UPDATE: 15/11/2019: The lovely people at Tea Sparrow would like to offer you 20% off your subscription to their monthly box or anything from their store! Just use the code MRSRADFAD at checkout!*
(Gifted for Purposes of review)
Well would you look at this – a little bird told me that you can sign up to a tea subscription service for $20 (including tax and shipping!) that delivers a selection of 4 hand picked, artificial-flavouring-free loose leaf teas straight to your door once a month. The same little bird sent me October’s box to try out, so I will drop this twee premise and get on with the tea (box) review!
I have a fondness for tea subscription services, because I like shiny new teas, not having to make decisions, and receiving regular packages through the post, and I enjoyed this Tea Sparrow box even before I got to the teas themselves.
The box easily fit through my letterbox (so I assume it would fit in a mailbox too? They’re quite big, right? I’m in England, I glean 99% my knowledge of American/Canadian Daily Life from TV, sorry), and is an easily recyclable cardboard box (the tea packages are also made of “omnidegradable” material). Printed on the inside of this cardboard box, much to my joy, is a full steeping guide for pretty much every type of tea, which is SO important and so lovely of Tea Sparrow to include. Subscription boxes are often given as a gift, so people might not be familiar with loose leaf tea, let alone the Rules of Steeping, so, this is super helpful for either newbies or anyone just needing a reminder.
Another thing that I loved was the sense of humour in the tea descriptions, which is not at all necessary for good tea taste, but made me happy. Again, if you’re hoping to introduce a loved one to the tea world, or just wanting a nice treat once a month, a bit of warmth and tea-humour can hardly be a bad thing.
Tea Sparrow picks their teas in bi-weekly tea parties in Vancouver, which, if you happen to be a local tea-person, you can find out more details about, and possibly become part of, if you sign up to the mailing list on the FAQ page! The website states that “Each tea gets a score out of 10 by each participant and only those that receive 8.5/10 or higher by everyone at the tea party are approved to be included in your Tea Sparrow box.” High standards indeed!
The four teas that passed the taste test and were included in October’s box were:
Pina Colada (Green Tea), Organic Masala Chai (Black Tea), Organic Vanilla Mint Rooibos (Erm, Rooibos, obv) and Organic Crimson Currants (Herbal Tisane)
Which I think is a good selection – you have 4 different bases, two caffeinated, two decaf, two fruity, two more desserty. If you have any allergies or intolerances, you can let Tea Sparrow know this, and your box will be adjusted accordingly.
As these four blends won’t be the teas you would get if you sign up now (boxes are shipped from the 17th of each month, so if you were to sign up on the day this is published, you might squeak into November’s box, and so on), I won’t do an in depth of each blend, more of a lightning round…
Delicate and light green tea – I tried this both hot and cold brewed, but actually preferred it hot, as it brought out the coconut and pineapple more equally – neither overpowered the green tea flavour and were lovely additions to the cup.
Organic Masala Chai
A different balance of masala chai than I’m used to, I found this was more gingery on the dry leaf than other blends I’ve tried, but guess what, I bloody love ginger so that was great. Strong assam flavour as well as spices when steeping as a normal tea, and I didn’t need milk or sugar to enjoy it. Stood up to stove-top brewing in milk very well, remaining flavourful. Have already finished my sample.
Organic Vanilla Mint Rooibos
The dry leaf is sweet, soft mint, creamy vanilla, with the earthy rooibos base, but the taste was a lot more mint than vanilla until I added a fair amount of sugar. I found I preferred this tea iced, then it was spot on for me, at least in terms of tasting both the peppermint and vanilla in harmony – like that outer layer of a mint tic tac, sweet vanilla peppermint that always intoxicated me as a child. I think because it was named Vanilla Mint, I really wanted the vanilla!
Organic Crimson Currants
According to my notes, the dry leaf “smells like the colour purple” – she was feeling abstract that evening (!). Deep, dark, sweet berry. Even in 90 degree water (I will not boil my hibiscus) the water became bright pink right away – ending up after a 5 minute steeping time with a dark pink liquor, with tart notes of hibiscus and lemongrass, but the sweetness of blueberry, elderberry and blackcurrant. A very full flavoured infusion, perfect for cold evenings.
If you particularly enjoy any blend in that month’s box, and would like to order more of it, you now can, as Tea Sparrow have just launched their online store at https://teasparrow.com/shop/.
The question becomes, if I’m rating the box not the blends, would I pay $20 a month for this subscription (at the moment, £15.60ish), or buy it as a gift for someone (packages start at $25 for one month, through to $120 for 6 months).
The answer is – a resounding yes. I currently subscribe to a service in the UK that provides three loose leaf teas each month for £11 including shipping, so the price is fair and definitely around what I would be happy to pay. The quality and taste of the tea is very good, 3 of the teas were organic, none of them contain artificial additives, and all were in biodegradable packaging – corners are not being cut here. Tea Sparrow have a clear sense of care in the way they pick and prepare their tea boxes, the way they talk about their journey to creating their business, even in the playful way they describe each blend.
❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
* I will receive a small commission if you choose to use this code. This blog was written and published prior to any discussion of an affiliate code, and my opinions are my own 🥰.
Useful Links and Sources