaf by Tea in the City – A herbal tea that comes in a sleek, modern caddy.
Winter Wondermint by London Tea Co. – An icey blue cardboard pack with images of falling snow.


7. Best Tisane

There are times when we just want a caffeine free, but warming drink. In these times of need we often turn to our favourite tisanes. This Christmas, why not try a festive themed one!

Spiced Apple by Birdhouse Tea Co.

Ingredients: Apple Pieces, Elderberry, Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Almond, Rosehip, Cloves, Mistletoe and Flavouring.
Flavours: Fruit, Spiced, Cream, Nutty
Price: £3.95 for 75g
Tasting Note: A tisane with a bit of everything! The recommended 8 minute steep time is worth it, creating a glorious red berry liquid, with a base flavour of tart fruit, mild spicy middle notes and an unusual finish that's a combination of sour fruit and a sweet creamy almond, making every mouthful taste like fruit crumble and custard. It’s hard not to enjoy.

Runners Up:
Winter Wondermint by London Tea Co. – The only mint tea on the list, but it provides an icy freshness to invigorate thought the festive fun!
Yoga Chai by Tea Shirt – A super spicy blend, that is no tea, all spice!
Berry Blue by ForLeaves Tea Co. – An uncommon fruit tea with a blueberry muffin flavoured finish.


8. Price

During the festive season we often find ourselves loosening our belts and tightening our pockets. In an attempt to save money we find ourselves looking for the best value item. So here are some tea’s that offer excellent value.

Christmas Tea by Wiltshire Tea

Ingredients: Chinese Black Tea, Ceylon Black Tea, Cloves, Almond Pieces, Orange Peel, Cornflowers, Hibiscus Blossom, Sunflower Blossom, Natural Oil and Flavouring.
Flavour: Spiced, Citrus
Price: £3.70 for 125g
Tasting Note: This is the second cheapest on the list at £2.96 per 100g. This black tea is very festive, with beautiful colours, festive aromas and notes of orange and cloves.

Runners Up:
Rusper by Edgcumbes Coffee & Tea – The cheapest on the list at £1.60 per 100g. Whist it doesn’t contain incredibly festive flavours this everyday black tea is definitely cheap and cheerful.
Mulled Fruit Infusion by LEAF – A complex fruit tisane, with spiced notes and particular festive feel that have a mid-range cost of £6.16 per 100g.
Tsarevna by Kusmi – A bit pricer than the other teas mentioned in this section (but still much cheaper than some mentioned on the list), at £9.92 per 100g. Don’t forget this does include a pretty caddy though!


9. Most Inventive Flavour

Christmas teas are great, but many resonate similar traditional notes and flavours. These are the teas that offer a festive flavour in a non-traditional way!

Gin & Tonic by Nothing But Tea

Ingredients: White Tea, Apple Pieces, White Lemon Peel, Rose Petals and Flavour.
Flavour: Fruity
Price: £6.40 for 100g
Tasting Note: This is definitely a blend to watch out for, mimicking G&T shockingly well. What's surprising though, are the super strong notes of grapefruit in the aroma, that become a gentle in the taste, providing the tongue with that teasing bitter note of gin. Obviously, this also creates a fruity element that combines well with the lemon and white tea to create an expertly crafted alcohol free tea blend.

Runners Up:
Festive Fruits by Shibui Leaf Tea - An unusual blend, but perfectly festive with the inclusion of cranberry and mistletoe.
Berry Blue by ForLeaves Tea Co. – Whilst not particularly Christmassy in flavour, the addition of blueberry creates a muffin after taste and makes this something a little different.
Snowball by Bluebird Tea Co. – The only tea on the list to have coconut notes! The flavour is akin to dark chocolate with subtle notes of coconut. It’s unique on the list, but could have been a little stronger.


10. Best for a Sober Christmas

Not every likes to drink at Christmas. Better yet, not everyone can drink at Christmas, there’s always a need for a designated driver, to safely take those who’ve indulged in a tipple home and, of course, let’s not forget any mums-to-be who are missing out on the action. With this in mind, tea could be the perfect solution.

