Ya'llz, I love tea. I drink multiple cups a day and always have a few different flavors on hand, in case my mood changes. For a while, I stuck to buying tea in bag form, since it was a lot easier to clean and tote around with me. But these days, I rarely reach for a teabag, even at work!
What changed is being exposed to properly brewed loose leaf tea, which (this is insane) only happened to me quite recently. But after tasting the difference, I swear, it’s hard to go back using tea bags. Is that tea snobbery you hear? You really have to try it out for yourself before you call me a snob. Properly brewed, quality tea is a life changer, people!
The challenge, for me, is being able to have an assortment of loose leaf tea handy most especially because loose leaf tea is more expensive. I don’t want to buy a blend that I haven't tasted, end up not liking, and then getting stuck with a whole bag that I'll never brew. Plus, I like to try different flavors, but don't really know where to start.
Luckily, I was contacted by Tea Sparrow, asking me if I wanted to try out a free tea box from them! It was a no brainer for me, and a couple weeks later, a slim box was waiting for me as I got home.
Tea Sparrow claims to be North America's first subscription tea club, where they send a monthly box of curated blends, free of any artificial ingredients, from all corners of the world directly to their members. They're based in Vancouver, BC, but cater to US tea lovers as well!
First thing's first-- the packaging. I am a huge fan of simple, clean, and pretty designs, so I ate this up like crazy. I just love the green info cards against the kraft paper tissue, and the bird motif is just so cute.
I received April's tea box, which contained 4 blends specifically chosen to help one get through the allergy season. Here are their descriptions of each of the blends (provided by their rep)
Freedom Tea: a blend of both red and green rooibos. Rooibos is an anti-inflammatory and can help reduce histamine release and the allergic response.
Peppermint: the benefits of peppermint extend well beyond its digestive properties; the essential oils act as a decongestant, anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial.
Milk Oolong: Oolong tea is great for skin allergies such as eczema while boosting your immune system overall.
Apeldoorn's Blend: Great for preventing allergies? No. But it is an incredible black tea and a fan favorite.
My thoughts below:
I tried the Freedom Tea first since I had never had Rooibos before. The brew smells citrus-y and bright, with a slightly strong lemongrass scent. Though it tasted very lemon-y, I didn't like the vanilla finish with each sip. The combination of the two just don't do it for me. Let me say, though, that I am not a big fan of herbal teas, so that just may be the reason why I didn't like it so much.
I took Apeldoorn's House Blend to work with me which made my cube smell bright, fruity, and warm like cinnamon. Brewed, I could taste a bit of cinnamon and something like apples with a little bit of vanilla too. And I just couldn't get enough of this blend. It's a smooth and mild black tea that goes well with my mid morning snack of mini cookies! I consumed half the bag in just a couple of days.
I also took Milk Oolong to work with me, and sadly didn't get a photo before I finished the entire package. Opening the package, I smelled sweet milk, but after brewing, the tea smelled like warm soy milk with a hint of coconut-- took me back my kid days, for sure. This tea is divine. It's smooth, light, and almost creamy. I can actually see myself steeping this in milk when I want something heavier to warm me up on a cold, rainy day.
And finally, Peppermint. Confession-- I let B taste this first because I detest Peppermint tea. I hate the feeling of having a flavor your brush your teeth with as something you drink. But, after he assured me that it was just a mild minty flavor, I acquiesced and tried it myself. Holy danders, B was right. And I very much like this subtle brew.
Final Thoughts: On the whole, I really enjoyed this subscription box even though I only drank up 3/4 blends. I ended up giving the Freedom blend to a colleague, so nothing was wasted. All in all, I got about 25 cups from the 3 bags, but I do like my tea very strong. I can't attest to how effective the blends were for allergies, since I don't have any seasonal allergies myself (all mine are food-related), but as for taste, these blends were top notch. Also, these are loose leaf teas, so be sure that you have tea strainers on hand! I've been eyeing this Manatee infuser to add to my collection!
The folks at Tea Sparrow were gracious enough to share a code for you in case you wanted to try the subscription box for yourself! The code is good for 60% off your first tea box in an ongoing subscription. The rate for those is normally $20 a month (which includes shipping!), but with the code, you get your first box for $8. You can choose to stop your subscription anytime.
To redeem the code, visit: http://www.teasparrow.
com/promo/ and enter the code teas