4th Tea Party

Yes there was a third, just no photographer.

01 Today’s exciting line up includes: Aromatica, Elixo, Hawaii Select, Herbal Republic, T-Buds and Teatulia.

02 Zeta starts out by grouping the teas and getting it ready for the first round.

03 A bit of teamwork gets the party moving.

04 Darcy admires the combination in T-Buds’ Caspian Rose. A mix of black tea, pistachios, cloves and rose petals.

05 While Darcy admires it, I’m absolutely enjoying it.

06 Teatulia’s Lemongrass has a naturally clear colour, with an incredible aroma.

07 Jenny finds love in Herbal Republic’s Holy Tulsi…as we all do.

08 Getting the grade. Darcy is not a big fan of Tulsi teas but this one is great.

Caspian Rose 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. In March, we sent her T-Bud’s Caspian Tea. She loved it so much she blogged about it, saying “they pretty much got it right. This tea is delicious. Because of my crazy morning I prepared it in my tea tumbler. But next time I prepare it at home I am going to add cream and sugar and I swear it will be better than any dessert!” But that wasn’t enough. A few weeks later, she wrote on it again.

Now that’s tea love.


Caspian Tea

I know I have reviewed this tea before but it deserves a second post. Clearly Tea Sparrow knew I would love this tea. I know they had their tea testing and wrote down Lizz will give this a 5 out of 5 leaf rating and like it so much she will review it twice! It seems nobody knows my palette better than my Canadian friends. I am going to cry when I run out of this blend.

T-Buds Caspian blend contains black tea, pistachios, ginger root, rose petals, cloves and natural flavors. It smells lovely. It tastes delicious. It makes me want to keep infusing until the water is clear because there is no more tea left.

They describe this blend as “An aromatic blend inspired from the Caspian region which combines pistachio, ginger, rose and cloves to create a carnival burst of flavours reminiscent of a rich seasonal cake.” One of their employees described it as “So floral and calming. Like a marzipan cookie with roses. Just beautiful.”

If it is so good why don’t I just order more? Because this tea came from T-buds. And I have been all over their website and it is nowhere to be found. Maybe it was a blend they were testing before releasing it? I don’t know. I just know that I haven’t been this excited about a black tea blend in a long time. This is the kind of quality, delicious tea I want to carry on our website. Makes me want to run up to Ontario and beg them to let us be their US distributors. Of course they wouldn’t. They would be afraid I would drink them out of business. With tea this good it’s a valid concern;)

Happy sipping!

Lizz Taylor



Blending Tea

How to create your own organic herbal chai. Zeta explores a fun concept by The Gathering Place Trading Company, by blending select spices into a naturally sweet caffeine-free Rooibos tea.

It’s a fun and easy way to introduce yourself into the world of blending tea.



March’s Teas – 2012

The blenders we have had the opportunity to work with so far have delighted my senses with their creativity and expertise. The ingredients and blending techniques have been a source of surprise for me and I am always anticipating the next new cup. I am looking forward to sharing with you our favourite loose leaf blends.

Zeta Newis, Tea Sparrow Family

Rishi’s Blueberry Rooibos

African rooibos and real, wild blueberries in perfect balance provide tart, juicy and naturally sweet flavors that taste great, hot or iced. Blueberry Rooibos is artfully hand-blended in small batches using only 100% naturally caffeine-free botanicals and artisan herbal tea-blending techniques.

Ingredients: Organic Fair Trade Certified™ rooibos, Organic blueberries, Organic schizandra berries, Organic Fair Trade Certified™ hibiscus, natural flavors of blueberry and strawberry.

Jenny Dent, Tea Enthusiast – “Blueberry Paradise. Sweet, iron berry, earthy, tart, goodness. This herbal tea has it all.”

T-Bud’s Caspian Rose

An aromatic blend inspired from the Caspian region which combines pistachio, ginger, rose and cloves to create a carnival burst of flavours reminiscent of a rich seasonal cake.

Ingredients: Black tea, pistachios, ginger root, rose petals, cloves and natural flavours.

