With cooler days ahead and finals upon us, warmth and caffeine are necessities. If you’re not a coffee drinker, or perhaps have had one cup too many, then a cup of tea might be just what you need.
I don’t claim to be an expert on tea, but I was quite excited to get to try out the new “Story of My Tea” subscription box. Subscription boxes of all kinds have been popular for a couple of years now and they offer a simple way to enjoy a variety of products without making a large financial investment, something I try hard to avoid.
As a fan of tea and local businesses, I was keen on checking the box out. Initially, I tried to find out some information about the company and the product, but this proved surprisingly difficult. I was only able to find the company Facebook and Twitter, which contained little information about pricing or subscription. Logistically, this may just be because the company is new, but the products depicted looked enticing.
The box itself was unimpressive, but my opinion of the packaging changed when I opened it to find five neatly styled pouches with a note from the production team, as well as a small map that depicted which countries each tea was from. I had a moment of panic after realizing that the tea was loose-leaf (I don’t own an infuser), but luckily they thoughtfully included ten unfilled teabags for amateurs like myself. The individual tea pouches were slightly sticky, but printed nicely with the logo, caffeine level, name and country of origin. Also, on the front were five small stars for filling in your personal rating. On the back were the brewing instructions, aroma, taste and tips. What I found most unique was the scan code included relaying the tradition and culture surrounding that particular tea.
Icca Kariban (Green Tea) from Japan
This tea had a very strong, distinctive “green tea” smell (like matcha) but once steeped it tasted mild and lovely, with a slightly floral aftertaste. I would recommend this to any first-time tea drinker. Personal Rating: 4/5 stars
Ya Bao (White Tea) from China
I loved this tea. It had wonderful floral and pine smells and was incredibly smooth and fragrant. The combination of aroma and taste made it my favorite. Personal Rating: 5/5
Margaret’s Soother (Herbal Tea) from USA, China and Madagascar
This herbal tea smelled exactly like the holidays, with a variety of spices. I liked that I could faintly taste multiple flavors in this tea, but the peppermint made them difficult to distinguish and seemed a bit overpowering. Personal Rating: 3/5
Dark Rose (Dark Tea) from China
This one. Smelled. So good. It had a distinctive fruity scent and heavy notes of rose. Once it was steeped, however, the rose taste diminished slightly. It mostly tasted like a regular black tea, with the smallest hint of floral. Personal Rating 4/5
Shou Puerh Tou Cha (Puerh Tea) from China
I found this tea to be the most interesting, as it’s actually a post-fermentation tea. It smelled exactly like hay. What surprised me the most was how mild and earthy the taste was, and ultimately this was my second favorite. Personal Rating: 5/5
One of the few things I would change about the box, or the subscription in general, would include providing a webpage specifically for the product that would be easy to locate. I especially loved the pouches that the tea came in and perhaps the design on those could be applied to the outer box. I would also take the “Rating Stars” off of each individual pouch (as they will probably get thrown away) and move them to a card or booklet that could be kept separately.
I appreciated that teabags were provided, and I feel that the amount of tea in the pouch was a generous sample that can be enjoyed multiple times. What impressed me the most was the variety of the teas, in type, flavor and origin. The idea behind this box is thoughtful, original and well-executed. It’s the perfect gift for a tea enthusiast or someone looking to try new things.