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If you've been following me on social media for any length of time, you'll know I'm a huge fan of a loose leaf tea company called Friday Afternoon Tea based out of Seattle, WA.
This is a tea company that provides an assortment of unique and interesting blends of tea, some of which are inspired by various pieces of media that anybody might be a fan of. Adding to the uniqueness of the shop itself is the owner, Friday, who experiences Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia, a condition that lets her experience languages and concepts as flavor profiles. Combine this with a passion for tea, and you get a shop that boasts some truly unique blends that you're not going to find anywhere else.
It's been some time since I last talked about them, but I love them dearly (and not just because I'm an affiliate of theirs, either). The tea is delicious, and I have legitimately never been disappointed by any interaction I've ever had with them on social media. They are some of the most friendly people you will probably ever meet.
However, something changed since I last purchased some tea from them.
Over the course of the past few months, I've sadly come to realize that my body does not always process caffeine particularly well. This is a fact I had to come to accept after drinking some more of the Death's Flower blend I purchased from Friday Afternoon Tea back in 2021. It turns out that particular blend contains 80mg of caffeine per cup, and drinking it kicked my anxiety through the roof every single time.
Needless to say, I've had to start looking for some decaf or no-caffeine tea options.
This felt like it would be a problem given that at the time I accepted this, it was summer, which meant Fall Tea Season was right around the corner. A lot of my favorite fall teas have caffeine in them, and many of the vendors I bought them from in the past don't offer decaf blends of my favorites.
Fortunately for me, many of Friday Afternoon Tea's blends, including their seasonal blends, have decaf options available.
So naturally, I had to grab some to try and share my opinions with the internet.
Spiced or mulled cider is honestly one of my favorite things about the fall and winter months. Apple cider is one of my fall staples and something I need to consume at least one cup of every year. Doing so always brings back memories of going apple picking with my family at a local orchard when I was young and taking home a jug of the cider they made there.
Unfortunately for me, I've since moved away from that orchard, so I can't get that exact cider anymore, but at least apple cider is easily accessible pretty much anywhere in the fall. However, none of it manages to live up to the memory of that cider in my head.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that not only could this experience be encapsulated by a cup of tea, but that I could also find an excellent match for the apple cider of my youth among the fall teas of Friday Afternoon Tea!
That tea is Harvest Spice, a blend consisting of black tea, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, natural vanilla, and apple flavoring, and comes in at 3mg of caffeine per cup with their decaf black tea compared to 55mg per cup in the caffeinated version. The website describes it as a mix between spiced cider and chai, and being personally fond of both of those things, I knew I had to try it.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting all that much. I've been burned by teas that claim to be reminiscent of apple cider in the past. They've come close, but fall just shy of the mark. However, the first sip of Harvest Spice absolutely made me think of mulled apple cider. I think I must have spent a good few minutes with the mug in my hands staring at it with this realization that I had found the experience I had been missing for so long.
I got a total of three steeps out of a singular scoop of leaves, and each steep changes the flavor just slightly. The first was heavy on the apple with the spices. Subsequent steeps mellowed the flavor out a bit, but it was still delicious.
This one may just be replacing my previous favorite fall tea.
Many years ago when I was first discovering loose leaf tea, fall tea was stocked on the shelves, and I obtained a sample tin of pumpkin chai from another vendor. It's been a consistent presence in my cupboard ever since, with me inevitably obtaining enough to last for almost a year every single fall.
However, with my recent realization regarding caffeine, it's been difficult for me to find a replacement. Many companies that offer pumpkin chais don't offer a decaf version, and I was beginning to think that I would have to go without my usual fall staple this year.
But lo and behold, Friday Afternoon Tea not only offers a pumpkin chai blend, but also offers it in decaf. Their particular blend consists of black tea, ginger, cinnamon, dried pumpkin, green cardamom, cinnamon flavoring, ginger flavoring, vanilla flavoring, and pumpkin flavoring, and comes in at 3mg of caffeine per cup with their decaf black tea compared to 55mg per cup in the caffeinated version.
This blend is also notable to me because I'm pretty sure it's the first pumpkin chai I've consumed with actual pieces of pumpkin in it.
Please note before we continue with this particular review that I did not prepare this the way one might prepare a traditional chai by simmering it in a pan with milk on the stove. I did this mainly because for the longest time, I honestly didn't know how one prepared chai traditionally, and thus never consumed my previous pumpkin chai blend of choice in that manner. In order for me to truly compare my previous favorite pumpkin chai to this new-to-me blend, it made the most sense for me to prepare this the way I had in the past, by just steeping the mixture in hot water.
Overall, I would consider it comparable to my previous favorite pumpkin chai blend, but I also found it to be more flavorful than my favorite and a bit sweet on the first steep, which I was not expecting. Subsequent steeps brought out more of the spice I expect from a pumpkin chai, but regardless, it was absolutely delicious.
From now on, if I'm going to pick up a pumpkin chai, it's going to be this one.
Punkin Pie Rooibos
Ask anyone what first comes to mind when they think of fall, and the pumpkin spice latte from whatever coffee establishment you prefer to patronize is probably very high on that list. It's become so synonymous with the fall season that some people tend to refer to those who consume them on a regular basis as "basic."
Well, call me basic, because there was a period of time when I, too, loved the pumpkin spice latte. After recognizing coffee and I don't get along, though, I've been hunting for something equivalent ever since.
Then there came Friday Afternoon Tea's Punkin Pie Rooibos, a tea blend consisting of just three things: rooibos tea, natural pumpkin flavoring, and natural cinnamon flavoring. As it's a rooibos blend, this is an herbal tea, and, as such, there's no caffeine in it whatsoever.
Friday Afternoon Tea's website also suggests this as an alternative to the pumpkin spice latte, so I was eager to see if that was the case.
On the first steep (which I merely sweetened), this tea was very heavy on the cinnamon to the point where I think it overwhelmed the pumpkin. However, I did very much enjoy it. On the second and third steeps, I elected to add some sugar and some milk to my cup in a very poor attempt to try to mimic the pumpkin spice lattes of my coffee-drinking days. (The milk was sadly not frothed, but I never have the patience.) As it turned out, adding milk or cream to your cup of this is absolutely the right call. Doing this tempers the cinnamon to the point where it's not overwhelming and makes the entire cup of tea much more enjoyable.
I'd say that when consumed this way, Friday Afternoon Tea's Punkin Pie Rooibos definitely reminds me of the pumpkin spice latte it claims to emulate, so if you're looking for a caffeine-free alternative to a "basic" fall staple? Don't pass this one by.
At first, I honestly thought I would miss the caffeine in these teas. After all, caffeine can impact the taste of things. If you’ve ever consumed a caffeine-free version of your favorite soda, you’ve probably noticed this. There is a significant difference in flavor between the two.
However, I honestly didn’t miss the caffeine at all. My body feels significantly better than it did consuming overly caffeinated beverages, and if there is a flavor difference between these low caffeine versions, I’m not sure there’s a significant one. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not losing out on taste, so all in all, I would consider this experiment a success.
Friday Afternoon Tea continues not to disappoint, and they have definitely gained me as a loyal tea customer.
If you decide to obtain some of these teas for yourself, feel free to use the code THYANEL to gain 10% off your entire order!
About the Creator
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