12 Teas of Christmas

In the run-up to Christmas, I’ve made it a mission to try as many Christmas teas as possible, to 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 can seem overwhelming, so I’ve created "The 12 teas of Christmas", to help highlight some of the very best! Remember, whilst 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? 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, vanilla sweetness and a long zingy ginger finish that lingers on the tongue. It's like you've actually taken a bite of gingerbread! 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 creates a dark chocolate citric flavour. Another with 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. It all joins up to create something different, yet Christmassy.


2. Most Festive Aroma

Smell can be just as 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 filling 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, any time 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: £5.90 for 100g
Tasting Note: A premium black tea blend of Assam, Darjeeling, Keemun and a pinch of Lapsang Souchong. The combination creates a smooth rich flavour with a subtle hint of smokiness. Blend 45 brings forth images of log fires, hygge moments and frosty mornings, making it a perfect winter companion.

I also loved the creation story of Blend 45, also known as “Alice’s Wonderblend”. Alice, of Edgcumbes, found tea unpalatable throughout pregnancy, but this blend somehow surpassed the sickness! Kind of a tie into 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 it's not, but food is a big part of it. It wouldn't be Christmas if you didn't stuff eat so much you're felt sick. That's chocolate, Christmas dinner, candy cake, Christmas cake, mince pies, cheese... The list is endless! Here's something for when you're 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: £3.18 for 50g
Tasting Note: Cinnamon is key to this blend, entwined with a fruity side note and a joint musty sour finish. And it’s 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! Smooth, sweet and succulent flavours from Cornish grown tea, mixed with manuka flowers and cinnamon. The perfect dessert.
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: £12.00 for 65g with storage tin.
Tasting Note: A delicately grown and tended cranberry leaf. 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 tastes 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. Neither are very common, 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 packaging can draw us away from the comfort of our regular blends and into the cup of another. Take note these are the ones to gift!

Tsarevna by Kusmi

Ingredients: Aniseed, Black Tea, Cinnamon Cardamom Seeds, Ginger Root, Liquorice, Aroma and Orange Peel.
Flavour: Citrus, Spiced
Price: £26.50 for 200g in a 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. In 2016 it donned a beautiful black and gold packaging, inspired by the tiaras worn by Tsar princesses. In 2017 the caddy has been updated to gold! 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 the wintry looking cat, surrounded by snowflakes, ramps up the festivities and makes it super cute.
Cranberry Leaf by Tea in the City – A herbal tea that comes in a sleek, modern caddy.
Winter Wondermint by London Tea Co. – An icy blue cardboard pack with images of falling snow.


7. Best Tisane

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

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 well worth it. It's 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. Every mouthful tastes 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: 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. Whilst it doesn’t contain 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. It's got mid-range cost of £6.16 per 100g.
Tsarevna by Kusmi – A bit pricier than the other teas mentioned in this section (but still much cheaper than some mentioned on the list), at £13.25 per 100g. Don’t forget this does include a pretty caddy!


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. These become gentle in the taste, providing the tongue with that teasing bitter note of gin. 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 aftertaste. It's totally different to everything else on the list.
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 everyone 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 new mums and mums-to-be. 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 it's a credible replacement that could be enjoyed instead of a mulled wine. It's easily the most relaxing tea on the list due to lavenders calming properties... Something you may need after the hectic build-up of 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 to create a decent festive brew.
Mulled Wine by Shibui Tea UK - Replicating 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 they do have a bit of everything. Think of this as a jack-of-all-trades. Great taste, good smell, pretty 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, easily adaptable to a variety of palettes. It's smooth enough to take black and without sugar, but strong enough to take with. 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 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. It takes some adjustment, but ultimately the flavour consists of almond, 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 overall. Very few others came so close to the top spots.

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. 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 this gently mingles with fruity notes and spices. The end result is 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 before, 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 an incredible depth of flavour and is as rare as it is intriguing.


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