I Love Tea Shamelessly

The blog post below is from our friend Lizz who is an active writer and true tea enthusiast.  Between her blog ‘The Tea Addicts Confessional’ and her community-based tea website ‘Stylin’ Tea’, she stays quite involved in the industry. Her review below on April’s tea, Meditative Mind, goes beyond recognizing our tea selection and gives you a great snapshot of the blender, The Tea Spot, who created it. Giving our members exposure to great blenders and their products is our company’s primary goal, so we particularly liked this review.

Thanks Lizz,

I Love Tea Shamelessly

Tea Sparrow included this tea as one of their monthly selections and it is clear after one sip why it was chosen. This is a wonderful tea. It is great hot or iced.
They describe this tea as:
‘A beloved blend of pure Chinese white tea, rosebuds and jasmine pearls, this tea creates an experience of aromatherapy that sharpens the mind and arouses the senses. The exotic floral scent of night–blooming Jasmine is uplifting and soothing, and is used as an anti-depressant in herbal medicine. Rosebuds are used to ease nervous tension and stress, and have a calming effect on the mind. This combination works together to enhance the light, subtle flavor of the white tea leaves. This tea brews into a golden liquor with a very soothing fragrance, and is perfect before, during, or after a stressful day.’
The tea not only has a lovely fragrance and flavor but it looks beautiful in the tea press. This is one of The Tea Spot’s signature blends and is a top seller for a good reason.
They also have a wonderful mission statement:
Our vision for a profitable, sustainable and philanthropic business has a singular focus – to help people live longer, healthier lives by making loose leaf tea an everyday luxury. We’re inspired by medical research suggesting that full leaf teas boast many health and nutritional benefits – from helping prevent cancer and heart disease, to stress management and weight loss.
That sounds good to me!  Thank you, Tea Sparrow, for introducing me to another great tea blender and awesome company!
Happy sipping!

Lizz Taylor

Our 5th Tea Party

01  The 5th Party got us to officially fall in love with Sonnentor, remind us that Rishi is on top, recognize why Joy’s Teaspoon is the new star of the industry and welcome new blender to the party, Murchie’s Teas.

02  We get our tea rounds sorted and I’m on set-up duty.

03  In the first round, we try a new set of teas from Sonnentor, Harmony Tea and Cherry Organic.

04  Darcy and Tina compare the different blending techniques between Murchie’s and Sonnentor’s herbal teas.

05  After sampling the teas…

06  Sonnentor’s Cheery Organic takes the grade and…

07  The Happy Dance.

08  Round two is all about Joy’s Teaspoon . Their almond cookie herbal tea is so good I eat it right out of the tin.

09  Jenny gives it a go and finds it equally delectable.

10  Joy’s Teaspoon certain sweeps the score board for me, but it’s Rishi’s Lavender Earl Grey that takes top marks.

Getting Introductions Aside…

Tea Sparrow was born of our family’s love for tea. Tasting it, smelling it, sharing it…Yum!

To us, Tea Sparrow is a fun flight of fancy in a box, with some of our most playful and passionate conversations taking place over these blends. We have quested and befriended tea sommeliers, blenders and farmers in the pursuit of truly great tea experiences. With no affiliation to blenders, we have tasted hundreds of teas, chosen the blends that inspire us, and shared them with you.

We do this by having our team of tea connoisseurs and sommeliers sample and score the teas for look, region, aroma and of course, taste. We take pride in delivering a variety of world-class blends to your door every month.
We have created this blog to share our journey through the beautifully complex international tea industry. We started our project back in January of this year. So we’re going to start our blog post retroactive to that date and then quickly bring us to speed.

So, welcome to the Tea Sparrow family! We would love to hear about your favourite teas and tea experiences, and would be tickled if you shared with us here or at www.teasparrow.com

Michael Menashy and the Tea Sparrow Team

01 JD in Action – Jordan gets the tea tasting off and running. Confirming Zeta’s tea pairing, making sure we’ve got our score cards on, and giving me the signal to start the first brew.

02 Ok, Zeta looks excited and ready to go.

03 We start with a company out of Toronto, T-Buds. And it is just constant tea hits. Little did we know the first company we tried would end up being one of top three companies we have met to date. The day’s hits were Royal Blend, Midsummer Night, and Lychee Rose. Yeah, enough said, right?

