Tea Sparrow’s 2018 December Holiday Tea Box | Tea Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

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Tea provided for review

Tea Sparrow Dec 2018 Spoons

Admittedly, I am a sucker for monthly tea boxes since they give me an opportunity to try teas I normally may not have! Therefore, when Tea Sparrow offered to send me their December box, I was in!

What sealed the deal for me is that they generously offered a prize of one (1) month for a giveaway! I really value opportunities where I can have the chance to give back to my readers. Information will be at the end of the review.

Tea Sparrow is a monthly tea subscription box and prides itself as one of the first in North America. Each month comes with 4 sample size pouches of tea. The box comes with enough tea for about 35 cups. Included is an information card, and the box itself comes with tea steeping instructions, which are also on each tea pouch.

Tea Sparrow Dec 2018 Box

The tea selection process is two folds. The first part is done by in-house staff, then Tea Sparrow bring samples to bi-weekly tea parties for tea enthusiasts to enjoy! Only teas with 8.5 or higher out of 10 get included into the box. What a lovely idea!

I met Tea Sparrow at the 2018 Toronto Tea Festival. What drew me to the company is when Micheal (one of the co-founders), explained that one of the reasons the company was born was because he realized he was allergic to artificial flavours and preservatives. Therefore, all their teas are free of artificial additives or flavourings.

Boxes can be customized to avoid allergies or sensitivities. Being able to avoid specific ingredients is something that I think is very important since I am sensitive to cinnamon. I was lucky this month that it actually wasn’t a featured ingredient!

This December box is extra special because it comes with five teas, rather than the usual four because it is the end of the year. After smelling them all, I didn’t know where to start, so I followed how they were listed on the information card included.

Let’s get into the review!

Tea Sparrow: Snowflake

Tea Sparrow Snowflake dry dish

Description: “Decadent black tea coconut marzipan in a cup.” 

Review: The second I opened the pouch, there was a very strong smell from the almond and coconut. It reminded me of a baked good. However, after further inspection, I realized that the tea was called “snowflake” because the coconut rasps looked like snow against the dark tea leaves. The reddish-brown liquor had an equally strong nutty smell.

Tea Sparrow Snowflake wet dish

When I first drank the tea hot, I found that the almond flavour was a bit overpowering.  Letting it cool off a bit did the trick because then it became much more balanced and tasted like a nice sweet dessert. The liquor started off earthy, turned sweet and then there was a nutty flavour that enveloped the mouth. The coconut taste was rather faint and at the back of the mouth (3/5 rating).

  • Type: Black tea
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Ceylon and China black tea, coconut rasps, natural almond flavour, almond flakes
  • Company: Tea Sparrow

Tea Sparrow: Organic Pear

Tea Sparrow Organic Pear wet dish

Description: “The taste of succulent pear pieces combines with a floral aroma for a light, refreshing finish on the palate.” 

Review: Much like Snowflake, this dry blend also had a very strong smell right out of the pouch. The smell was reminiscent of a pear candy – sweet and fruity, with some floral intermixed. The leaves were in small pieces blended with a fair amount of marigold flavours.

TeaSparrow_Organic_Pear_wet_dish

The liquor was golden yellow with a few specks of tea dust at the bottom of the cup and a strong pear smell. As imagined, the liquor was very pear flavoured, again reminding me of a candy. It was sweet, floral, and a bit vegetal. I found that there was a bit of bitterness at the end of the sip which mixed with the pear flavour and did not appeal to me (2.5/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: China Sencha green tea, Himalayan green tea, pear pieces, natural pear flavour, marigold flowers
  • Other: Organic
  • Company: Tea Sparrow

Tea Sparrow: Nut Crunch Rooibos

Tea Sparrow Nut Crunch Rooibos dry dish

Description: “The green rooibos, fruit pieces and hazelnut crunch make this the perfect seasonal blend.”

Review: Personally, I find rooibos to be hit or miss for me at times. However, the way this one smelled made me excited. It was sweet with the raisins, apple, and hazelnut smell intermixing in a lovely and comforting manner. The liquor smelled more like a spiced cake – spiced, earthy and nutty.

