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Recent Tasting Notes
My mind is still mostly on my dad in the hospital (he is doing better) but I thought I’d do a quick note for this tea as I only have one teabag. This is a free teabag that Bluebird sent with Jelly + Ice Cream. I never tried it before so I was excited! I never felt the need to try this though, because Hot Mama Jama sounds similar but better with fruit and spice. But this is no Hot Mama Jama. They are both delicious and unique enough. This one is major mint and lemon all on a lovely green tea base. So FULL of flavor. Yum. It’s very well balanced and definitely thirst quenching on a hot day. I like this tea and I LOVE Bluebird!
I felt like something light and fruity this morning, so this one finally got its turn! In practice, it’s not quite what I expected it to be. I understand immediately where the “fruit salad” vibe comes in, although it’s not quite candy-like enough to pull off a resemblance to the chewy sweet. It’s mixed fruit for sure – strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, orange, and papaya – but to me it tastes more like an actual fruit salad than a sweet. That’s not a problem, but it’s not exactly how it’s billed. It needs more sweetness to be an effective “candy” replica, and it’s not often I say that about Bluebird teas.
One of the big positives here is that, even though this blend contains quite a quantity of hibiscus and rosehip, it doesn’t lean sour or become over-tart. I gave this one a good 4 minutes in boiling water, and at the end of that it’s still only a pink-red which I always take as a good sign where fruit blends are concerned.
I’m drinking this one hot this morning, but I actually think it might work even better cold. I might try adding a tiny bit of sugar to my next cup, just to see if I can amplify the “candy” vibe a little more. On the whole, though, it’s pretty great.
Coffee, chocolate, and chai sounds an excellent combination to me. Even though it’s technically summer, it’s actually pretty chilly, dull, and rainy today. I wouldn’t usually choose a tea like this – particularly a chai, I guess – at this time of year, but today it jumped out at me from the small selection of Bluebird samples I brought to work. Warm, comforting…just the thing.
I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a good 4 minutes in boiling water, with a decent splash of milk. The dry mix contains a decent amount of coffee beans, and a few chocolate chips, so the main “mocha” credentials are covered. The chocolate chips leave a light oily scrim, as you might expect, but nothing too extreme. It’s a price I’m willing to pay for a soild chocolate flavour, anyway.
To taste, it’s almost as good as I hoped. The black tea base is perhaps a little on the light side, but that’s a complaint I have about Bluebird’s black teas in general – their blend base is primarily Ceylon, and I think for a chai like this I’d prefer Assam. Still, that’s a persona preference only, and it still tastes good. The coffee is more prevelant than I expected, so I think there’s probably some added flavouring. It’s hard to believe that a few whole coffee beans could achieve that in just a few minutes, but maybe it’s possible. I’m no expert on coffee! The chocolate is discernable, too, and pairs nicely with the coffee to create a distinctly “mocha” vibe – I’m very happy with how that turned out. There’s just a touch of vanilla, also, which, with the milk and chocolate, creates a deliciously dessert-like background. The spicing isn’t overpowering, and comes out mostly in the midsip – it’s a pleasant blend of ginger, cardamon, and cinnamon, and it works well with the other flavours. I can see myself really enjoying this one come autumn, but it’s equally perfect for a cold, miserable day like today. This might just have become one of my favourite Bluebird chai blends!
So Bluebird is awesome when I asked if they had any more of the Jelly + Ice Cream that is my favorite and they said they DID. So I was able to stock up on that (I was good and that was the only one I bought… I had just bought from them a little while ago) and they sent this one along as a sample!! It sounds like an interesting unique blend. Also, love the name. It’s nice to have an earthy cup once in a while and I’m pretty sure it DID help my focus a bit. The focusing yerba mate is the base. Then additional earthiness from the ginger, sarsparilla, and siberian ginseng (not sure what the ginkgo biloba should taste like.) I’m surprised the result isn’t spicier with the cinnamon AND chili but the main note is the sarsparilla and earthiness from most of the other ingredients. A nice balance of the ingredients overall. The second cup probably shouldn’t have been steeped at just boiled (a little tangy) but I didn’t ruin the tea too badly. Just ideally shouldn’t have been boiled. This tea wouldn’t really take any focus away from your studying though (just focus ON the studying) as I feel it needs some extra pizzazz in flavor for that. But it’s delicious as is.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
There are a good few Bluebird teas that remind me of Davids Tea blends, but this one is probably chief amongst them. It’s not a flavour thing, necessarily, but more of a chunky-blend-with-lots-going-on kind of thing. I think it’s slightly unfair on my part, but similarities to Davids Tea are not a bad thing in my book, so it’s really a disguised compliment.