Zeta Newis, Tea Sparrow Family – “So floral and calming. Like a marzipan cookie with roses. Just beautiful.”

Joy’s Teaspoon Earl Grey

In 1833, Earl Grey suspended the price monopoly which the East India Company had over the tea trade with China.  The originally pure Chinese tea was lightly flavored with bergamot oil.  This additional fragrance, provided by the Chinese, was intended to protect the tea from the taste of mold and tar which could arise from the long voyage at sea to royal England.  Now, you’ve learned a little something! 

Ingredients: Black tea, natural bergamot flavoring.

Jenny Dent, Tea Enthusiast  – “Ecstasy with milk and honey. Uplifting black soul-fire tea.”

The Gathering Place’s Organic Chai Rooibos

Description: A unique blend of Rooibos and six organic spices produces a calming, naturally caffeine free tea. Hand blended on Cortes Island in small batches with the freshest ingredients.

Ingredients: Rooibos Tea, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cardamom, cloves and black pepper.

Jenny Dent, Tea Enthusiast  – “Fantastic ginger delicious herbal chai. Add milk and sugar, the best decaf chai I’ve ever tasted.”

Aromatica’s Treasures of Japan

Description: This tea, which is a blend of five elite Japanese green teas, was traditionally served to honour guests.

Ingredients: Sencha, Bencha, GenMai, Cha, Kukicha, Gyokuru, strawberry pieces, red currents.

Darcy McMurray, Tea Enthusiast  – “I love this tea, rich in flavour without too much tannins. The flavour is complex and elegant, lasts on my tongue. Yummy!”

Things I Know Too Much About

Joslyn is one of my favourite characters I have met along this tea journey. She has a natural raw energy tempered with kindness. She got a hold of our January Tea Box and has been a customer since. Joslyn has a wonderful way of taking you through her life and her adventures. So I love that Tea Sparrow found a home in that.

Yeah Joslyn,


Things I Know Too Much About

One of the downsides of being a writer with a naturally curious personality and a wee bit of an obsessive compulsive issue is that I know a real lot about some extremely useless things.

Once, I got in what I’ll politely classify a “discourse” with a barista in San Francisco because he erroneously told me that the mint tea was “decaf.” I felt like it was my moral responsibility to explain to him that, technically, mint tea is not “decaffeinated” because it never contained caffeine in the first place. In fact, mint tea is not tea at all but, rather what’s called a tisane. To actually be tea, it has to come from the camellia sinensis plant, and naturally contains caffeine, whether it is black, green, puehr, or oolong. (And I swear to Christ I did not even have to look this up on Wikipedia.) Otherwise, it’s a tisane, which is what all herbal teas are.

He wasn’t really all that pleased to be schooled on his job and I’m pretty sure he wanted to shoot me in the eye with his espresso spigot. In case you are thinking, I can see where he was coming from, don’t worry, I hate me too. Know-it-alls are real annoying. I try to tone it down.

I really do love tea, though. I’m very, shall we say, particular about tea. I once stormed out of a Whole Foods in L.A. because they only had Twinings tea available at the coffee bar. Not okay, Whole Foods. Twinings is diner tea. At least pony up the Mighty Leaf.

But recently I got turned on to this new company Tea Sparrow, and I was humbled. Tea Sparrow is a tea club. Every month, they send you a variety box of loose leaf teas in these sweet little reclose-able bags. I got my hands on the first box, and dove in to the Red Rocks, which is an herbal rooibus vanilla blend. I’m not usually a big rooibus fan, mainly because it reminds me of a certain South African tea “friend” I used to have who kind of ruined my life a little bit, but this rooibus may have actually turned my life back around. It was that good. The rest of the teas were equally star quality.

Signing up for this monthly tea delivery might have to be my splurge of the year. Unless you count the Italian percale sheets I just bought.  But, you know, those were more of a necessity than a splurge.

Anyway, I really want this new company to succeed because they are doing good things with tea and it’s a fun idea, so if you’re into tea, please check it out: www.teasparrow.com

Joslyn Hamilton