It’s the first day of autumn here in the northern hemisphere, which means that it’s the perfect time to discuss harvest-y things. Mulling spices. Cool, nippy breezes. Pears and apples. Warm mugs of tea. You know. Today’s tea, Maple Baked Pear Honeybush Tea from 52Teas is perfect to celebrate the coming of fall.

But first, a confession:

You know how squirrels hoard acorns and bury them for the future? I’m like that with tea. I have stuff in my cupboard that’s been there for at least 2 years by now. Some of it is stuff I’ve bought and have not opened even once — because I have so much tea that sometime’s I just don’t want to look at it, I’m so overwhelmed.

Today’s tea is one of those kinds. It’s yet another blend that I bought from the 52Teas 2015 Christmas Kickstarter campaign, and yes, even though I got it in December 2015, I didn’t actually open it until….about 2 months ago.

Luckily, Anne seals her packages very well, and since I didn’t break the seal for over a year, the tea inside was still delectable. So, say hello to Maple Baked Pear Honeybush tea from 52Teas!

An unopened zip-locked bag of Maple Baked Pear Honeybush tea.

This tea was one of the bonus, non-Christmas-flavoured teas offered by the campaign. The ingredients are honeybush, dried pear, cinnamon pieces, nutmeg, and other natural flavours. Overall, it’s meant to be fruity yet toasty – perfect for this time of year.

The dry leaf smelled really interesting: I smelled cinnamon and pear right up front. Eventually I also smelled maple, although it was hard to tell apart from the cinnamon. However, the most interesting smell was hard to describe: deep, nutty, and pastry-like, almost like pecan pie but not quite. That scent was eager to hang around in the back of my mouth and my sinuses.

It looked just as interesting, too. I’ve never had a pure honeybush tea before, and it looks distinctly different from its cousin, rooibos. Depending on the variety, dry rooibos seems red and feathery, like if you made peach fuzz out of cedar wood. But the texture of dry honeybush appears to be much darker and coarser, like coffee grounds. Amid the honeybush bits are also nuggets of dried cinnamon.

Dried Maple Baked Pear Honeybush tea leaf. The dried leaf is somewhat coarse-looking, like reddish coffee grounds, mixed with small cinnamon pieces.

To brew this, I steeped 1.5 teaspoons of dried leaf in 95°C water in a large mug for 6 minutes, and then let it sit for 10-15 minutes afterward to really cool down. The resulting liquid was a cool reddish brown, a rich colour like stained wood or old leaves on the forest floor. Lovely stuff.

The brewed Maple Baked Pear Honeybush tea is a reddish brown colour and smells like granola clusters.

After letting it cool and taking a first, experimental sip, I finally twigged onto what that unusual nutty, pastry-like note was: granola! The tea, both dry and brewed, smells like sweet granola clusters, with fruity hints of blueberry muffin and apple.

The flavour is different from that, but not completely so. It was mild, with a gentle aftertaste of cinnamon and maple on the back of my tongue. However, I didn’t notice much pear with this Maple Baked Pear Honeybush tea. Cinnamon was the dominant note and made the tea sweet. I ended up not adding any sweetener to the mix and it was just fine, though I’m sure that adding some agave or honey would amp things up.

This blend is unfortunately NOT available on the 52Teas site because I’m lazy and let things pile up in my cupboard. But there’s always something worth investigating on 52Teas, so you can take a look any time.