There is nothing like a good cup of tea. It can soothe your worries, warm you up, or heal you if you’re feeling sick. Coffee is great for waking up or working all night long, but tea begs you to relax and renew. Think of it like yoga in a mug. Plus, with a bajillion varieties of tea out there, there’s always some variety of tea you’ll enjoy. From green tea to chamomile, vanilla to licorice, the sky is the limit with tea!
That being said, sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming. Especially when it means to try out new varieties you end up whole packages, when really what you want to do is sample and try out new flavours. I often stay within a “tea comfort zone” because I don’t want to get a tea that I don’t like and be stuck with a whole pack of it. Tea shops are great places to try out new teas, but when I recently heard about a tea subscription service, I was immediately interested. I realized later that I have a close friend who had subscribed to this service and loved it, so I was excited when I had a chance to try out a tea box from Tea Sparrow.
Tea Sparrow is a service that focuses on loose leaf teas and highlights four varieties every month (equal to 35-40 cups of tea!). Each tea comes in a package labeled with the name and type of tea it is, a description of the flavours and benefits, whether it is caffeinated or herbal, ingredients, and steeping instructions. Also, perhaps the most important part of the label is that each package has a website address to where you can buy more of that variety if it is a type of tea you fall in love with. This is such a fantastic gift idea, especially with the holidays just around the corner. If you know a tea lover, or maybe you want to buy a waste-free gift, this is a great option. Plus, the subscription ranges from $20-$25 per month (with free shipping in Canada and the USA) for the four premium tea varieties, so it really is a great deal.
In the subscription box I tried out, I was able to enjoy:
- Earth: a blend of organic rooibos, organic lavender, organic sage, organic purple carrot, and bergamot.
- Green Tea Tropical: green tea island style, with added natural tropical flavors, natural flavors, flower petals, and pineapple bits.
- Nutty Almond Cream: apple pieces, crushed almonds, cinnamon pieces and beetroot pieces make this tea divinely comforting!
- African Chai: this chai combines Kenyan black tea, Jamaican pepper, cloves, fennel, cinnamon, licorice, safflower, rose petals, ginger, and black pepper, creating a one-of-a-kind licorice flavoured tea.
While all the teas tasted delicious, my favourite experience was by far the Nutty Almond Cream tea. I could sit and smell this tea all day. This tea smells like all things Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am absolutely in love with this tea. And when you love something, you need to make sure you enjoy it all the time, right? Especially if it means combining it with dessert…
Et voila! Some of my favourite shortbread cookies infused with Nutty Almond Cream tea! I changed my usual shortbread recipe up quite a bit and ended up with something that I think complements the flavour of the tea perfectly. This is a super easy recipe to make, and can definitely be frozen before or after baking (if frozen after baking, do not toss in icing sugar). Another great thing about Tea Sparrow is that not all the teas they send you are caffeinated, so I added Nutty Almond Cream tea into my shortbread knowing that it was totally herbal.
Little Bear calls these the snow cookies and can’t get enough. I call them divine. And I may be leaving a trail of icing sugar everywhere I go nowadays…
Since Tea Sparrow changes their offerings every month, you won’t be able to subscribe and receive Nutty Almond Cream tea, but if you want to try this variety, just head to tiestatea.com!
Nutty Almond Shortbread
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup oats, ground to a flour
1 ½ tablespoons Nutty Almond Cream tea, ground
pinch of salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Nutty Almond Cream tea, ground
- Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix.
- In another bowl, combine all-purpose flour, ground oats, Nutty Almond Cream tea, and salt.
- Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture until combined.
- Scoop or roll the mixture into small (1-inch) balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.
- While the cookies are baking, combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon Nutty Almond Cream tea that has been ground well. Put mixture in a shallow dish or bowl.
- When cookies are done, remove and let cool until they are cool enough to handle. Toss the cookies in the icing sugar mixture. (Reserve any leftover icing sugar. If you are storing to eat later, you can re-toss the cookies before they are being served.)
A sample subscription box was gifted from Tea Sparrow for the purpose of this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.