Late last year I heard about a new tea club that would be starting in 2017, Tea Runners. Tea Runners is the brain child of Jewel Staite and Charlie Ritchie. Each month Tea Runners sends out a box of 4 loose leaf teas along with tasting and brewing instructions.
I was lucky enough to get in for the March box and was delighted when it arrived. The packaging was really nice; it was evident a lot of thought and care went into the presentation.
The teas included in March’s box include: Makalu Mint Green Tea Blend, CTC Black, Annapurna Oolong Tea and Peach Ginger Detox Tea.
I love that the labels are chock full of information including ingredients, brewing and tasting instructions and where the tea came from so that I could find it again in the future.
This week I had a chance to try both the CTC Black and the Peach Detox Tea.
The CTC Black was excellent. It was strong flavored, but extremely smooth. It was a great black tea for a morning cup, and I also enjoyed it in the afternoon with just a touch of sugar.
The Peach Ginger Detox Tea smelled amazing when I opened it – just like ripe juicy peaches. It ended up being a really light tasting white tea with a hint of peach. I got almost no ginger in the flavor. I bet this one would be fabulous iced on a hot day, maybe even with a slice of peach?
If you’re interested in giving Tea Runners a try (and I suggest you do!) head on over to the website to sign up to be notified when subscriptions are open and boxes are available. Do keep an eye on your mailbox as they sell out quickly. There were 300 boxes available in March and they were gone within a few hours! Monthly memberships are $25 per box, or if you want to commit to 3 or 6-month subscriptions they’re available for slightly less.
Often I get asked why I don’t review more unflavored teas. The simple answer is that I’m always interested in the flavored teas, but I will try and make more of an effort to review unflavored teas in the future. To that end, in my order from Simpson & Vail, I selected their Ceylon Orange Pekoe.
From the website Ceylon Orange Pekoe contains “medium sized black-brownish leaves… [that] produce a deep amber cup with a brisk, well-rounded, flowery taste.” Ceylon Orange Pekoe is a blend of black teas from several growing areas in Sri Lanka, which was formerly known as Ceylon.
Ceylon Orange Pekoe is available in a variety of sizes: 1oz for $2.00, 4oz for $6.65, 8oz for $13.30 and 1lb for $26.60.
This tea was a wonderful strong black tea, perfect for breakfast. It was full bodied, but mellow and not too bitter. I enjoyed mine with a touch of sugar. I also think those who enjoy milk in their tea would really like it in this one. I do feel like this blend would be a good staple for any tea chest.
From the website, Root Beer Black Tea contains black tea, sarsaparilla and root beer flavor.
Root Beer Black Tea is available in a variety of sizes including 2oz for $3.75, 4oz for $6.40, 8oz for $12.10 and 1lb for $24.20.
Before I even opened the package I could smell the root beer scent. I couldn’t wait to brew this one up. After it brewed, the root beer flavor was definitely still there, but there was also a nice black tea underneath and I didn’t find it overwhelmed by the root beer. I just really enjoyed this one, but then again I love root beer!
Another tea my friend Liz brought me from Tea Time Scottsdale was Passion Berry.
From the package, Passion Berry is a black tea.
I don’t know precisely what is in the Passion Berry tea, but when I opened the package all I got was delicious tropical aromas. I sort of assume what I was smelling was passionfruit flavor, and there were obviously petals that smelled of apricot. Actually, when I opened the package it reminded me of fruit roll ups from my childhood. But I mean that in the best way possible! Once brewed it smelled a bit less fruity, and I definitely got a hint of the black tea. The taste was sweet, but very tropical. I think this would make a great summer iced tea, although it was a delicious mid-afternoon treat!
Last week I got to meet up with my friend Liz and she brought me some delicious teas to try from her local tea store, Tea Time Scottsdale. I have tasted teas from them in the past, and they’re delicious, so I was looking forward to trying these.
The first blend I tried was Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake. From the package, it includes black tea, organic cinnamon chips, apple pieces and orange blossoms.
It appears that the online store website isn’t up right now, but I bet you could call and place a phone order if you wanted to try this one.
When I opened the package all I could smell was the lovely cinnamon smell. This tea was strong enough that once brewed, it filled my house with a delicious aroma. I could definitely taste the apples and cinnamon and it was both sweet and strong. It was a delicious cup on a cold day. I would highly recommend!
Figgy Pudding is a black tea with figs and Acerola cherries.
It is available in a variety of sizes: 2oz for $9.95, 4oz for $19.90, 8oz for $37.81, 1lb for $71.64 and 2lb for $135.32.
