Bird & Blend Tea Co.’s 2018 Matcha Tea Advent Calendar | Tea Review

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Bird&Blend B&B Patch

Due to some delays, I received this advent calendar late. Therefore, I decided to showcase it through my Instagram stories. However, people seemed interested in it, so I thought that I would do a recap!

The Matcha Tea Advent Calendar comes with 24 days, with Day 22 being a surprise gift, and a mini chasen (matcha whisk). The matcha comes in two forms: single size servings, and tins that contain 2 to 3 servings. There were 6 single serving sizes and 17 tins.

Behind each door contained steeping instructions and suggestions on how to drink or consume the matchas. Bird & Blend also sent out daily e-blasts that contained more information on the matcha and additional recipes. For the most part, I either drank the matchas as a latte or straight.

Bird&Blend_Packaging

Since I already did daily posts of CitizenTea’s 25 Day Tea Journey, I didn’t have the time to also do individual posts for this advent calendar. So, I decided to write a short snippet for each matcha, highlight my favourites, and give some overall thoughts.

Let’s go!

Description: “The world’s first Matcha Green Tea Advent Calendar is here – With over 23 flavours of matcha green tea!”

Review: 

  • Day 1 – Pure Matcha: The dry powder was a nice bright green with an earthy aroma. The matcha was easy to foam. However, I found that it had a bit of astringency and bitterness, alongside some grassy notes (1/5 rating).

Bird & Blend Super Matcha tin

  • Day 2 – Super Matcha: The powder and liquor had a lovely blueberry smell. I found, like the Pure Matcha (Day 1), that there was some mild astringency with some fruity notes at the tail end of the sip (2/5 rating).
  • Day 3 – Mermaid Matcha: I had seen this one on the company website and I was hoping that this one was in the calendar and it was! The dry powders very fine with flavour glandulars and a sweet vanilla smell. After whisking, it reminded me of cake batter or vanilla cookies. The liquor had a pretty aqua colour and as a latte, it tasted just like a cake (4/5 rating)!
  • Day 4 – Lemon Matcha: As expected, the dry powder had a nice lemon smell with some flavour glandular. I was so excited to try this as a soda drink that I forgot to drink it straight first. The club soda gave the liquor a fizz and it tasted a bit like lemonade with some faint grassy notes (3.5/5 rating).
  • Day 5 – Orange Matcha: Visually and smell wise, the dry powder did not give off any indication that it was orange matcha because it was a light olive green with a grassy smell. Once prepared, the liquor was a bit gritty and there was some bitterness that disappeared and became replaced with an orange candy flavour. This one did suggest baking it, which I can see enhancing to the taste (2/5 rating).
  • Day 6 – Beetberry Matcha: The reddish powder did have a very faint beet smell, which was earthy. What I enjoyed about this blend was that once the water hit the powder, it became a nice beetroot/berry colour with a mild sweet beetroot flavour (3/5 rating)!
  • Day 7 – Cocoa Matcha: When I opened the tin, I did expect more of a chocolate colour. However, it was more of a very pale olive green. After whisking, the liquor did have a faint dark chocolate flavour. Adding a splash of milk gave it a nice creamy consistency (3.5/5 rating).
  • Day 8 – Mate Matcha: The powder had a very faint yellow-green colour, much like the mate leaves. I was able to see some small fibres and the powder had a nice earthy smell. I found this one very hard to whisk and the liquor kept splitting from the powder. The liquor had a medical and herbal taste with some bitterness (1/5 rating).

Bird&Blend_Gingernut_Matcha_single

  • Day 9 – Gingernut Matcha: I was able to smell some faint cinnamon and ginger from the powder. Once whisked, the liquor had a very strong cinnamon taste with a ginger kick at the end. It had a very warm and comforting aroma. When made into a latte, there was a nice creaminess (3.5/5 rating).
  • Day 10 – Ice Cream Matcha: Both the powder and the liquor had a nice vanilla smell. It reminded me a lot of Mermaid Matcha (Day 3), sans the aqua colour. I also made this into a latte, which had a nice subtle vanilla taste and creamy texture (3/5 rating).
  • Day 11 – Mixology Matcha: This one is a blend of white tea and green tea, which I didn’t expect. The powder was a very fine pea soup colour. As a liquor, it didn’t have a very notable taste. However, once I added some milk, the grassiness came through with some underlying sweetness. Granted, that could have also been the milk (3.5/5 rating).
  • Day 12 – Chilli Kale Matcha: While I am not always a spicy food lover, I am always adventurous when it comes to tea blends. This one had a nice spicy smell with some grassy notes. When I took a sip of this, I was surprised at the amount of heat and kale notes! Thankfully, I had added some milk to the liquor. The spice did linger at the back of the throat (3.5/5 rating).

