Sunday, November 08, 2015

Tea Sparrow October 2015 Review

Despite the warm weather we've been having, it is autumn (right?) and that's my fave time of year for curling up with a good book and a good cup of tea.  So it's the perfect time for Tea Sparrow!

What is Tea Sparrow?  A fave sub in my house!  For $20 CAD per month (including shipping), Tea Sparrow sends 4 different types of loose leaf tea (so yes, you need some way to brew loose leaf  - tea balls are an inexpensive option) - usually a green, a black, a rooibos and an herbal but sometimes they mix it up.  The teas are separately packaged and are each approximately 0.6oz for a total of about 35 cups of tea per month (less if you use a lot of tea in brewing, maybe more if you're willing to brew twice using the same tea). 

If you want to try Tea Sparrow, check out this 60% off offer and get your first month for only $8! When you click the above link, you will be taken to a password-protected page.  Enter "teas" as your password and you will be offered the promotional discount.  Please be aware that this will start a recurring monthly subscription but Tea Sparrow allows you to skip any month through their website (although why would you want to?) and you can cancel at any time.  Enjoy!

So what arrived in my mailbox this month?

Oolong Goji Jasmine Blossom (oolong tea, goji berries, natural flavour and jasmine blossoms)

Oolong Goji Jasmine Blossom:

Not the most auspicious start.  I like oolong but it's not my favourite. . . and I don't really like goji berries.  I know they're supposed to be awesome but they're just appearing in a lot of things lately and I'm not crazy on the flavour.  Oolong is a great tea for making the most of your brews - it brews really well a second time, just let your tea steep a little longer.  My husband really likes this one and he's been sick for the past few weeks so he's been drinking a lot of tea.

Earl Grey Supreme (organic Fair Trade certified black tea and natural essential bergamot oil)

Earl Grey Supreme:

Tea Sparrow hasn't been sending many "plain" teas the last few months and, while I have complained a bit about them in the past (I'm not going to reach for a plain tea over some of the dynamic blends now in my cupboard, 9 times out of 10), I love this one.  If you haven't heard me pontificate about my love for the Earl in the past, indulge me:  to some people Orange Pekoe is "Tea"; to me, it's all about the Earl.  It's what I grew up with in the house and regularly drank a cup after dinner.  It gives me warm, fuzzy feelings and this is a delicious version (plus I love that it's Fair Trade).

Organic Chocolate Mint Rooibos (organic rooibos, organic peppermint, organic sunflower petals, natural chocolate flavour)

Organic Chocolate Mint Rooibos:

And this is not Tea. . . as in, not from the same plant, not caffeinated and not usually a favourite in my house.  And I wasn't crazy on it the first time I tried it.  Until Tea Sparrow shared a method to turn this into a delicious milk tea and it ended up tasting like a minty hot chocolate without all the sugar.  And I loved it.  Now I want another cup just thinking about it.  So good! Here's their tumblr if you want to try it out too (I don't feel right sharing their recipe here since it's not mine).  They suggest using whatever milk you like - so I used Almond Coconut milk which gave it such a nice flavour.

Organic Apple Harvest (all organic - cranberries, cinnamon, apples, rosehips, cloves, lemon peel, orange peel and calendula)

Organic Apple Harvest:

Well, I do love an autumnal fruit tea  But there's something about this one that just doesn't quite hit the spot.  I think it's the name and the apple flavour.  I read "Apple Harvest" and see apple pieces and expect a certain depth of flavour and this just tastes a little thin to me.  That said, we did recently have some delicious local apple cider so that might be the trouble - you just can't compare! I'm going to brew this a little stronger than advised next time to see if I like it better that way.

Overall Verdict:

Another great month from Tea Sparrow! I learned a new method for brewing milk teas that made that rooibos sooooo much more delicious.  I'm going to try it out with some other teas with a similar "warm" flavour profile that I think would go well with the milk.  I also really liked the variety of flavours this month, all seasonally-appropriate as well.  Some might think that $20 a month is a lot to spend on tea. . . and it is. . . but quality, loose-leaf teas are not cheap and this is consistently one of the splurges that brings me the most joy :) And my husband likes them too!

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