When I opened the package I smelled the deep rich aroma of the figs and cherries, which definitely reminded me of warm holiday treats. Upon tasting this one, I was a little disappointed in that I only really got the cherry flavor. It was a good strong black tea, and the fruit flavor was nice, but I think I wanted a bit more fig flavor and it seemed to be overridden by cherry. That said, it should be a good tea for these cold holiday nights!
With the Thanksgiving holiday, the season is set into full swing and Black Friday heralds the opening of shopping season. I wanted to pull together a few suggestions for the tea and knit lovers in your life.
At the top of my list are subscriptions for wonderful gifts that keep on giving all year long.
For the tea lover in your life, you might consider a description to the Plum Deluxe Tea of the Month club. Club memberships are done on a quarterly basis, so you can give anywhere from 3-12 months of tea to someone special in your life. Send them one tea a month for $10 per month, or double their pleasure with 2 teas a month for $20 per month. I’m a member and have been enjoying the surprise in my mailbox each month!
For the knitter in your life there are too many options to choose from!
You could check out Yarnbox.com for a variety of knitting box subscriptions. Each month your favorite knitter will receive a box with yarn, a pattern and some fun extras at his or her door. Boxes range from $19.95 to $69.95. I haven’t personally tried this one, but I’ve heard good things and see beautiful items people receive!
If you’re looking for one special gift for your special someone, advent calendars are a great idea.
I particularly love the David’s Tea Advent Calendar which is 24 days of delightful tea and can be snapped up for $40. Get this one quickly because they always sell out!
For your knitter friend check out the Opal Advent Calendar box for 24 miniskeins of colorful Opal yarn for $60. The knitter could make ornaments for his or her tree, or a wonderful pair of stripey socks!
Black Friday Tea
If you’re planning to partake in a little Black Friday shopping, I could point you in the direction of a few of my favorite black teas!
- No. 5 Winter Blend from Churchmouse Yarn and Teas, 4oz for $14.00 (review here)
- Snowflake Tea from Lana’s The Little House, 4oz for $12.00 (review here)
- Downton Christmas Blend from Republic of Tea, Tin of 36 teabags for $12.00 (review here)
And finally a few knittea related items I have seen this season:
From the package, Spiced Apple Chai contains black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, cardamom, orange peels, cloves, and apple pieces.
Spiced Apple Chai is available in a variety of sizes: sample for $3.00, 3oz for $8.00 and 16oz for $24.00.
When I opened the package I smelled both the sweet apple and the savory spices. I love a good spiced tea so I had high hopes. The tea itself tasted wonderful – lots of apple cider-like taste, with a heady kick of spices. I will definitely be adding this to my rotation. It’s a perfect blend of tea, fruit and holiday spice!
Two weeks ago, I received an email from Adagio Teas advertising a holiday giveaway. I went to the site and sure enough I won 3oz of their Cranberry blend with my next order. I’d been meaning to order more new teas to try, and the holidays are approaching, so I did!
From the package, Cranberry contains black tea, raspberry leaves, natural cranberry flavor and cranberries.
It is available in a variety of sizes: sample for $2.00, 3oz for $7.00 and 1lb for $19.00.
When I first opened the bag I smelled the raspberry leaves most strongly, but also a hint of tangy cranberry towards the end. Once brewed the tea had a very berry aroma. The tea itself was fairly smooth and strong, with a nice raspberry flavor. I wish the cranberry flavor were a little stronger, but there is a nice hint of it at the finish. I’m tempted to brew this one over the holidays, maybe with some mulling spices?
A few weeks ago I received an unexpected package in the mail from Lana’s The Little House. Worried that I might be tea shopping in my sleep, I opened the box with a bit of trepidation. What I found inside was a lovely note from Lana herself.
Apparently when I reviewed my previous order I had noted that one of the samples I received was fairly light. Now I have gone back and looked carefully at the current site and there doesn’t seem to be a defined amount for the sample size, so I guess I must have been comparing that particular sample to the other one that I ordered and also reviewed. Regardless, this surprise package contained a note from Lana apologizing for the small size of the sample and as well as a few other samples of her tea to try. I don’t think an apology was necessary, but I appreciate the thought and thank Lana for her excellent customer service.
Chautauqua Blend contains black tea with a combination of strawberry bits, raspberry bits, orange peels, and other fruit flavors.
It is available in a variety of sizes including 4oz for $12.00 and sample size for $3.oo.
When I opened the package I smelled the berry flavor and it reminded me of summer. Once brewed I got more of the black tea aroma, but it still smelled like summer fruits. The tea was smooth with just a hint of sweet. It was delightful as an afternoon cup of tea, but I also think it would be wonderful iced in the summer months.
Again, I would like to thank Lana for her thoughtful package and I encourage you to try some of her offerings (including her Snowflake Tea which I love!).