Tea Runners Subscription Box Review – November 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
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This card was included. (More information on the teas, themselves, is printed on the packages.)
Imperial Grade Laoshan Green – Retail Value $6
This is a Chinese style green tea made from early spring tea leaves. This one is said to have notes of chestnut, umami, and sweet green grass, although I personally can’t pick those out. It is definitely earthy and maybe a little unfamiliar to the average Western palate. I typically drink Chinese-style green teas first thing in the morning and this will fit nicely into my routine. (Tea Runners now has a shop, by the way, where you can get these teas as well as ones that appeared in past months.)
Pu-Erh Ginger – Retail Value $4
Pu-Erh tea is a fermented black tea. I don’t always like them, but this was mild enough for me. I loved seeing the large pieces of ginger in there; there’s also some orange peel and a little lemongrass. Lemongrass is not my favorite (I think it is overused), but it is at a good level here – I mostly notice the ginger, both in terms of taste and aroma. Somehow, everything here combines wonderfully. This one works for me, which was a little surprising. This is a wonderful selection for cold weather.
White Pearls – Retail Value $6.75
This is another early spring tea. It is super light. The little pearls are handmade and rare, hence the higher price. This one is supposed to have some natural sweetness from “new growth” and it is nowhere near as strong as the other selections this month, so I guess I can see that.
Keemun Black – Retail Value $3.75
This one is supposed to have notes of unsweetened cocoa and stone fruit as well as some smoke. I don’t normally like smoky teas, but if they were all like this, I think I could start to get on board. (To be fair, the smoke is pretty mild.) This one seems like it would be a good introduction for a Westerner to more of an Asian style of black tea, because it has elements of both.
From left to right, here are the teas brewed: Imperial Grade Laoshan Green, Pu-Erh Ginger, White Pearls, and Keemun Black.
Verdict: I calculated a value of $20.50 for the November Tea Runners, which is below the cost of the subscription although higher than last time I reviewed this one. I did take the values from the Tea Runners shop, though the one-ounce size (comparable to these packages) is sold out there for pretty much everything.
This month, you can’t get these same teas anywhere else, and these varieties in other brands are often not available in a small package size, so there is some value in being able to sample without being saddled with a huge bag of something you may not be fond of. Additionally, I think there is value in the curation. Left to my own devices, I would just be ordering bulk bags of Dragonwell or Irish Breakfast and not really experiencing anything new. Even though I’ve been drinking tea for a couple of decades, I tend to stick to my comfort zone, and I’ve learned that I’m really missing out that way. Tea Runners provides a safe way to sample new varieties without amassing a pantry full of 1 pound bags I may never finish.
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