Greetings – it’s been a while since I last posted a review here – as it’s now coming up on my 3rd year as the Mad Tea Artist over at 52Teas, it’s been almost that same amount of time that I’ve not written a review! Many things kept me from writing here: a lack of available time and feeling a little unsure if I can be an unbiased reviewer since I am now – once again – a tea vendor. I’ve missed reviewing though and I’ve also missed receiving boxes of tea in my mailbox.
But recently, I caved and subscribed to Tea Box Express. I have received one box from them in the past – it was their debut subscription box and they sent both Jennifer (aka TeaEqualsBliss) and me a box to review here. (I wrote that review in two parts. To check out part 1, click here. To check out part 2, click here.) I loved that box and have considered subscribing many times, but for one reason or another, I never did. Finally, I caved and treated myself to a 3-month subscription.
So let’s get down to it! Five items were tucked into this month’s box, including a stamped teaspoon; a white chocolate dipped fortune cookie; a pouch of raspberry hibiscus flavored S’mores; a pouch or raw cookie dough and of course, it wouldn’t be a tea box without some tea, would it? This box contained one 2 ounce pouch of flavored green tea.
If I’m being totally honest, I wasn’t all that excited after opening the box. A fortune cookie? Hibiscus flavored S’mores? The two redeeming things (or so I thought) were the beautiful spoon (which I do love) and the cookie dough . . . which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. But more on that later.
My favorite item in the box was the first thing that I examined closer – the stamped teaspoon from Mountain Bird Banners. This is one of those things that I’ve wanted for a while but could never justify getting for myself, so what a joy it was for me to find it in this month’s box. The spoon came tucked inside a colorful burlap wrap – I was charmed by the presentation. This spoon is stamped with the words: “Tea Time is Me Time”. Beautiful!
At that point I decided it was time for a cuppa, so I decided to try the tea that was included in this month’s box: Walnut Cake from Polar Tea Co. It’s a blend of Chinese Sencha, pineapple, coconut, walnut, brittle pieces, almonds and natural flavors. I steeped roughly 3 grams of tea in 12 ounces of hot water (175°F is my go-to temperature for green teas) for 2 minutes. I taste walnut and pineapple and a sweetness from both the brittle and candied pineapple. I didn’t get much ‘cake’ flavor so I put my new spoon to use and added about half a teaspoon of raw sugar to the cup to see if it helped bring out more of the flavor. It did – I could taste a subtle cake-y background. Overall, a decent cup.
As for the sweet treats that were included in this month’s box, my favorite – hands down – was the Raspberry Hibiscus S’mores from Malvi. I was originally not all that excited about this confection because of the hibiscus, but I found that the contrast of tart and sweet tasted fantastic. I also didn’t have high hopes for the Fancy Fortune Cookie but I am happy to say that I it exceeded any expectations I may have had. The cookie was fresh and crisp and the white chocolate coating was not heavy – I was worried this might prove to be something a bit too sweet for my liking but the light shell of white chocolate was not at all cloying. The one thing that I thought I would like – the coconut chocolate chip raw cookie dough from Ello Raw – turned out to be the one thing that disappointed me. This isn’t really ‘raw cookie dough’ like what you might expect – it’s more like a soft, less dense granola bar made of cashews, coconut, oats, coconut oil, cacao nibs and raw honey. It tasted like cookie dough trying to be health food – and when I indulge in cookie dough, I’m not thinking health food! It was good – it just was not what I was expecting . . . or hoping for.
Overall, I’m much happier with this box of tea time goodies than I originally thought I’d be. Sure, the cookie dough didn’t turn out to be exactly what I expected, but I didn’t hate it either, so I don’t consider it a loss – but perhaps a draw? Everything else gets a thumbs up from me.
Here’s the scoop!
Where to Buy: Tea Box Express
Each box includes 4 to 6 curated gifts. The contents are a surprise but subscribers can look forward to a tea care package that contains:
- Whole leaf tea that is high quality, fresh, and flavorful.
- Items such as cookies, honey, specialty sugars, chocolate, and infusers.
- A new selection of tea and unique artisan treats every month.
- Your very own tea party in a box!
