Your passport to the wonderful world of loose leaf tea!!
I first connected with Tea Tourist back in the spring of 2016, when they were building an online presence for their launch later that year. Although this is only the third box I am reviewing (see pt. I and pt. II for previous reviews), I have sampled plenty more. It all makes me feel like I've been a small part of their adventurous journey!
About Tea Tourist
A Quick Recap
Tea Tourist is a unique subscription service, in that they don't create the tea, instead they “love the people who do”, by sourcing blends from a variety of tea companies. Thus, guaranteeing a genuine variety month on month.
You'll receive 3-4 cups worth of 6 different teas, each from a different company, with their own information card. These cards now contain more info than before, allowing you to learn about and connect with the tea. There's also an area to add your comments and rate the tea, creating a nice keepsake to remember each tea of your journey! The tea envelopes, which were previously clear, have also been upgraded to the signature Tea Tourist teal!
A box only costs £15.00, with free delivery within the UK or a reasonable shipping fee for Europe, USA and Canada. As with other subscriptions, you can stop or pause at any time.
Six wonderful teas and I have the privilege to be acquainted with nearly all of the brands, having tried some of their teas before!
Jiu Jiu Jiu Guan Yin | Wan Ling Tea House
Ingredients: Chinese Oolong
Tasting Note: As an oolong lover, it’s always exciting to see a high grade, single origin oolong in a subscription pack. And this really got me excited... I'm talking out loud squeal excited... I fell in love with the Wan Ling Tea House after tasting their AA Grade Jasmine Pearls, unrivalled quality btw, and the chance to try another of their quality teas just got me! Both taste and aroma are delicate with a predominant note of minerals and florals, the latter lingering in the finish, long after each sip.
Enjoyed: On a windy hike. Now that I live near the mountains, sipping a tea like this (even if from a flask) with the glacial breeze whipping around me, really served to heighten my sense to the terroir.
Indonesian Pearls | Baraka Teas
Ingredients: Indonesian Green Tea
Tasting Note: I have actually already tried and reviewed Indonesian Pearls, curtsy of Baraka teas and found my thoughts to be much the same as before. It's tasty, with mineral, floral and vegetal notes, but so delicate and light that other teas can blow it out of the water, making it seem inferior and forgettable. I still respect the effort that goes into it; Baraka for sourcing it and the farmers for achieving organic status. The tasting card suggests icing the pearls, which creates a punchy "green" flavour.
Enjoyed: Before drinking the Guan Yin oolong or iced.
Camomile, Fennel & Rose Petals | Edgcumbes Tea & Coffee
Ingredients: Egyptian Chamomile, Fennel Seeds and Rose Petals
Tasting Note: SPOILER ALERT! I really don’t like chamomile… Before tasting this I felt stuck between a tea I hate and a brand I love, thanks to the wonderfully smoky Blend 45 (featured in the 12 Teas of Xmas). When I finally tried it, I found that it wasn’t that bad. It's very much a chamomile aroma, with the spicy scent of fennel that reminds me of health food stores, it's not a bad smell, I know people who enjoy it, but it reminds me of headaches! The first sip has a sour, metallic, aniseed-like tingle, (which I enjoyed! YAY!) and then drifts into the cottony-honey flavour of chamomile. You know when you taste something, and you think, "it tastes how [insert thing] smells"? Well this reminded me of the smell of fresh laundry… but as a taste… in my mouth… Yep. So… I guess chamomile just isn’t for me (don’t be surprised! I literally told you already!) BUT! I got through the cup, or enough of it to count, so that’s progress on a cup of straight chamomile at least! Not sure if I should be thanking Edgcumbes or apologising!?
Green Cardamom Chai | Ichai
Ingredients: Cinnamon, Green Cardamom, Cloves, Star Anise and Black Tea
Tasting Note: Over my tea drinking years I've slowly become accustomed to drinking certain black tea without milk. However, I generally find the black tea in chai blends to be bold, brisk and bitter, meaning I have to add milk. Although, I found steeping this blend for 2.5 minutes allowed for a smoother tea. The spices are great, cardamom heavy with the remaining spices creeping in behind. I'm sure when steeped for longer the rich flavours would blend well with milk.
Enjoyed: On a cold, rainy morning. The tea paired so well with a wet view of the city and chilly breeze running through the apartment.
Japanese Sencha | The Tea Makers of London
Ingredients: Sencha Green Tea
Tasting Note: It's not often I actually sit down and enjoy a sencha. I'm more of a Chinese green tea sort of gal and tend to find sencha too potent and crisp for my taste buds. If I'm drinking it, it'll usually be cold brewed! Perhaps it's my change in environment, but the crisp autumn days in Vancouver made this tea delicious. The aroma is filled with fresh grassy scents, whilst the taste is with sweet, zingy limes and a slightly toasted finish.
Enjoyed: Sat on a beach, in the sun of a crisp autumn afternoon, wrapped in a knit jumper and munching salty roasted chickpeas.
Blueberry Rooibos | Shibui Leaf Tea
Ingredients: South African Rooibos, Blueberry, Natural Blueberry Flavouring, Red Rose petals and Natural Acai Flavouring
Tasting Note: I've had bad experiences with blueberry blends. Like really, really bad. Shudder-inducing bad. Yet, this one went down easy! The steeped aroma is like a very sweet, sugary blueberry, but the flavour is underwhelming (not bad, just not special). The combination of flavours (carmael and fruit) seemed jarring against one another. It just wasn't my thing... Until I iced it. The sweet caramel hints combined with the fruitiness in a smoother way, whilst the rose became more apparent.
Enjoyed: Iced, after work when the apartment felt hot and stuffy.
As I've said in previous reviews, 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 and offers a genuine balance of tea, from pure to herbal to blends.
The tea industry is constantly expanding and brands are getting creative in unique and innovative ways, so why limit yourself to just one brand, when you can experience a multitude?
Fancy an adventure? Use code “TASTETHETEA” for 25% off your first box.
(Just a heads up, this is not an affiliate code, I don't gain a commission, but you do get 25% extra in your pocket! :D)