04 The Midsummer Night is so good I think I can try and eat some. Not recommended to try at home.

05 The Earl Grey Supreme by Rishi. Jenny and I explode on this one, 10s right across the board. Zeta and Darcy reflect, probably just enough to compensate for our instant reaction.

06 Darcy gets lost in Florapharm’s Chai American. Cinnamon aroma could be best described as sweet soulful bliss.

07 Jenny shares the love and she is generally not a cinnamon girl.

08 Zeta cools her tea down. The full flavour of the tea cannot be achieved until it cools to above room temperature.

09 Lily is the tea party photographer and active food blogger, “CorianderKitchen.ca”.

10 The first tea party is over and the table clears. We successfully sampled 25 teas over a sunny late fall afternoon.

Tea Sparrow! It’s All You Need

The blog post below is from our friend Lizz who is an active writer and true tea enthusiast.  Between her blog ‘The Tea Addicts Confessional’ and her community-based tea website ‘Stylin Tea’, she stays quite involved in the industry. We would like to share with you her Tea Sparrow tea reviews, articles, and our all shared daily dramas. This is one of Lizz’s first blogs about us and one of our first company reviews!

Thanks again Lizz, Michael

Tea Sparrow! It’s All You Need

I love Tea Sparrow. It is so worth it. Last year I took my Christmas bonus and bought myself a six-month subscription to their herbal and regular monthly tea sampling packages. They do all the taste testing and send out the very best blends from a variety of tea vendors. Through them I have discovered brands of tea I didn’t know existed and blends of tea I never would have purchased. And so far they have filled my cupboard with some really good tea.

I mention it because every now and again I come across tea companies that have their own monthly subscription service. The choices are overwhelming. And you really have to decide what type of tea to subscribe to and they don’t seem to offer as much tea at such a decent price.

For $40 a month I am sent two boxes of tea. The first box contains four different herbal blends. The second box contains four assorted types of tea. There has been one crossover between the herbal and assortment per month. So essentially each month I get seven different tea blends to try from different tea companies.

And the quantity of the tea I receive is perfect. They send one ounce of each tea blend. They package it in self-sealing bags which are labeled with the tea company’s names. This means you can reorder the tea from the blender if it is one you really like. There is enough to share with my mom and co-worker, Jane.

The only downside is that it is shipped from Canada, so at least one box takes longer than the other. But they offer free shipping in North America so I can’t complain. I just have to be patient. Not something I have ever been known for.

I have not received this month’s (technically last months) mixed sampler yet. However, January’s box contained a sample of Chai Americaine. It was a blend from Florapharm who is a German vendor I had never heard of before. It contains black tea, cloves, cardamom, orange peel, and cinnamon. It is very reminiscent of Harney & Sons’ Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea (from the pyramid bags, not the tea bags!)

The best feature of Tea Sparrow is they have all of the information about the tea company each tea is from on their website so you can check out other available blends. So I discovered Florapharm is available at myaromatica.com which is in British Columbia and shipping is ridiculous (not their fault of course) but they do take PayPal and VISA since you have to pay in Canadian funds. Would I ever have placed an order to try a tea from them? Nope. But Tea Sparrow has given them a seal of approval and I now know they make quality blends so in the future it is feasible. They have lots of lovely teas to choose from on their website.

And that is what Tea Sparrow is all about. They connect consumers and vendors and spread their love of tea throughout North America and beyond. I really appreciate the staff and their vast knowledge of tea, not to mention their golden taste buds which seem to pick up the most subtle of flavors.

With so many tea companies out there from my beloved Harney & Sons and Kusmi to places I have never actually ordered from like Upton, it is good to know there is a group of people that will try to find the best and most unique tea blends for me to discover. And so far, every single sample has been a winner. Even the ones I wasn’t really interested in, like the peppermint blend.

Happy sipping!

Lizz Taylor



January’s Tea Box – 2012

Part of the fun with Tea Sparrow is that I get to try all the teas that make it into our Tea Box. It’s an incredible experience seeing how similar ingredients can produce completely different flavour and aroma profiles, much like wine. It’s been a wonderful and delicious experience, one I cannot wait to share with the tea community.

