Teatourist’s Quintessentials Tea Adventure

Quintessentials Tea Adventure (March 2018) by Teatourist
£11-15 for 1 box, plus shipping (+£3-5 per box)

Teatourist has provided me with the Quintessentials Tea Adventure for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

This was the first month where Teatourist had updated packaging! I quite like it – the bright orange goes so well with the teal, and it’s less the sleeve, so there’s less packaging to go into recycling, which I quite like as well. This monthly box came with six different teas, and four of the six are straight teas! The only way I’d be even more excited about trying this box would be if this box contained fudge

The teas in this box are: Morgans Brew Tea by Morgan’s Brew Tea Company (black tea), Ceylon Tea by Cheeky Chai (black tea), Green Tea with Jasmine by Pure Leaf (green tea), Bright Afternoon by Brighteas (black tea), Earl Grey 1833 by CHASH The Fine Tea Co (flavoured black tea), and Safari Oolong by Nothing But Tea (oolong).

Morgans Brew Tea has a strong smell to it that reminds me both of a breakfast tea (think British or Irish), while having some apricot notes in the dry leaf. This straight black tea is a blend of a few East African black teas (from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda). Ceylon Tea (Pekoe Fannings) has a mildly sweet aroma, and has a very familiar black tea aroma to it. Ceylon Tea consists of 100% small leaf ceylon tea (pekoe fannings). Green Tea with Jasmine smells exactly as expected (like green tea and jasmine) and, surprise, consists of Chinese green tea and jasmine flowers.

From left to right: Morgan’s Brew Tea, Ceylon Tea, and Green Tea with Jasmine.

Bright Afternoon has an interesting aroma that reminds me of a fresh after-rain smell, and has some mushroom-earthiness to it. The ingredients in this black tea are Chinese Keemun, Mao Feng, and Yunnan black teas. Earl Grey 1833 has a lovely bergamot/citrusy aroma to it, and smells like most Earl Grey teas that I’ve smelled in that past. Curiously, the ingredients are listed as being the finest Ceylon black tea and pure bergamot oil. However, there’s obviously flower petals in the blend that aren’t listed in the ingredients. Safari Oolong is the most intriguing to me, as it has a very light honey and floral aroma to the dry leaf. Safari Oolong is 100% oolong tea from Tumoi Teas, located in Nandi Hills, Kenya.

From left to right: Bright Afternoon, Earl Grey 1833, and Safari Oolong.

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Teatourist: Magic & Mischief Collection

Magic & Mischief Collection (December 2017) by Teatourist
£11-15 for 1 box, plus shipping (+£3-5 per box)

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Teatourist has provided me with the Magic & Mischief Collection for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Teatourist curates and produces monthly tea subscription boxes. Each box comes with 6 different tea samples, containing enough tea to have 3-4 cups per tea, ranging from £11 (for a monthly subscription box) to £15 (for a one-off themed box). The packaging is beautiful, I love the bright colours. Each tea sample comes in a sealed (and resealable) plastic bag, with a corresponding card that can be taken apart. The tab over the front identifies the tea, while the rest of the card gives information on steeping instructions, the flavour profile, ingredients, and about the tea company itself.

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The Magic & Mischief collection consisted of 6 teas plus a sample of fudge. The fudge didn’t last long after I started taking photos but I can tell you that it was delicious. The teas are: Mulled Wine Infusion (fruit tea) by Rutland Tea Company, Christmas Cake (black tea) by Bluebird Tea Co., Amaretta (black tea) by Tugboat, Cranberry Sauce (rooibos tea) by Parched Tea, Le Beauté Tea (herbal tea) by Pacifique Herbal Infusion, and White Christmas (white tea) by Nothing But Tea.

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Because it’s already February (customs/post took a bit longer than expected due to holidays/customs) and this was the December box, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on three of the six tea blends. I’ll focusing my review on: Amaretta by Tugboat, Le Beauté Tea by Pacifique Herbal Infusion, and White Christmas by Nothing But Tea.

20180202-teatouristdecember4Clockwise from top: White Christmas, Le Beauté Tea, and Amaretta.

Amaretta is a flavoured black tea and consists of: black tea, almond, vanilla, and flavouring. There’s also what appears to be cornflower petals in the mix as well. The aroma is very strongly of almonds, with a hint of vanilla. It brings to mind of Christmas baking to me.

Le Beauté Tea is an herbal infusion, and consists of: quince, ginger, apple, carrot, lemongrass, spearmint, mallow, verbena, cranberry, cornflower blue, and natural flavouring. I definitely smelled the lemongrass, mint, and ginger when I opened up this bag. It’s very strong of those flavours – they’re quite aromatic and it has a nice brightness to it.

White Christmas is a flavoured white tea and consists of: white tea, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and rose petals. I think of the three, this one I would say is the prettiest. It has a beautiful aroma – primarily that of the cinnamon and ginger.

As an aside, the fudge is Orange Chocolate Fudge by Fab Fudge and was yum.

Preparation

The preparation instructions for the three teas that I opted to focus on are as follows:

Amarettea (from Tugboat): steep in 100°C (212°F) water for 3-4 minutes, with a suggestion that it can be enjoyed with or without milk, sweetened to taste (and possibly with some brandy as well). My initial steep of Amaretta was for 3 minutes.

White Christmas (from Nothing But Tea): steep in 80°C (176°F) for 2-3 minutes. My initial steep of White Christmas was for 2 minutes.

La Beauté Tea (Pacifique Herbal Infusion): steep in 100°C (212°F) for 10 to 15 minutes. Seemed a bit long, but I allowed it to steep for 10 minutes.

First Taste

Amaretta steeps to a deep golden orange, I found that the aroma of this flavoured black tea very much matched the aroma from the dry leaf (almonds and vanilla). The flavour is primarily that of the almond, with the sweetness of vanilla in the background. The black tea base had a bit of a bite to it, like a breakfast tea. I did wind up adding a little bit of honey and that helped to brighten up the vanilla flavours in this black tea blend.

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White Christmas steeps to a light golden orange, with the aromas still matching up to the dry leaf – being primarily cinnamon and ginger. I found the flavour to be quite warming, thanks to the spices. The white tea base helps to keep the tea light, while the rose petals added the very nice touch of a floral sweetness. I didn’t find that this tea needed anything added to it, the floral aromas were quite nice.

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La Beauté Tea steeps to a lovely light yellow. It stills smells like its strongest herbal ingredients – ginger, lemongrass, and mint. When I tasted this tea, I got a burst of lemongrass, mint, and the heat from the ginger. Delicious, but I did add a touch of honey – this helped to temper down the heat from the ginger, while helping some of the sweeter elements come out (apple and carrot).

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped all three of these tea blends. Amaretta did the best, with three additional steeps. I found that the vanilla flavours were mostly gone by the second resteep, so if the vanilla was your favourite part, perhaps keep this to just one more steep.

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White Christmas did quite well for two additional steeps, and the cinnamon and ginger flavours stayed strong for both steeps and were enjoyable. I enjoyed the warming flavours of the spices.

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And then there’s La Beauté Tea. This herbal infusion didn’t do that well with another steep, I would say it’s good for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved the Magic & Mischief Collection by Teatourist. For £11-15 (approximately $15-22USD), it’s really not a bad deal. Considering you get 6 tea samples (12-15g/sample), I’m not sure if the fudge comes with every box (but it’s so good) so I won’t take that into consideration, but for 72-90g of tea and to sample 6 teas from different 6 tea companies with such a variety of blends, I definitely think that the cost is worth it. For a great bonus, if you want to buy more of any one tea that you really liked, you get coupon codes for each tea company.

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