One of the best things about being back in the blogging mindset is that I get to write about tea again, which is quite honestly one of my favourite things. Bluebird’s output of autumn teas is usually strong and 2016 is no different (which is a relief in a year when everything else seems to have been a bit… hit and miss!)
There are four new flavours: Choco Pops, Lapsang Chai, Bananas and Custard and a rooibos Earl Grey. Happily-excitingly!- the annual favourite Spiced Pumpkin Pie makes a return too. I was sent all of them except Bananas and Custard.
I can tell you that this blend of Ceylon and genmaicha (Japanese toasted rice) with chocolate chips/sprinkles/powder does indeed taste like the cereal so beloved of hyperactive kids everywhere; albeit a slightly more grown up version. The genmaicha adds a nuttiness that compliments the chocolate and the light tea lifts the overall flavour so it’s actually a bit sophisticated. Despite the inclusion of sencha green tea, you can add milk- and I urge you to try it. This tea was especially nice one evening when I was writing and needed something sweet, but not so much it made my teeth ache. Lovely stuff. (I’d actually be tempted to make this up like a hot chocolate with just milk and no water. Maybe add a couple of mini marshmallows to really make it fun.)
Darlings, when it comes to lapsang souchong, I am not the droid you’re looking for. I find that it’s a tea that splits people- either they REALLY LOVE IT or, like me, they have no desire ever to drink it again after the first taste. However, I do love a good chai- and I know that this tea is special to Bluebird, as head mixologist Krisi developed the flavour for the T2 Chai Championships in Sydney- so I gave it a go. And… it’s not converted me, but I can appreciate it. The smokiness of the lapsang works beautifully with spices and it tastes how I imagine Bonfire Night would, if you could make it into a drink (lapsang=bonfire, spices=fireworks). I made it with local honey and lots of milk and you might well be tempted to serve this on November 5th. I do know know my lapsang-loving friends will love it.
Rooibos Earl Grey
Earl Grey is the tea I drink the most. I’ve tried so many varieties over the years that it became the way I learnt about teas and how ingredients in them work together. When I was pregnant, I was desperate for a decent decaff EG, but none were really up to much. And lo, enter the rooibos Earl Grey! Some are more successful than others, but I would say that the ratio here is right: the sweetness of the rooibos compliments a strong (but not overpowering) bergamot flavouring. Lovely stuff.
Set your alarms for September 26th for the return of my favourite Bluebird Tea ever: Spiced Pumpkin Pie! I am eking out my current supply til then and then I’ll be ordering a boatload- it’s sweet, but not too sweet and is the perfect bridge to Bluebird’s always excellent Christmas offerings. (NB: you can currently buy the tea in a latte kit if you can’t wait that long.)
Special mention goes to:
Bluebird is branching out! I’ve been lucky to try one of their candles (Earl Grey Creme, obviously) and their Gingersnap Green Tea soap. Both have been developed with Lu Aromatherapy, a local Brighton business committed to creating ethical products. I can confirm that both smell heavenly and the soap is gentle even on my fussy skin.
Finally, Krisi has a book coming out! The World Atlas of Tea looks super interesting and will definitely be on my ‘to-buy’ list once I get paid.