Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tea Box Express: June Box, A Tea Subscription Review

Today's review starts with a bit of a story, I am, as many of you probably know, rather Southern. I spent the first 15 years of my life there and my mother's side of the family is Southern, this means that we drank A LOT of iced tea. I mean a lot, even in winter (combine that with the copious amount of tea I drank growing up thanks to the British side of my heritage...well...it is no surprise I turned out the way I did really.) So when Tea Box Express asked me to look at their June box, and I saw the theme was a bit on the Southern side, I got super excited!

For $25.50 a month, you get a box full of tea themed goodies and of course, tea. This month included tea from Alabama based company Piper & Leaf, their Sassyfras Strawberry Green and Front Porch Special. I was at first worried for my teas, someone somewhere in the process of this package making its way to me, had spilled something all over the box. It was immensely soggy, even the adorable burlap bags the tea came in were wet...and worst of all, it reeked. Pretty sure it was a bottle of perfume or incredibly pungent fruit juice. I had to quickly dismantle the box and get the goodies out before I sent the smelly box for the farthest reaches of the recycling bin. Luckily everything survived ok, so yay for good internal packaging! The burlap sacks will be fine after a bit of a wash too, yay!

The goodies included in the box were both functional and delicious. From The Good Batch, Brown Butter Salty Cookies, a pair of sweet and salty shortbread cookies that disappeared really quite quickly. Turns out I was craving cookies, and I loved the salty tinge, took the edge off the sweetness meaning it was very easy to devour the cookies.

The other thing included was the neatest ice tray ever. Silicone Hex Ice Cube Mold, yes, the ice cubes are not cubes but hexagonal prisms! I like the color, I like that it is silicone (so much easier to crack an ice tray if it is not rigid plastic) and it is something I will use. I currently kinda hated my ice tray, I want smaller ice cubes for my brewing of Japanese greens, or sometimes I just want a tiny ice to eat on a hot day. This thing is going to get a lot of use.

But what about the teas you are probably wondering? It is not a surprise that at this point in my tea drinking life I mostly drink blended and flavored teas as cold steep, it has just become my favorite way of consuming them, mostly because if I am drinking a tea hot I want to be gongfu-ing it and you can't do that very often with flavored teas.

So into the cold steeping they went as I waited patiently (ok not really) for them to steep enough. I even popped a few hexagonal prism cubes into the cup I poured the tea into for decoration! The first one up is the oh so evocative Front Porch Special, which is basically an Earl Grey with spearmint and jasmine...ah nothing quite beats a fresh glass of iced tea with mint on a hot day, it is so nostalgic for me. This makes a mean iced tea, just the right amount of briskness and bergamot with the cooling sweetness of mint and jasmine. Luckily the bergamot and jasmine are both fairly light, so I don't have to worry about being overwhelmed by two flavors I am only lukewarm on. I tried to foist this off on Ben to try, but he is not a drinker of cold tea, what with being from the north (like really north.)

The next one had me whooping with joy, it is a tea with ACTUAL SASSAFRAS in it!! I love the sassy, in fact it is what makes Red Jade one of my favorite teas, I just love it...having a backyard with the little trees in it was a big reason why, plus it just tastes really good. It smells really good too, this tea is super heavy on the strawberry, I can barely make out the sassy at all, but it is there lightly.

So this tea brewed pink, which was fun, thank you beets! The taste is pretty good, a little bit tart strawberry, but mostly sweet strawberry and refreshing green with a sassafras finish. My only complaint is that the sassafras is not stronger, but I am pretty sure most people who drink it are fine with the levels, I just really, really like sassafras. I have a sneaking suspicion that this tea will be a cold-steep staple for outings on hot days.

Overall, I give this box a serious thumbs up. If I was more financially able I would subscribe to it, I am a sucker for themed boxes and fun snacks and trinkets, though I admit most the boxes would probably have me giving the tea away to friends and family who prefer flavored tea, since I rarely drink it, but you know I would eat the snacks the minute the box arrived. If this peaks your interest and you want in on this subscription, Tea Box Express was awesome enough to offer my readers a coupon, use TEAHAPPY20 for 20% the first box with a monthly subscription.

This tea box was sent by the company for a review.

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