Thursday, November 20, 2014

Are Goats Especially Impatient? (Tea Box Express Review)

A couple of days ago, something wonderful happened.

This box arrived on my doorstep.

Kaelah Bee wrote about Tea Box Express pretty recently - and I even mentioned them in one of my Five Things Posts. I ended up purchasing a box as a gift for a friend. I hadn't actually planned to sign up for the subscription itself at first, until Kaelah mentioned pumpkin cookies might be involved.

Then I felt like maybe I needed to check this out.

You know.

For science.

Tea Box Express is a subscription service; you've seen these all over the internet recently. You pay a monthly fee (in this case, $25.50 per month, plus I think $5.99 in shipping - you can also send it as a gift without signing up for more than one month!) and receive a box each month. StitchFix does a clothing version, Fabletics does workout gear. Tea Box Express, you guessed it, does tea.

And tea accoutrements.

Oh, what accoutrements they are.

Of course, I had to get to them first. These packets of chai mix were on top. I've had this brand before - in fact, I've probably spent a small fortune on them over the course of my life - so I knew already this was going somewhere wonderful. In each box a little label is placed at the top, walking you through the month's theme and describing the items inside.

Then, I started diggin'.

I ended up having to take them outside, where the light was fading fast, but it lasted long enough for me to take a couple of photos.

We've got the chai mix on top... I had planned to save it and parcel it out over the next couple of weeks, but we had a pretty bad, late night at one point this week and it seemed like chai mix would probably be the only thing that could rescue us. So I made hot chai and added cinnamon whiskey. This chai mix is pretty much my favorite winter drink ever. I'm now on a mission to buy myself some more.

Well, some more chai mix and some more cinnamon whiskey.

You know.

Like you do.

The pumpkin cookies Kaelah talked about. I've been forcing myself to eat this in small amounts, and already half the package is gone. I will mourn their loss, when I eat the last one.

They're perfectly crispy and sweet and taste exactly like I wish gingersnaps actually tasted. The pumpkin pie spice is a really strong flavor, which I love. Cookies aren't usually this crispy, and I hate soft cookies. These are basically God's answer to how I want cookies to be.

I may or may not have dipped these in whipped cream and turned it into dessert.

I think they would also be amazing crushed up and poured over ice cream.

Or put into a milkshake.

Or turned into a pie crust

I'm turning into Bubba from Forrest Gump now, aren't I?

I'll just say I really, really liked these cookies and stop there.


The non-edible items in the box included this tea-measuring spoon (the text on it says "1 cup of perfect tea") and the bamboo tea-steeper you see here.

I immediately put these two to use.

As in, the next morning.

With this:

Each month you receive a different kind of tea in your box. This month was chai, which was really honestly what had me signing up for November. I am a chai fan. It always shows up in my lists of my favorite teas, and I am very very very very very picky about the kinds I like.

Most chai these days sold commercially seem kind of watered down. The flavor isn't strong enough, or the black tea they use as the base isn't very good. It's easy to get by with subpar black tea, and lots of companies don't go the extra mile for the good stuff.

Not this company.

Tali's Masala Chai is exactly what I like - the flavor was strong and spicy. The base black tea is Assam, which is super woodsy and strong and takes really well to the added cardamom, ginger, and other spices. It can stand up to the flavor, so you're not just drinking a cup of flavored ginger water, it's a good black tea.

We had it with breakfast the next morning. I used a little more than the suggested amount of looseleaf, but in my defense I was up at 3:30 in the morning staring blearily at a child who insists on needing things at night.

I of course measured it using the teaspoon and steeped it into the bamboo steeper on top of a mug made for Jason by our talented friend Stevie a few years ago. The mug just seemed really appropriate.

It smelled divine before it was even done. It was peppery and it definitely had a very strong cardamom scent and flavor. Not enough chais go heavy on the cardamom.

More should.

I added honey and milk, because I never drink hot black tea without both those things. Jason just takes a little milk.

Loved it.

Have had it twice since Tuesday, and will probably drink more tomorrow morning.

I'm definitely signing up for December.

Although, actually, that brings me to my next point - Tea Box Express did a call for bloggers to partner with last week, just after my box had shipped but before I had actually received it. I kind of jumped on it - I've never partnered with a brand before in any way, but this seemed like a great way sort of dip my toes in it and figure out how all this madness works. I emailed them a horribly clunky newbie "I have no idea what I'm doing but I think this sounds sort of like what I should say" email and they took pity on me and we hashed out a deal.

So I'm partnering with Tea Box Express!

I'm getting a bit of a deal on my December box in order to share its contents with all of you. This kind of works out for everybody included, because I was going to do that anyway. Now I get to do it as part of an official partnership!

Keep an eye out for December and I might have something pretty cool to show you. I'm looking forward to what I'll receive then, and I'm looking forward to something pretty fun for January's box for those readers who have put up with me for so many years!

You're saints, all of you.

In the meantime, if you're interested and want to look into signing up (or even ordering a box from a previous month, which you can do here - I highly suggest picking up November's box!), hop on over and take a look at the pricing and how it works. Maybe mention me in an email, post on their Facebook page page or Twitter to let them know I gave you the idea and that I am wonderful and you love me ever so much and listen to my opinions because they are made of gold. It makes me look good, and I think we all want me to look good.

Suspiciously good.

Maybe think about giving a box as a Christmas gift, but only if you actually really like the person. Don't waste a gift like this on someone you feel 'meh' about. This is not a 'meh' gift. This is a gift you give to someone and then show up at their house and ask them to make you tea and then you eat their cookies because they're delicious while they stare at you, horrified at the crumb-covered monster you've become.

Do that.

I'll be over here, already waiting for December's box because I don't have the patience God gave a goat.

Pssst. While I am about to start a partnership with Tea Box Express, and will write about future boxes as part of my deal with them (this one was not sponsored and I wrote about it out of sheer enthusiasm), all opinions will be 100% honest, entirely my own, and probably so full of digressions and rambling that you'll wonder how we started talking about tea and ended up discussing the very strange noses of elephants. Thanks for coming with me as I start discovering how to work with brands and still maintain the weird stories, photos of my daughter, and LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY CATS attitude you've all grown to love. Or read out of pity. Whatever. I'll take what I can get.


  1. Hot damn, these teas do sound good. I agree about commercial "chai" being kind of a joke. Growing up, the families that my family went to our version of "church" with were mostly from India, and they served what they called chai after dinner. This was back in the 80s, before, like, Starbucks and stuff, but anyway, it was basically just super duper strong black tea with a lot of cardamom, milk and sugar. Smashcut to present day, every chai I order from every cafe in America lists like 10 spices on the back, and it still tastes like diluted NOTHING.

    Anyway, I can tell from your analysis that you set the bar high for this stuff too, and it actually sounds great! Not that pretty much anything wouldn't theoretically be amazing with whiskey. Have you ever had Tanzania Luponde? If you love dark, deep, serious TEA tea, it's the shiiiiiiiiiz.

    1. You should pick up a box! I'm going to post about a deal Tea Box Express is doing tomorrow to get you a discount, if you want. Or honestly, it's worth hunting that particular brand o fchai down. It made me very very happy.

      And YES, most chai available is way too sugary, too milky, and doesn't have enough bite to it.


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