In many ways, this Subscription Box Saturday is a redemption type of review. I have reviewed and tried Dollar Tea Club before. My first experience was positive, but I found that this tea club seemed a bit inconsistent in quality and it was fifty/fifty on whether I would like the tea or not. I have a referral code associated with my account that I keep for others to be able to try this club, but I never knew what to do with the referral store credit that I received. Enter in this series. This was the perfect reason to try one of the more expensive tea subscription packages for this company to further see if I can make a final decision on my thoughts for this company. This time, I bought the Sommelier (One Cup a Day) package. Here are my thoughts:
What do you get?
For the Sommelier (One Cup a Day) option, I received two full pouches of tea as well as the explorer pack which consists of three small sample teas. If this was my first purchase, I would also recieve some paper tea filters as well as a tea infuser.
What is the Price?
The price of this plan is $17 per month. The price changes for the Sommelier plan based on how much you drink tea: a couple cups a week ($9), one cup a day ($17), or three cups daily ($25). It should also be noted that shipping is a flat $4.50 for both US and Canada. So, honestly, I would be paying around $21.50 per month for my personal subscription. I am putting my referral code here, “REFYR89J3QRAC“. Feel free to use it for $1 off (disclaimer: it gives me $1 of store credit).
How is the Packaging?
The shipping packaging was quite flat and used minimal packaging which I was happy to see. It was also nicely branded. I like it when subscription boxes are branded as it adds to the experience. For the two large tea pouches, the teas came in resealable pouches which were quite nice. I did not notice much aroma coming out of the pouch either. The issue I found is with the small sample packaging. I really struck out with most of the sample teas, just tasting off (see below for my full thoughts), so I wonder if the simple packaging is not as good for retaining tea flavor and freshness. The larger bags tasted fresh and retained quite a bit of flavor in the teas, so I think there may be an issue with the packaging.
How was the Tea?
Long Island Strawberry: This tea had a nice fruity aroma around this tea. It was quite a strong aroma and reminded me mostly of a synthetic strawberry flavor. The taste was quite lovely, with the fruity taste not overtaking the entire taste but complimenting the green tea. There was a slight astringent feeling in my mouth, a slight drying aspect that distracted me a bit from enjoying this tea fully. I could slightly sense a papaya flavor but not exactly strawberry. I was quite excited that the natural flavors were noted as organic compliant, which was a detail lacking when I last tried this companies tea. Out of all of the teas, this was one of my favorite of the subscription box. This was one of the full-size teas, so I was relieved that I liked
Ingredients: Green Tea, Papaya, Strawberry Pieces, Natural Flavors (organic compliant)
Spirit Chai: The first thing I noticed was that the tea leaves have separated quite a bit in the bag so I went in to mix it up. Learn from me, use a spoon do not try and shake it! A large spice cloud cam out of the bag making me sneeze quite a few times when making the tea. The aroma was lovely though, I just kept sneezing through it. The tea brewed to a nice orangey color. I decided to forgo the almond milk and honey that I normally add to chai so I can fully experience it on its own. The aroma of the brewed tea was also quite nice, a mostly spicy-sweet smell. The taste was also quite lovely being a bit of a milder chai, but with hints of lemon (thanks to the addition of lemongrass) and normal chai spices. I think I will next try it on the stove and make it as I do occasionally on there, but for now, this will have to do.
Ingredients: Black Tea, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamon, Black and White Pepper, Clove, Nutmeg, Lemongrass Leaves
Hangover Helper – Explorer Pack: I could only try out this tea for a few sips due to tomato being an ingredient in this tea; I really try to limit my interactions with tomatoes due to the acidity and it triggering an autoimmune response in me. With that being said, this was quite a spicy smelling tea. Much like the Spirit Chai, I sneezed quite a few times when opening up the tea pouch and there seemed to be a spicy dust plume from the bag when opening. The dry leaves smelled a bit more attractive to my senses than the brewed version. I took a couple of sips (because you cannot put such weird ingredients in and then not report on how it tastes) and was assaulted with quite spicy notes in the tea. I do not know if this would help a hangover but might make it worse with its bold flavor (I have read that rooibos tea works really well for hangovers and helps you hydrate). The taste eventually dulled a bit into a spicy bite with a hint of sweetness. I could definitely taste the tomato. It honestly smells a lot weirder than it tastes, I probably would have no issue drinking this if it did not have the tomato in it. I would be slightly worried that they put this in the explorer pack. What if someone underage was to recieve this tea? It does not quite seem to be age-inclusive or friendly to all who might recieve this tea subscription.
Ingredients: Tomato, Ginger, Beet Pieces, Hibiscus, Cinnamon, Clove, Cardamom, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Nutmeg, Coriander
Radical Raspberry – Explorer Pack: I cold-brewed this tea. Honestly, I am not very good at cold brewing. I always doubt how many leaves I need to use, so in this case, I ended up using the entire sample pack in the bottle which was…too much. The resulting brew was quite astringent and bitter. I did not taste any fruitiness really which was surprising. I took this tea hiking with me (which is why I photographed it in the glass bottle that I brewed it in), and the taste did improve as the ice melted into the tea. But with that said, I was a bit disappointed in the absence of raspberry tastes. It did seem like there was a little bit more than green tea in the blend, but I was unable to determine what that was.
Ingredients: Green Tea, Raspberry Pieces, Natural Flavors (Organic Compliant)
Niagara Icewine – Explorer Pack: For some reason my little pack has an ingredient crossed off, it was raisin pieces (sunflower oil and sulphites). I am unsure why there is a pen mark on my packaging, but it made me laugh. The aroma of this tea is quite fruity and pleasant, with berry notes being the dominant aroma. It brewed a nice orange amber color, which was not very surprising considering this tea is black tea based. However, somewhere something went wrong with this tea. I brewed it at my normal almost boiling water at 3 minutes in a french press (so verging on grandpa style). The taste was almost completely bitter and astringent, almost as if I kept it brewing for 6 or 8 minutes. Any berry notes were hidden and I was extremely disappointed with the extreme drying feeling that was in my mouth. Dollar Tea Club really can be a hit or miss, but this particular tea was a miss. With this tea, I did something I have not done in a very, very long time. I added honey to try and cut down some of the bitterness. I am unsure how much that really helped, as it still was quite drying and strong tasting.
Ingredients: Black Tea, White Tea, Natural Flavors (Organic Compliant), Ontario Icewine
Would I Purchase from this Company Again?
The only reason why I gave this tea company another chance was due to my referral credits (being fully transparent with you all) and this new Subscription Box Saturday series. Honestly, I was not overly impressed with their blends that I have to continue buying their teas. They do not disclose sourcing information (that I could see). The one thing they do have going for them is that they are the cheapest subscription box currently on the market, and they allow you to try three different tea samples for just $1 a month. With that said, I did not want to waste the remaining credit that I had, so my mom and I actually picked out 12 different teas to sample just for fun. So technically, yes, I bought from them again but I will just continue doing that until any referral credit runs out. One major thing I want to point out is that I want you to form your own opinion about this company, just because I have had a negative experience that does not mean that you will. Tea is subjective to the taster, and what I may not like, others may enjoy, and vise versa.
Should I have given Dollar Tea Club a redemption review? Have you tried any of the subscription options from this club? Did you think I was too harsh? Let me know in the comments! Happy Brewing!