Product Review: Muse Monthly Subscription Box

MuseMonthlyTea Information:

Where to find the tea: Mt. Hood Vanilla from Townsend’s Tea

Where to Subscribe: Muse Monthly


As the only subscription box of its kind, Muse Monthly delivers a unique experience for lovers of literature and tea. Every month, you will get a new novel and a full box or tin of tea on your doorstep! So go ahead and curl up, let go of all your stresses, and enjoy. 

Taster’s Review:

When I heard of Muse Monthly’s Kickstarter from a thread on Steepster, I nearly fell over in my chair. Muse Monthly has somehow managed to combine my three loves – Books, Tea, and Kickstarters. I was so happy to see them succeed, even more happy to receive my first box. I couldn’t wait to dig in. The kickstarter tier I got included the stretch goal goodies, as well as a three month subscription. This month is a great beginning; the tea is Mt. Hood Vanilla from Townsend’s tea and the novel is Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller.

The tea that comes in the subscription is a full sized tin (2.25 oz!) of Townsends tea’s Mt. Hood Vanilla. Which sounds absolutely delicious. I love vanilla black teas and I am always searching for the right one. I have only had Townsend’s Kombuchas and diving into their loose leaf teas is pretty exciting. (My man’s all time favorite kombucha is their Spiced Apple Kava,)  Upon opening the tin, I get a heady whiff of vanilla beans and robust Indian tea. It reminded me of the vanilla bean scones offered at Starbucks that I used to be obsessed with. Brewing up the tea I discovered the creamy vanilla in the forefront, slightly sweet, pairing excellently with the bold and rich Ceylon tea. Although I would not recommend it iced, the vanilla turns a bit sour and candy sweet, harshly contrasting the bold black base. Mt. Hood Vanilla is an excellent tea to drink hot while reading about Peggy and her father in Our Endless Numbered Days, and a perfect breakfast cuppa.

The book is highly recommended from me as well. Our Endless Numbered days was the first book Ina long time that I have not been able to put down. As much as I wish I could tell you truthfully, I regret to say that I don’t read as much as I used to. I would devour a book a week if I could. Not so much anymore. I think before getting Muse Monthly’s box in the mail, I had 1 book on my kindle that I have been intermittently reading for about three months. I think that Claire Fuller’s story is a great jumping off point for me to get the ball rolling and begin reading in earnest. I easily finished the story in two days and began to wonder, ‘what else?’ I thought it was well written and an excellent choice for this ‘book club.’

In all, I would highly recommend checking out Muse, mostly if you are one of those ‘bookish types’. (As my father used to say to me) At first I balked at the size of the tea, I can really see it piling up after a while.  Although, the price is right for the amount of tear and the book bundled together. The feel of carefully hand selected combinations is invaluable touch. I loved doing this, and cannot wait for the next two moths. This is an easy, and great way to curl up with a good book and an even better cup of tea!

Raspberry Truffle Matcha Green Tea from Red Leaf Tea

Raspberry-Truffle-MatchaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea (Matcha)

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Raspberry Truffle Matcha is the perfectly designed treat that literally melts in the mouth with its mix of sweetness and Matcha undertones. This treat can make the perfect in-between meals treat that is perfect for enticing the taste buds to want much more. It can also make the perfect desert when people want to sample the different alternatives that are available for the palate to partake. For children, this exceptional treat can be one of many favorite offerings on their special occasions.

Raspberry Truffle Matcha is not for the faint hearted because of its deep rich taste sensation on the palate. It is a good alternative for other normal sweet choices such as chocolate or other candies. It also forms a great accompaniment to many foods and drinks with its sweetly inviting appeal and unforgettable flavor.  This is a good treat for making a lifeless day unforgettable with its hints of pure pleasure and understated appeal.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Firstly, for those not familiar with Red Leaf Tea’s amazing and varied selection of flavoured matcha, this company offers probably the widest selection of flavours I’ve ever seen in addition to offering a choice on the level of flavouring (starting at delicate and going up to robust) and grade of matcha. If you want to get especially fancy, you can also get different tea types for your matcha as well, such as white or black tea.

The specifications for THIS matcha are the basic grade of green matcha and a robust flavouring level. It is important to note that my preparation was also not the traditional way even though I used a traditional chawan and chawask. This was prepared in cold milk, instead of hot water. That’s my personal preference when it comes to almost all matcha flavours as well as straight matcha.