The dry leaf is so pretty – easter in a bag, basically. There are large, chunky chocolate chips, cacao nibs, mini marshmallows, toasted rice, and a smattering of black tea. There are a few green leaves in there, too, and I think this is the base blend that combines Ceylon and Houjicha. It’s not my favourite of Bluebird’s base teas, but there isn’t a great deal of it here so I suspect I’ll be fine.
I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The marshmallows and chocolate chips melt fairly readily, although they give the finished cup a murky, oily appearance that’s not entirely attractive. I can forgive that, though, because it smells amazing – hot chocolate, anyone?
To taste, it’s also pretty good. It’s a chocolate rice crispie cake in a cup, basically. The initial flavour is a chocolate/marshmallow combination, and tastes as sweet and sugary as that sounds. That’s quickly followed by a light toastiness from the rice/genmaicha element, which helps to tone things down a bit and makes for a more rounded flavour. Really, though, this is an in-your-face sugar bomb, a brilliant dessert tea, and a good alternaitve to Easter Eggs if you’re trying to stay away from chocolate. Tasty!
I’ve had this one a while, though as I’ve been trying to drink up teas that are even older, it hasn’t been out of my cupboard until today. I love the idea of this one – I’ve not tried many bacon teas, but those I have had have been positive experiences. It something that sounds like it shouldn’t work, but somehow does. It’s an idea that’s super appealing to me as a breakfast tea, so that’s how I’m drinking it this morning. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
The initial sip is pancakes smothered in maple syrup. The maple is up first – sweet, rich – and then there’s a thick butteriness that’s very reminiscent of pancake batter. It’s like taking a bit of freshly-made pancakes that you’ve just added a lot of syrup to. Maybe too much syrup for some, but I think it’s pretty perfect.
The bacon is more muted than I expected, and seems more like a flavour that evolves as the result of the ingredients, rather than an additional “thing in itself”. It’s not like 52Teas bacon, for example, or like bacon teas that actually have those bacon crispies in them. I think, here, it’s the combination of the smoky lapsang souchong, the earthy pu’erh, and maybe even just suggestion brought to mind by the strong maple/pancake elements. It’s subtle, in any case.
There’s a hint of cinnamon in the aftertaste, and a touch of smoked chili, which add a little something extra to the overall effect. On the whole, this strikes me as a tea that’s been well blended and put together with care. The flavours work well together, and the overall effect lives up to the name. I’m really pleased with this one!
I received this teabag as a sample with my order months ago. It’s a Bluebird classic that I believe was available when Bluebird started. I was a fan of Bluebird since the beginning but somehow haven’t tried this one yet! Personally, I would have used more leaves than the teabag contains. I shouldn’t be too scared of the hibiscus though, as Bluebird usually includes a tame amount. They do here, even though the hibiscus is the main note anyway. That is possibly the luck of the teabag goodies and what was included. Even though the cup is a deep red, the flavor isn’t too tangy. However, I would love to see a strawberry lemon blend without hibiscus at all. I do taste hints of thirst quenching fruit (strawberry, apple, lemon) but I’d love more of those and less hibiscus. The second steep had a lot less flavor, but I don’t usually resteep hibiscus blends. Also drinking this out of my Bluebird mug I received FREE with the order this teabag came with. Free tea! Free mug!
Steep #1 // 1 teabag for a full mug// few minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5+ minute steep
Here’s Hoping TTB
Ooo, I like this one! Like the last Bluebird tea I sampled, this one has a beautiful dry leaf with cute little sprinkles…but this one brews up GLITTERY! A total gimmick, but still fun. And the flavor was surprisingly complex: vanilla, spice cake (I actually got a cake flavor, not just spices), and orange peel predominating.
Flavors: Cake, Orange, Spices, Vanilla
This is fitting for a day after Easter tea! It’s also tough to tell when to drink it because it is mostly rooibos with a little bit of lapsang souchong. So I’m not sure how much caffeine. On taste or color of the mug, I don’t think there is much. Only a few black tea leaves within a teaspoon and a half at most. I’m not British so I can’t say I’ve ever had a Hot Cross Bun. But this is a tasty tea. The rooibos is quality from Bluebird, as always. The first flavor to hit the buds is orange. Then slight cinnamon and maybe a bit of cranberry and apple. The rosehips and hibiscus aren’t overwhelming — I can barely tell they’re included (WIN). Possibly a hint of icing flavor here. The second steep is even fuller in flavor. I’m always surprised at the lovely balance that all of the Bluebird blends have. Every sip mixes things up a bit. So overall, a very tasty, mostly fruity, mostly rooibos blend. It’s very calming and warming. The only thing I would have liked is more of a pastry/bread flavor. I’m glad I bought some of this one. Bluebird is the ONE teashop I would suggest more Steepsterers try. I love them! Fun fact: a Steepster search for Hot Cross Bun only results in this tea! (Usually every search has a billion results.)
