Bluebird Tea Co.
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Recent Tasting Notes
This was my first attempt at a cold brewed green, which I brought to work last Friday. Steepster wasn’t working for me then, so I couldn’t log it, and it feels like I’ve never had chance until now ever since! I can still remember it, though, so all’s fair.
I bought the bagged version of this one for ease, and used three for a one litre cold brew. I made it right before I went to bed, so the bags had about 8 hours in the water, in the fridge overnight. Looking at the dry leaf, I don’t actually think there’s a huge amount of green tea in this blend; I can mostly see lemongrass. That’s why I wasn’t too nervous about trying it out as a cold brew for the very first time! I also noticed that the leaf in the bags is smaller, with less pieces of dried lime than the loose version. That’s something I’ll bear in mind in future, as I loved how oversized and pretty the loose blend was the first time I purchased a bag!
To taste, this is pretty much as I expected. I can taste a lot of citrus — both from the dried lime pieces, and the lemongrass. There’s also a hint of mint, but it’s not at all overpowering. Just a gentle coolness in the background. Paired with the citrussy flavours, it’s very refreshing. I can taste the green tea base a little — it adds a very, very slight bitterness to the flavour, which actually fits quite well with the sour/sharp lime. Both are delicate flavours, so neither are problematic in that respect. As well as a light lemony citrussiness, the lemongrass also contributes a hay-like sweetness which helps to hold the flavours together.
What I’d like to do with this one is add some rum (although maybe not at work!), or failing that some sparkling water. I think a little alcohol or fizziness would just help to bring it alive a little more. I do like this blend for the summer, though, and I’m glad I picked up a box of these with my recent Bluebird order. It’s a great flavour combination, and very refreshing on a hot day!
The cloves, cardamon, ginger, pepper and coconut are all apparent in the scent of this tea, with the first three being the most dominant. At first sip, the spicing seems pretty mild. The base tea is smooth, with sharp fruit and malt, and seems to overpower the spice. The spice is there in that I can feel the cooling sensation on my tongue, but outside of a with of cardamon I can’t really taste them. This could be because of several reasons, the first being that this is an old sample sachet, the second is that the spicing is purposefully mild, or it could simply be that the base tea does not work well in this concept. If it is designed this way it fits with the Indian stereotype of British descended tourists in which we are all seen to not be able to take the heat. Thanks for the sample Bluebird Tea, but this one just doesn’t work for me.
I placed a wonderfully sizeable Bluebird order at the weekend, so I’m happily finishing off the rest of the teas from my previous orders at the moment. This one I almost expected to dislike, but it’s actually rather yummy. When it’s right, it has a wonderful baked apple flavour with a hint of cinnamon and clove spicing. The dry leaf is really pretty, too, with it’s little specks of red among the leaves.
I have got this wrong, on occasion, and it can be woefully bitter. Today, though, it’s smooth and astringency free. The green tea base really helps the apple flavour to pop, and works with the rest of the flavours genuinely cohesively to form a really satisfying cup. This may be a repurchase come autumn.
Despite being a rather old sample, this tea smells of a bit more cherry than my Zen tea option ( having said that, I am not a floral tea hater). Although the base tea seemed slightly broken, it does not taste bitter after being brewed at @ 85 for 1 minute. The base tastes like a fairly robust, fruity green, with a faint spinach note. This works well, to support a rather strong candy/chapStick like flavoured cherry, mixed with a more spicy than bitter rose tone. The robust green, prevents this tea from seeming delicate, in fact there is something rather hardy about it. All the same it is a pleasant cup, that has held up well despite poor storage.
So, I finally worked out how to get turkish delight from this one! You ICE it. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before, but there you go. I cold-brewed the last of my bag (about 3 tbsp), in one litre of cold water, and left it in the fridge for around 12 hours. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but it’s an okay tea so something pleasant and refreshing to sip on at work was all I was really after. Instead, I get amazingness. The kind of amazingness i was looking for all along!
