Anne Has Returned – What Can I Say? I Love Subscriptions!

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! 

Holiday Gift Idea Alert! November’s Tea Box Express

If you have that person on your list that you want that special unique item for and they just happen to be a tea drinker (of any kind!), I highly recommend thinking about sending them a gift from Tea Box Express.

Tea Box Express offers amazing curated boxes that feature teas, tea accessories, tea trinkets and different snacks to go along with the tea. Basically, each month you receive an instant tea party. I just love this box. Yes, it is a bit pricey when you first look at it, but the value of what you are getting is typically double if not more each month. This month alone, the box featured a tea accessory that I’ve had my eye on for some time and that tea accessory typically sells for $18 without shipping or taxes. This box is definitely a wonderful value and one that is quite memorable to boot!

November’s box had so many amazing treats! A gorgeous leaf shaped shortbread cookie, a Tea Bling, two different kinds of tea from Nunshen, a chocolate treat, and these awesome flavored agave pouches-pumpkin flavored and caramel from Pura.  I was quite pleased and couldn’t wait to dig in.

Let’s start with the My Tea Bling.  This is the accessory that I’ve had my eye on for some time. My Tea Bling is a clip that you use when you are drinking any kind of bagged tea to give your tea a bit of pizzazz-there is a lovely disc full of sparkles at the end of the clip. I use this all the time when I’m at work and am so happy to have one. I’ve received a lot of compliments on my this sparkling accessory.  I just use those tea filters you can pick up pretty much anywhere, make my own tea bags, ad attach this as a nice weight to keep everything where it needs to be.   (Mug Cozy featured below is from Nandy’s Nook)

An oolong and chai tea were the offerings for the tea part of the box. They came from Nunshen, a company I hadn’t heard of before but one I’m now actively checking out.  The tea was a bagged tea (which worked perfectly with my new Tea Bling) and we were sent a few oolong tea bags and chai.  I wasn’t crazy originally with the idea of a bagged chai tea but after having the tea, I’m addicted.

The chai bagged tea packs all of those lovely chai flavors without the spices being overwhelming to the point where you have to add milk or sugar.  The tea was pleasantly balanced and was a great tea for the afternoon when I needed that pick me up to keep going.

The oolong offered was also quite delicious and one that I found myself searching my bag for to see if I had anymore.  Smooth and subtle with those familiar oolong roasted tones. . .another great afternoon treat. I think I favored this tea more than the chai but that’s just because I’m partial to oolong.  Plus this oolong tasted delicious with both the cookie and the chocolate candy treat.

Flavored agave (from is something I never had really thought about checking out but after enjoying the caramel and pumpkin flavored pouches included. .  .I need to have a constant supply of this on hand.  Both the Pumpking and Caramel were amazing in tea lattes and added that special kick that typically you can only get in coffee houses.

So many wonderful treats, trinkets, and goodies all packed into this box.  Any tea drinker or enthusiast would love this box. Really great gift idea for anybody on your list.  My family loves enjoying all of the treats together and we always have a family tea party with the box.  (Pics of the cookie and chocolate treat-don’t they just look delicious!)

I really can’t wait to see what we receive in the next box!

Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy: Tea Box Express

Tea Box Express is a monthly box for tea lovers. Every month features a new whole leaf tea and unique accessories.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Unboxing October’s Tea Box Express Monthly Box

I have always loved and enjoyed Tea Box Express. In my opinion, this box is one of the better tea monthly subscription boxes you can sign up for. Not only do they curate fresh amazing teas from a vast array of tea companies, but you also receive additional tea related goodies like cookies, tea accessories, and even beauty products.  Each monthly is expertly curated providing any tea enthusiasts with a wonderful array of tea fun to enjoy.

It seems like October’s box was curated just for me! This month there was a tea from JusTea, sea salt caramels, a tea to be used for a facial (that can also be steeped up like an herbal), and a lovely wooden spoon.

The tea was brilliant and gave so much love. I actually have started drinking this tea daily and will be sad when the bag is empty.  Never having JusTea before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But this Mount Kenya Black Tea was smooth, silky, well balanced and so full of flavor.  I found myself gulping this tea down cup after cup.  Another wonderful reason why Tea Box Express is perfect for any tea enthusiast.  You  may get a chance to experience teas you may never have thought of trying or had a chance to try as is the case with this tea for me.

My next favorite goodie was the sea salt caramels from  Liddabit Sweets.  They were insanely gooey with that
sweetness tangled and a hint of salt complimenting the flavor nicely.   Unfortunately, these went crazy fast at my house. Between myself, my hubby, and my stepsons, these were gone in just a few days.  But I do have plans on picking more up for the holidays.  They will make great little add on gifts or stocking stuffers.


