Hello friends and welcome back to Subscription Box
Saturday Sunday. My internet took a hit on Friday, and we had to replace my entire network which is why this is making a special debut on Sunday. I saw English Tea Stores on my deep dive search for tea subscription boxes to try out. They label themselves as an online store that sells imported British tea & foods. Interestingly enough, I did not know that when I bought this tea subscription so I was lost on their website when I went to try and find the ingredient lists. Here is what I thought of their subscription box:
What was the Price?
I bought the Tea of the Month Subscription for $13.95 per month with free shipping. At the time of purchasing, I did not really realize that English Tea Store sold both of their own tea and other brands, so I was really unsure what I would receive. In my box, I got two full size tea bags and one smaller sample.
How was the Packaging?
The teas came in tea pouches which came in a large slightly branded box. One thing I really wish this company did was put a little note or something explaining the company or the teas, there was only my purchasing slip which made me feel as if I bought this box from Amazon instead of a tea company. Also the box was significantly larger than what was needed for the tea pouches, so if that was reduced I would have been a bit happier. The tea pouches were mostly good quality, with only a hint of aroma coming out of the top zipper.
What Sourcing Information was Available?
All three of the teas are labeled as sourced from China, with this information available on the website only. I wish there was a bit more transparency with the teas, only because this seems to be a large production and I honestly am doubting the accuracy of the sourcing information (do not know why, but an odd feeling).
And Finally, How was the Tea?
Blueberry Green: The aroma reminds me of a fresh-out-of-the-oven blueberry pie. The taste was pretty delicate, with the subtle blueberry taste lingering in my mouth, and the green tea was barely noticeable. The character of the tea was quite smooth with little astringency, I noticed that there was a slight either dryness or tartness on my tongue that lingered for a few seconds as well. This probably would be a good cold-brew tea, but I am not very good at attempting those. I do not mind this tea at all, but I find myself reaching for green tea blends less and less. I will most likely be giving this tea to a friend or my fiance to enjoy. They did not explicitly have a list of tea ingredients, but based on their descriptions, they gave me these two but seem to not include whatever blue/purple flower is in there.
Ingredients: green Pekoe Gunpowder Tea, Blueberry Natural Flavoring
Sunshine Lemon Rooibos: Like the other teas, this one had a very strong aroma when opening the tea pouch. It also reminded me a bit of perfume. As it brewed, the aroma dialed back a bit and became more natural. The overall taste of the tea was quite lemony with hints of rooibos. I liked it, but it overall seemed like it missed something in the entire tea, lacking a bottom of the taste (if that makes sense). I could not tell you what, but it is a feeling I often get with certain natural flavors in tea. Possibly I was wishing that there was more to taste than just the rooibos and the lemon. My mom did not mind this tea either, as she normally is 50/50 on rooibos blends. The lemon taste overtook the rooibos notes in the tea, making it a lot easier for her and me to drink.
Ingredients: Rooibos, Calendula petals, Lemongrass leaves, and Natural flavors
Sample – Peach Black: I was a bit nervous about this one. When I had first tried it, the taste was so bitter that I could not drink the tea after brewing it for only 3 minutes. So, of course, I tried again at a slightly lesser temperature with 2 minute steeping time. The aroma is incredibly strong, so much that it almost smells perfume-like. I was a bit confused by the leaves, or should I say leaf dust. I had a lot of difficulty tracking down which tea this was on the website, but I finally determined that it was a black tea based tea. I still was a bit confused about the leaf. The tea itself was a bit better than the first time and it was drinkable, but it still had a bit of astringency and bitterness. I think eventually I might try cold-brewing this tea and seeing if that is a good way to cut through those harsh flavors, but I will have to wait a while to restore trust in the tea.
Ingredients: Black tea, Mango and Peach pieces, Calendula and Sunflower petals, Blackberry leaves, and Natural flavors
Would I Buy from this Company Again?
Honestly, no. The teas were a little too hit and miss for me, and I feel like I have other tea companies that I have tried and bought from that deliver teas that I enjoy more. I was extremely excited to try this brand, mostly because of the size of tea pouches that come at a low monthly price. I also was a bit skeptical of the other products that they sold on their site. Just too many red flags for me.
So let’s be honest here. Was I too harsh? Maybe. But with having a company, there is always a risk of people finding issues with your products. I personally love when tea companies approach me to see what consumers value in their tea and information available. I would love to see English Tea Stores be a little bit more cognisant of the information they want people to know and how the quality of their products on the website could affect their customer’s journey. Happy Brewing!