Cold brew tea

Cold brew is where the Venn diagram of lazy and awesome meet: little effort for a result that is flavourful, never bitter and often even better than the hot version.

You need to know how to make this if you want to be prepared for summer.

For 1 litre:

Pour 2 tbs of loose tea into a 1 litre mason jar, then fill with cold water. Cover tightly with a screw-top lid and shake well. Place in your fridge for 5 hours or overnight. Strain and enjoy!

Strawberry Champagne: 3 cocktails and a giveaway!

I love baking. But this heat wave we’ve been having in Vancouver has been a little less than inspiring. That, plus Bon Appetit’s collection of summer bubbly cocktails got me thinking – what if we could replace the champagne with Strawberry Champagne cold-brewed tea?
The answer: YES.

Some notes:
We cold-brewed the tea in our fridge for about 5 hours by putting 2 tbs of loose tea in a mason jar, filling it with water, screwing the lid on and leaving it in the fridge to cold brew. That’s it! 1 litre was enough to make 1 of each drink.

I would suggest strongly against putting the cold tea through your soda machine (if you have one) to add bubbles. It was a nice idea but…the tea exploded everywhere and the extensive clean-up process woke the baby up for several hours. #neveragain

If you do like (real) bubbly, we think you could play with the recipe a bit and add it!

Ginger fizz (the mocktail) was my favourite, but I’m a little ginger-obsessed, so…

Michael loved the Pomegranate Punch. It’s sweet and fresh and goes down a little too easily.

The French 75 was great – dry and packed a good punch.

Whatever you decide to do, let us know! Post a picture and your comments on Instagram and tag @tea.sparrow, using the hashtag #bringonthebubbles. Our favourite entry will win a free month of tea!

Happy sipping!


For the Ginger Fizz:

½ oz ginger syrup

5 oz Strawberry Champagne tea

orange slice

Blend the syrup and the cold tea, add a slice of orange and enjoy!

For the Pomegranate Champagne Punch:

8 oz Strawberry Champagne tea

1 oz rum

2 oz pomegranate juice

1 oz simple syrup

lemon slice

fresh mint

Blend the tea, rum and juice, add a lemon slice and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Enjoy!

For the French 75:

1 oz gin

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

¾ ounce simple syrup

2 ounces Champagne

Add everything to a glass and enjoy!

Apeldoorn’s Asian Duck

Both poultry and Appeldoorn’s Tea are staples in our home, but not two things we have ever thought to combine. Enter Lindsay, our guest chef who also happened to stop by when I was making this cake and offer me some pro tips! If you find yourself wondering what to do with your Appeldoorn’s Tea this month (a problem we don’t have), she has an idea all cooked up for you.

Apeldoorn’s Asian Duck

·         6 cups water
·         ½ cup Apeldoorn’s House Blend Black Tea
·         3” piece of ginger, roughly chopped
·         6” piece of cinnamon
·         2 star anise
·         1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         2-3 green onions, chopped
·         4 tablespoons brown sugar
·         ¼ cup soy sauce
·         1 whole duck or 4 duck breasts

Combine water, tea, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add the garlic and green onions, and let steep for 30-45 minutes..
In a large glass or plastic container, combine the tea, brown sugar, and soy sauce, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  
Reserve 1 cup of the liquid and use the rest to marinate the duck/duck breasts for 4-6 hours.
Remove duck from the liquid 1 hour before cooking. Rinse and pat dry.
Prepare the duck/duck breasts to your liking, using the reserved marinade to baste the bird or as a base for sauce.


Bourbon black magic


Well folks, it’s officially spring…oh wait, unless you live on the east coast and just got a dump of snow! On behalf of West Coast Canada, we’re sorry.

We made this on a Monday night, after a Sunday all-day birthday celebration (for moi) and before leaving our baby with a babysitter (!) – ok, actually 2, we’re nuts – and riding our bikes to Italian birthday dinner date night. It was a delicious weeknight celebratory drink. A way to keep the birthday going…maybe for a few more days.

Here are the basic proportions:

1 part bourbon

3 parts tea

1 tsp sugar
Splash of milk

+ a sprig of mint (mostly for fun, and to pretend/celebrate the coming of spring)

It was lovely sans milk but honestly so deliciously creamy with just a splash. Feel free to play with the ingredients and let us know how it turns out!

