Celestial Seasonings suggested this to me as a replacement for my beloved Cinnamon Rose tea. I looked at the box and thought “What the hey, Tiger” and then “Nope, looks like a chai.” However, I was at the grocery store with a coupon and celestial seasonings on sale, so I thought “why not? I like chai and this tea gets pretty good ratings.” Well, I tried it, and this is no not a chai. Maybe a cinnamon chai, but the cloves are playing a supporting role, and the cardamon has run off to hide from the wrath of all that cinnamon!
The tea is a typical celestial seasonings package – I like their dedication to minimal packaging. And I will say, they don’t skimp on the leaves. I was able to use only one bag in my large (14 oz) mug and it was plenty strong. The leaves smell dusty and strongly of cloves, which worried me – there are whole cloves in the bag that you can see when you take it out. I had a bad experience with Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Infusion, which was all cloves and licorice, so I am wary of spicy teas! I steeped it for 7 minutes in boiling water.
I took a sip of the unadulterated tea and immediately thought “Hot Cinnamon Spice.” The flavor is really similar to the Harney and Sons tea – it’s all cinnamon, so spicy that it has a little burn, with a great natural sweetness. It doesn’t have black tea, of course, which for me is an advantage, as I want spicy teas at night. I haven’t tried the herbal HCS, so I can’t say if this is similar, but I’d imagine it is after having both the black and green. There is more clove in Bengal Spice, but it’s nice – gives you a break from the cinnamon!
In the interest of comparison, I added 1/4 cup steamed milk and 2 packets of sweet and low. Here is where I was surprised – where HCS doesn’t take milk well (it kills the spiciness for me) this is great – it’s still spicy! My husband went out for Indian today, and came back asking me to make stovetop chai – I think he would like this one!
I’m really pleased to have made this supermarket discovery. This is the second Celestial Seasonings tea I’ve liked lately (I’m also loving Morning Thunder.) My Mom always had red zinger and Sleepytime in our cupboards, so I feel nostalgic when I see those cardboard boxes stacked up.