Birthday Cake from Bluebird Tea Co

birthday_cake_1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co

Tea Description:

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than cake. Except perhaps a cup of tea and cake! Our Birthday Cake Tea is delicious, has both and almost no calories! Oh and did you notice the pretty sprinkles in there too? Talk about having your cake and eating it!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve learned that if there is a tea that is supposed to taste like cake, that I need to try it. I was especially excited to try this blend because it has a rooibos base and the addition of star sprinkles. YUM! I haven’t found too many cake blends that have a rooibos or honeybush base. The dry leaf looks like it’s meant to be a part of a birthday celebration, too. I love the bright sprinkles, flowers and the soft rooibos.

For me, this cup isn’t quite birthday cake in a cup, but is really a sweet rooibos blend with a strong almond flavor. I can see how some might taste a cake flavor since there is a starchy element in the background, but I otherwise can’t taste anything that’s specifically birthday cake. Despite the cake element not being present in this cup, it’s still very drinkable and quite delicious. There is a little bit of a weird sour note in the background and I’m not sure what it is.. but it’s weak and doesn’t bother me.

I love that I can drink this tea any time of the day even though there is a small amount of black tea in the blend. I don’t feel like it will keep me up at night. This blend makes a great replacement for dessert after dinner, too. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, I’d try this one, but don’t expect it to taste like a slice of birthday cake.

Vicky’s Sponge Cake from Bluebird Tea Co.

vicky_s_sponge_cakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Think vanilla sponge cake with a dollop of raspberry jam! There is nothing better than a cuppa and cake (except perhaps a cake flavoured cuppa!) and did you know it was our good old queenie Victoria who invented the Vicky Sponge? Guess the name gives it away a bit! She loved taking afternoon tea with her home girls but decided they needed soem extra nurishment to last until dinner. Cake it is then! We like your thinking QV!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Ah, Victoria Sponge. My favourite cake. Obviously when I found a tea that claims to replicate it, I just had to give it a try. Of all the people I’d trust to get it right, Bluebird Tea Co. top the list. The scent is right, for starters. Upon opening the pouch, I’m greeted with a waft of raspberries and vanilla. As ever with Bluebird, the dry leaf itself is a thing of beauty – fluffy green raspberry leaves, whole freeze-dried raspberries, smaller pieces of freeze-dried strawberry, and a scattering of desiccated coconut shreds. All on a black tea base, Ceylon specifically in this case. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup (the raspberries are so huge, they throw the measurement out a bit!), and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. The scent, like the dry leaf, is deliciously raspberry-vanilla. I really am thinking cake now!

To taste, the initial flavour is 100% raspberry. It’s quite a tart raspberry, but just sweet enough to stop it being jarring. What’s particularly nice is that it tastes like actual fresh raspberries – there’s no candy-like or artificial-tasting raspberry to be found here. Vanilla emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a pleasant creaminess and an extra dimension of sweetness that puts me in mind of the buttercream filling that usually accompanies raspberry jam in a Victoria Sponge. There’s a tiny hint of cake right at the end of the sip, but it’s a little fleeting. The coconut just starts to come through, and I think it’s this paired with the other ingredients that produce this effect, interestingly.

I quite like the way the flavours build here, one on the other, to create the overall Victoria Sponge effect. I also like that each individual aspect seems to taste natural, and not like it’s been created from a chemical compound in order to replicate “cake” as accurately as possible and at all costs. The raspberry tastes like real raspberry, the vanilla tastes like, well, vanilla. The combination really does suggest the filling of a Victoria Sponge, and (by some alchemy) everything comes together right at the end of the sip to give – cake! My only complaint is that the black base becomes a little astringent and drying as my cup cools – this is definitely one best consumed hot. Other than that, it’s a great success. Highly recommended for all Victoria Sponge fans – cake without the calories, or just a great stop-gap until your next slice!

Toasted Apple Green Tea by Bluebird Tea Co.

ToastedappleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This blend of roasted green tea, popped rice and toasty apples is a bit of a tea Marmite. Some are addicted to its grassy, savoury taste but it’s not for those with a sweet tooth. Don’t worry though, Genmaicha fans will absolutely love Bluebird’s unique twist on the classic Japanese ‘popcorn’ tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a flavoured genmaicha blend from one of the UK’s few independent tea mixologists – Bluebird Tea Co. This blend has been around since the inception of the company, so it’s one of their “original” teas, so to speak. It’s probably fair to say that they’ve come along in leaps and bounds since then, but this blend stands the test of time.

The dry leaf contains pretty much a 50/50 mixture of toasted brown rice and roasted green tea. The base tea is a blend of Chinese and Japanese greens; the Japanese being Bancha and the Chinese unspecified. The leaves are fairly small – some are darker and rolled into thin tubes, others are a lighter green and folded in appearance. There are some pieces of popcorn, although few compared to some genmaicha blends I’ve tried. There’s a generous smattering of apple cubes throughout.