Florapharm’s Chai American

Delightful and exotic blend from German tea blender Florapharm. Offers an intoxicating aroma from the moment you open the tea till the last drop in your cup.

Ingredients: black tea, cloves, cardamom, orange peels, flavor, cinnamon.

Jenny Dent, Tea Enthusiast – “Sweet cinnamon soulfulness. Lightly steeped, it warms the body, or brew it strong, adding honey and warm milk to make a great dessert tea.”

Rishi Tea’s Earl Grey Supreme

A special reserve for Earl Grey lovers, we infuse a smooth liquoring Keemun and a bold flavored Yunnan with 100% natural essential oil pressed from real bergamot citrus fruits. This oddly shaped citrus fruit from Southern Italy is what gives traditional Earl Grey its flowery and sweet citrus aroma. One of our British customers claims this is the best Earl Grey blend ever. What a compliment!

Ingredients: Organic Fair Trade Certified™ black tea and natural essential bergamot oil.

Michael Menashy, Tea Sparrow Family – “The bergamot scent is intoxicating. After steeping, the taste 100% delivers. With a bit of honey and a spot of milk I can’t wake up to anything else.”

T-Bud’s Midsummer Night

A wonderful blend of green and oolong tea with a dramatic and whimsical play of jasmine, rose and lotus notes to bring out a true theatrical joy.

Ingredients: Green tea, oolong tea, jasmine, rose, lotus.

Jenny Dent, Tea Enthusiast  – “This set the mood for our sweet summer solstice party. Wonderful whimsical aroma.”

T-Bud’s Royal Blend

This blend is a traditional English black tea blend scented with bergamot and high notes of caramel, finished with delicate rose-petal accents. This fragrant blend is evocative of English romance and heritage that will awaken the passion of tea lovers.

Ingredients: English black tea, bergamot, caramel, and rose-petals.

Jane Pettigrew, International Tea Sommelier  – “This has a very appealing and balanced aroma. Very pleasant. The caramel comes through well but subtly, softened by the roses with a whisper of bergamot.”

We All Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

We have a family friend Lexi who has built up a considerable following in the Health and Yoga blogging community. She is great at developing daily routines that help target people’s goals. When we spoke to her about our project, she was more than excited to help. She has a long love for herbal teas, and in particular the perfect chamomile blend. When we proved we could give her that and so much more, she wanted to do a product review and instructional video.

So on a rare sunny day for Vancouver in January,  Lexi came over to make our first product review and brewing videos. She went into the kitchen and set up her Nikon camera which can shoot HD video. Then instructed me to move around a bunch of furniture. After going through my cupboards to find props, she calmly sat behind the table and told me to hit the record button. In one take she did the review of the product and then explained how to brews
her favourite herbal tea.

At this point she calmly turned to me and said, “See, that’s how it’s done. Your turn.” Awkward, but reward only comes for the brave, so with total confidence I sat behind the table.  And she said “record” and then I saw the red blinking light. Not so confident anymore. If you want to see 7 minutes of funny awkward video http://bit.ly/OF4q8X. I’m pretty sure the only like I have is from my Mom on Facebook.

We would like to thank Lexi for her review and her help that day. It broke the ice for me and has since gotten me comfortable in front of the camera. We hope you enjoy her video.

Lexi Yoga


Our Second Tea Party

01 Our Tea Selection: Adagio, Bissel, Glenburn Tea, Kusmi Tea, and Tiesta Tea.

02 Jordan selects our soundtrack as Zeta sets up the first rounds of tea.

03 Jenny enjoys the beautiful fragrance from Bissel’s Pomegranate Crisp.

04 Zeta prepares Adagio’s Fujian Rain for our enjoyment.

05 Admiring the naturally cloudy pour of Glenburn’s Second Flush Summer Tea.

06 Admiring the pour is one thing, the joy from tasting it is another.

07 Fascinated by Glenburn’s Second Flush Assam Tea, Jordan takes a closer look.

08 Harvey Keitel in the Zombie Apocalypse.

09 Zeta measures out the hot water to give us the perfect pour.

10 Baked Brie covered in a fig walnut reduction to complete the day.

February’s Tea Box – 2012

To us, Tea Sparrow is a fun flight of fancy in a box, with some of our most playful and passionate conversations taking place over these loose-leaf blends.