Hello – this is Anne – aka LiberTEAS – aka the Mad Tea Artist over at 52Teas! It’s been a while since I’ve written anything over here at SororiTea Sisters. I’m still an admin here but really, it’s more of an honorary title because truth be told, I do relatively little over here, administratively speaking (read: I do nothing) because I’m very busy with the aforementioned Mad Tea Artist thing.
Fortunately, I left control of the helm in the very capable hands of my co-founder Jennifer (aka TeaEqualsBliss) and Nichole (aka CuppaGeek) and they’re doing a really wonderful job – much better than I could have done given my time constraints. So I’d like to start off this article by offering a huge THANK YOU to these two ladies as well as to the many contributors we’ve had over the last eighteen months. I truly appreciate you coming in and keeping this blog going.
TeaEqualsBliss and I started this blog together back in 2010. We were both contributors at another blog and things were not really happening over there. The administrator had things going on in her own life and found less and less time to devote to the blog and let me tell you – running an active blog like this takes a lot of time and energy! That’s a lesson we both learned very quickly when we decided to pool our talents and start our own tea blog.
We were truly a team – I was writing at least two reviews per day and she was writing at least one while taking on the enormous task of reaching out to tea purveyors to obtain samples as well as get contributions for giveaways to generate some excitement around the SororiTea Sisters blog. I’m so grateful to her for all her hard work that she put forth in those early days and continues to put forth – she helped make my dream as a tea reviewer come true.
It may seem like an unusual dream to some but it’s something that kept me going back then. I had this intense passion for tea and I loved writing. The blog was the culmination of these two passions. My love and adoration of the beverage that is TEA is one of those things that got me out of bed in the morning (well, afternoon – I’m a night owl). It’s still what keeps me going, only in a different capacity. It’s still what keeps our beloved blog going – six years later – and it’s what brings others to us willing to write about their own love of tea. And – it’s what brings YOU here to read about our various tea adventures – your interest in tea is what keeps us going. It’s because of you – our readers – that we’ve enjoyed the success that we have over the years so you are just as responsible for us being here as we are – thank you.
We love sharing our joy of tea with others and this blog is a celebration of that – and I’m really proud of all the accomplishments that I’ve made with SororiTea Sisters.
Congratulations to all the SororiTea Sisters – past, present and future! – who have helped make this blog what it is today! Here’s to another amazing 5,000 reviews!
In honor of our 5000th review, we would like to do what we do best and giveaway some tea! We have a wonderful gift pack of teas from Blue Hour Tea and Virginia Tea Company and a lovely tea towel from Stylish Girlz included in this gift set. Perfect for those winter nights just ahead of us!
This isn’t a review but an advertisement (sorry guys!) No, we don’t usually advertise here on this site – this is an anomaly – but because one of the founding SororiTea Sisters is now the Mad Tea Artist behind 52Teas, she gets the privilege of deviating from the norm.
And 52Teas has a Holiday Pre-Sale going on right now on Kickstarter! This isn’t a typical “fundraising” Kickstarter campaign, instead, this is a chance for you to get some Christmas shopping done early while it helps us keep things just a little more organized by keeping our pre-sales separate from our day-to-day sales activity.
52Teas is offering 5 unique, limited edition teas for this promotion – these teas will be available only during the season and once they’re sold out, they won’t be reblended until next Christmas!
Here’s the specs on those five VITs (Very Important Teas):
- Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire – This is a special blend of black teas with a hint of Lapsang Souchong to give it that smoky touch that you’d experience from an open fire. Flavored with chestnut and caramel and just a hint of spice to give it that winter-y kind of appeal.
- Gingerbread Houjicha – I love the flavor of gingerbread and I think that the roasty-toasty, nutty flavor of houjicha would offer a delightful base to these flavors.
- Eggnog Chai – A Chai blend (black tea with a touch of honeybush) flavored with notes of custard-y eggnog with an extra dash of nutmeg to enliven the cup. This would make a great latte to serve Santa on Christmas Eve!
- Cranberry Orange Cider – A blend of red and green rooibos that’s been flavored with cranberry, orange and apple with a medley of holiday spices.