Earl Grey Lavender by ForLeaves Tea Co.

Ingredients: Ceylon Black Tea, Orange Peel, Natural Bergamot, Cornflower Petals, Lavender Flowers, Vanilla and Natural Flavours.
Flavour: Floral, Creamy, Citrus
Price: £7.95 for 100g
Tasting Notes: Obviously, this doesn’t taste like alcohol, but I felt this was a credible replacement that could easily be enjoyed instead of a mulled wine. It's easily the most relaxing tea on the list due to the lavenders calming properties, something you may need after the hectic run up to Christmas!

Runners Up:
Gin & Tonic by Nothing But Tea – Tastes amazing, capturing the bitterness of this drink in lemon and grapefruit like flavours.
Mulled Apple Brandy by Nothing But Tea – A bit of an unusual mix of flavours made from spices and white tea makes a decent festive brew.
Mulled Wine by Shibui Tea UK - Replicate mulled wine almost perfectly, this tea is easy to fall in love with, leaving you with a moreish want for its warmth. Incredibly, it’s also tasty iced, being much the same but with stronger cinnamon notes.


11. All Rounder

These teas may not be the best at any one thing, but have a more jack-of-all-trades kind of feel about them. These are the teas that have a bit of everything; great taste, smell and packaging, fairly priced and of course, most importantly, a Christmas feel.

Masala Chai by Tea Shirt

Ingredients: Black Tea, Cinnamon Pieces, Ginger Pieces, Cardamom Seeds, Cardamom Pods, Vanilla Pieces and Flavouring.
Flavour: Spiced
Price: £5.99 for 80g
Tasting Note: Whilst not directly a Christmas tea, the inclusion of cinnamon, vanilla and ginger give this blend a hint of festive feel. This is also quite a versatile chai, being smooth enough to take black and without sugar, making it quite adaptable for differing palates. Tea Shirt give each of their teas its own little cover, which is a nice touch, nothing too fancy, but definitely something a little different.

Runners Up:
Rooibos Choc Cinnamon by Piacha Tea Bar - A predominantly sweet concoction of honeyed rooibos and spiced cinnamon notes that mingle with cardamom, giving it a sweet caramel flavour. Excellently sweet and yummy!
Winter Spice by The Gilded Teapot - Traditional Christmas flavours combine to create a citrus and spiced black tea.
Nutalicious by Born Wild Tea - Once sipped you realise this is essentially a nut tea, which takes some adjustment, but ultimately the flavour consists of almond notes, mingled with mild fruity and spiced notes. Incredibly distinctive!


12. Editor’s Choice

Finally, I just had to give a spot to my favourite teas of the bunch. Whilst it was hard to choose between the top 4, I did feel these were very clear personal favourites, with very few other coming so close to the top spot.

Mulled Wine by Shibui Tea UK

Ingredients: Apple, Hibiscus Blossoms, Elderberry, Rose Hip Peel, Mistletoe, Cinnamon Rods, Flavouring, Orange Slices and Cloves.
Flavour: Fruity, Earthy, Spiced
Price: £4.95 for 100g
Tasting Note: This tea is unbelievable. Truly. It both smells and tastes exquisite, with a shockingly accurate flavour of mulled wine. The flavours seem to easily replicate the mustiness, that can be adopted by wine, and gently mingles with fruity notes and spices to create the perfect alcohol and caffeine free beverage.

Runners Up:
Blend 45 - Beautiful smoky notes from a pinch of lapsang souchong made this irresistible. Every. Damn. Day.
Gin & Tonic by Nothing But Tea – Although this isn’t particularly Christmassy (is it? Does anyone drink a G&T as part of their xmas tradition?) I was delighted by the unusual grapefruit flavours of this blend, having never come across anything like this blend, it quickly became obvious how much I loved it.
Cranberry Leaf by Tea in the City – A very unusual herbal tea, processed in the same way as camilla sinesis, it contains incredible depth of flavour and is as rare as it is intriguing.


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