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.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

The Sugared Teacup: Subscription Box Review

The Sugared Teacup
Monthly Tea Club Subscription
$20-35 per month or $35 USD per month

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The Sugared Teacup is a curated monthly subscription box by Deb, who I’ve had great pleasure in communication with online prior to purchasing the June and July themed boxes this year. I was really drawn to both the June and July boxes because they were themed for the Canada 150 celebration (and I’m a sucker for all things Canadiana this year!). This review will be centered around the July box, which she entitled True North: With Love from Canada.

There were a lot of hand written goodness in this box, including a handwritten card, the story of how The Sugared Teacup came to be, and just cute handwritten notes throughout. Opening this box was like opening up a present that someone made just for me – it was so much fun and I could really tell that there was a lot of thought and care put into each item that was so carefully wrapped and put together. It’s definitely a fun way to treat yourself on a monthly basis.

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One of the goodies for the July box included one of four wooden tea-themed coasters created by The Maker Bean Cafe. The note said to smell the wood, so I had to! It smells amazing. I wish I had all four though, I love sets of things and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Deb decides to include the coasters in future boxes or sells them a la carte. Who doesn’t need a good set of tea-themed coasters?

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The next goodie was this lovely Canada 150 pin. Pins are just very on-trend right now, but I’ve always been a long-time collector of pins and magnets, so this one will fit right into my collection of badges. The art is by Yolanda of YFL.ART and includes the very iconic CN Tower from the Toronto skyline.

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Next up is the teas! I won’t be reviewing the teas in this review (because this is of the box only), but reviews of these teas will be coming up in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back for my thoughts and opinions on these three lovelies: Pluck Tea‘s The Canada 150 Blend (black tea blend), Lemon Lily‘s Summer Splash (herbal infusion), and Tealish‘s Northern Lights (green tea blend).

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The Sugared Teacup offers local pick-up of the monthly boxes (if you live in Toronto or can get to Toronto…), as well as shipped within Ontario, and the rest of Canada. There’s also a USA option if you’re south of the 49th parallel. The prices vary depending on if shipping is a factor or not. There are 1, 3, and 6 month options when subscribing to The Sugared Teacup.

The amazing thing is that there’s so many options for your tea boxes! Deb offers boxes for: black, green, straight green, fruit, herbal/rooibos, mixed, or her Tea Box of the Month. Like I mentioned, just so many options! The Canada 150 boxes that I got for June and July fall under the “Tea Box of the Month”, which I just thought were amazing. I think if I were to continue getting The Sugared Teacup boxes, I would definitely opt for the themed boxes because it would really push me to try different teas from companies that I may not have heard of. As it is, I’m really excited to try the teas that I got in both the June and July boxes because the companies are new to me and the teas are also new to me as well.

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I loved getting my box in the mail. It’s just a lot of fun to open up a well-decorated box that just had so much going on. I think that The Sugared Teacup is a fun way to introduce yourself to new-to-you teas, and the personal touches that Deb puts into these boxes are incredibly thoughtful. The Sugared Teacup boxes are just so well put together and the curated collection of teas are just done so well.

Plum Deluxe: Tea Club Review

Plum Deluxe
Monthly Tea Club Subscription
$10-16 USD per month

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Plum Deluxe has provided me with their January Tea Club package for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Andy Hayes of Plum Deluxe contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a monthly club package for Plum Deluxe – of course I said yes! Plum Deluxe offers a monthly tea club subscription, an online shop for à la carte tea shopping, as well as an online community and blog full of tea resources. It was fun getting the January tea club shipment in the mail – I was sent the two teas option (two 1oz teas, with 1 tea sample), as well as the autumn/winter playbook for Plum Deluxe, which costs $16USD/month. There is also a single tea option (one 1oz tea with 1 tea sample) that is $10USD/month. Subscriptions are paid for quarterly (3 months), and at the time of writing they only ship within the United States and to Canada. For Canadian tea lovers, they offer the 1 tea option of their monthly tea club subscription for $17USD/month and the 2 tea option for $23USD/month – also charged for 3 months at a time.

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For my package, I did get to choose one of the tea choices. Whichever option you choose (1 tea or 2), you’ll always receive the special blend of the month. If you opt for the 2 tea option, you get the 1oz of the special blend of the month, 1oz of a surprise signature blend, and 1 tea sample. I had gone through the Plum Deluxe website and Vanilla Latte had appealed to me, so Andy was kind enough to make that the ‘surprise’ signature blend for me. In this package, the teas I received were A Dark Night Orange Spice Puerh (1oz), Vanilla Latte Tea (1oz), and Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea (sample). The special blend of the month is exclusive to tea club members.

I was quite pleased with the packaging that Plum Deluxe has opted for. They use clear, resealable bags. It’s nice because you can easily see what the tea blend looks like, as well as how much you have left. For storage purposes, I always recommend keeping teas in a dark place – light is one of the things that can speed up tea going a bit stale or losing flavour.

I’ll be keeping the order of each tea throughout the sections consistent – with the special January blend first (A Dark Night Orange Spice Puerh), followed by my pick (Vanilla Latte Tea), and the tea sample (Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea).

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A Dark Night Orange Spice Puerh has a very strong cinnamon, orange/citrus smell in the dry leaf. I like that I can make out the ginger and anise in the tea blend. This puerh blend is made up of: puerh tea, cinnamon bark, orange peel, ginger root, hibiscus, rose hips, anise, safflower, and orange essence.

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Vanilla Latte Tea’s dry leaf has a honeyed smell, I can also make out the vanilla and the cardamom. The smell of Vanilla Latte Tea reminds me a lot of a vanilla birthday cake, which is quite pleasant. Vanilla Tea Latte’s ingredients are: black tea, honeybush tea, ground cardamom, and vanilla essence.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea is a cute little sample, there’s really just enough for one cup and to get a taste for it. It smells like chocolate and hazelnut, which is a winning combination in my book! I love hedgehog chocolates (which have a hazelnut filling, if you don’t know the magic of hedgehogs), and the smell of this blend remind me of the hedgehogs so much! Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea is made up of: honeybush tea, cocoa nibs, hazelnut pieces, and hazelnut essence. Read More …