You can definitely tell, just from the smell, that this is robust flavouring; if you focus hard enough you can actually pick up on the scent of the raspberry before even opening the resealable bag it comes in. And once it has been opened, you’re going to be flooded with the sweet smell of a confectionery-like raspberry with a dark chocolate backdrop – it’s 100% Raspberry Truffle in scent.

As I was whisking this one, it frothed up a great deal more than the average matcha and that thicker, frothy texture didn’t let up easily; for the first half of the chawan I probably could have consumed it with a spoon. It was that frothy! Considering how strong the smell is before being prepared, the flavour is actually surprisingly light – but there are some things about it that tip me off that it’s robust flavouring. I’ve noticed with other robustly flavoured matcha that some flavours tend to get a sort of chalky note; one that reminds me of children’s chewable vitamins or Tums. It seems particularly bad with flavours with fruit in them. This certainly isn’t the worst offender I’ve encountered (I think Orange probably wins that spot, or Boysenberry) but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t noticed it at all.

Otherwise, the flavour is pretty good. I’m a touch surprised that the raspberry is coming off a lot stronger than the chocolate though; when I think of truffles I absolutely picture the over the top, dark, rich, fudgey chocolate notes with the ‘extra’ flavour kind of infused in as more of an aftertaste or undercurrent. You could say the opposite is true here! The raspberry doesn’t have any tartness or tang to it; more so it’s a bit of a sweet and confectionery type of raspberry; like what you’d have in a raspberry danish for example. The chocolate is obviously creamy from the milk but has a distinct ‘dark chocolate’ taste to it. It’s maybe a touch fudgey. The notes from the matcha itself are still present, though quite lightly. But that’s to be expected given the flavour level.

Overall; I’m quite happy with this one! It’s gonna do wonders for satisfying those late night sugar cravings and I’m already picturing how well this would taste lightly sprinkled over top cereal or popcorn. If I had to really emphasize anything to potential buyers though it’d probably just be to expect that the raspberry is going to taste stronger than the chocolate.

Organic Superfine Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea

Organic Superfine Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea
Organic Superfine Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Teavivre 

Tea Description:

This Organic Superfine Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin has a little of coffee’s flavor, which is suitable for who loves teas with coffee taste. You will sense a familiar fragrance of coffee for first sip, and after swallowing the liquid, a sweet aftertaste will quickly upwelling to your throat. As it is 85% fermented, this Tie Guan Yin will not become bitter even for a long time infusion. Dry tea leaves are brown and curly, has a smell of charcoal fire. The liquid is in golden yellow color, which truly feasts to the eyes.

Organic Roasted Oolong with Coffee Aroma

Organically produced near Zhangzhou(漳州) in Fujian, China.

Harvest Time: September, 2012

Hand made into small, rolled up leaves

Roasted, 85% fermented

Golden Yellow color, bright and clean liquid

Sweet and soft taste with coffee fragrance for first sip, long-last flavor, sweet aftertaste around throat

Low caffeine (less than 10% of a cup of coffee)

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of Organic Superfine Moderately Roasted Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea is milky and creamy, which is surprising since I was really anticipating a deeper roasted aroma. Regardless, I love a milky tea so if it tasted milky I would be fine with that. I decided to go ahead and let it steep for a couple more minutes since Iron Goddess does not get bitter with longer steeps. This seems to be the way to go because after two more minutes after an initial 2 minutes it became stronger, bolder, with a coffee like aroma and that roasted aroma I was expecting. I will later hate to try it with a shorter steep though as I am sure that milky aroma had something to it!

Finally, the first sip was delicious! I did initially get a little creaminess but the smokiness and roasted flavor took over. The tea is a bit sweeter than I had expected having it compared in the description to a coffee like flavor but I rather like it. It is robust, not as robust as some black teas but robust for an oolong.

While I really can see how this would be a great tea to serve to a coffee drinker I don’t want the tea drinkers out there who do not care for coffee to be afraid to give it a try. The quality of this tea is astounding, as are all of Teavivre’s teas and realistically nothing taste like coffee but coffee itself. This is clearly an excellent Iron Goddess, deep, roasty, and toasty, and the creamy texture of this tea on the mouth is really special.

Also this is a tea that keeps on giving. Even with my long five minute steep the first time around I can continue to keep on steepin! Following steeps have some interesting notes highlighted that bring about the thoughts of a green tea, such as green bean for example, but more like veggies that are fire roasted! So good! I love having this Iron Goddess with some milk chocolate, it really taste like s’mores between the creamy note in the tea and the smokiness with the toasty note, and of course the chocolate!

