This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Bigelow Tea. All opinions are mine alone.
This warm, fresh, aromatic sweet bread was inspired by my favorite Vanilla Chai Tea. It’s not just that you can taste this amazing flavor in every bite, the smell while the bread is baking is incredible and fills the house for days.
Let me tell you about an amazing experience I had two weeks ago!
I got to visit the Bigelow factory and corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut and meet the Bigelow family! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow themselves, due to a sickness, but that whole company is one big family. It definitely felt like we met THE Bigelow family.
Four amazing bloggers and I were invited to visit and tour one of Bigelow factories and it was quite an experience. It was amazing to see the whole process of tea making, from blending to packaging. It was very interesting to meet all the people responsible for each stage of the process, as well as to see how intricate the whole process really is. But the best part for me was the tea tasting and learning about tea itself. I never knew just how much was behind that little bag of tea that I steep in my cup every morning.
Bigelow Tea was started by Ruth Campbell Bigelow, who came up with her famous Constant Comment tea blend from her little apartment in New York City. It was instantly loved by her family and friends and told to be “a source of constant comment.” After that, Bigelow tea was born. Bigelow is still a family company and carries the same feel and care that a family would put into their small family business. Today, it is ran by their president and CEO, Cindi Bigelow, who is Ruth’s granddaughter. Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow still come in to the office every day. They still are the only ones who can blend the recipes for their teas. It really shows that there is special care that goes into every little bit of the creation process.
Touring the company was a great expedience and the smells….oh the smells! “Intoxicating” is the best word to describe it. From one blending room to another, the smells were overpowering and inspiring. The second we got to the area where they were blending their Vanilla Chai Black Tea, I instantly knew that I wanted to move in. It’s my favorite Bigelow tea and having that scent surround me in the entire room felt like a dream come true. I thought that this would be my favorite part of the tour, but my favorite part was actually learning about tea.
I never even realized just how much there is to know about tea and what an intricate process it is. From drying of the leaves, to cutting and blending, to packaging, to steeping. Special care and dedication goes into decision making at every step. I was amazed to find out how Bigelow chooses location for their tea plantations, how they cut and dry their teas, and even packaging. They even choose special packaging for their tea bags so that the tea is preserved best for optimal flavor and aroma. It’s also worth mentioning that every single blended batch goes through tasting process before it is approved for packaging and distribution.
After learning about their tea, we got to do some tea tasting ourselves. That was so much fun and I never even thought of the science that goes into tea tasting. We got to compare Bigelow to several other teas on the market. It was incredible to taste the difference among all teas side by side. I would have never guessed just how much Earl Grey tea can vary from brand to brand. It was a great experience and I would suggest that you have a little tea tasting at home among a few different brands to see the difference for yourself. Just steep the same type of tea, in their own cups, (according to the instructions on that package) and take a sip from each cup. I bet you’ll be just as surprised as we were.
Speaking of the incredible scent that surrounded me while we were going through the factory, I got inspired by Vanilla Chai tea to create a recipe. I like to pour myself a cup of tea while working every day and while enjoying a cup of Vanilla Chai, I thought that it would be great in fresh baked, sweet bread. I was right! It was amazing and not just the taste. While the bread was baking, heavenly scent filled my entire apartment and it was all I could smell for a couple of days.
Better than any scented candle!
Vanilla Chai Tea Sweet Bread and Meeting The Bigelow Family
- 2 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup strong Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar
- 1 Tbsp white chai seeds
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a bread pan.
- Steep 3 bags of Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea in 1 cup of boiled water for 5-6 minutes. Squeeze and discard the bags. You should have at least 3/4 cup left. (Just use 3/4 cup.) Let cool a bit so it doesn't scold the eggs.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, tea, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter until smooth.
- Add flour, baking powder and baking soda and whisk slowly until all evenly incorporated.
- Pour batter into the prepared bread baking dish.
- Mix chia seeds and vanilla sugar together and evenly spread the mixture over the bread batter.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes. (Until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.)
I really appreciate the open arms and hospitality that Bigelow family treated up with. It was an great honor to meet the company that I’ve been loving for so many years. I appreciate being able to see the inner-working of the Bigelow tea and getting to know this company on a personal level.
I wish I could share this Vanilla Chai Tea Sweet Bread with them and all of you!
Make Sure To Visit All #BigelowVIP
Glenda from Busy-At-Home
Kristi from I Should Be Mopping The Floor
Parrish from Life With Crusts Cut Off
Natalie from Great Contradictions
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