I do not start every morning with a cup of tea, or end every evening with one. But often times, I do one or both. I am just now getting into the ritual of tea. Or at least one of them. (The British, the Irish and the Japanese all go about it quite differently, no? And Americans like me? Well! Some of us only come close to tea when sipping a Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks. And that’s only when we grab someone’s else’s drink off the counter by mistake!).
Part of my new interest in tea comes from my recent acquisition of, piece by piece, a rather surreal amount of china. About a year ago, I decided to start making tea stands from vintage European china. I now understand why huge, proud cabinets filled with decades-worth of a curated collection were once the norm. It’s addictive! But you can’t ooooh and ahhhh over all of these gold-and-roses vintage teacups and not decide you ought to be sipping from them. So Christmas seemed a natural time to pump up the interest by fighting off the cold and buying stocking stuffers at the same time. Enter, Gypsy Tea.
I’m not sure where I heard of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, but I finally, finally got around to ordering some late last year as gifts and self-gifts. When Tairalyn and I got into a little discussion about tea & china (not to be confused with all the tea in China), we decided I ought to let everyone know about Gypsy Tea!
So here is part one of two, in which I reveal one of my two favorites. Next week, I’ll tell you the other, plus let you know a little more about this amazing company and one of their most exotic flavors.
My very favorite: Gypsy Tea’s Coconut Chai
Tea Type: Black (certified organic and fair trade)
Tea Tasting Location: My kitchen, rebelliously poured into a GORGEOUS vintage Paragon double-handled bouillon cup from England (price = the most I have ever spent on a cup). I haven’t had the heart to drill a hole in it, but I originally bought it thinking I would make a tea stand for our home with this as the topper. Truly, it’s much too tiny for tea—it holds just a few sips. Once you get a perfect cup, you’re soon making another.
Tea Accompaniments: Honey OR raw sugar (with or without) cream
Leave Rating: 5 out of 5
Liquor Color: A deep, dark amber like clover honey
Aroma: The inside of a fresh coconut. A hint of roots and bark. If you have a good nose, you may smell the other ingredients: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, orange peel. I couldn’t smell black pepper, but it’s in there…
Taste: A little sweet (but not as much as I was expecting), a little spice, and a definite burst of coconut. I like to sweeten this one up, and sometimes even add a touch of cream.
Comments: Extraordinarily toasty and comforting, but not as fiery and spicy as a traditional chai. Think winter in the tropics. Think cream cashmere and leather boots. It usually comes in a round, hemp-paper sachet, but this textural sachet they sent first as a sample was so beautiful I saved it for this post. (Due to popularity, Gypsy Tea just introduced this same flavor in a green tea.)
Tea Review thanks to Lisa Marie at High Tea for Alice…. Thank You Miss Marie!!!