- Peppermint Marshmallow Melting in Hot Chocolate – For this blend, I chose a special black tea blend (crafted with teas from our friends at Verdant Tea) for the base that has a rich, natural cacao flavor with hints of malt. Peppermint, marshmallow and even more chocolate-y flavor to create a deliciously delightful cuppa.
YUM! So please take a moment to visit the 52Teas Kickstarter Holiday Pre-Sale and get some of that early Christmas shopping done early! The campaign closes on October 27th so your card won’t be charged until that date, and the teas will be shipped in plenty of time for gift giving!
Thanks for taking a moment to read this . . . now let’s get back to the reviews!
We need your help!
The SororiTea Sisters has been going for five plus years now. We began with just two of us: Anne & Jennifer.
We were (and still are!) committed to providing honest reviews of tea and tea products and we started out on that philosophy: to offer our honest opinion about a tea and/or tea product. We decided at the start that we wouldn’t accept money for advertising from tea companies because we felt that it would create a situation where we felt obligated to say something nice about a tea because the tea company was footing the bill for it.
So, we paid for the blog – well, the blog itself is free, but the domain and the annual registration of the domain costs money! We also send packages to each other (and now that we have more sisters, we send out packages to all the sisters) and the postage costs money. And well, times are tight!
So we are now turning to you – our readers! – to ask you to help us out with some of these expenses. Please check out our GoFundMe campaign and contribute what you can. Even something as small as one or two dollars helps – every little bit helps!
I greatly dislike asking for money. I really do. That’s why I’ve been paying for these expenses out of pocket for the last five years. Because I don’t want to ask other people for the money for this. But, as I said, times are tight and I’m finding that this year, it’s been just a little tougher to come up with the money to cover the cost of domain maintenance. I’m hoping that this next year will be a much better one (things are looking up!) and next year, we won’t need to turn to our readers for support. But for now, we really need your help!
Every little bit helps. And PLEASE help spread the word!
Tomorrow starts a new chapter in my life as a tea aficionado. For the last six plus years, I’ve been writing tea reviews and I’ve loved this “occupation”. It offered me the unique opportunity to sample teas from all around the world – teas I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to get to know.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might be aware of the fact that I recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and the purpose of the campaign was so that I could take over 52Teas brand from its creator, Frank Horbelt.
Frank has had several different tea ventures over the years. Recently, Frank realized that he wanted to devote his full efforts to his iced tea business, Southern Boy Teas so he asked me if I would take over the brand 52Teas.
I was excited by the prospect. Some of you may be aware that I used to operate another tea business: Life, LiberTEA & the Pursuit of Happiness, which was later simplified to LiberTEAS. I closed that business about 7 years ago because I realized that I’m much better at creating teas but not so great at running a business. So when Frank offered me 52Teas, I was – like I said – excited but I was also a little nervous. (OK, a lot nervous!)
So I talked to my oldest daughter who is incredibly sensible and smart hoping she’d tell me what I should do. I was surprised – happily so! – when she offered to help me with this undertaking! So we became a team!
Now, I don’t have to worry about the running the business part of the business. I can just do what I do best – creating teas. And with a brand like 52Teas – what an amazing platform! I get to create a unique and unusual tea blend every single week!
But because I’m back in the tea business, I won’t feel right about reviewing other people’s teas. I don’t think it will be an ethical thing for me to do. And it certainly wouldn’t be ethical for me to review my own teas. So, I’m saying goodbye to the SororiTea Sisters Tea Review Blog.
But, I’m not riding off into the sunset. I’ll still be very actively involved in SororiTea Sisters. I did, after all – co-found this blog with TeaEqualsBliss! This blog is still my baby!
As you are probably aware, we’ve brought on a few more sisters over the last few months, and you can get to know them here. They – along with TeaEqualsBliss – will do the writing, and I’ll act as administrator of the blog.
I’ll still be posting the reviews to Twitter. I’ll still be occasionally posting them to our Facebook page. I’ll still be around – I just won’t be writing anymore. At least – not here. But I’ll have my own little blog space on the all new 52Teas website.
So, don’t be a stranger! Please feel free to stop by and drop me a comment on my new website. Or better yet: buy some tea! Or buy a lot of tea! More tea = more happiness!