Bring out your inner good or bad wizard with a box of wizarding-world-themed tea goodies. Riddle’s Tea Shoppe offers quarterly boxes alternating between the Death Eaters Tea Club (canonically, the bad guys) and the Auror Tea Society (the good guys). The 2018 spring Death Eaters box was my first hands-on experience with Riddle’s Tea Shoppe, though I’ve long admired photos from afar.
This box was jam-packed with well-designed surprises. My box featured a canister of Basilisk Egg tea bags (spicy, earthy chai with lemongrass and peppercorns), a bag of loose Devil’s Snare tea (rich black tea with dark berry and cocoa flavors), and a bag of loose Venomous Tentacula tea (a decaf blend of black tea and rooibos with strawberry marzipan flavors). To pair with my tea was a vial of shimmery Unicorn Blood (simple syrup). Each treat featured original artwork or uniquely designed labels to make them feel extra magical and make them suitable to display in your tea shelf.
Beyond tea, the box included a laser cut wood bookmark and enamel pin, featuring stylish typography of favorite evil wizard spell words. There was also a print of an original watercolor painting of the Chamber of Secrets from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe’s creator. Of course, the Death Eaters Tea Club cute-and-creepy skull logo is on the box itself and various stickers and labels.
This box gave a lot of experience and beauty for a modest price. The one challenge is ordering before the pre-orders sell out, and waiting while the materials are assembled and shipped. To keep up-to-date on the next box, check out Death Eaters Tea Club (@deatheatersteaclub), Auror Tea Society (@aurorteasociety), and Riddle’s Tea Shoppe (@riddlesteashoppe) on Instagram. Also check on Riddle’s Tea Shoppe on Etsy for non-box goods related to tea and fantasy fandoms. The shop updates randomly, so check back often.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: various
Where to Buy: RTS Quarterly
Description: Each box contains:
– 1 canister of tea [Caffeinated]
– 2 small tea samples (10g each) [1 decaf / 1 caffeinated]
– 1 enamel pin
– 4 additional surprise items!
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
I’m back with a new box (the March box) from Tea Box Express. When I think of March, I think of Easter (can’t help that, even though Easter is the 1st day of April this year, Easter stuff is still everywhere I go) and I think of St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t really think of Earl Grey – even though Earl Grey is a classic fave of mine. I absolutely ADORE bergamot – so long as it’s done correctly, mind you! I have had my share of Earl Grey gone wrong (perhaps even more than my share), but we’re not here to talk about that today. Today, we’re talking the Tea Box Express for March!
This box seems to be all about the Earl! It starts with a slight twist on the classic tea – with Green Earl Grey from BeauTea Studio on Etsy – an online shop that offers not only organic loose leaf tea but also some gorgeous vintage teacups and handcrafted botanical skincare and soy candles – which leads to the second item in this month’s box: an Earl Grey Lotion Bar – also from BeauTEA Studio! Even more than the tea, I love this bar. It smells amazing (because – bergamot!) and it feels even more amazing when smoothed over my skin. I tend to get very dry hands and a quick swipe of this bar over my hands leaves them feeling smooth and silky without them feeling wet or greasy. And the best thing about the bar is it’s portability, it makes this the perfect lotion to tuck inside my purse without worry that it’ll accidentally open and ‘moisturize’ the entire contents of my purse. So right into my purse it goes!
I wish I could say that I’m just as excited about the Green Earl Grey tea (also from BeauTEA Studio). In my many years as a ‘tea taster’ and reviewer, it’s been my experience that when green tea is flavored with bergamot, it results in a somewhat perfume-ish taste. Understandable, I suppose, since bergamot tends to be a favorite scent amongst those that manufacture fragrances – but as delightful as bergamot is to smell, I don’t know anyone who wants to actually drink perfume. The fragrance is where this tea shines: it smells amazing! But to my palate, the flavor ends up tasting too much of perfume and not enough of tea for my liking. Perhaps it is – as I alluded to earlier – the green tea base. Because green tea tends to have a softer, lighter flavor than a black tea base, the perfume-y qualities of the bergamot tend to come forward a lot more. This just isn’t working for me at all – I couldn’t even finish the cup. I’m sure that there are those that probably love this stuff – me, not so much.
The last three items in this month’s box are not so much “Earl Grey” as they are just fun! There’s a small packet of brown rock sugar from Tea & Spice Merchants along with a pair of sugar tongs to sweeten the tea. The tongs are adorable – but unfortunately, I don’t have a link on them. Finally, as a sweet treat to accompany the tea, there’s Lemon Lavender Chocolate Bark from Ticket Chocolate. While this chocolate is delicious, I was a little disappointed (at least initially) that the curator of this box didn’t go the extra mile and seek out some type of Earl Grey flavored chocolate – hey, I know they’re out there because I’ve indulged once or twice! But that disappointment didn’t last long because – wow! This is an amazing bit of chocolate! The chocolate is rich and creamy with light notes of lemon and lavender. This chocolate is just the *ticket*.