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoon for a full mug// 18 minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
Here’s Hoping TTB
This has to be one of the pretties tea blends I’ve ever seen. Curled green tea leaves, twists of coconut, big chunks of freeze-dried strawberries and adorable little star-shaped sprinkles all jumbled up together…it looks like a party! And the scent was sweet strawberry-vanilla deliciousness. Unfortunately, the flavor didn’t quite live up. I definitely get vanilla and a hint of strawberry, but it’s quickly overwhelmed by the hibiscus tartness that ruins so many promising fruity teas. This is better than many strawberry blends I’ve tried, but still not everything I was hoping for.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Strawberry, Tart, Vanilla
From my order during the boxing day sale. This has been a solid member of the Bluebird teas collection since I can remember and I thought I’d give it a try. I see banana bits and calendula petals in the blend. Overall, there is a light banana flavor which is great, a little creaminess. The ingredients lists vanilla but I don’t really notice that. I could swear that calendula petals create a creamy flavor though, or else calendula is always in these types of teas that have that additional flavor (pancake, etc). Otherwise, the Ceylon is a little boring to me as Ceylon usually is. But if there is some banana and a little creaminess here, I’m fine with that.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 min
I’ve always wanted to try this classic Bluebird blend and I finally was able to with a free teabag with my order. I’m a little glad that I didn’t buy any, as this Earl just isn’t MY Earl. Nothing here is what I would prefer with an Earl, but that is just my tastes. First, the bergamot isn’t my favorite… I’m a little picky with what particular bergamot flavor I like. There is NO creme flavor to speak of, which surprised me. Bluebird flavors are usually spot on. Even though there should be vanilla here, I don’t taste any of that either. The black tea brews up a nice dark red on the first steep, but the second steep the flavor is barely there even though I let it steep for seven minutes. I’m a little glad there is a Bluebird tea I DON’T like…. just wish it wasn’t this one as I’m still on the hunt for my favorite Earl.
Steep #1 // 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 7 minute steep
While I’m not actually the biggest fan of fresh bananas, I do love me a loaf of banana bread and have really enjoyed a handful of banana-flavored teas that I’ve tried: Butiki’s Hello Sweetie and A Quarter to Tea’s Banana Nut Pancakes stand out in my memory. This one is okay, but definitely not a standout. The base tea is very smooth and mild, playing a supporting role to the slightly artificial banana and vanilla flavoring. Nice, but forgettable.
Flavors: banana, Vanilla
I wasn’t expecting much from this one because rooibos, but it somehow became a family favourite. My sister and mother both asked where this tea came from and when I could pick up more, which never happens; usually everyone’s on my case about too much tea!
Cardamom and ginger are the main spices (they actually give off a bit of real fire!), with a slightly sweet appeal. Needless to say, it tastes good in milk.
So that’s a winner, Bluebird Tea Co!
Flavors: Cardamon, Cookie, Ginger
I needed something festive to help me feel the spirit of the season, and I needed something decaf to help keep my blood pressure and anxiety at a minimum throughout the holiday blitz. Throughout this winter season, I’ve been brewing Gingerbread Chai from Bluebird. This rooibos chai has many of the usual spice suspects: ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. The cinnamon is the most prominent flavor, and I found myself wanting more of a ginger bite to make for a spicier chai. This tea is smooth and warming, with the baked-good quality of cardamom and cinnamon. Most notably, this tea also has mallow blossoms mixed in, which make for a unique visual style and which bring a certain floral, marshmallow sweetness to the tea. Now that I’ve survived the holidays, and everything is settling down, I am getting towards the end of this bag of tea. All things considered, Gingerbread Chai has served me well and I’ll keep an eye out for it next season.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Ginger, Marshmallow, Nutty, Vanilla
When I ordered a bunch of holiday teas from Bluebird earlier this year, I included a note that I would love to try any of the banana teas that the company offered. Thanks, Bluebird! I received a sample of two banana teas with my order. First up is Monkey Chops.
Monkey Chops has a ceylon black tea base with added vanilla flavoring and banana pieces. I’m a fan of banana in all its forms, the actual fruit, flavored candy, spiced banana bread, creamy banana desserts, etc. and I have to say, this tea actually does taste like bananas-and-cream black tea! Even without milk, the brew has plenty of creamy notes and smooth banana flavor. I’d love to upgrade my sample to a full bag next time and try out all kinds of lattes and desserts with this tea. Banana isn’t a flavor you see in teas everyday, and with a name like Monkey Chops, how can you resist?