I have yet to try the facial steam or even brew the tea up like an herbal. I’m waiting for a time when I can properly pamper myself with a good book and a few minutes where I can just relax.


As for the wooden spoon (also from JusTea) -its a wonderful accessory to have. I’ve enjoyed using it for my impromptu tea parties that I’v been enjoying with this tea box.

All in all, October’s box was perfect. Each piece fits perfectly into my tea drinking itinerary.  For the price, you are getting an amazing value and array of treats. I am looking forward to what November’s box will bring!

For all of our readers, Tea Box Express is offering an amazing deal, perfect for the upcoming holidays.  Use TEAHAPPY when checking out and this will give you 20% off your box.

Here’s the scoop!

Where to Buy: Tea Box Express

Explore the world of whole leaf tea! Tea Box Express is a monthly box for tea lovers. Every month features different brands and types of tea and interesting accessories.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Product Review: Tea Box Express Monthly Subscription, Part 2!

OctoberTeaBoxProduct Information:

Where to Subscribe:  Tea Box Express

About Tea Box Express:  

Tea Box Express is more than a box of tea. It’s an experience. Each month brings a new box brimming with surprises that always include quality brand-name tea and three or four fun tea-things. We are dedicated to bringing you the best teas and the niftiest tea goodies. Our mission is to bring a tea party to your door every month.

Save 20% off your first month’s subscription!  Just use the code SORORITEA20 in the coupon field at check-out to save!


So the last time that I wrote about this box, I shared with you a little bit about the experience of receiving this really awesome box but I didn’t actually review any of the products inside.  Now, with this part 2 of the Product Review, I am going to do exactly that.  I’m going to offer up my thoughts on the tea, the honey and the cookie, as well as the accessories!

So, let’s start with the tea.  The tea in Tea Box Express’s flagship box – October’s Bee Happy box – is the signature black tea from Teatulia.  I have previously reviewed this tea, but I’ve revisited teas in the past and I don’t have a problem revisiting this tea as it is one that I enjoyed before and I know I’ll enjoy it now.

It’s a pleasant, full-bodied black tea.  It’s rich with malty notes and a pleasant sweetness.  I find that this sweetness is more pronounced with the second steeping, so even if you’re one who doesn’t typically resteep black teas, this is one that is definitely worth your while to infuse again!

Which leads me to talk about one of the gadgets that was in this box:  the teabag caddy.  It’s shaped like a little teapot and it’s bright yellow.  I like the cheerful color and it fits the Bee Happy theme appropriately.  I have used teabag caddies like this one in the past but the ones that I’ve used have been metal and after a while, well, I live in the Pacific Northwest and if something is metal here, eventually it becomes rust.  And that’s what happened to the other teabag caddies that I’ve used.  I like that this is ceramic.  It holds the teabag in between infusions.  Yeah, it’s a simple job, but something has to do it, and this is cute and it’s bright, cheery yellow.  So why not this?

To steep:  I steeped one sachet in eight ounces of boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes.  For the second infusion, I used another eight ounces of boiling water, but this time, I steeped the sachet for 3 minutes.

It’s a robust black tea that would serve you well as a breakfast tea, as it takes the additions of honey and milk nicely.  And that’s just what I’m about to talk about now!  Honey!

Bee-cause in this month’s Tea Box Express, I also received a 3 ounce jar of Tea Honey from Savannah Bee Co.  Before drizzling the honey in my tea, I took a sip of the tea to see how it tastes, and it tastes quite fine without the addition, but I find that the honey does soften the astringency of the tea a little bit.

Having never used one of these fancy honey dipper/drizzler/server thingamajigs, I wasn’t quite sure how to use it so I just … rolled with my inexperience and used it the way I thought it should be used.  I dipped the swirly end of the dipper into the jar of honey and let some of the honey drip off of the dipper back into the jar, and then I was satisfied with the amount of honey that was on the dipper, I put it right into my teacup and used it to stir the honey into the tea.  Since I was the only person using the honey dipper, I felt like this was a perfectly acceptable way to use the tool.

Tea Caddy and Honey Dripper from October’s Tea Box Express.

And it is handy.  The wire spiral holds the honey and it’s not as messy a task to take honey from jar and add it to teacup using this device.  It’s not a necessary tool when it comes to tea time (especially since I rarely use honey in my tea), but it is kind of cool, even though I’m not a big tea tool kind of girl.  I am all about less is more when it comes to gadgets and tools.  Tea should be simple.  But, I have to admit that this fancy thingamajig is nifty.