The initial sip tastes just like biting into a piece of turkish delight; sweet, with rose and lemon flavours by turns. For once, the lemon isn’t first! Rose is the prominent flavour, and as that fades the lovely mellow citrus of the lemongrass takes over. It even tastes somehow gooey, and there’s a pleasing overall sweetness that really is reminiscent of icing sugar. Hot, this is useless. Cold, it’s liquid turkish delight. My only regret now is that I didn’t try cold brewing this one earlier. Somehow, it just didn’t occur to me. I have 1 tsp left for a final hot cup before we say goodbye, but I think this might be on the repurchase list after all. There’s a surprise. I’ve increased the rating, because now I feel I know what this tea is about.
I haven’t had this one in a while, so I pulled it out for last night’s pre-bedtime cup. It’s an interesting one — the main flavour is lemongrass, but there’s also a strong element of hot chocolate. It’s creamy tasting, with strong hints of cocoa, a touch or rose…and lemon. I’m not really getting turkish delight, and I do find the lemon a slightly odd combination with cocoa and rose, but it’s a unique experience all the same. A bit like Narnia, I suppose!
Scheherazade’s Super Sipdown Week! #21
Another sad sipdown, as this became one of my favoured bedtime blends for a while. I can often taste more rooibos than anything in this kind of blend, but the honey here was very prominent, and very accurate in terms of taste. A possible repurchase, when I’ve got to grips with my stash a little more.
Scheherazade’s Super Sipdown Week! #20
Sadness. I love elderflower, and yet it’s fairly hard to come by in tea, at least in the UK. That’s how it seems to me, anyway. The only thing I wish this had more of is “champagne”. I think that was probably a reference to the oolong more than any specific flavouring, but the name conjured up wonderful things. It’s light-tasting, fruity, it’s the colour of champagne…it’s so close, but I did find myself wishing there was a little more depth. Maybe iced with some sparkling water? Next time I buy a bag, that’ll be something to try.
Last cup of the night, and although it’s caffeine free, I think this one may be a bit too fruity to use as my bedtime drink in the future. I also can’t imagine cold brewing this (although I’ll probably have to try now. I’ve mentioned that) so it’ll probably wait around in my drawer for a few months until the colder weather kicks in again.
I bought this as part of Bluebird’s pick-n-mix sample selection, as there were four teas I really wanted to try and I had an extra space to fill. So overall, I wasn’t getting my hopes up too high for this one, although it was still pretty high on my list of Bluebird’s teas to try. My flatmate Sam moved out today (it’s the end of the school year and he’s moving to Amsterdam on a placement soon) and his girlfriend Amy, another flatmate, wasn’t feeling too great so I obviously took the opportunity to use tea as a means of settling her stomach. After rifling through my drawers, she picked several teas out to try including this one, which I brewed for after our supper of freshly baked cookies. If she hadn’t picked it out, there’s a chance this could have sat in my drawer untouched for a couple of months.
The dry mix smells beautiful, and looks it too. Bluebird are great because their teas not only taste great, but look great too and the huge chunks of ingredients make them just gorgeous to look at. I say it every time I have a Bluebird tea, but I really do marvel at how pretty they are. I brewed it in my ingenuiTEA and it was pretty cool to see all the bits floating around and expanding.
In the time it’s taken me to type the note up so far, my tea has gone cold but I don’t think the flavours have changed much. It is, however, as I had suspected, better warm. The bright red colour when brewed made me wary that the tea may be overpoweringly hibiscus-y, but it’s actually a pretty mellow tartness just chilling with the other flavours rather than overpowering them. There’s something weird about this blend which I just can’t place, but I’m pretty sure I like it. In fact, I’m sure I like it, I’m just not sure I can place the flavour or could explain why. Pineapple and coconut are always a winner together in my opinion, although I was interested to see what I thought of this tea since coconut is generally a favourite flavour of mine in tea, whereas I’m yet to find a pineapple tea which I can drink happily – or I was until this, anyway. The flavours are immediately present and reminiscent of a piña colada, but the lemongrass is also prominent and adds an interesting extra dimension. This element kind of reminds me of fragrant Thai rice, and I suppose the reason it works so well could be that the coconut goes with both pineapple and lemongrass flavours effortlessly. I imagine it might be quite an odd combination without the coconut. The hibiscus keeps it tart (I added a sugar, although I shouldn’t really) and the rose petals add a wonderfully floral aftertaste. I am constantly amazed by the skill some tea blenders show, and Bluebird are no exception. This blend is truly inspired, and one of the more intriguing blends I have had the pleasure of trying.