Bird & Blend Black Magic soda

  • Day 13 –  Black Magic: I had also seen this one on the website before. It looked neat since it was a charcoal powder blend with a rich cocoa smell. Like with the Lemon Matcha (Day 4), I was also too excited to drink this as a soda and forgot to drink it hot. While it looked very witchy and bubbling due to the soda, it sadly had a gritty texture and a mild metallic taste due to the charcoal (2.5/5 rating).
  • Day 14 –  Ultra Violet Matcha: With a name like Ultra Violet, I wasn’t very sure what to expect. The powder actually had a very strong berry and floral smell, which made sense. However, tastewise, it was very faintly reminiscent of berries and mostly medical (2.5/5 rating).
  • Day 15 – Rooibos Matcha: As I have often stated, I do not normally go for rooibos. However, I did like that they added this one in as a caffeine-free alternative. The powder was a red copper colour (that reminded me of mars), as was the liquor. Without the milk, there was a very faint earthy note. However, it really shone when made into a latte. Really enjoyed it (4/5 rating)!
  • Day 16 –  Apple & Pears Matcha: The powder had a faint detectable fruity smell, but it was much stronger once the water hit it. While the powder was a light olive green, the liquor actually became a nice mulled wine colour with sweet juicy apple smell. It tasted fruity, but had a fair bit of astringency. I added some pear juice, which helped a bit (2/5 rating).
  • Day 17 –  Tumeric Matcha: Opening the tin for the first time, I had expected a yellow colour, but it was reddish like the Rooibos Matcha (Day 15). The liquor had a mild turmeric taste and it tingled nicely at the back of the throat. The liquor was a reddish-orange when I expected a golden yellow but that may have been because I didn’t add any milk, which I had run out of that day (3/5 rating).
  • Day 18 –  Swampthing Matcha: When I saw the name “Swampthing”, I had expected a purple or dark green matcha. The powder was olive green like the other matchas. The liquor also didn’t transform into a purple or a bog colour and I could faintly taste the lime and not the lavender, despite lavender being a star ingredient (1/5 rating).

Bird&Blend Maca Mocka Matcha latte

  • Day 19 – Maca Mocka Matcha: I was a bit surprised when I first saw this because there was already a cocoa one earlier (Day 7). The powder was a dark brown and reminded me of a hot chocolate powder. It also looked like hot chocolate after adding water, and had a cocoa/coffee taste. It was much more coffee-like once the milk was added and it acquired a creamy consistency (4/5 rating).
  • Day 20 –  Salted Caramel Matcha: Since salted caramel is pretty popular dessert flavour, I wasn’t surprised to see this. The powder had a faint caramel smell. When tasting it, what I didn’t expect was it to start off grassy because the caramel smell had, for the most part, covered the green tea. But there was some bitterness that followed. Once that faded, there was an almost burnt caramel taste with a mild salty aftertaste. Making it a latte cut away the bitterness, but the salted notes took longer to develop (3/5 rating).
  • Day 21 –  Mulled Matcha: I can’t remember the last time I had mulled wine, so I was curious to see how it would taste. The powder was reddish with a spiced smell. The liquor had a similar colour but was brighter orange. I was able to smell the spices and orange once the water hit the powder. Like a latte, it became a pink colour and tasted like a creamsicle with a hint of spices (3/5 rating).
  • Day 22 –  Surprise Gift!: I didn’t know what to expect, so I was surprised when I opened the window and it looked like a badge that you would get as a kid for scouts. It was round with mountains in the background, as well as trees, with the brand name in the front accompanied by a logo. The badge represents how the co-owners realized there was more to tea while in Canada and thus moved to the UK to start a tea company. While the badge was very cute, I had expected something matcha themed.
  • Day 23Mint Humbug Matcha: While I see that the blend was supposed to feature peppermint and rooibos based on smell and taste, it was anything reminiscent of anything but. It smelled like something had gone bad. Sadly, the smell only became worse when I added water to it. It had a faint savoury taste with a minty aftertaste. I did not like this at all (1/5 rating).
  • Day 24 –  Mince Pie Matcha: I can’t remember the last time I had a mince pie, or if I have ever even tried any before, so I went into this one fairly blindly. The powder had a very faint spiced smell. Once the water touched the powder, there was a lovely orange and spiced aroma, which was warm and comforting. Tastewise, it had a dominant orange character, followed by some lingering spices. It was a nice festive blend to end off the advent calendar (3/5 rating).
  • Day 25: While there was no accompanying tea, Bird and Blend offered a code for free shipping in the UK and reduced shipping for international orders. That is such a smart idea, so that people can pick up more matchas that they enjoyed!

 

Final Thoughts

Bird&Blend_Mermaid_Matcha_latte

Overall, I really liked the attention to detail with this advent calendar. Each matcha came with recommendations on how to prepare it, as well as suggestions on how to consume it. There was also an option to opt-in to an additional e-advent matcha calendar that provided more recipes.

The packaging was made out of thin cardboard and the inside had slots for the teas. The cardboard had a tendency to rip when trying to open it. I did like that it was most likely recyclable. The back of the box also did showcase what was in each slot and as well as the ingredients.

Since I personally do not have a large pantry, I was not always able to take advantage of the various recipes, ranging from making Mulled Matcha to Chocolate Mousse. But I did like the variety and suggestions.

I also liked the range of matcha flavours! Some I would have never expected. That being said I went into this advent thinking that I would be able to enjoy each matcha straight but I found that I enjoyed the ones I tried as a latte much more.

Due to the additives, it was very hard to actually fully dissolve some of the powder. Some of the matchas I drank straight, and I was able to feel some grit. Additionally, due to the sugar and additives, it was hard to clean the chasen (matcha whisk). But the set does come with a mini chasen.

Some of my top 3 favourites were: Mermaid Matcha, Rooibos Matcha, and Maca Mocka Matcha!

I feel overall like this is a good product. I may not have enjoyed every single matcha, but I feel like that shouldn’t be put against the actual product when the main focus seemed to be mixing it into drinks or baked goods. I liked the addition of the e-advent matcha calendar as well. I went in looking for matchas to drink straight – if that was your goal as well, this one may not be for you (3/5 rating)

  • Contents: 1 mini chasen (matcha whisk), 1 badge, 6 single serves matchas, 17 mini matcha tins
  • Company: Bird & Blend Tea Co.

The question of the post: What was your favourite matcha?

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