Raspberry Green Tea Sangria

It’s spring! Well…practically…depending on where you live. We decided that this weather and this month’s green tea were the perfect reasons to make tea sangria.

We used this recipe from Minimalist Baker and swapped out half the wine for cold-brewed Raspberry Green tea, and it was delicious! Feel free to play with the ingredients or use your own sangria recipe, and let us know how it turns out!


  • ½ apple, cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ orange, rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed (plus more for garnish)
  • 3-4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ¾ cup orange juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup brandy, plus more to taste
  • 1 ½ cups dry Spanish red wine
  • 1 ½ cups cold-brewed Raspberry Green Tea
  • Ice to chill (~1 cup)


  1. Add apples, oranges and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds.
  2. Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again to combine for 30 seconds.
  3. Add
    red wine, cold-brewed tea and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavour as
    needed. Feel free to add a bit more brandy, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir to
  4. Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish with orange segments if you want.
  5. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, although it’s great when fresh, and even better enjoyed in the sun with your feet up.

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Bread

We made tea-infused banana bread! And it was amazing. I think
you could use any banana bread recipe you love, but we used this one, and
infused the butter with tea. I even (accidentally) spilled some of the tea leaves into the batter
in my tired attempt to squeeze every last drop of butter out of them, and we
have yet to have an overly-crunchy-tea-leaf bite! I also added walnuts and they add a nice texture to it. It’s deliciously cinammon-flavoured, with
the cinnamon oil from the tea most present in the aftertaste, and really
sinking into the bread after a night in the fridge.

My only word of caution: infusing butter with tea does use a
lot of tea leaves (I used ½ cup for this recipe!) so…maybe don’t make this if
you love actually drinking the tea.  Or make it sans tea and brew a cup of Market
Spice Sweet Cinnamon

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Bread

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed

¾ cup melted salted butter + ½ cup Market Spice Sweet
Cinnamon tea (instructions for infusing here)

1 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons bourbon (or more!)

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt (oops, I forgot this)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional – I left this out but it could
be nice for a layered flavour)

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a
wooden spoon, mix infused butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing
bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spice(s). Sprinkle
the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour
mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or
until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to

Valentine’s Day Blueberry Beet Black Tea Smoothie

Valentine’s Day has always seemed to me to be a day to celebrate our romantic delusion: all we need to do is find ‘the one,’ and our lives will be perfect; we can finally be happy, whole and complete!

Our family’s Valentine’s Day this year started with an early wake up from our still sick 10-month-old

– definitely not a luxurious start to the day. So we decided to both get up and make a decadent breakfast. A celebration! Of what, we weren’t yet sure. We were still too foggy-brained.

As we nibbled on our syrup-soaked pancakes, sipped our tea and watched the rain come steadily down outside, while simultaneously trying to redirect the now-happy little one from her well-traveled trajectory towards my computer cord, I had a moment of being simply happy – happy at how everything was, just as it was. None of us were completely healthy or sleeping well, but here we were, having breakfast in our pyjamas, and really – what more could we want?  I realized that this was our Valentine’s Day celebration: not cinnamon hearts or dinner out, but a celebration of the beauty and joy of life, even through tired eyes and the awareness of imperfection.

This week’s smoothie is just that: fruity and sweet, earthy and wholesome, slightly astringent. Not trying to be perfect at all, but very much perfectly whole and complete, if you just let it be so.


Blueberry Black Tea Smoothie    

Adapted, based on our fridge’s contents, from Naturally Ella

Serves: 2 smoothies    

  • 1 cup brewed and cooled English breakfast tea (we used Murchie’s 1894 Select Orange Pekoe)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup peeled, cooked, and chopped red beets
  • ½ frozen mango
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  1. Combine
    ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth and
    add water or ice if desired. Play around with the ingredients and feel free to swap out the mango for banana, or the apple juice for any other juice, depending on what’s in your fridge!

