Monthly Archives

August 2015

Black Tea Fruit Tea Iced Tea Rooibos

My First Tea Sparrow Tea Subscription Reviewed and Taste Tested!

29th August 2015

Tea Sparrow were kind enough to send me a monthly subscription box this month which I’m thrilled to be able to review for you all today. You can find out more about Tea Sparrow on their website.

I’m happy to share my pictures with you as I cover these four fantastic teas, read on to find out why a tea subscription service could be perfect for you!

All of the teas included by Tea Sparrow over the summer months are teas that are also great iced, this is a really nice idea to keep the subscription service exciting over the summer months.

The parcel arrived and it fitted straight through my letter box in a nice smart brown box. Inside were 4 very different teas, this months selection is Earl Grey Vanilla Rooibos, Pineapple Coconut Oolong, Citrus Sunburst and Mandarin Rose Tea. I also received a nice note explaining how to get the best out of the Oolong tea included in this months subscription, which is a really nice touch 🙂 All four teas are from different sources so the variety is great and they aren’t in any way similar, I’ll cover them in more detail below!

 

Earl Grey Vanilla Rooibos

Earl Grey Vanilla Rooibos

This tea is from Aromatica Fine Teas and is really special! When I first began relentless tea drinking I wasn’t really a fan of Rooibos, I found it a bit sickly but I’ve had some truly great rooibos since then and this is one of them!

It smells fantastic, like sweets or dessert and the smell fills the room as soon as the water hits the fiery red leaf. The Earl Grey flavour is very definitely there and works amazingly as the vanilla sweetness swirls around with the bergamot. This tea is a beautiful colour and would be perfect to share with friends in glass teaware.

Earl Grey Vanilla Rooibos is also very economical and the amount provided by Tea Sparrow will be enough to enjoy this tea many times, I’m on about mug 10 and still have a lot left!

 

Mandarin Rose Loose

Mandarin Rose

Mandarin Rose

Mandarin Rose is sourced from Mighty Leaf Tea. I was a little skeptical about this tea as I’m really not a fan of floral tasting tea but it actually is pretty amazing. Upon opening the packet I was greeted with a burst of a sweet rose smell just like Turkish Delight which I love! The rose petals are a nice size and a beautiful pink colour, paired with high quality black tea leaf. This tea kinda tastes just like a liquid Turkish Delight, and I think because it has a black tea base the rose element isn’t too overpowering.

I also tried this tea iced on one of the few sunny hours this summer and it was AMAZING, the smell becomes sugary sweet when it’s iced and provides the perfect refreshment on a hot day. I took the opportunity to get my Kilner mug set out and drink through a stripy straw, I’ve gotta say it tastes even better through a straw! :p

 

Close up Iced

Citrus Sunburst

This fruit blend is from Tiesta Tea and is another great choice by Tea Sparrow. The smell is mainly citrus but with beautiful berry notes in the background, it smells amazing loose.

When I first added the water it turned a luxurious deep red colour. It smells literally intoxicating when it’s steeping, I found my self hovering over the mug breathing it in as it brewed. It has a multi-layered flavour that’s expertly created using a combination of the sweet berry element with the citrus tone.

Next I decided to take this tea for a spin iced and I’m so glad I did! I used two teaspoons which was enough to fill my bottle and I was also able to refill it from half full to get even more use out of it. It’s so refreshing as the pomegranate and apple flavours bubble to the surface while the citrus seems to take a slightly more refined approach than when hot.

 

Pineapple Coconut Oolong Loose

Front

Top Down

Pineapple Coconut Oolong

I’ve saved the best until last! This tea has been created by Samovar Tea and I can honestly say it is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, Tea Sparrow really flexed their curating muscles with this one! 😀

I opened the packet and there was an outburst of a birthday cake like smell, I’m not really sure why as pineapple and coconut aren’t traditionally birthday cakey, either way this is a smell you need in your life! I decided to go all out and invite my favourite ‘special occasion’  teapot to the party. The prepared tea is a nice pale liquid that I still feel smells of vanillary cake, it’s also massively economical as you can brew the leaves 3 to 4 times and experience the full range of flavours this oolong offers.

