|"If the tea horse was to drop off a box to your house, this would be it. With flavors ranging from woody to citrus this is a box you don't want to miss out on."|
I received Tea Horses' Four Nation's box, this includes tea from four different nations, a Japanese Kuki Cha, a Ceylon from Sri Lanka, a Golden Needle black from China, and Earl Grey that "spans four nations and gives a British twist". Not only was there four different kinds to enjoy, the kind Tea Horse put in some unbleached, biodegradable tea bags, a generous portion of 40 bags! If you're new to tea and don't have all the right accessories, or if you're on the go, Tea Horse makes it right by making sure there's no excuse for not having a cup.
Included in my sample was a list of prices, this box ranges from $15.89 (€11.95) for a one time subscription to $159.53 (€120) for a whole year. They also have a 3 month subscription which would be a great gift for $46.53 (€35).
My favorite part about tea of the month subscriptions are the accompanying instructions and flavor profiles of each. This is the second subscription I've been able to review and I must say I was pretty impressed by Tea Horse's display as well as their flavor profile pamphlet. Included is the country of origin, a bit about the tea, it's history, as well as brewing instructions, type of tea, and elevation the leaf was picked at.
I decide to start with the simplest of the four, Earl Grey. A classic that isn't to be forgotten; combining a Chinese Keemum, Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon teas with essential oil of Bergamot, this Grey is packed full of surprises. I used 1 tsp of leaves as directed, and it was plenty, the blend of blacks created a full body, wonderful!
My second choice was the Panyong Golden Needle, this tea was picked in April at Taimu Mountain in Fuijan, China. It has golden tips, though not as many as I'd expect to see. The leaves smell sweet of chocolate, toast, and honey. The aroma is of a fresh baguette with tomatoes. The cups actually tastes very similar to something I have had before from a woman at a Chinese restaurant, though even she didn't know the name of it. For some reason I couldn't get past the tomato like taste of this tea, though it does taste a bit like toffee as it cools. Eating this with something sweet took away some of the tomato taste. My second brew had a little spicyness to it, over all not my favorite, it was a bit one dimentional.
The Ceylon included is a FBOP grade tea, which means it is composed of small broken leaves. It's been a while since I've had this grade of tea (man I sound like a snob). The leaves smell sweet, floral and woodsy. The aroma is sweet of cherry wood and wild flowers. I used a little over 1 tsp and brewed for 4 minutes with water just off the boil. For some reason this cup really gave me a hard time, it came out bitter the first time. I enjoyed this tea multiple times on vacation and found that though it was a good take along, I had to be quick on the draw to remove the bag. I'd suggest brewing for no more than 3 minutes to prevent a bitter taste. One cup was so bitter I ended up just throwing it out.
The last offering I tried was the Kuki Cha, a Japanese tea made of leaves and stems. This was my favorite second to the Earl Grey, but again it was finicky getting it to taste just right. My first two cups I followed the instructions and used 2 tsp. and brewed for 2 minutes at 175F. They kept turning bitter on me, which is easy for a green. I fixed the bitter taste by lowering the brewing temperature and steeping a little under 2 minutes.
Overall, I would recommend Tea Horse's tea of the month boxes. While I can't speak for all their teas, they have a good thing going with clear and concise directions, and an eye pleasing presentation. Though the brewing temperatures may have been a bit generic, it's easy to find the perfect cup with a little patience. This subscription lasted for multiple brews, as well as shared over family dinner with 4 people and I still have a ton left over!
Tea Horse has multiple boxes that would suite any palate, I'd highly recommend one for an upcoming birthday!
— To purchase Tea Horse Four Nations Monthly Taster Box, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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