Updated: May 9, 2019
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This was my first month with my 2 new tea subscription boxes! I loved getting them and tasting the 8 new teas I received. USPS tried my life and took forever to send them, but once I finally got them all was right in the world again.
This month, I received Blood Orange Herbal, Blue Lady Grey, Genmaicha, Red Robe Oolong from Simple Loose Leaf Tea Company. These 4 teas are great, earthy teas, perfect for drinking while trying to work or relax. From Sips by™, I received Petal to the Metal from Ruby Lion, Nutty Almond Cream from Tiesta Tea, Gratitude from Numi, and Shiitake Maté from Choice Organic Teas. These teas are great for different occasions, but especially curled up under a blanket. One thing that is great about most of these teas is that they can be re-steeped, and still retain their great flavor.
**To test the flavor of each tea, I followed the brewing instructions closely, and added 3 sugar cubes to each cup as a control.
My favorite from Simple Loose Leaf has to be the Red Robe Oolong. It has a nice mild, smooth flavor. It's great first thing in the morning, and right before bed. The caffeine isn't too strong to keep me awake all night, but perfect for the pick-me-up I need in the mornings. According to The Book of Coffee and Tea, oolong tea "represent[s] [the] marriage of the qualities of black and green tea as it is only partially or semi-fermented".
My 2nd favorite has to be the Blue Lady Grey. I love the subtle lavender notes that you smell more than you taste. It can get a little bitter--like most black teas--so I would suggest brewing it for 30 seconds less than you think. It'll be the perfect strength, without the bitter aftertaste.
3rd has to be the Blood Orange Herbal. This tea is made with rooibos, which according to the South African Rooibos Council, is not a true tea, but an herb. It has an interesting, sweet, smoky, woodsy taste to it. It's definitely an acquired taste, so this tea may not be for everybody.
And last but not least, the Genmaicha. It is a green tea made with popped corn and toasted hulled rice kernels, so it tastes a little like popcorn. It's an interesting flavor that I've never had before, and I would recommend any adventurous tea drinker to give it a shot. It has a little bite to it, so I would suggest STRICTLY following the brewing instructions. Green teas tend to get bitter if the water is too hot or they steep for too long.
My favorite tea from the Sips by™ is Petal to the Metal. It has the great aromatic flavors of cardamom and rose, and a nice smooth finish. This tea is perfect for sipping on a cold day. The cardamom has this lovely warming effect, and the rose adds a nice floral note. According to the brands website (Ruby Lion), this black tea was grown by the Lochan Family of Doke River in Pothia Village in Kishanganj, Bihar District, India. I appreciate that this brand knows exactly where it sources its tea, and the family who grows it.
My 2nd favorite has to be the Nutty Almond Cream. I was a little disappointed when I didn't get a creamy flavor or texture from this tea (considering cream is in the name), but I do love the flavor. The almonds are not overpowering, and this tea tastes a lot like apple cider, but without the burn/spice. It has apple pieces, almonds, and cinnamon pieces in it, but no tea. It's classified as an herbal tea on the official brand website (Tiesta Tea), but I would classify it as an herbal mix. The cinnamon warms you from your core, so this tea is perfect for a cold day.
The last 2 teas in this box are tied. The Shiitake Maté has an interesting mushroom smell as it brews. Maté tea is definitely an acquired taste, but the mushrooms kind of mellow everything out. This tea, along with Gratitude by Numi, are made with licorice root (learn more about it from Herbwisdom.com). The licorice adds a weird aftertaste, almost like artificial sweeteners or stevia. I'm not a huge fan of this flavor, and unfortunately, it overpowers the other flavors of the tea for me. I'm also a purest when it comes to tea, so these flavors were a bit of a stretch.
So, the winner this month is...Simply Loose Leaf. As I mentioned, I am a purest and not a huge fan of funky flavored teas, but Simply Loose Leaf still had the best in my opinion.
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