I LOVE this tea, often tropical flavoured teas have way too much pineapple in them and the other flavours don’t get a look-in but this is different, the pineapple and coconut waltz across your tongue in perfect harmony. I urge you to try this fantastic creation, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Final Thoughts

I’ve been looking at tea subscription boxes for a while now and always felt that I’d need to find somewhere that I could trust to only send me good, enjoyable teas. Tea Sparrow are that company, all four of these teas are beautiful and the presentation and variation of this subscription box really shows that this service will provide you with expertly curated teas, from sources you probably wouldn’t ever find on your own. The amount of each tea provided is very generous and really will go a long way, Tea Sparrow’s service is actually really great value based on the quantity and quality of the tea you will receive.

Ask yourself, what could be better than a box bursting with character-filled teas arriving once a month, without you having to hunt for them yourself?

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, I had so much fun with these teas and loved writing this review. I also had so much fun taking the pictures, these teas were deserving of my favourite teaphernalia 🙂

Thanks for reading! xXx

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Green Tea Matcha Recipes

Matcha White Chocolate Blondies Recipe

22nd August 2015

I love brownies and their white chocolate sibling more than anything. That fudgy chewy moist centre and the slightly crispy top, add matcha and white chocolate and you’re on to a winner! I’ve fine tuned the amount of white chocolate and matcha and believe this amount is perfect, the matcha is subtle but definitely there and the white chocolate is divine.

The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:

240g of white chocolate

2 tsp of matcha (I used Bluebird Tea Co’s matcha)

30g of white chocolate chips

3 eggs

200g sugar

110g butter

80g of plain flour

 

Method:

Melted Chocolate & Butter

1. Put the butter and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water, then add the sugar.

 

Liquids Mixed

2. Add the eggs one at a time.

 

Mixture

3. Sift in the flour and matcha.

 

4. Fold in the white chocolate chips but hold some back to sprinkle on top.

 

Mixture before cooking

5. Pour the mixture in to a tray lined with greaseproof paper

 

6. Bake the brownies at 200° C for 5-10 minutes and then remove from the oven, cover with foil and bake for a further 25-30 minutes. I made these at my house and also my partners and I found the cooking time varied between the two so keep an eye on them and test them by dipping a knife in the middle

 

Cooked

7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining white chocolate chips over the top, you’ll find that they soften and melt (heaven!).

 

Stack

 

View from above

Matcha Tin

That’s it, it’s that easy. The results are mind-blowing and they’re a real crowd-pleaser. I’d love to hear how you get on making these, if you have any questions or issues making them I’d love to help via email or Twitter.

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Teaphernalia Top 10's

Top 10 Loose Leaf Tea Infuser Bottles & Flasks

17th August 2015
Chai Buddy blue

I love teaphernalia and always LOVE to try out new infusers. If I can steep tea in it and it’s portable I generally ultimately end up buying it! So I thought I’d do a round up of the top 10 tea flasks and bottles with built in tea infusers. I own most of these and have written reviews of a few so you can get an in depth hands on review as well, more reviews coming soon!

These are in no particular order and all of them are great 🙂

Miu glass tea bottle with built in infuser and nylon sleeve

1. MIU COLOR Glass Tea Bottle With Built in Infuser and Nylon Sleeve

I’ve reviewed this tea bottle in depth with more photos here.

 

 

IngenuiTEA Full2. Adagio Teas IngenuiTEA Gravity Tea Infuser

You can find my review of Adagio’s gravity tea infuser here.

 

 

Double walled tea infuser

3. Thermo Double-Walled Glass Tea Infuser

 

 

Marino tea flask

4. Marino Tea On-The-Go Travel Glass Infuser Bottle with Stainless Steel Infuser, Carrying Strap and Silicone Grip

 

 


5. Just Life U Portable Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Handle and Sleeve

 

Adagio ActiviTEA

6. Adagio ActiviTEA Portable Tea Infuser – 300ml

 

 

 

Flask with Box and Insert

6. Libre Thermal Tea Glass With Infuser 14 Ounce

I reviewed this a while back with more photos 🙂

 

 

 

Chai Buddy

7. CHAI BUDDY Thermo Double-Walled Glass Travel Tea Infuser Bottle

Chai Buddy blue

Also in a beautiful royal blue colour.  or another version of the Chai Buddy is more of a mug style a with handle 🙂

 

 

Bamboo thermal travel flask8. Bamboo Thermal Travel Mug Flask With Infuser

X&W double walled

9. X&W Double Wall Glass Water Bottle With Silicone Sleeve

 

 

 

Aladdin Tea Infuser

10. Aladdin Tea Flask With Adjustable Infuser Basket for Perfect Flavour Every Time

I’ve saved the best until last, this is without a doubt the best tea infuser I own! The infuser basket can be lowered in to the water and retracted without even taking the lid off, using a small lever on the side of the flask. The result is perfect flavoured tea every time, no more tea becoming too strong if the leaves are left in the water. It also closes tightly, never leaks and isn’t made of glass so it’s the most portable of the bunch as well.

