Good morning all, M here again, with a review of the new subscription box from Teabox. I love tea. Tea is what keeps the world running on schedule and me from going completely bonkers. My coaster at work reminds me of this. Thus, it made sense for me to widen my tea repertoire.
In theory this is the July Teabox, but, since it arrived in August, it is August's box; I'll get to that in a second. The story in brief is that Teabox is a subscription service for loose-leaf teas, sourced directly from tea gardens in India and Nepal. It is $19.99/month and you get 80 grams of tea, sorted into 10 gram pouches. There don't seem to be any longer subscription options/discounts, but given that Teabox just revamped its entire plan structure, they may be coming. Unfortunately, when I first signed up back in June, it was during the revamping process, so my first order took longer than what, I hope, is normal. It arrived towards the end of July/early August, while I was on R&R. Part of the issue could have been that it was clearly rifled by customs at some point - you can see the damage on the internal box above, and the bag around it was also sliced. The packing on this was actually really impressive - the internal white box, packed inside another cardboard box, and wrapped in muslin, wax seals, and tape, as you can see below. Also, it's coming from India. I'm willing to give it a bit of wiggle on shipping time as long as it eventually arrives, unlike my dearly missed GeekFuel July box.
Thankfully the curious customs officials didn't actually take anything, and my direct-from-India by way of the DPO Teabox was unscathed. Inside was an introduction to the new plan setup, explaining that the box was now $19.99 instead of $24.95 (though originally the first box was supposed to be $14.95 - it DOES look like the discount held across price changes).
The box contained a selection of three teas, and, unexpectedly, a neat little tea-scoop for measuring the 'proper' amount of tea per person (I usually eyeball it, so this is a handy widget) and reusable muslin tea bags (I have metal strainer balls, but nifty, and they worked well when I tried them).
The first selection of teas wasn't particularly diverse - three different versions of Darjeeling: Castleton Exotic Summer Darjeeling Muscatel Black (2); Seeyok Special Summer Darjeeling Muscatel Black (3); and Teabox Classic Summer Darjeeling Muscatel Black (3). I had hoped for a wider range, but given that I said I like all teas (true) on my quiz, they probably sent what was most readily available. I've brought one of each of the pouches to work, and have been brewing away there as well. What I like is that on each pouch they have drinking suggestions - with milk, with honey, etc. They also have more detailed instructions on their site (see below for the Castleton).
Overall, I have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, my first Teabox subscription box. According to their website, my next subscription has a wider variety of teas, too - another Darjeeling but also an Assam and a Green tea. I'm just hoping that, since it shipped mid-July, it hasn't gotten lost in the DPO vortex that took my GeekFuel July box.
- Value: 7 out of 10. There's a lot of tea here, if you figure that each pouch makes 2-3 pots of tea, it's a month's worth of tea. However, if you go on Amazon, you can get 100g of Darjeeling from Twinings for under $10. You're paying for the direct-from-small-producer spirit. Also, shipping from India... On the other hand, you have the little scoop and bags, though I'm not sure if they'll have widgets in each box or if it was a 'first box' extra
- Appropriateness: 7 out of 10. I love tea, and I drink a TON of black tea to keep me going. My staff know I'm not functional until I've had my first cup. That said, I'd have liked a bit of variation rather than 3 Summer Darjeeling Muscatel Blacks. I honestly can't tell the difference between them (but they're all delicious, especially with a bit of honey).
- Fun: 10 out of 10. The wait for the shipment is annoying, but having a package arrive covered in muslin with wax stamps and filled with tea is pretty awesome. Plus, I like that you can go on their website and find information on the individual tea estates. For example, the first on my list comes from Castleton: "Located in the south Kurseong sub district, the Castleton tea estate in Darjeeling was established by Dr. Charles Graham in 1885. The tea crops cover 170 hectares while the elevation ranges from 915 to 1830 meters. This estate is famous for its unique Black, White and Green teas that are infused with a rose like fragrance and have a distinctive unique muscatel flavor. Castleton Estate was the first tea estate to receive the ISO 9002 certification for producing some of the best Darjeeling Teas every year."