Herbal Republic’s Holy Tulsi

A unique blend of tulsi leaves, linden blossoms and rose hips. This blend of ancient medicinal herbs and berries provides a host of antioxidants and health benefits. One of Herbal Republic’s finest blends.

Ingredients: Tulsi (sweet basil), spearmint, rosehips, lemon myrtle, linden blossoms, flavour.

Zeta Newis, Tea Sparrow Family – “It really blossoms with some honey. I could drink this all day and feel good.”

T-Bud’s Lychee Rose

A deliciously sweet tea. Smooth and cooling with the floral hint of rose to create a refreshing brew and the sweetness of lychees to awaken your taste! May be served iced for a truly satisfying quencher in summer.

Ingredients: Chinese black tea, rose petals and natural flavours.

Michael Menashy, Tea Sparrow Family – “Exotic and floral. This tea made me feel decadent.”

Tiesta’s Gojiberry Superfruit

Summer fun-filled, bright, red gojiberries, with a bed of green Sencha, a spritz of lemon grass, and a splash of pomegranate and blueberries. Allow yourself to be thrilled to the last sip!

Ingredients: Green tea, gojiberries, lemongrass, pomegranate seeds.

Jordan Menashy, Tea Sparrow Family – “Fresh, fruity, green, lightly spiced and naturally sweet. Would be gorgeous iced.”

Sonnentor’s Organic Cheery Fruit Tea

Honey brings out the flavours of this original blend. Lovely natural sweetness with a hint of orange.

Ingredients: Rose hips, orange peels, rooibos, pears, quince fruit, fennel, dark bitters, organic vanilla bourbon flavour.

Jenny Dent, Tea Enthusiast- “A definite YES! A touch of honey, happiness guaranteed.”

Tiesta’s Nutty Almond Cream

Sweet almond with apple and cinnamon provide a nutty finish to the soothing blend. The unique nuttiness is unobtainable anywhere else.

Ingredients: Apple pieces, crushed almonds, cinnamon pieces, beetroot pieces.

Zeta Newis, Tea Sparrow Family – “What a pleasure. Waves and waves of yumminess! Have it for dessert with a touch of honey or with milk as well.”

Organic Cheery Fruit Tea

The blog post below is from our friend Lizz who is an active writer and true tea enthusiast.  Between her blog ‘The Tea Addicts Confessional’ and her community-based tea website ‘Stylin Tea’, she stays quite involved in the industry. We would like to share with you her Tea Sparrow tea reviews, articles, and our all shared daily dramas. One of our company’s greatest prides is in introducing our members to loose-leaf tea blenders that excel in offering quality teas but are hard to find. Lizz experiences this first hand. Check it out.

Organic Cheery Fruit Tea

I tried another tea for the first time today from Tea Sparrow. One of their selections for the month is Organic Cheery Fruit Tea. The blender is Sonnentor from Austria.

As I have mentioned before, Tea Sparrow gathers blends from all over the world. Then they have tea-tasting parties where they overdose on tea and select the best blends from the samples. Without my Tea Sparrow subscription I would never have known about Joy’s Teaspoon, Aromatica or Sonnentor. My world before Tea Sparrow was not void of tea. It just tended to center around a few select vendors and Farmers Markets. And it was predominantly black, white and green. Now the number of tisanes in my cupboard is astounding. Much of it is from my mother and the rest is from Tea Sparrow.

This blend is one I never would have selected on my own. That would have been my loss. This is really a great blend of rose hips, orange peels, rooibos, pears, quince fruit, fennel, dark bitters, and organic vanilla bourbon flavor. If you read the ingredients you wonder if a blender just had a bunch of leftover ingredients and decided to throw them all together and got lucky. This is one tasty, yet subtle blend.

And sadly I only have enough left for one cup. Ordering more could prove to be a bit difficult. They have distributors in more than 40 countries but they don’t have a list of where you can actually buy their tea. I can get a product catalog but it seems they don’t even have a United States Distributor. And if I want to order from them directly in Austria, I have to learn the language. Clearly Tea Sparrow has sent me something amazing and rare.