This tea has some serious NOM factor!

Sandakphu White Orange Tea from Rare Tea Republic

Sandakphu White Orange from Republic of Tea
Sandakphu White Orange from Republic of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: White

Where to Buy: Republic of Tea (formerly Rare Tea Republic)

Tea Description:

This laboriously hand-plucked leaf yields a light yellow infusion and a sweet, refreshing liquor reminiscent of cucumber and honey. A whisper of woodsmoke in the finish completes this satisfying tea.

Steep Time: 5 minutes

Water Temperature: 180°F

Tea per 6 oz of Water: 2 teaspoons

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been saving this sample of Sandakphu White Orange Tea from Rare Tea Republic for a while now. I wanted to sample it when I could savor it as I have high expectations for this tea, even though I don’t know why. Rare Tea Republic has some amazing teas, and I have rarely been disappointed. When I went to the website today I was redirected to their sister company Republic of  Tea. It seems they have decided to merge their two companies. So while I got my sample of this tea from Rare Tea Republic, you will need to go to Republic of Tea to get yours.

Sandakphu White Orange is truly a unique and delicious cup. For a white tea it is very full bodied, one of the most robust white teas I have ever sipped. There is a very delicate smokiness deep in the core of the taste, but mostly it is a yummy honey flavor that is not too sweet, and a light taste of cucumber and spice. Yes, it is an unusual flavor but I love it.

The color of the tea is orangish brown, and there is a very slight citrus flavor as well but I would not really say it is an orange tea. Granted this is not a flavored tea obviously but there is just a hint at an orange note regardless. Don’t be too concerned about the smokiness in the tea. It is not smoky like a Lapsang Souchong at all. The smoky note is more in the woody note itself and reminds me of the quality wood that would be used to smoke meat.

This is absolutely a white tea that I would recommend and is unique enough that everyone should try it at least once.

Maiden’s Ecstasy Organic from Samovar Tea Lounge

Maiden's Esctasy by Samovar Tea Lounge
Maiden’s Esctasy by Samovar Tea Lounge

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Puerh

Where to Buy: Samovar Tea Lounge 

Tea Description:

Wild-crafted from 30-foot trees in the jungles of Southwest China, this tea is a traditional wedding gift and evening mood-setter. Dark, creamy, and luxurious with notes of bittersweet chocolate and espresso.


Tea Type: Pu-Erh

Origin: Jing Mai Mountains in Yunnan, China

Caffeine Level: Medium-high

Processing Details: Tender, young-leaf, vintage, loose leaf Pu-Erh

Tasting and Aroma Specs: Very balanced, smooth, rich and dark, with a slightly sweet, wildflower honey finish. Deep, strong forward notes of earth and moss with a lingering raisin sugar sweetness.

Food Pairing: Dim Sum and Samovar’s Mushroom Quiche

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It is really difficult to sum up a puerh in a review without mentioning each and ever steep. Especially when it is such an excellent puerh like this Maiden’s Ecstasy Organic from Samovar Tea Lounge.

Maiden’s Ecstasy is one of the first pureh that I ever tried and is still one of my favorites. I stopped drinking coffee shortly before I found my love for loose leaf tea, and this Maiden’s Ecstasy provides such a rich, full, and robust cup that it brings back memories of my once loved coffee, but is so much better, and far more flavorful!

With a creamy, heavy mouthfeel, this tea has notes of german rock sugar, brown sugar, raisins, tree bark, oak moss, and so much more. Sometimes you will taste a more woodsy note, while other times you get a taste of chocolate, and other times a savory note of mushroom!

There is something otherworldly about this tea. It is the kind of tea I like to drink while watching a movie such as Avatar, or The Never Ending Story. I would take this and drink it at the Renaissance Festival every year if I could find a way to keep steeping it! It makes me feel like jumping from toadstool to tree trunk and swinging from branches of friendly tress and cavorting with gnomes but beware of the trolls because this tea does have a sparky, spicy kick to it at times as well! Its not dangerous though, it won’t burn your tongue at all, its just a little spark of playful now and then in the middle of an otherwise dreamy cup.

It does evoke thoughts of sipping on a very luxurious espresso, a good one though, one you could probably only find at one of those quaint cafes in Italy, as you sit writing in your diary at a white linen clothed table, dreaming of a romantic interlude. Flavors of molasses peek through resembling the sweet desires playing out in your mind as you gaze into nothingness, while someone, sitting at a table not too far away can see everything emoting through your eyes.

Yes, this tea is that special.