The earthy and woody flavour from the rooibos shone through and despite not having any spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, it tasted like spice, with a nice amount of sweetness from the apple and raisins.

TeaSparrow_Nut_Crunch_Rooibos_wet_dish

However, on the pouch, it suggested adding “a dash of milk,” and this really took the blend to another level. I can see how they compared it to a warm apple pie because it really did give me that comforting feeling and taste.  The liquor was creamier and really brought out the flavours. I really recommend trying this tisane this way as well (4/5 rating)!

  • Type: Rooibos tea
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Green honeybush, green rooibos, apple pieces, raisins, natural almond flavour, hazelnut pieces
  • Company: Tea Sparrow

Tea Sparrow: Organic Cocoa Tea

Tea Sparrow Organic Cocao Tea dry dish

Description: “Our organic herbal tea is made from the delicate fibrous shell around the cocoa bean.”

Review: I have actually tried cocoa tea, and really enjoyed it, so when I saw this in the box, it was one of the ones I was most interested in. The dry and wet blend was a milk chocolate brown with a sweet earthy aroma, along with a hint of dark chocolate. The liquor was reddish orange with little specs at the bottom of the cup. There was a sweet chocolate and malty aroma.  It was very inviting and rich.

Tea Sparrow Organic Cocao Tea wet dish

The liquor, at first, had a light hint of chocolate and it quickly developed in the mouth and reminded me of a rich dark chocolate. I was inspired by Nut Crunch Rooibos and the other chocolate teas I have tried, so I added a splash of milk to it as well! The liquor became a rich creamy texture and reminded me of a hot chocolate. I found that the milk really helped bring out the flavours as well and left the mouth with a sweet lingering cocoa flavour. I was sad when I reached the bottom of the cup (4/5 rating)!

  • Type: Herbal tea
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Organic bean shell
  • Other: Organic
  • Company: Tea Sparrow

Tea Sparrow: Organic Bergamot Cream

Tea Sparrow Organic Bergamot Cream dry dish

Description: “What do you get when you blend black tea, bergamot and vanilla? Pure delicious, the kind your teapot craves every morning.”

Review: This was the extra tea that was included in this month’s box. However, it sounded just as lovely as the rest! The blend, like many others in the box, had a strong smell comprised of citrus, bergamot and a hint of vanilla.  I find that bergamot can sometimes be overpowering, so I was curious to see how this one would taste.

Tea Sparrow Organic Bergamot Cream wet dish

The liquor was a dark ruby red and was very balanced. Every flavour had some time to shine. It started off sweet, with vanilla and floral notes, and some lingering floral flavour. The blend reminded me of caramel (3.5/5 rating).

  • Type: Black tea
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Assam black tea*, calendula petals*, natural and bergamot flavours
  • Other: *Organic ingredients
  • Company: Tea Sparrow

Final Thoughts

I first have to say that I was pretty impressed with the box. It had a nice variety of teas and tisanes. As mentioned, the box normally contains four teas, but I am not complaining about the extra one!

Compared to other subscription boxes, the two big notable differences were that the sample sizes were a bit bigger and that they normally include disposable tea bags. I feel like the tradeoff is good, I’d rather more tea than tea bags.

Additionally, the information cards are generally a bit bigger and, depending on the box, include steeping instructions or descriptions. However, since this information is included on the pouches, I’m all for saving paper! My only recommendation may be to bold or underline the names so that they are easier to find because I kept trying to find information about specific teas.

Lastly, for this box, the instructions are for a mug (12 oz) compared to a cup (8 oz). Thankfully I read the steeping instructions carefully! I would recommend this box to someone who is like me and wants to try different teas and not be committed to 25 or 50 grams.

Giveaway

Tea Sparrow pouches

I am so excited to be able to hold this giveaway! The prize will be one (1) month subscription to Tea Sparrow. This giveaway is open to Canada and the United States ONLY. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. The giveaway will end on Wednesday, December 6, 2018, 11:59 EST. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 10, 2018. Best of luck everyone!

Tea in Spoon’s end of the year Giveaway!

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