Three Black Tea Blends to Brighten Your Day
We spend a lot of time at Ku Cha House of Tea championing single-origin whole-leaf variations of Camellia sinensis. The shrub, native to China, gifts the world with so many complex oolongs, bright greens, robust reds, mysterious pu-erhs and beguiling whites. Those teas, the leaves of which can appear dramatically different as well as the flavors, serve as the foundation of all that we do.
That includes blending — combining traditional single-origin teas with other ingredients. One distinct pleasure is crafting blends with black tea. What is chai, after all, but mixtures of black tea with spices, herbs and more? The same goes for a favorite across the United Kingdom and the United States: Earl Grey tea, which marries black tea with Italy’s unique and highly aromatic bergamot fruit.
One more? How about Americans’ passion for combining mint with iced tea? That’s a blended black tea.
We find that people, like us, who often turn to black tea for morning fortification are especially keen for black blends. The black tea offers bold, rich slaps of flavor — good morning! — while the amendments further stimulate the taste buds and nasal passages. Add an optional whisper of honey and a lashing of milk — cow, oat, coconut, you name it — and that cuppa’ takes on different properties. For many, the sweetener and cream improve the post-dawn communion with our favorite hot beverage.
Mornings now are cold — really, it’s at least chilly when we wake up any time of the year in Colorado. We like beginning our days slow, with a steaming mug of a black blend, a print newspaper on the kitchen table and some gentle music in the background. Mozart is never a bad idea.
Eager to get started? We offer a trio of black blends that we know you will love, regardless of whether they kick-start your day, carry you through a long afternoon of meetings and work, or punctuate your carefree weekends.
Black Tea Blends: Blueberry Lavender Bliss
Crafting all tea blends, regardless of whether they incorporate black tea, typically requires quite a bit of trial and error. Many recipes don’t quite work for the first, third or even fifth try.
Here’s an example of a tea with wildly divergent ingredients that sings arias. When we began working on Blueberry Lavender Bliss, did we understand that combining black tea, blueberry, lavender, ginger, calendula, cornflower and cocoa nibs would yield a superb tea? We had no idea. But as we messed with the formula, adding ingredients and subtracting others, we finally hit a ringer.
This lovely tea incorporates subtle fruit sweetness from the blueberry floral lavender, calendula and cornflower, rich cocoa and ginger spiciness. The disparate parts come together into a pleasing balance. We adore Blueberry Lavender Bliss in the mornings and early afternoons. Among other things, the lavender helps relieve stress, headaches and fatigue, and the ginger aids digestion. It’s a superb house-blended black.
Black Tea Blends: Organic Mile High Chai
No exploration of blended black teas would be close to complete without an examination of chai, the national beverage of India. Black tea serves as the spine of all traditional Indian chais, although as the popularity of chai has spread around the world, so have the variations, some of which reject black tea.
The key to chai is the spices. Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel and cloves are often part of the blend. Different styles add other ingredients, like cayenne pepper, cumin and nutmeg.
We crafted Organic Mile High Chai to celebrate our fantastic elevated (5,300 feet in elevation) perch at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Instead of straight black tea for the base, we turned to vanilla tea. To that we add ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black peppercorn (another common chai ingredient in India), fennel licorice root and allspice.
This blended black, like most, shines with additions of sweetener and cream. We could cradle this tea for a long time while curled up on a couch and watching snow fall. It’s ambrosial.
Blended Black Teas: Thai Tea Blend
Chai is splendid on its own, without sweeteners and cream. So is our Thai Tea Blend. But for the full Thai tea experience, the kind sold by street vendors across Thailand, sweeteners and cream are essential.
One of the advantages of our Thai Tea Blend is it has a built-in sweetener: leaves from the plant stevia. One version of Thai tea using this blend is to simply brew it and add creamer. Want it sweeter? Add sugar, honey or any other sweetener, such as maple syrup, to the brew.
If you have savored Thai tea before, we believe you will embrace this. But it’s not traditional. In addition to the black tea that is required for Thai tea, we add two other teas: roasted Japanese kukicha green tea (made from stems, stalks and twigs from tea plants) and rooibos, a South African bush that is commonly brewed into tea. The flavor gets further amped by anise seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel and almond slivers.
Blended black teas are rooted in history and culture, as well as the subject of much ongoing experimentation. Taking a tour of these three is sure to compel tea adventurers to continue trying the wide world of blended black tea.