So, I will drink slowly, infuse often and appreciate every sip. Maybe not being able to find this tea in the United States is a sign that Sonnentor should hire me to open the first United States distribution center in our soon-to-be vacant warehouse at Gloray. Could be a win/win! We send their goods to high-end tea shops and they have a presence in a market that does not even know what it is missing!

Happy sipping!
Lizz Taylor

Tea Sparrow & the Happy Tea Drinker

Tea Sparrow + yoga and health industry = a lot of love for great tea. Right away we found that a lot of yoga bloggers were quite keen on reviewing our tea boxes. Alive in the Fire was one of our first. Rachel took us on a day-by-day adventure as she sampled the selection of teas from her January Tea Box. Her original creative approach to reviewing our product put a smile on my face and I hope it does for you as well.

Thanks again Rachel,

Tea Sparrow & the Happy Tea Drinker

All around the States, people love a good cup of tea.

Whether you’re living in Chicago, New York, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, or the chilly woods of Minnesota… chances are, you like to warm up in the winter months with an exotic chai blend, a light green tea, or perhaps a smooth earl grey.

Well, tea drinkers of the world, I encourage you to check out Tea Sparrow, the latest and greatest online specialty tea company. The company’s motto, “The world of tea to your door,” says a lot about their approach to delivering high-quality tea to monthly subscribers.

I was lucky enough to sample Tea Sparrow’s “mixed” box, which includes their royal blend, earl grey supreme, chai americaine, midsummer night, and red rocks flavors. I loved every one!

Read on for my week-long diary of tea adventures…

Sunday night: My tea box arrives in the mail. I promptly begin dancing around the kitchen and sniffing each resealable bag. I heat my first pot of water and try the earl grey, which I find to be bold with the perfect amount of citrus flavor. I put my feet up, relax on the couch, and plan which tea I’ll try tomorrow.

Monday evening: It’s been a long day and I could use a little rejuvenation, so I steep a mug of midsummer night after dinner. This lightly-caffeinated blend of green tea and oolong perks me right up. Its subtle highlights of jasmine, rose and lotus make me feel at peace. I’m inspired to roll out my mat for a calming vinyasa flow before bed.

Tuesday morning: After noticing how full my tea cabinet is at home, I get a genius idea: I decide to spread the word about Tea Sparrow and share my teas at the office! I promptly pack up my tea selection (except for chai – I’ll save that for me and Hubs since it’s our fave), and bring it along to work. I set out the tea in a central location, send an email to my coworkers, and promptly receive emails filled with exclamation points, big smiles, and thank you’s. By mid-morning, there’s a consensus: Tea Sparrow is a hit!

Wednesday morning: I wear my favorite winter hat, and as soon as I see the little love birds kissing design on it, I’m promptly reminded of my new favorite tea source: Tea Sparrow. Today, I try the royal blend, an English black tea with notes of caramel and rose. I stick my little pinky finger out sipping this one – I just feel so fancy drinking it! 🙂

Thursday afternoon: Today I go for the red rocks blend, a caffeine-free rooibos red tea. This is now officially my favorite so far from the Tea Sparrow box. The calming, earthy taste is perfect for this gray Chicago day. I add some organic cane sugar and half and half, and the mixture is delicious… sweet but not overly so, rich and creamy. Even better than my morning cup of coffee! I don’t even mind the tiny rooibos particles that managed to escape my tea infuser; in fact, I hardly notice them at all. (Note: I recommend a super fine weave on your infuser for this tea since it has itsy bitsy particles; you could also try using the Ingenuitea pot.)

Friday afternoon: I cuddle up on the couch with a cozy cup of chai and my Kindle fire to watch hilarious YouTube videos and read Mockingjay. It’s a perfect, quiet Friday evening at home.

Saturday morning: Hubs and I enjoy more chai with our incredible weekend brunch. We enjoy every sip, and can’t wait to refill our mugs for more of this tasty tea.
Thanks, Tea Sparrow, for a beautiful week of tea sampling! To learn more about how you can sign up, visit Tea Sparrow’s subscription page, or check out their FAQ page. Keep in mind they carry a lovely line of herbal teas, too.

Cheers to all you happy tea drinkers out there!