Products by Amoda Tea, Tea Sparrow and Plum Deluxe were provided for me at no charge for this review but the opinions are entirely my own. Note: as of July 13, 2017 I am also a Tea Ambassador for Plum Deluxe, allowing me special perks when you sign up.
When people ask me where I get my tea I feel a bit pretentious when I tell them China or Tokyo. I am a lucky girl with a husband who travels all over the world and brings me back gifts of tea. I myself have been lucky enough to discover delightful blends in Hong Kong, Maui and London.
I realize not everyone can travel to Asia (although if you’re a tea lover I highly suggest a trip to Shanghai and Tea City). I also understand that to the new tea drinker selecting and brewing teas can be a bit of a mystery. If you’re new to tea, a subscription box may be just what you need to expand your horizons at a minimal cost or risk.
Subscription services have been around for a long time. I am sure you can remember Clark Griswold getting his Jam of the Month club subscription instead of his bonus in Christmas Vacation? With services like BuluBox and NatureBox hitting it big, other companies have followed suit. Tea is the perfect product for a monthly box because it packs and ships well plus a little bit can go a long way. As a tea lover, I was very anxious to test out some of the most popular tea of the month boxes myself. Here are the four I had oh so much fun testing for you! (With the exception of Par Avion, the February selection was provided to me at no charge by each of the companies).
PlumDeluxe started as a blog and evolved into an online shop and community for tea enthusiasts. All the teas are Plum Deluxe creations from their studio in Portland, Oregon. The ingredients are organic, non-GMO and come from fair trade vendors where possible. They offer two affordable subscription options: one 1 oz package tea for $10 a month or two 2 oz packages of tea for $18 month. Members also get access to the private Facebook group for discussions, recipes and access to local events. (Note: as of July 13, 2017 I became a Tea Ambassador for Plum Deluxe.)
Tasting notes: The February tea was the Oregon Black Breakfast tea. I love a good English Breakfast tea but this surpassed any English Breakfast I have ever tried. The blend of black and honeybush teas with hazelnut essence had a smooth and almost caramel taste.
Best for: the artisan or the social butterfly.
Anyone can sample Par Avion Tea for $4.95 to get an idea of what you might receive in their tea club. The sample pack I received had a classic English Breakfast, Mango Rose green and white tea blend and Watermelon Lime green tea. By ordering the sample pack you do enroll in their Tea Club but if you’re not happy with the teas you have 10 days to cancel. If you choose to stay in the club you’ll receive one 4 oz selection of tea a month as well as 10% discount at their online shop.
Tasting notes: I am normally not a fan of flowery or fruity teas. You often can’t taste the tea because of the florals. The Par Avion blends however were well balanced and smooth. I was surprised to enjoy the Mango Rose as much as did!
Best for: the lover of all things Victorian and elegant or if you love hosting traditional afternoon tea.
Tea Sparrow is a curator of teas. Each month in your box you’ll receive four premium blends picked by their team of tea connoisseurs and sommeliers. The theme for the February box was Valentine’s Day and included one of my favorite things – chocolate tea! At just $20 a month (which includes shipping) the quantity of tea you receive is very generous. The web site says you should be able to get 35 cups of tea out of your box! For most people that would be an entire month of tea drinking. If you enjoy a particular blend of tea just visit their web site to link to the supplier and order more. It’s also super easy to order a box for a friend.
Tasting notes: I will have to order more of the cacao tea. It was heaven in my cup with coconut milk and a hint of stevia – almost like drinking hot chocolate.
Best for: the hostess of book club or the gift giver.
Also a curator of teas, Amoda Tea’s Monthly Box is perfect for the beginner! For $18 a month you get four samples, instructions and biodgrable tea bags in one gorgeously designed package. I loved the variety in the February box. It included a green tea (Hazelnut Pear), two black teas (Lavender Earl Grey and Keemun) and an herbal (Serene).
Tasting Notes: I enjoy the taste of pure and basic tea, making Keemun the highlight of the box for me. It’s the kind of high caffeine tea I like when I wake up at 5 am to prep programs and write before the rest of the world awakens.
Best for: the novice or to keep in the desk to drink at the office.
I’m not going to pick a favorite because, as with, tea I can’t. My personal tea cabinet overflows because I need a different tea for the season, the time of day or the mood. Each tea subscription box has something to offer depending on where you are in your tea journey. I can promise you this: if your only experience with tea is the box of bags from the grocery story you will be delighted with any of these choices! Once you’ve experienced the quality of tea they deliver you won’t go back to the others. For much less than the price of a plane ticket you too can sample teas from all over the world with these high quality tea of the month options. Take a chance, try one of them out and tell me what you think!