Monthly subscription boxes can be hit or miss. I have tried several along my tea journey including subscriptions by Amoda, A Quarter to Tea, Handmade Tea, myteabox.ca, Sips By, and Tea Sparrow. Some, such as the A Quarter to Tea box, offers selections from one company whereas others, such as the Sips By box, offer teas from a variety of different vendors in each box. The former is good if you know you like a certain company whereas the latter is fun for when you want to try and discover new things. Sometimes you discover gems, sometimes you discover disasters, and sometimes you find new things that are simply unremarkable.
I received the Tea Sparrow box as a gift. The teas are a variety of Tea Sparrow blends and blends from other vendors. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a tea that really stands out to me from this box which has so far put this subscription in the “unremarkable” category. With that said, one of teas in my Tea Sparrow subscription is this Walnut Green Tea by Aromatica Fine Teas. I have tried another Aromatica Fine Tea before, Ginger Cream, courtesy of my Amoda subscription. I really enjoyed that tea so my hope was I’d enjoy this as well. Moreover, this tea is also the first place winner of the 2011 North American Tea Championship so hopefully that means it’s a good one.
When I read the brewing instructions for this tea, it suggested steeping the leaf in “almost boiling” water for 2.5 minutes. Almost boiling is my least favorite temperature because it is so ambiguous. As a result, I decided to steep one cup for 2.5 minutes in 175F water (the “Green” setting on my kettle) and another cup in 200F water (what I would consider almost boiling to be) for 1.5 minutes. I figured I had the leaf so it could be interesting to experiment how different brewing parameters impact the tea flavor.
First cup I drank was the cooler cup, the one brewed at 175F. Lookswise, this cup was much lighter than the tea brewed at a higher temperature, a bright-ish yellow versus a deeper brown-gold. To me, this tasted like liquid brittle. Nutty and sweet with more walnut flavor than almond. No vegetal/grass flavors from the base tea and no pineapple or coconut in sight.
The second cup, brewed with a little more leaf and at 200F, is a lot more buttery though still tastes of brittle. I think more coconut comes through when brewed like this but less walnut which is really meant to be the focus in light of the tea’s name.
This tea is made of chinese green tea, sencha, brittle, coconut rasps, candied pineapple pieces, walnut pieces, flavor, and almond pieces. Given that list, I was surprised that not much of the base nor pineapple was part of the taste of either cup. Personally, I think I preferred the tea brewed at 175F just because it was more distinctly walnut and thus more true to its name though the two were fairly similar flavorwise. Overall I found the tea to be unique and good, definitely one of the better options provided in my Tea Sparrow subscription, but ultimately I just don’t reach for nutty blends or green teas all that quickly. As such, while I can appreciate this as a good tea, an award-winning tea even, I just don’t feel the need to keep it around all the time.
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Aromatica Fine Teas
Chinese green tea, sencha, brittle bits (sugar,hazlenuts), coconut rasps, candied pineapple bits, walnut pieces, flavour, almond pieces.
“What a fantastic and sophisticated profile for a blended green tea!”