Overall, I’m happy with the contents of this month’ box even if the tea didn’t exactly do it for me. I had thought that I might end the subscription after the initial 3 months, but I might keep it going because I’ve been pretty happy with everything (with a few exceptions) that I’ve received from Tea Box Express thus far.
Here’s the scoop!
What is it: A subscription box from Tea Box Express
Where to Buy: Tea Box Express
Description: Each month brings a new selection of whole leaf tea and artisan treats.
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!
Sips by is an amazing monthly tea box. They curate teas for you based off of a profile you put together. So there isn’t a fear of getting a ginger tea if you aren’t into ginger teas.
What’s really cool about Sips by, is that they have collaborated with some amazing tea companies so each month you are presented with this wonderful variety of teas. From Matcha to organic herbals, Sips by delivers fabulous teas each and every month.
In my November box, I had an herbal tea from Lauku Tea-Brigita’s Daylight. Herbals are very hit or miss for me. I crave and yearn to adore more of herbal blends, but it just isn’t in the cards for me. A lot of herbals are incredibly spiced or have chai like elements that my taste buds are not fans of. So I was insanely giddy when I saw the ingredients for Brigita’s Daylight were all right up my alley.
Brigita’s Daylight is a gorgeous blend of fermented apple leaves, black currant leaves, dried apples, meadow clover flowers, lemon balm, and mountain ash berries. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this blend but I was eager to find out. I brewed up a huge pot full of this herbal and allowed the tea to steep for about 7 minutes. Allowed the tea to cool for a few moments and took my first sip.
This is probably one of the best herbal teas I’ve ever had. This tea tastes like fresh apples with a floral and citrus note and a subtle berry finish. The freshness is what I adore the most from this tea. All of the flavors pop easily and wonderfully.
The fermented apple leaves and dried apples provide this almost apple juice like flavor while the lemon balm and meadow clover flowers yield a seductive floral citrus twist that I want more of. The berry finish just nicely ties this tea all together.
I downed this herbal hand blended creation- and when I saw downed it, I mean that I couldn’t stop drinking this tea. I drank several pots full and am now in the process of ordering more, even though I need to seriously stop buying tea because my personal tea stash is getting out of hand.
With how stressful my day is, I love the fact that I’ll have this tea in my tumbler helping me get through the day. This tea gives you all the warm tea feels with all the love of being an herbal. Thank you Sips by for introducing me to this amazing blend!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Herbal
Sunny and stimulating with the subtle sweetness of dried apple and the earthy green of meadow clover flowers. For those who need a clear head and good spirits for a day full of possibilities. Pairs well with a refreshing walk outdoors and a morning muffin.
Ingredients: fermented organic apple leaves, organic black currant leaves, dried organic apples, organic meadow clover flowers, organic lemon balm, organic mountain ash berries
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
If you haven’t heard of Story of My Tea’s monthly subscription service, I implore you to check this monthly box out. This monthly subscription box may be a bit more expensive than the others out there, but this tea box delivers a monthly tea experience. A curated monthly tea experience into regions and tea depths that you may not be familiar with. Other tea boxes do the same, yes, but with each tea that Story of My Tea delivers to your doorstep, there is also an added learning experience.
On the back of every pouch is more information regarding the tea and even an interactive bar code that you scan with your phone to learn more. I just love that feature.
This go around, I brewed up Lumbini Opa, a black tea from the Lumbini estate in Sri Lanka. From what I’m understanding, this particular estate is considered to be one of the finest tea producing estates in the region. Lumbini Opa is described as being very fragrant, rich and malty with a full bodied taste with complex flavors and hints of spicy sweetness.
Another great point to Story of My Tea’s packaging is that feature prominently on each package are the steeping parameters. No need to guess with their teas. The steeping guide lines are laid out for you. Steeping parameters for this tea are 190F and a steep time of 3-4 minutes. Story of My Tea also suggests adding in ginger slices, mint leaves or a stick of cinnamon. I love all of those suggestions and will end up trying those next go around with this tea.
After allowing the tea to cool for a few moments, I took my first sip. I haven’t had a black tea in a while and this tea is making me wonder why. Warm malty tones with a tiny bit of an earthy hint provide this wonderful loving tea a great start. The spicy hint kicks in more towards the end of the sip and contributes to this delicious after taste. Each sip is soothing and warming to the soul. This is one of those teas you need around for when you are cold to the bone and need warmed up. Like those winter days that are creeping every so slowly towards us. This tea has “Sweater Weather” written all over it.
I love those scenarios when a tea reminds you of how great a variety can be. I have been neglecting my black teas for far too long. I need to brew up a few and show them some love.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Story of My Tea
A tea subscription for the explorer in your heart!