For a wintry Canadian evening one wants something piping hot, soothing, but full-bodied – a creamy black tea, like Tania’s nameless Kusmi-esque blends, in lieu of hot cocoa (too many calories) or tisane (too acidic, too thin…). Then again, creamy black teas are too caffeinated, unless one has a good reason to stay up late. One doesn’t want to mess about with loose leaves either; it’s probably been a long day. All of which to say I try to keep a box of decaf dessert tea bags around: caramel rooibos, almond carob, that sort of flavour. It’s always the first thing to run out. Picked up this Celestial Seasonings box today, thinking it would be right up my alley.

Teapot, boiling water, a proper long steep (it was 4-6 minutes on the box). The creamy vanilla note hits one in the face as soon as it’s poured. It’s not very maple-tastic, however: the maple is there, but I’m used to Les Délices de l’Érable’s store blend’s trompe-la-langue shot-of-syrup scent. The cream in this one is more like… something toasted? There’s roasted barley and chicory and carob in this thing. I thought of vanilla sugar on hot oatmeal, vanilla spread on challah bread French toast. It is quite pleasant.

On the tongue it’s much weaker than the nose was. But I did eke out a whole pot, and one’s probably supposed to make just the one cup. The teabag doesn’t even have a little string attached.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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