Flavors: banana, Cream, Vanilla
Tasting note written a couple nights ago: This was in a mini-box of gift teas that Bluebird was selling during their sale. I was happy I get to try it! It’s a different play on their Mulled Wine that I tried ONCE before and was one of my favorite herbal teas. (Mulled wine was also included in the gift box even though they barely had it for sale this year!) I always get worried when I see hibiscus listed in ingredients, but I should always remember that Bluebird always uses the perfect amount of hibiscus. Their blends never overdue the stuff, or maybe I always get the perfect little teaspoon. The flavor here is perfectly balanced between fruit and spice, with hints of tartness from the hibiscus. The brew is only light pink and NOT a murder of dark red hibiscus. I actually steeped for three minutes but on noticing that the brew was pink, went on for another three minutes because I knew the hibiscus wouldn’t be overdone. (I must use this rule for other hibiscus blends.) The main fruit note is apple, so mulled cider it is! I need to save this tea for when I know I’ll want to guzzle TWO steeps of no-caff at night. I’m happy with Bluebird’s herbals! This is about the highest rating I’ll give for any tea with hibiscus though, even if done well. Steepsterers really need to be drinking Bluebird’s teas more!
Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for full mug // couple minutes after boiling // 6 minute steep
See my full review on Sororitea Sisters, where I talk about Hostess Cakes and tea:
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Coconut, Cream, Marshmallow
A bitter tea with strong toasted notes and a mild coconut finish. The flavour is more akin to a heavy dark chocolate, than a light fluffy snowball. However, it’s still a fairly comforting brew, that becomes a lot smoother and creamier with the addition of milk. The coconut could be stronger, but overall it’s a decent brew that is an unusual Christmas tea addition, due to the inclusion of coconut.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Coconut, Creamy
A musty aroma combines with cinnamon to provide a mulled feel. Whereas the actual flavour is a little more fruity with clear notes of elderberry. I’m not a massive fan of elderberry, so wasn’t too keen on this blend. However, I would definitely recommend to elderberry lovers! This was obviously a cute attempt at a festive fruit tea.
Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Hibiscus
Inspired by a Nordic city that builds lifesize gingerbread every year, this blend is full of the caramelised flavours of rooibos and carries the warming tang of ginger. The other ingredients aren’t obvious, but if you leave to steep for over 4 minutes the ginger becomes stronger and increases the spicy peppery element.
A little disappointing, especially as Bluebird blends are generally really tasty! Wouldn’t recommend, but only because I have recently tried better Gingerbread Rooibos (Kettleshed)
Flavors: Caramel, Ginger, Rooibos
No notes for this one? It’s not exactly new, either – I ordered it in June last year, then I got scared, and it’s been sitting in my cupboard until now. I figured a medicinal style blend might be appropriate given that I’m feeling pretty icky just at the moment, so here goes.
This is Bluebird’s version of a Ba Bao Cha, and it contains jasmine green tea, ginger, goji berries, ginseng, extra jasmine, and gynostemma. I have no idea about that last. I do remember now why I’ve put this one off so long – jasmine, ginger, and goji berries are not among my favourite things. Quite the opposite, in fact. But tea is there to be tried, so I bought it anyway.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. There’s not a lot to say about this one, I don’t think. It’s not a strong flavour, but what flavour there is is mostly jasmine with a hint of smooth, grassy green tea. It has a “herbal” aspect to it, and it verges on medicinal. You can tell it’s a blend that’s trying to do some good! It’s easy enough to drink, fresh and clean tasting. I’d not hurry out to buy it again, but it’s certainly not obnoxious!
I was enchanted to try this tea due to its lovely snowflake sprinkles and the festive name. I was craving something warm and sweet and spicy to put me in the holiday spirit. This tea had all the winning pieces in the ingredients lists, cloves, orange peel, almond and vanilla, even spruce needles!
When I opened the bag of this loose leaf, I was a little surprised when I was hit with a strong waft of almond liqueur and amaretto. I suppose I was imagining more of a “coffee” Christmas cake for this flavor, with a focus on cinnamon and spice. Instead, this tea is definitely meant to emulate the alcohol-heavy fruitcakes of the season. When brewed, the liqueur flavor becomes more subdued, and notes of vanilla and marzipan come forward. The cloves, orange, and spruce are very minimal.
This blend has grown on me the more I’ve brewed it— now that I’m in the mindset and mood for a gently-spiced amaretto brew. It’s definitely unique, I haven’t had another tea quite like it! Christmas Cake is perfectly festive for this time of year in look and flavor, and it’s a limited edition blend, so it’s worth a try before the season changes.
Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Cake, Cinnamon, Marzipan