Jasmine Green Tea Cakes

by Lindsay Carmichael of One Bite Too Many


½ Cup Milk

6 Tablespoons Loose Leaf Jasmine
Green Tea

1 ¾ Cups Pastry Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup White Sugar

½ Cup Butter

3 Eggs

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla extract

1 Drop Green Food Colouring Gel, if


1. Preheat the oven
to 350°F.  Grease and flour or line two
8” round cake pans.

2. In a small
saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil. Remove from the heat and add 2 Tbsp of
the tea.  Steep for 3-4 minutes, then
strain and set the milk aside.

3. Sift the flour,
baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.

4. Using a coffee
grinder or mini chopper, pulse the remaining tea into very fine pieces. Gently whisk into the flour mixture, then set

5. In a medium bowl,
cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until well combined.

6. Beat in the eggs one
at a time, mixing well between each.  Add
the vanilla.

7. Mix in a third of
the flour mixture until combined, then beat in half of the milk. Add another
third of the flour, then the remaining milk and green food colouring (if
using), and finally the remaining flour mixture, beating between each addition.

8. Pour batter into 2-8″ cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.

9. Cool the cakes in
their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

10. Run a small knife around the edges of the pans, then
remove cakes and allow to cool before filling or icing.

I stacked my
Jasmine Green Tea Cakes with orange cream cheese buttercream, and topped with
candied peel and orange sugar.

Moringa Apple Granola

This was super easy to make and really tasty!

Preheat your oven to 350. Put a cup of so of oats, 1 tbs of butter, 2 tbs of maple syrup (ish) into a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted. Sprinkle some salt into the mixture and pour onto a baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. (Our first batch burned.) You can play with the proportions based on how fruity, buttery, sweet, salty you like your granola, and even add things like nuts or coconut flakes or whatever! It’s your breakfast.



Nutty Almond Cream Marshmallows

By Lindsay Carmichael of One Bite Too Many


1 ½  cups water

½ cup  loose-leaf Nutty Almond Cream tea

3 packages/12 sheets of gelatin

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup glucose

 pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup icing sugar

¼ cup corn starch


1. In a small
saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then add the tea.  Simmer for 6-8
minutes.  Remove from the heat, but allow
the tea to steep for at least an hour (because this is an herbal tea, it
can steep even longer without becoming bitter).  Place in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

2. After
8-12 hours, strain the tea. Make sure to press firmly in the sieve to wring out
the extra flavour. 

3. Measure ½ cup of the tea and place in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Sprinkle gelatin on top of the liquid
and allow to bloom while preparing the sugar syrup.


4. Over
medium-high heat, pour the remaining ½ cup of tea into the medium saucepan,
along with the sugar, glucose, and salt. Cover and allow to cook for 4-5

5. After
the first 4-5 minutes, uncover the pot, clip on your candy thermometer, and
continue cooking over medium heat without stirring.

6. Once
the sugar syrup reaches 240°F, remove from the heat and turn the mixer on low.
Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture. 

7. Turn
the mixer to high and whip for 14 minutes.

8. During
this time, mix the icing sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray
the baking sheet with oil, then use the sieve to dust the sheet with the icing
sugar/cornstarch.  Make sure that the
entire sheet is covered with the mixture, then set the rest aside for later.

9. After
the marshmallow has been whipping for 14 minutes, add the vanilla and allow to
whip for 1 additional minute.

10. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared
pan and use a lightly oiled offset spatula to spread the mixture evenly in the

11. Dust
the top of the marshmallow with the icing sugar/cornstarch, and set aside for
at least 4 hours (overnight is best).

Once the marshmallow has set, turn it out
onto a large cutting board.  Use a
lightly oiled pizza wheel to cut out squares. Dust the cut edges with the last
of the icing sugar/cornstarch.

13.  Store
in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


Tea Bitters

We made tea bitters! Sort of an accident that got forgotten at the back of our fridge but nonetheless, delicious. Here’s the basic recipe:

250 mL alcohol (we used vodka and gin, separately)

3 tbs loose-leaf tea (we used Samovar’s Cali Persian Organic and Rishi’s Ginger Lime Rooibos, respectively, but there are so many fun ones to try!)

1 tbs sugar (but you could use more for a more rounded flavour profile)

Place all ingredients in
a sealed jar and leave at the back of your fridge for at least 4 weeks. Just
kidding – shake the jar every other day and check weekly, strain and pour when
you are satisfied with the strength of the bitters.