Friday, March 20, 2015

Giving Me Chocolate is Always Dangerous: Tea Box Express March Review

The Tea Box Express people always just seem somehow to know when I kind of need something new in my life. Sometimes it's a rainy day, sometimes it's just been a crazy stressful one. This time, I was sick.

Oh Lord, so sick.

I've been battling illness off and on basically since Audra went into daycare, and this last round really knocked me over. It was bad enough that Jason, who shares my general inability to ever get around to actually setting a medical appointment, actually insisted I visit Urgent Care on a Sunday.

I went in, and a man named Dr. Strange told me I had a sinus infection, I've probably been slowly succumbing to it since early February, and that if I had come in a month ago we probably could have gotten rid of it with a few antibiotics, but with what we're looking at now I had to do a round of some pretty serious ones.

So that was just a super fun conversation.

I ended up taking Monday off because things were so bad Sunday night. I got about three hours of sleep (in two 1.5 hour segments), and I just could. not. drive. So I curled up on the couch and worked from home with a snuggly dog, the baby at daycare, two good-sized naps, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.

It was like Tea Box Express knew I wasn't feeling well, because their box arrived right as things were taking a downturn, and my throat was in some pretty serious need of nonstop tea.

Their theme for this month was Make a Difference, and the companies they partnered with here all do just that in one way or another. Some companies donate a portion of their profits to helping fund education, public health, and other things in developing nations. Some are Fair Trade Certified, ensuring the workers who help bring the products to the market are paid a fair wage in their countries.

First, the tea! Tea of the People's Dragon Well Green Tea with Blueberry and Dragon Fruit.

This is our second month of getting green tea in our box, and I have mentioned before that green tea really isn't my favorite. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by this. It really tastes like a blueberry herbal tea to me, with very little of the grassy green tea taste but with all its energizing effects. Dragon Well is a particular kind of green tea, originally only consumed by the ruling family, with a narrower sword-shape for its leaf than most green teas. It's pretty antioxidant-heavy, so combining it with blueberries and dragon fruit basically turns it into Super Food Tea.

I've had it freshly steeped and hot, iced (mostly because I got busy with the baby, forgot about it, and realized it had been sitting on the counter waiting for me until it went cool, then I poured it over ice and pretended I did that on purpose), sugared and straight. Each of them has been absolutely delicious. The blueberry flavor is really strong, and I love blueberries. I definitely recommend this tea!

Plus, it even looks pretty when you measure it out. It's definitely a tea I would offer to guests.

It's worth keeping an eye out in your box, too - there's a coupon in there for your next Tea of the People purchase! I've got my eye on the Barrel Aged Chai.

How did I sweeten my Dragon Well tea, you ask?

With these fair trade sugar cubes from India Tree!

I have never actually owned sugar cubes for tea before. It felt sort of delightfully old-fashioned to drop a cube into the bottom of a cup before I poured the tea in. They were perfect for sweetening just enough for an 8-ounce cup of tea.

This is another "company" thing, in my mind. I think I would have guest over and put out a little bowl with sugar cubes in it for guests to decide their own sweetness. I'm basically planning a tea party with my friend Sarah, who has her own blog over at A Kitchen Full of Flours (and the focus of my "Sarah is a saint" tag on this blog) already.

(Trust me, she'll read this and already be figuring out a good day for it. She's no victim of my enthusiasm, she's the devil on my shoulder. Or angel. Um. Depends on if she's reading this or not.)

These are what you would use to pick up and drop the sugar cubes in!

These little hands are tea tongs, but struck me as being less for moving tea bags themselves in and out of the mugs (like these from the December box) and more perfectly suited to sugar cubes. Also, I like the humor involved in them being tiny little hands.

Also also I may or may not have used them to pinch myself and then giggled like a child.

May or may not have.

A tea steeper! I really like this one - the mesh is very fine, and it balances expertly on both smaller mugs and larger ones (although I haven't tried it on my biggest mug and let's face it, that thing is the Godzilla of mugs and nothing can really stand up to it). It lets you kind of enjoy, in the case of this month's Dragon Well tea, how pretty the looseleaf tea looks before brewing and even kind of afterward.

The fine mess means I didn't have any sediment or little leaf-y bits in my tea, but I'm not sure how it will hold up to my mate teas, which tend to slip or slide their way through just about every strainer I've ever used.

I saved the best for last.

sweetriot's Dark Choclate Covered Cacao Nibs are basically crack cocaine.

But... in a good way.

I went through the whole little canister of these (made in the perfect size for slipping even into a smaller purse or, in my case, a diaper bag) in a shocking and shamefully quick amount of time. But they were lovely. Just a little bitter and not too sweet, the slightest bit of crunch, and small enough that you could totally tell yourself you were only going to eat five or six and then hey where did twenty go?

The box this month came with a special piece of paper that had a coupon code for buying more sweetriot using their website, and I'm inclined to make good use of that coupon. I mean, you can never have too much delicious chocolate, right? Especially since sweetriot is a fair-trade, organic, non-GMO company. I could get dangerously used to this.

Overall, I liked this month's box! It seemed good for spring - a light, fruity tea, a couple of accessories and a sweetener, and a light little dessert. I'm looking forward to April and seeing what's coming up! Tea Box Express routinely post little sneak peeks on their blog or Facebook pages, but I try to let myself be surprised and don't read them. Go "like" their Facebook page for regular updates and to get your own sneak peeks in!

You can sign up for the subscription box here, give the box or a short subscription to a loved one, shop for old boxes (I heavily and high recommend and would basically force you if you were right here in front of me to buy the January one!)

* This post was done in partnership with Tea Box Express - they give me a nice discount on my monthly box, I share the goodies and my feelings about it with all of you! All opinions are 100% my own - if I sound enthusiastic, it's because I really am. If I seem mope-y, well, that's authentic, too... although tea very rarely makes me mope-y. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here (or my the blog's FB, or wherever you may see me a-wanderin') and just ask! You'll get my honest answer. If you do decide to pick up a box, either by signing up for a subscription, buying it as a one-time gift,or purchasing it from the shop after-the-fact, please please please let the good folks at Tea Box Express know that it was me who sent you!

1 comment:

  1. I love your pictures! Green tea has never been my favorite either, but I'm slowly being won over. It turns out the cheap green tea bags I'd used in the past are not where it's at.

    Hope you're feeling better this week!


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