EDIT: As it cools, I have just noticed, there is a kind of honey sweetness on the finish of the sip. Paired with the lemongrass, which remains throughout the sip, this oddly enough reminds me of those lemon flavoured throat sweets with the honey inside that you suck when you have a cold. Not in a bad way, though, it’s not particularly medicinal. It’s more like what those throat sweets would taste like if they were actual sweets, instead.
Scheherazade’s Super Sipdown Week! #16
Sparkly, hot chocolate awesomeness. I’ve really come to appreciate this one as my last black tea of the evening. With a splash of milk, this one develops a creamy milk chocolate flavour, with a faint touch of turkish delight. I know Enchanted Narnia is Bluebird’s proper turkish delight tea, but this one is so much better in my opinion.
Scheherazade’s Super Sipdown Week! #5
I’m glad I finally managed to work out how to get rhubarb and custard out of this one — it just needs a good long brew and a spalsh of milk. What comes with that is an almost excessive sweetness, which I’m not so fond of. I guess it’s very reminiscent of a boiled sweet, but it’s just not quite the tea for me. Good candy flavouring, though!
Scheherazade’s Super Sipdown Week! #3
Sunday morning’s tea, and a wonderful cup it was. Very creamy, light notes of bergamot, and a robust black base. A perfect wake-up tea! I did get a little bitterness as this one cooled, but I’m guessing that’s because of the higher proportion of broken leaves at the bottom of the bag. I’ve never had that problem with this one before, so I’m leaving the rating as is. This is one I’m sure will make a return to my cupboard when I’ve made more of a dent in it. It’s absolutely delicious!
Scheherazade’s Super Sipdown Week! #2
Second sipdown! I’ve had a difficult relationship with this tea — sometimes it’s amazing, and sometimes all I get from it is rooibos. It’s never a patch on 52 Teas Raspberry Cream, which I’m sure I’m judging it against, so I’m probably being unfair anyway. This cup was an average one — I got a tiny hint of raspberry when I added some milk, but it was mostly overpowered by the heavy, woody taste of rooibis. I love the name, but this isn’t one I’d look to repurchase. Good to have tried, though.
This is another Bluebird tea I have at work with me, and that I’ve been drinking a lot of over the last couple of days. It needs a good, long brew in order for the honey flavour to properly develop. A shorter brew time gives a more herbal, chamomile flavour, with a strong background of rooibos. Five minutes or more, though, and this becomes almost like drinking runny honey! I like teas that have a couple of “personalities” that can suit different moods. I went for the runny honey option today. It’s sweet, rich, and decadent, and also very soothing. It makes a great bedtime tea. Tomorrow is my last day at work before I’m on leave for a week, so I’m pretty tired already. No more of this for me just yet, I don’t think, or I might fall asleep for real! 6 day weeks are a real killer.
This sample has come to work with me, because I seem to drink far less green teas at home in the evening than I do if I have them with me during the day. This one is just as good as the first time I tried it — very smooth, unobtrusive green tea base, wonderful spicing, and a strong baked apple flavour. One of my favourite Bluebirds!
I’ve been drinking a lot of this in the evenings lately, partly in an attempt to move it nearer to sip down, and also because it’s a genuinely lovely treat. It’s like hot chocolate with a splash of strawberry flavoured cream. The little heart candies and the sprinkling of glitter make it a pretty cup, too, which never hurts. Perfect with milk on a chilly summer evening!
I want to like this, probably because it looks so pretty, but I just can’t. The liquorice root is far, far too sweet and overpowers all of the other flavours. I can also taste it at the back of my throat for hours afterwards — it’s like artificial sweetner, ick.
