I am resurrecting my Subscription Box Saturday for this special collaboration with Teawrks (part 2). I had previously worked with them as one of my first posts in this series (Original Post linked Here), and was contacted by them to review their most updated version of their Tea Discovery Subscription Box. This subscription box allows you to personalize and create a box based on your preferences. By filling out an initial profile, you are able to completely customize your box based on your likes and dislikes. Questions include tea drinking frequency, how you brew your tea, whether or not you like caffeinated teas, loose leaf or bagged, flavored or unflavored, different teas and flavors you are interested in trying, and then any food allergies or dietary restrictions that you have. By this data, they make a personalized tea box and every month you get to discover new samples. Here are my thoughts:
What is the Pricing Structure Like?
Their Personalized Tea Discovery box currently is $27 per month. This is a slight increase from the last time I reviewed their teas, but the teas do come in slightly larger quantities than previously. You can get 20% off your first box with the code “BESTEA20” (I do not get anything from this code). They expanded quite a bit on their subscription boxes, and now offer green tea, black tea, herbal wellness, variety, and the personalized discovery box.
How is the Packaging?
The packaging is quite similar in make-up from before, coming in a lovely branded box that the teas nicely fill up. The individual tea pouches seemed to be of nice quality and I did not notice any scents lingering outside of the packaging. The bags look to be of a plant based starch with a plastic looking opening in the front.
What Sourcing Information is Available?
Some of the teas have good sourcing information with the province and country of origin, as well as being organic. Others are just marked as organic, but I do like that any sourcing information they have is being passed on to the consumer.
Any Additional Notes:
One comment I previously made, was that I wished they sold the teas individually from the box, so you could pick up your favorites if you enjoyed a tea from the subscription box. They now have that section, and I was so happy to see it. I also mentioned previously that the tea pouches fit rather loosely in the bag and either the individual packages should change or the box. They are now going with a larger pouch than before for the four teas.
How was the Tea?
Orange Rooibos: The scent of this tea is absolutely intoxicating. The sweet orange aroma smelled exactly like the rind of the orange. The appearance of the brewed tea was an orange color with some golden tones, but as it sat a bit more, it became more reddish with orange tones. The aroma of the brewed tea had some of the lovely distinct rooibos notes peak through the citrus. I will let you in on a little secret. I LOVE orange rooibos teas (especially blood orange teas). This tea was absolutely delightful. The rooibos and citrus elements perfectly balanced each other out and there were citrus notes that reminded me quite a bit of bergamot. I really liked that the citrus elements did not override the rest of the tea, as I was a bit nervous when I saw that Essense was an ingredient list. For the three ingredients, this tea provided a bit more depth than I was expecting, and it was incredibly calming to drink. This tea is especially lovely on my caffeine-free days that I try and do every two weeks, and I normally supplement the tea with rooibos.
Ingredients: Organic Red Rooibos, Organic Orange Peel, Essense
Keemun Mao Feng: I enjoyed getting to know this tea more. My overall opinion of it was that it was a nice, light, and creamy tea with some subtle malty notes. As I washed out my teapot and warmed it, I quickly awakened my tea leaves with some gentle shakes. As I smelled the tea, I noticed some chocolate berry-like notes, perhaps close to a chocolate-covered cherry. After my first brew, I noticed some more rich cocoa notes that crept in as well. The color of the tea was a nice clear, reddish-brown. The taste was much more delicate than I was expecting with a nice silky feeling. As I sipped, I noticed a lingering creamy finish on my tongue with just a little bit of sweet notes and maltiness joining in. It also seemed to bring out some woody, almost leathery notes, but that was quite brief. After a few infusions, I noticed a slightly roasted and minerally feeling occur in my mouth with each sip.
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea
Oolong Qilan: There is just something about brewing Oolong tea and seeing the leaves take their full journey on. The leaves were dark and twisted, looking to be slightly roasted. I brewed this tea a couple of different ways, but my favorite being pictured in a flip infuser glass. This allowed me to experience the tea in a slightly different way. The aroma showed me some roasted notes with slightly creamy elements. I could almost envision the roasting process as I raised the glass to my lips, as it was extremely aromatic. The brewed tea had a nice clear golden coloring to it. This all led up to the tasting experience where I was happy with the lovely, crisp taste and juicy feeling the tea brought to my mouth. The oolong tasted strongly of roasted notes and I got some weird sensory association with it (don’t hate me). While sipping on this tea, I was reminded of this toasted corn that normally goes on a Southery style salad. I have no idea where it came from, but the more I thought about it, the more realistic the association became. After sipping on it for a bit, I did also notice a sweet feeling accumulate on the roof of my mouth, but it was not super present while actively sipping on the tea.
Ingredients: Organic Oolong Tea
Sourcing: Fujian Province, China
Pu-erh: I am the most torn on this pu’erh. During certain times in my tasting, I could have sworn that there was a slight fish-like aroma that came through (first in the brewed tea then when I smelled the leaves). But as quickly as it came, it was gone. Supposedly, pu’erh can get a funky, fish-like aroma when the wrong microorganisms are introduced into the tea when in the fermentation process. I am not quite sure if that is what happened here, but it did seem a bit off on some tips, and fine the next. With the aroma, I noticed some earthy normal tones with a hint of cocoa notes. I had a couple of whiffs of that fish-like aroma, but they were brief. The taste was lighter and quite earth as well, very warming with each sip. I noticed some nutty/chocolate notes sneak in, which made it quite pleasant to drink. I did experience a slight funk after a while. I am not sure if this pu’erh is my favorite as there seems to be something a bit off. But it was fun to try nonetheless. It also seemed that this pu’erh was not very dynamic when steeping with my gaiwan. The leaves were small and twisted, with a mix of dark and light brown tones. They looked a bit chopped up and slightly twiggy.
Ingredients: Organic Pu-erh Tea
Sourcing: Yunnan Province, China
What do you think? Do you enjoy when you can personalize tea subscription boxes or would you rather be totally surprised? I really enjoyed getting to work with this company again, and seeing what they have changed over the last year. It is so much fun for me to see how a company has grown, and I love being part of their story for a little bit. Happy Brewing!