I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow-orange, and smells primarily of sugar puffs, but with an edge of seaweed. An odd combination if ever there was one!

This is a bittersweet blend to taste. The initial sip is quite heavily toasty in flavour, presumably from the rice. It’s not quite burnt toast, but very nearly, and while it’s not acrid, there’s an edge of bitterness that’s heading that way. The mid-sip is sweeter as the apple flavour emerges. It’s a floury, mildly floral apple that puts me in mind of homemade baked apples in the winter, only without the accompanying dried fruit. The apple flavour fades slowly away, leaving the slightly dank-tasting green tea behind.

It feels a little unseasonal drinking this one in summer, as this is a blend perfectly suited to blustery autumn afternoons. The only thing I would have liked to add is a touch of spice – perhaps a little cinnamon or ginger, or maybe some dried fruit flavouring. That would have made this a true baked apple tea! As it stands, toasted apple is a completely apt name. The beautiful baked apple notes are perfectly suited to a toasty genmaicha base, and the pairing seems to bring out the best in both flavours! A delicious sweet-savoury treat.

Enchanted Narnia herbal tea by Bluebird Tea Co.

enchanted_narniaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

‘Put the Turkish Delight down, Get out of that wardrobe + get the kettle on Edmund!’ said Lucy… Well perhaps we have paraphrased a little there. But we’re pretty sure that’s what she was thinking. Enchanted rose + smooth chocolate make an enchanting brew indeed.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love the inspiration behind this blend from Bluebird Tea Co. The dry leaf looks like something right out of Narnia, with its whole pink rosebuds, additional rose petals, plentiful cocoa shells, lemongrass pieces and the fluffy, mossy greenness of the raspberry leaves. It’s so pretty, the White Witch of Narnia might well use it to tempt Edmund away.  I used a generous heaped teaspoon of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, and the scent is faintly herbal, maybe a touch floral.

To taste, this one is pure liquid turkish delight, although the variety that comes coated in chocolate rather than dusted with icing sugar. The rose is the most prominent flavour; sweet with a hint of perfume. The flavour of milk chocolate emerges in the midsip, adding a creamy, almost vanilla-like sweetness that really complements the rose. Although cocoa shells are responsible for the flavour, there’s none of the dry bittersweetness cocoa can sometimes add to a tea. This is liquid milk chocolate over rose-flavoured turkish delight; sweet, smooth, and perfectly befitting a fairy tale.

I had hoped that the lemongrass would add perhaps a hint of lemon-flavoured Turkish delight, but it really doesn’t. While it contributes to the overall sweetness of this blend, its mild citrus flavour is completely overpowered by the rose. Still, that’s a minor complaint. With a tea this delicious, it hardly registers.

I’m always impressed by Bluebird’s blends. It’s clear that they take a lot of time putting each one together, and the ingredients are obviously wonderfully fresh. The rose buds in this blend, for example, are a bright pink, firm to the touch, and still tightly nipped together. There are no brown, soft, wilting rosebuds here! The abundance of whole ingredients adds to the aesthetic impact of the dry mix – these are truly beautiful teas that are a delight to look at as well as drink. The inspiration behind this tea is strong and clearly realised – it would be easy to identify this as a turkish delight tea, even had it not been labelled.

If you’re interested in a quality herbal tea, a delicious dessert tea, or are just a fan of the Narnia books and films, this blend could be just the thing for you. It comes highly recommended.

Bluebird’s Great British Cuppa by Bluebird Tea Co.

great_british_cuppaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

We’ve been around the world in 80 teas with this one! On a mission to get our nation of tea lovers, THE BEST cuppa. Good news… Mission accomplished! Fantastic with your fry up, perfect with a Paddington (marmalade on toast, obviously!) The Great British Cuppa is right here!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m feeling a little under the weather at the moment, so a straightforward breakfast-style tea is just the thing to cure what ails me. This is such a go-to kind of blend – an easy to drink, easy to brew, no fuss, crowd pleaser. I gave one teaspoon of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.

The resulting brew is a pretty solid example of an English breakfast tea. It combines an Assam, a Ceylon, and a Chinese Yunnan black, and the result is sweet and malty, with a hint of citrus brightness. The citrus, to me, is lemon, and it emerges primarily at the end of the sip. For the most part, this has a characteristic potato flavour, with an almost starchy element reminiscent of crispy, roasted white potato which emerges in the mid-sip. It’s hugely malty, with that wonderfully deep, molasses-like flavour that a really good malty black can take on. No sugar required here!

I’m not too surprised that I like this one – it contains my three favourite varieties of black tea, after all! It’s well balanced, with none of the three varieties dominating. Instead, it’s like each of the individual teas has contributed one of the elements which characterises it best – maltiness from the Assam, a light citrus note from the Ceylon, and a glorious potato flavour from the Chinese Yunnan. It’s such a good, solid cup of plain black tea. A no-nonsense, full-bodied blend with plenty of flavour – there’s nothing not to love here! Well done, Bluebird!