'Samurai' Traveling Tea Box!!!

Anyone up for another traveling tea box?  SkySamurai has some teas to pass along, so that sounds like a good starter box.  SkySamuari also can’t post in the threads, so I’m doing the upkeep of the thread for the teabox.  I ran the ’Here’s Hoping’ teabox for (I think?) eight rounds so I was VERY thankful that we had such luck and success with that one!   I’m not sure if this will be international, I guess depending on who wants to ship international?  Or at least to Canada?  Please no offense if you’d like to join international but the shipping just won’t work out.  These get pretty expensive just to ship within the US.

Some quick rules:
+Make sure you’re following a couple people before and after you on the shipping list so they can contact you.
+Please only include teas on the fresh side.  It’s not worth it to ship a bunch of stale tea around.
+Please only use scent-proof packaging for the teas you include to prevent flavor contamination.
+No ‘priority’ mailing boxes please, as these are only supposed to be used once.
+Make sure ‘Samurai tea box’ is written on an inside flap of the box.
+Within this thread, please post which teas you have removed from the box and added to the box.
+Please post on the thread when you receive and mail out the box.

So if all of this sounds okay to you, please post here which state (or country) you’re in and where you don’t mind mailing to. Thanks!

Shipping order***
Tea-sipper —- New York – shipped 3.16.20
AJRimmer —- New Mexico – shipped 5.1.20
Shae - Alabama – shipped 6.27.20
Roswell Strange - Canada – shipped 8.16.20
Arby —- Canada – shipped 9.25.20
Amandastory516 - California – shipped 10.29.20
Michelle - Wyoming – shipped 12.11.20
Inkling —- Wisconsin shipped 1.8.21
back to SkySamurai -- Minnesota – made it back!

Since these are delicate times and everyone is concerned about this virus, especially as the scientists aren’t really sure what is happening with the time frames, if/how long this virus can last on something like tea. I don’t know, I don’t think the scientists know yet. I actually had the teabox sealed up and waiting to be mailed two and a half weeks ago, then was unable to get to the post office, so that might even be a way to go about approaching this teabox. I have not been sick at all, no one around me has been sick, so this teabox should be good to go, if that helps anyone’s peace of mind (for this stop of the journey anyway). I ended up liking how it happened that way, waiting to mail the box, so I can 100% say that I have not been sick and had no symptoms (since it looks like the virus might be present in someone a while before they show symptoms). It gives ME peace of mind for mailing the box onward. However, if anyone wants to drop out of the teabox at any point or be switched around in the order for any reason, let me know. This is completely understandable during these unprecedented-in-our-times times. Just use your best judgement to keep yourself and all other tea drinkers safe.

101 Replies
Shae said

I would be interested in joining! I’m in Alabama, USA. Shouldn’t be any trouble for me to send to Canada. I’ve never mailed anything outside of the USA or Canada, but I can look at rates if we have someone who wants to participate elsewhere.

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I’d love to participate again! I’m in Los Angeles, US. I’d prefer to ship within the US.

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AJRimmer said

I’m in New Mexico and would also prefer to ship within the US!

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Arby said

I’m in Canada but am willing to ship to the USA.

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Inkling said

I’d love to join! (Enjoyed your “Here’s Hoping” box in the past, tea-sipper!) I’m in Wisconsin, USA and would prefer not to ship to Canada if possible.

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It’s been a while since I did a travelling tea box, but I’m flush with teas and would love an excuse to share some of them so I’m down to participate, assuming we have someone willing to ship to Canada (I’m in Quebec).

I don’t mind shipping to the US, and if we have anyone international I’d be open to shipping there as well.

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I’m in Wyoming and I don’t mind shipping to Canada.

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Shipping order is up! PLEASE let me know if anyone wants to change anything in the order… like if some of you swap teas a lot and are next to each other on the list… or something like Arby always being before Roswell Strange in the order of teaboxes since they are both in Canada?