If you buy one flask or tea infuser, this is THE ONE! Full review coming soon! 😉

Here’s 10 more tea bottles for 2017!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope it’s helped your buying decision. If you have any questions about these infuser I’m more than happy to help either via email or on twitter 🙂 <3 xXx

Reviews Teaphernalia

Bosch TWK8633GB Multi Temperature Styline Kettle Review

10th August 2015

I’ve been sampling and writing notes for a ton of reviews I’ve got coming up and one thing I always found tiresome to get right was the correct temperature for each kind of tea. I felt that if I’m going to write reviews I should get something that reliably controls the temperature of the water, after all I’d hate to give a company a bad review because I burnt their tea without realising. I’d been using an olden days thermometer to check the temperature but I decided it was time for modern technology to lend a helping hand!

Enter the Bosch Styline Collection Kettle TWK8631GB. It can reliably heat water to 70°, 80°, 90° 0r 100°  celsius, so you get perfectly steeped tea every time and switches between different temperatures for green, white, fruit or black tea with ease.

The other features that are worth noting are:

  • Removable Anti limescale filter
  • Easy opening
  • Acoustic signal (beeps when ready)
  • Stainless steel interior
  • Rubberised soft grip handle
  • Double walled to remain cool when touched
  • 360° cordless base
  • economical 1 cup boiling mode
  • Keep warm function retains the water at the required temperature for up to 30 minutes
  • Litres and cup measurements, one on each side
  • 3KW heating element for rapid boil

The removable limescale filter is super convenient and a large button on the lid smoothly pops the lid open, the acoustic signal is also quite helpful, especially if you’re in another room. The quality is phenomenal as you would expect from Bosch, the kettle features solid robust construction throughout. Everything just feels so sturdy and bulletproof, the hinge on the lid is solid and whisper quiet and the handle offers a reassuring grip thanks to it’s seductively soft rubberised handle. Surprisingly the Bosch Styline Collection Kettle TWK8631GB, is still light enough to be easy to use, impressive with build quality of this standard.

Lid Open

 

Handle

1 cup boiling is fantastic, I often used to return to my kettle the following day to find wasted water in the kettle, this is now a thing of the past and this kettle heats the water FAST!

Gloss White

Kettle on StandThe kettle is simply stunning to look at, I love the gloss black finish of the kettle and base combined with the brushed steel and sturdy handle. The kettle is also available in gloss white with brushed steel but I’ve gotta say the black wins, especially as the white will get diiirty in the kitchen. The base is also beautiful and features the controls to choose the required temperature, which is as easy as pressing 1 button. The base matches well with the kettle and together with the red illuminated display it’s perfect throughout.

Controls

I did a lot of research before ordering this kettle and priced at £59.99 (at the time of writing) I was debating whether it would be worth it, after all how much can a higher priced kettle offer? But I was wrong, this kettle has changed the way I drink tea, making it easier to prepare, now the white and green teas I have which are my favourite are being drunk more often (some would say relentlessly!).

This kettle has won a Which? best buy award as well as having nearly 1000 Amazon reviews across both colours (at the time of writing), with a rating of slightly below 5 stars.

That just about rounds it up, please take a look at the pictures, I hope they convey the overall quality and beauty of the Bosch TWK8633 kettle. If you have a similar kettle I’d love to hear about it and how it compares to my new baby! Also if you’d like to ask any questions I can answer from an owners point of view, you can reach me on Twitter or by Email, I’d love to help.

Thanks for reading and I hope this has helped you to make an informed decision! 🙂 xXx

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Green Tea Matcha Recipes

Matcha Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

4th August 2015
Close Up

Last week I joined The Hectic Vegan and his ice cream makers and made my Matcha Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream. This ice cream is really easy to make, tastes amazing and is 100% vegan which is also a massive bonus.

After perfecting the recipe I decided I’d write it up as a guest post which you can read here. If you make it I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below! 🙂

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