I’ve had a couple of cups of this one today in my large teapigs eco mug. I used a little more leaf than I usually would, to compensate for using a bigger cup. I left it to brew longer, too, to see if I could coax out any rhubarb and custard flavour. Or at least, more than I have previously. I managed, pretty much. Both my cups tastes like rhubarb and custard boiled sweets. What surprised me was the sweetness. I know my tastebuds are still a bit off, but both my cups today were seriously overpoweringly sweet. Even milk didn’t really help to tone it down. The flavour was nice, though, once I got passed the initial teeth-achingly intense sweetness. Not bad, but probably not a restock. There are many Bluebird teas that I just like better!
GOOD GOSH it gets stupidly humid around these parts! I had the most ridiculous headache this afternoon before it finally broke and started raining for a while. Such a blessed relief when it did.
Wednesday I’m having a chat with the university about doing some admin work soon, so fingers crossed. I’m fine with the baking (though MAN, if I can escape the politics of that place sooner rather than later, good) but it’s hot as balls in the bakery and it’s doing bad things for my eczema! Ho hum.
This is another tea it turns out I much prefer when it’s cold. It’s got a nice balance between earthiness from the beet and sweetness from the fruit. I dig it.
This is the other tea I’ve been sipping on at work today. It’s light and fresh tasting, and my stomach didn’t object to it too strenuously! I’m still not getting much oolong from this, which I think is a good thing. I do get lots and lots of lovely elderflower, though — I really like the sweet, distinctive taste, and it’s such a summery flavour for me. Perfect for a hot day like today. I have one more cups worth of this left, so it’s now residing in my sipdown box, waiting for another weekend extravaganza! As it’s potentially a repurchase, I probably shouldn’t be feeling so pleased with myself. But I am, because I haven’t had much to be pleased about these last few days :(
Well, I am still alive. I’ve been majorly MIA, I know, but my cold has just dragged on and on, and I haven’t actually felt like drinking much tea for a good week now. Largely because I can’t taste anything. I’ve been drinking Twining’s English Breakfast, but not much else, and that’s an average tea at the best of times. I still feel crappy, but I think I started to perk up a little today. I brewed up a cup of this at work this afternoon, and I was rewarded with one of the best tasting cups I’ve ever had from this tea! I actually got raspberry, which has always evaded me previously. It wasn’t strong, but it was there, albeit fairly candy-ish. Although this isn’t a patch on my beloved 52 Teas Raspberry Cream, I have to admit it was pretty good. As my first “proper” tea in quite a while, I think I did pretty well!
TTB 6: I didn’t read the ingredients before trying this one and it made for an interesting experience. As I was drinking, I kept noticing a bit of a burning sensation in my throat. I thought maybe I was getting a cold or the tea was too hot, but even as it cooled, the burning persisted. Finally i realized that this must be a spicy tea! I’ve tried a few teas that were intended to be spicy, but I think this is the first one that I’ve actually noticed having an effect. The tea flavor itself was tart fruitiness. I think the real draw for this one is definitely the spice!
Flavors: Spicy, Tart
Back up in Manchester and packing up a ton of stuff to move down in anticipation of having proper new digs in 2 weeks. Moving is the most stressful thing ever.
BUT. Today is the 40th anniversary of Tom Baker first gracing our television screens as Doctor Who, and some friends of mine and I have some things to say about it (and I painted a thing):
Oh yeah, and this tea! Okay, so this wasn’t my absolute favourite the last time I tried it. But you know something? It definitely improves when you cold-brew it overnight in the fridge instead of serving hot. Yes, definitely. It’s meant to be refreshing and sweet-tart, with citrus and jammy sweet. This is good.
Okay, so I think I’ve managed to sort out some of this work nonsense and we’ve reached a point where I can keep going without bursting into tears at the end of every shift. I’m not good at having to fight, so glad management is on my side here. It’s a massive relief. So much so, I think I might take Gentleman to Levenshulme market and then bake a cherry clafoutis on the weekend. I loooooooooove cherry clafoutis. If I could only eat one pudding for the rest of my life, it would be cherry clafoutis, hands down.
But I digress. I’ve taken to chucking a spoonful of this into a bottle of water and leaving it to steep overnight, then sipping happily away all day long. It’s just refreshingly watermelon good, not too sweet, and altogether just right. I’m really glad it exists.