I’ll be traveling next week, if you or AJ want to send it to someone else before me that would be fine.

I’ll definitely have the teabox for at least one more week, so I think you’re safe?

Sounds good.

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OK, so while I’m likely sitting these sorts of things out till I have more to share, can you someone explain to me again how these things work for future reference? Someday I’d love to get in on one of these, I just… I’m a bit nervous that I’d do it wrong!

Oh it’s not difficult… you just replace the same amount of fresher teas you remove/try in resealable scent-proof pouches and then mail to the next person on the list whenever you think you’ve tried the teas you want to try. Some people, it takes a couple weeks to mail the box out. Others, they like to get the box mailed out quick and they just take the samples they want out for a later steeping time. I’m not sure if I’m being obvious with this explanation or do you have specific questions? I’ve done these teaboxes so long, I’m not sure what newbies need to know. haha

Well, I’d say one question is: What qualifies as a Resealable, Scent-Proof Pouch? Are we talking Zip-Lock baggie here, or something else? I’m also guessing you have to label everything you add (it just makes sense).

Question 2: How big of a box do these things usually run as? As in, how much shipping do they usually cost? Just curious as I always seem to have less money than what I want to spend it on! (Although my new system of getting paid weekly rather than monthly is working wonders!)

Question 3: How fresh is “Fresh”? Are we talking within a month? Within a year? Obviously you wouldn’t want anything that’s funky, but what qualifies as a stale tea? How old is too old?

If I think of more questions, I’ll add them. I would really love to try one of these sometime (once I build up my collection with more than just samples!)

I’d say sandwich baggies aren’t really scent proof or keep teas fresh. Something like these: (These are NOT the ones I buy, I just did a quick search on ebay for an example of the first one I saw. There are tons of options. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Various-Sizes-of-Green-Resealable-Clear-Front-Ziplock-Storage-Pouch-w-Hang-Hole/311969972349?hash=item48a2dc007d:m:mHSVDB20-Wv9FllIZ8vA6Pg
Anything like a tea shop might use would be fine!

The teaboxes are always different sizes (they tend to grow rather than shrink but it’s expected to add the same amount of tea you remove). I think I at least doubled the generous amount of teas that SkySamurai sent me to start the box, just to have enough variety and options. It’s never good to have a teabox be too small or too large. Shipping always depends. I had a huge teabox in the past that was costing $20 to mail, so you have to weigh the value of shipping costs and how much you’d like to sample some teas. :D I’ve tried hundreds of teas taking part in teaboxes that I otherwise would have never even heard of. It’s a great way to try one serving of something! There were only a couple of the teas that SkySamurai sent that I didn’t want to try.

Freshness is always up to each person! It certainly doesn’t have to be less than month old tea. But around a year old or less seems the best (MAYBE two). Nobody wants to guess the age of a tea or spend shipping sending out older tea. I’d rather have people try teas fresher, otherwise they aren’t really “tasting” the tea. I keep the older stuff around for me… at least I can remember what it once tasted like! haha.

There might be other rounds of this teabox that you’re welcome to join, if this one is successful!

Shae said

I’m still learning all this too and found this article on tea freshness that I’m going to follow for this box – https://www.teavivre.com/info/shelf-life-of-tea.html. I do have a lot of older teas that are still sealed, so I’m not sure if that makes a difference?

Also, I get my bags here and I really love them – https://www.clearbags.com.

Shae – I realized one day that every time I open a pouch of tea to take out a serving, the air gets to it and it probably doesn’t help the tea, so having teas that are still sealed probably helps a LITTLE bit.

Shae said

I hadn’t thought of this. I probably open mine way too much then. I always open a few teas to help me decide which one I want to have next.

