Recently I received an email from Birds Eye Tea company asking if I'd be willing to review some of their products on my blog. I get similar emails fairly often but in the past I have always declined. Not this time though. I was intrigued, which was strange because they are an herbal tea company and my focus has always been on traditional tea made from the tea plant. That being said, I am interested in herbal beverages. Beyond the culinary realm, I really don't know much about plants and their many uses but I have been on a recent quest to learn more so Bird Eye's solicitation came at a good time for me.
After reading the email, I did some online research to see if I really wanted to review this company's blends. The first three things that attracted me to Birds Eye Tea were their logo, website and blog. The artwork has a smart, natural, d.i.y. feeling that appeals to me and their little bird logo makes me smile. From the blog, I learned that the proprietress, Sarah Farr, is a local Seattle herbalist who is extremely knowledgeable about plants. She uses both local ingredients (sometimes even forages for wild herbs herself) as well as more exotic ingredients such as Chinese herbs, real tea, and chocolate. I also like Birds Eye's business model which currently utilizes farmers markets, tasting events, etsy and a monthly subscription service to generate sales. Businesses such as this are almost always true labors-of-love and deserving of growth. For these reasons I agreed to review some of their blends.
One week later a box of goodness arrived at my house.
The box contained five blends and a tiny jar of DELICIOUS chai spiced honey. I've now tried all of the blends and offer the following humble reviews:
Floral Focus (Lightly oxidized Taiwanese oolong + Codonopsis + Osmanthus flowers)
The oolong tea base is actually high quality stuff. It's almost a shame to see it blended with the other ingredients. Fortunately its buttery, floral, refreshing goodness really shines through. The codonopsis adds a little earthiness to the flavor. I like!
Honeybush Spice (Honeybush + Cinnamon + Star Anis + Ginger + Cardamom + Orange zest + Licorice)
This blend is great. It was fine on its own but I'd probably only ever drink it with some soymilk and a touch of sweetener on a cold evening.
Slumbering Slope (Chamomile + Skullcap + Catnip + Spearmint + Rose + Licorice)
Sweet with fruity and grassy notes. Hippy bedtime tea. I like it.
Awake (Yerba Mate + Tulsi + Bacopa + Spearmint + Currant)
Earthy and minty with a taste that reminded me somewhat of a chewable multi-vitamin. Not bad.
Xocolatl (Raw Cacao + Rose Petal + Chamomile + Spearmint + Ginger + Cinnamon + Star Anise + Chipotle powder + Roasted Cacao Nibs)
Yum! I liked this both straight and with soymilk and sweetener. The heat and spice from the ginger and chipotle are just right. Of the five, I see myself finishing this sample the fastest.
If you're into drinking herbal beverages or looking for a gift for a friend or family member who is, I would definitely recommend checking out Bird's Eye Tea.