I was a bit stymied on how to review this on the site, so I went out on a limb and created this posting. I figured – why not?
Curious Tea is a company based out of the UK that has started a subscription box. One thing that I like very much about the box is the ability to choose the type of tea that will arrive. I don’t drink many greens and only have two herbals in the house (out of more than 200 teas), so my tastes aren’t very broad anymore. I appreciate the ability to target my preferences closely. Here is their website: http://www.curioustea.com
Since I have tried many of the different subscriptions that are out there, I jumped at the opportunity to give theirs a try as well. The communication from the company is extremely fast and very friendly. They let me know by email when the box was sent, and asked me to let them know when it arrived, since they were trying to get a handle on how long it might take to ship the box from the UK to the US. It took less than two weeks.
The presentation of the box was lovely. Photos here:
Two 50g packages of tea were included. They were nestled in red tissue paper, sealed with a logo sticker, and presented side-by-side in a very wide and flat box. On the inside lid of the box there were cards describing each of the teas (including the tea name written in the original language – which was neat). Each card had a space for tasting notes. The cards were affixed with spot glue and were easy to remove.
The teas were sealed in zipper lock foil-lined kraft paper envelopes, and that’s a great way to keep them indefinitely – so I loved that feature. Many of the tea subscriptions send their teas in packaging that can’t be closed again easily, so the end user is left with having to find a solution right away. Not so here. I also really liked the stickers on the tea packages. They made it quick and easy to find the quantities of tea to use, how long to steep, and at what temperature. One small note – the cards measured the tea in grams to half liters, and the tea envelope stickers measured in teaspoons and didn’t include a water quantity, so that seemed a tiny bit inconsistent.
Since Yunnan teas are my favorite, I started with the Yunnan Golden Tip tea. It smelled lovely in the bag, perhaps a bit lighter than some others (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). No brown “fairy dust” everywhere. And in the cup, it was a medium bodied tea without the heavy sweet potato or malty notes that some varieties have. It had a very nice light malty flavor and I enjoyed the cup thoroughly. The package asserted that the flavor would be caramel, and I could see that.
I haven’t had a ton of Darjeelings, but the ones that I have had brewed more nicely at lower temperatures, so I was surprised when the package said 100C. Perhaps I should have tried it at that, but instead I went lower. Initially the tea was very hot and hard to drink, but as it cooled I thought that the flavor improved and became the lighter muscatel that I was expecting. Dry, the leaf was a mix of greenish and black, so I think it was due to the first flush that it was lighter than ones I have had in the past. The brewed tea was very light in color, as I had expected from the greener leaf. It reminded me more of a white tea than a black, and had a very light muscatel character that was pleasant.
Overall I was very happy with this box, not only in the care taken to choose the teas but in the teas themselves, the quantities provided and the presentation. I think it will be an especially good subscription for people who live in the UK, and from what I understand, there aren’t many there. The postal surcharge for sending to the US makes it a tiny bit less appealing to me, but that is not a reflection on the box itself. Thanks to Curious Teas for the chance to write up this review!