I’m no expert… just guessing! Sometimes “airing out” a tea actually helps it, so who knows. haha

So, from the perspective of someone who partially works in the quality control department of a tea lab…

When a flavoured tea has VERY freshly been blended, sometimes it’s good/needed to air it out because the flavouring needs time to settle and the carrier used to apply the flavouring needs to fully dissipate – however usually by the time a tea has hit the market/is being sold the proper time has passed just because of how long the supply chain of blending the tea, getting the tea to warehouse, and then distributed to stores takes. Obviously talking more about retail stores, of course – though sometimes everything just moves really quickly and the odd tea gets through with VERY fresh flavouring, and I’d imagine those odds go way up when you’re talking about small companies who blend themselves either for one or two stores or to sell online. A tea with really fresh flavourings that hasn’t aired out often smells very alcoholic or sometimes chemical like acetone…

As far as air/aging for small pouches of tea; the more air exposure the faster the tea is going to age/the flavourings diminish. So it’s best to only open packages when making tea, and to try to “push out” all the air before resealing. Of course, that’s just not always realistic to how you consume your tea samples. I know I often have to smell four or five things before I totally know what I want to make. Small samples of tea also just age faster in general, compared to large/bulk amounts – there’s more surface exposure to all of the things in the blend compared to something like a kilo bag where only the outer layers are getting that immediate air exposure when you open up the package.

Thanks for your expertise, Roswell!

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The teabox should be getting in the mail tomorrow or the next day… I had the teabox a bit longer than I would have liked, but I didn’t have a chance to get to the post office. Thanks everyone — I hope you all find teas you enjoy! What it looks like right now:

Original teas that SkySamurai added:
Beach House Teas – Diamond Espresso’s Beach Berry Iced  Blend
Adagio Masters – Tie Kuan Yin Black
Great Tea Road – Sun Moon Lake #18
Udyan Tea – Jungpana Tippy Musk Black
Rakkasan – Andean Black & cacao
Rakkasan – Himalayan Spice Chai
ShaFa Blends – Masala Chai
Davidstea – Saigon Chai
Adagio – Bowcaster Brown (Star Wars blend)
Tea Runners – Famous Six Mountains Pu-erh
Tea Runners – Four Seasons Spring oolong
Lupicia – Four Seasons Mingjian oolong
Plum Deluxe – Drink Me Oolong
52Teas – Golden Mulberry Genmaicha Green
Mellow Monk – Top Leaf
Tea Runners – White Pearls
Verdant – 2018 Shou Mei
Verdant – 2019 Bai Mu Dan
Sipology – Candy Orange Hot Chocolate Mix
Sipology – Caramel Rooibos Latte
Long Dog Tea – Energizing Herbal
Tea Vibes – Chill Vibes
Swallowtail Tea – Appalachian Sunrise (Decadent Herbal “Coffee”)
three mystery Chinese teas

Tea-Sipper finished/removed from SkySamurai’s teas:
Tea Vibes – Chill Vibes (one serving)
Sipology – Candy Orange Hot chocolate mix

Tea-Sipper added:
Lupicia  -Tsugaru green
Lupicia -Neptune
Tiesta – Key Lime Largo
Tiesta – Ginger Sweet Peach
Tealyra – Calm Force
Tease – Candy Cane Crush
Simpson & Vail – Cocoa Shells
Simpson & Vail – Organic Lavender Flowers
Simpson & Vail – Valentine’s
Simpson & Vail – China Golden Silk Black Organic
Simpson & Vail – China Black
Simpson & Vail – Apple Cinnamon French Toast
Bird & Blend – Bananas & Custard
T2 – Choc Chip Chai
Octavia – Turmeric Ginger
Udyan – Darjeeling Spring
Teakruthi – Two Seasons
Teakruthi – Mythical Green
Teakruthi – Ceylon oolong
Harney & Sons – Chocolate
Elephant Chateau – Ceylon Black – Extra Special Leaf
Teavivre – Premium Dragon Well Long Jing 2019
Teavivre – Moonlight Beauty
Teavivre – Jasmine oolong

Stuff came up and I’m not sure when I will be able to mail the teabox. Will keep it updated.

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