A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to work part-time in a bookstore. I’ll never forget one Christmas when I kept smelling cinnamon in the store… everywhere I went… cinnamon! Mystery section… cinnamon! Romance… cinnamon! Cooking… Psychology… everywhere! Cinnamon! But I could not figure out where it was coming from. We sold books; not baking supplies. There were no ‘Cinnabon’ stores in existence yet. Why would a bookstore suddenly start smelling like cinnamon? I couldn’t escape it! Finally, after days of wondering… a co-worker clued me in to the fact that it was the baskets full of decorative cinnamon-scented pinecones that we had for sale, and which were heaped in little mesh bags throughout the store. I had no idea. I thought they were just for decoration! Well, one whiff of this tea, and I’m instantly transported back to the bookstore, stocking the Sci-Fi shelves, and helping people find “the book with a blue cover”. This tea smells strongly of cinnamon… and nothing else. The ingredients list cinnamon, green tea, orange peel, cloves, chili pepper, and natural flavour, but all I can smell is… pinecones!
I steep 1/2 of the tin in my DAVIDs TEA steeper for about 2 minutes. I have to confess, I’m scared. The chili peppers are scaring me. It’s not a thing I would ever put in a tea… or anything else. The tea steeps to a golden yellow, rather than the red that I expected. It smells like cinnamon. The first sip is… wow! Spicy! And sweet! And spicy again! Let me explain. First, I get a very nice sweetness… not artificial… just sweet. Then I get the intense cinnamon. It’s strong! It’s reminding me of that old “Big Red” gum from the 70’s. Then, I get an even more intense burn from the chili peppers! All three… sweet, cinnamon, chili burn… all work together nicely to create a robust sweet heat, with quite a strong burn in the mouth. I can’t believe I like this, but I really do! I’m not a lover of heat, or chilis… but this has enough sweetness to make it really yummy. It really does taste like cinnamon gum, or even cinnamon hearts, but the burn from the chilis adds a little more depth to the kick. I’m not getting orange at all.
The second cup is every bit as spicy and sweet as the first. This is not your nice warm cinnamon chai. This is a sweet, peppery cinnamon fire! Nothing like pinecones at all!