Tea Runners Subscription Box Review – August 2017
Tea Runners is a subscription bringing you loose leaf teas from around the world each month – enough for 30-50 cups. You’ll also get tasting notes and brewing instructions.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Tea Runners
The Cost: $25/month (save with longer subscriptions)
The Products: 0.75-1 oz each of four different teas (these are from established tea companies but are re-packaged by Tea Runners into resealable bags)
Ships to: US and Canada for free, International for $12
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
This card was included. (More information on the teas, themselves, is printed on the packages.)
Imperial Green Biluochun from Tea Runners – Value $4.50?
Tea Runners doesn’t have a shop yet, but they are going to open one next month so you can purchase the Tea Runners branded items you receive in your subscription. In the meantime, I have based the value here off a similar tea, but please be aware that it could be a little higher, depending on the quality. I’m just trying to give a ballpark here. Last month we received a different Biluochun tea so I was excited to try another. This is definitely a Chinese style green tea and may take a bit of adjustment if you are not used to tea in this style (it is very different – much earthier, and more bitter – than something you’d buy from Lipton or Bigelow). I drink Chinese style green tea every morning so this is right up my alley and it is so pretty to look at.
Earl Grey Lavender from Rishi Tea – Value $3.50 (buy 4 ounces for $14)
I really used to think I didn’t like Earl Grey, but I have come around to it lately. I especially like the lavender flavored Earl Greys. I taste the lavender here a lot more than the bergamot, and that is fine by me. (In general, I find that I love flowery teas.) You’ll see Rishi Tea in Tea Runners fairly often, but I’ve found everything by them that I’ve tried to be good quality.
Classic Laoshan Black from Tea Runners – Value $5?
When I went searching for this tea, it was unavailable in a lot of places. Where I could find it, prices varied widely by picking date. So, this value is an average of several Laoshan black teas. This tea is oxidized three days before finishing and that process is supposed to bring out chocolate notes. I can tell the difference when I drink different black teas (as opposed to Crio Bru varieties or wine), but I am not getting chocolate notes out of this. At any rate, this is more of a Chinese style black tea (so again, different from Lipton or other brands you’d get in a US restaurant or supermarket) but I have been finding it great for a mid-morning pick-me-up.
Nirvana from American Tea Room – Value $4.56 (buy 2 ounces for $9.11)
This is sencha-style green tea with peony petals, berries, and figs. I mostly see and taste the berries (and I love a good fruity tea!). The tea itself is quite light and works really well with the fruit. This is probably my favorite one for the month, though overall the whole month was quite enjoyable.
Here are the teas brewed. From left to right, we have the Imperial Green Biluochun, the Earl Grey Lavender, the Classic Laoshan Black, and the Nirvana tea. (Differences in colors are due to both tea type and how much I put in the disposable bags I used to brew the teas. Depending on the form – full leaves, little balls, more powdery, etc., there’s more or less surface area to interact with and impart color to the water.)
Verdict: I calculated an estimated value of $17.56 for the August Tea Runners, which is below the cost of the subscription. But, I fully admit this number I’ve given could be undervalued. I don’t know the exact weights of the teas in the bags, and that could affect the prices (I calculated based on the assumption that the teas were provided in about 1-ounce quantities). Also, I did have to estimate a few prices and it is sometimes difficult to figure out the exact grade/harvest time/etc. for each tea where I can’t find an online source. That will get better next month when Tea Runners opens their shop and there’s no more ambiguity about tea quality. (And don’t forget May, when there was a really expensive tea included, so I think it’s also possible you’ll get averaging out of box values over time with a continuous subscription.)
That being said, to me, a box like this is worth it. I love trying new teas, including both Western-inspired blends and Asian teas, and I got a little bit of both here. (More subscription options are opening up next month, too, according to the information card.) I got exposed to a lot of teas this month I would never have discovered otherwise. The curation and discovery aspects here are what make this box work for me.
What did you think of Tea Runners? Do you get any tea subscriptions?