I tasted a little drop of the honey before I added it to the cup, and it’s a delicate tasting honey.  It tastes sweet but it doesn’t have a strong honey-esque flavor to it.  That is to say that I’m finding that it’s adding a light sweetness to my cup of tea without it tasting overly honeyed.  And as I said before, it did help to curb the astringent bite to this tea just a little.  It’s not an overly astringent tea, but what little I detected with my pre-honey sip was diminished significantly after the honey was added.  I like that my cup is now not only less astringent and lightly sweet, but even better is that it’s not overly sweet nor does it taste too much like honey.

The cookie!  The cookie!  OK, first of all, it’s adorable.  It’s a large cookie (I’d estimate it to be something between 3 and 4 inches, which is large for a cookie).  The cookie is a blonde colored shortbread cookie.  I had mentioned earlier that it’s a sugar cookie, but the cookie part is not quite as sweet as a sugar cookie, it’s got more of a shortbread taste and texture.  And the cookie is decorated with a bright yellow icing that has been “drawn” with a bee design in black icing and white wings.  The bee has a happy face.  Bee Happy.

I like that this is more like a shortbread cookie than a sweet sugar cookie because the icing is quite sweet and if the cookie part were sweeter, this would become very cloying very fast.  They are still quite sweet.

The cookie part has a nice shortbread type texture:  it’s got that delicious buttery texture that melts in your mouth.  It’s not a crunchy cookie.  It’s dense like shortbread.  One cookie makes for a very nice tea time treat.

I’m sure I probably said this in part 1 of this review, but this box is really awesome.  It would make a great gift for the tea lover on your gift giving list.  (Oh, please put me on your gift giving list!)  I enjoyed everything in this box from the tea to the honey to the cookie … and even the neat little tools.

This is fun mail:  it’s a tea party in a box!

Product Review: Tea Box Express Monthly Subscription!

teaboxoctoberProduct Information:

Where to Subscribe:  Tea Box Express

About Tea Box Express:  

Tea Box Express is more than a box of tea. It’s an experience. Each month brings a new box brimming with surprises that always include quality brand-name tea and three or four fun tea-things. We are dedicated to bringing you the best teas and the niftiest tea goodies. Our mission is to bring a tea party to your door every month.

Save 20% off your first month’s subscription!  Just use the code SORORITEA20 in the coupon field at check-out to save!


This is a review of Tea Box Express’s debut box – October 2014 – which hasn’t yet begun to ship.  The box came to me early so that I could review it and share my thoughts with you so that you can get in on the goodies right from the very beginning!

OctoberTeaBoxThis box is near PERFECT for people like me.  As some of you may know, besides writing about teas, I’ve also written about other subscription boxes (specifically, foodie/yummy goody boxes) on my Hungry in Portland blog.  I’ve pretty much discontinued those reviews mostly because I find that my time has become limited and tea is more important to me than the goodies, so, I devote my time here.  But that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped getting in on the goodies!

What’s so great about this box is that it combines the best of both worlds!  It’s a tea of the month box and it’s a goody box, plus there are some really neat accessories to go along with it.  For the October box, I received a tube of Teatulia Black Tea, a jar of “Tea Honey” from Savannah Bee Co., an adorable bee shaped, festively frosted sugar cookie from The Decorated Cookie Co., plus a bright yellow, ceramic teapot-shaped teabag caddy and a tea honey dipper/server which allows you to drizzle honey no-mess-style into your cup of tea.  I’ll be reviewing the “tea party” including the tea later, but, for now I wanted to review the experience of receiving this box!

Let’s see what these items would have cost me if I bought them separately:

  • Teatulia Black Tea:  $8.99
  • Tea Honey:  $5.50 (although to get the 3 oz. jar, you need to buy 2 at $11.00)
  • Bee Cookie:  $5.62 (approximately)
  • Teabag Caddy:  $4.50
  • Honey Dipper:  $4.98

Total retail price would be approximately $29.59 if these items were purchased separately, although some of the items can’t really be purchased separately, and these prices do not include shipping charges.  To subscribe to this box, you can pay month-to-month $25.50 plus $5.99 for shipping, or if you pay for 3 months, the monthly cost comes out to $24.67, or for a six month subscription, the cost works out to be $23.17 per month.

TeaBoxSo there is a savings benefit to subscribing, but to me the real benefit is the joy of receiving the box.  The fun part of these boxes is that they’re curated for you.  This month’s theme (if it’s not obvious with the Bee and the honey), is “Bee Happy”!  When you first open the box, the first thing I saw was this card (to the left) that says, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln.

Inside the lid of the box is a “theme card” that offers some suggestions on how to be happy.  Nurturing our positive emotions like joy, gratitude and serenity can make us happier, and I love the suggestion on starting a happy list!

My happy list:


Yeah, there are a few other things that I’d add to that list, but tea is right up there at the top of the list.  Tea is joy.  And this box is all about TEA.  Receiving a box like this every month would be like getting joy in the mailbox!