Introducing Tea Tourist – Your passport to the wonderful world of loose leaf tea…
About Tea Tourist
After the realisation that loose leaf tea drinkers will spend a small fortune to try a ton of different teas, a concept formed. The idea was to connect tea lovers with lots different tea brands, and consequently lots of different teas, but without breaking the bank. Thus, Tea Tourist was founded in March 2016 and has endeavoured ever since to fulfil the dream of connecting tea lovers with lesser known brands. Buckle up, you’re in for a ride!
Tea Tourist’s subscription is simple; they provide the tea, you drink the tea. Standard. Even so, this subscription operates in a totally unique way, because Tea Tourist doesn’t create the tea and instead have opted to “love the people who do”, by sourcing blends from a variety of tea companies. These are usually independent or less known companies, that aren’t available on the high street, in order to provide tea lovers with a range of different and exciting tea blends, guaranteeing a genuine variety month on month.
Your Tea Tourist package will usually be delivered after the 20th of each month, as part of a rolling service. However, as with other subscriptions, you can stop or pause at any time. Once it arrives you should be pleasantly surprised with the amount of tea. Each packet contains about 3-4 cups worth, which is enough to give you a feel for the tea and if you decide you don’t like one, there are 5 more for you to try! That’s right, 6 different teas in total!! Each tea has its own tasting card with details of the company, a little about the tea, how and when best to steep the tea and a section for you to add your own notes, creating a nice little keep sake. Furthermore, Tea Tourist claim to have an established community of over 10,000 tea lovers for you to join, so that you can talk tea, ideas and opinions with fellow tea lovers on their social media pages. (See what I think about this in the Final Thoughts section below!)
Now you’re thinking, sounds great… How much is it gonna cost me? You may want to sit down, or stand up, dance around with your hands in the air, clap and boogie away, I don’t know, just prepare yourself, it’s a steal. This little adventure is only going to costs you £14.95 a month! Incredibly good value.
As mentioned, the pack contains 6 new teas to try, so here are my thoughts on each and little about the companies from the first ever Tea Tourist subscription box.
Orange Blossom by Easy Teasy
A brand established by two university friends, who have a love for creating loose leaf blends and tea infused chocolate. Sounds tasty! This blend in particular uses Taiwanese oolong, orange peel and natural flavouring. It smells fantastic and rather than carrying a crisp citric note, Orange Blossom tastes like a creamy chocolate orange. It tastes good, but I was a little disappointed that the orange flavours completely overpowered all of the mild oolong notes. A bit of a shame for me personally, however blends like this can be a good way to introduce people to less common teas, such as oolong.
I enjoyed this: Saturday morning, in bed, with buttered toast, just as the tasting card suggested, they paired amazingly!
Japanese Kukicha by Shibui Tea
Based in Edinburgh and run by brothers, Shibui tea has an extensive range of teas that are also available in Canada. The November box contains their Kukicha, an unusual Japanese green tea made from branches and stems of the tea plant. Its predominant toasted flavour carries undertones of grassiness, nut and smoke, weirdly giving it a coffee like twang!
I enjoyed this: Friday mornings. I have a weekly Friday meeting that starts first thing, so I get up extra early. Despite not liking actual coffee, the similarity in essence was the perfect kick in the morning.
Yoga Tea by T-Tox
T-Tox is aimed at the health and wellness market and holds a belief that tea is an ideal way to reap the benefits of herbs. Couldn’t agree more. I like this brand already! Yoga Tea is an infusion of white tea, lemon grass, ginger, rose petals and nettles, formulated to stimulate and provide energy. Although the tasting notes suggest this is a light and subtle tea, I found the ginger and lemongrass to provide punchy notes, helping me to feel fully revitalised.
I enjoyed this: As a Sunday pick me up. Sunday is my lazy day. I avoid doing anything that means I have to leave the house. This blend helped to perk me up, giving me a little extra energy and motivation.
Peppermint Tea by Cheshire Tea
A family run business with a focus on providing ethically sourced tea. Their contribution to the November box was premium peppermint leaves grown in Washington State. Loose peppermint tea provides a cooling refreshing flavour that is both caffeine and calorie free. The properties make it ideal for awakening or relaxing, drinking hot and cold, alone or in a cocktail. It’s a totally diverse drink!
I enjoyed this: As a late night beverage. Mint tea before bed is one of my favourite drinks, the olfactory outputs help calm and relax, ready for bed.
Malawi Peony by Baraka Teas
Having already had the pleasure of sampling the Baraka tea collection, I was accustomed to the brand and the fact they source and visit the plantations from which they stock their quality single estate teas. Malawi Peony is a revered white tea, with light floral and pine notes, making a great choice to help anyone start exploring the world of white!
I enjoyed this: Pre-lunch. I’m a foodie and live to fill my face, so before I’m even done with breakfast I’m already thinking about what I’m eating next. However, my work is mostly sedentary, so I’m constantly seeking ways to cure my cravings. This white tea is flavoursome enough to provide some sensory delight, but light enough not to fill you up just before lunch.
Tummy Rub by Tea Box
Like many brands, Tea Box offers bespoke tea and herbal blends, but endeavours to set themselves apart by using innovative thinking to penetrate the market. I was vaguely aware of this brand, but hadn’t actually tried any of their blends. This made me excited, along with the inclusion of mint (a fav) in the blend. However, Tummy Rub also contains fennel, liquorice and chamomile, none of which I am particularly fond of. In fact I usually avoid them, so this made me incredibly apprehensive. In the first sip all I felt was bewilderment. This was nothing like the flavours I dreaded. The fennel is light, the liquorice is insanely sweet and the chamomile combines with mint to provide a calming demeanour. In an unexpected turn, the flavours combine flawlessly creating a blend I actually really loved!
I enjoyed this: After an evening meal. I crave sugar constantly, so this surprisingly sweet herbal mix helped beat the pudding pangs after dinner.
Tea Tourist claims to offer a community of over 10,000 tea lovers to interact with. As a fellow tea lover this idea obviously excites me. Online forums, like Steepster, offer this too, but it can be hard to penetrate into the action and gain a genuine sense of community. I often feel that something is needed to add a bit of excitement into tea and initially thought that doing this through the exploration of monthly teas and getting people talking about them, almost like a book club, would help interaction and build that community feel that other services lack. However, disappointingly the community isn’t so much as an online space where tea lovers can go to talk tea, rather it currently seems to be just the Tea Tourist social media pages. Whilst they do have over 10,000 followers, I find it hard to believe these are all genuine. This is something the company has denied but I find it a little shady for such a new company to have so many followers so early on, especially when many BIG brands have fewer follows.
Despite the above, which is the only criticism and hopefully something they can build upon and improve, I think that Tea Tourist is an ingenious idea and a genuinely good way for tea lovers to explore the world of tea, not just the tea itself, but the tea industry as a whole. The box is super good value for money, like really really good, and offers a genuine balance of tea, from pure to herbal to blends. The tea industry is constantly getting creative and inevitably brands focus, get inspired and create in totally different and unique ways. So why limit yourself to just one brand, when you can experience a multitude of blends from a range of brands?
Fancy a try? Use “TASTETHETEA30” for 30% off your first box.
(Just a heads up, I don't get commission from this code, but you do get 30% extra in your pocket. :D)