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About Sips by
The Subscription Box: Sips by
The Cost: $15/ month + free US shipping
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 50% off your first box!
The Products: 15+ servings of tea distributed among four different varieties selected according to your profile.
Ships to: the US for free, Canada for $9.50, and Western Europe for $13.50-$17
Sips by September 2020 Review
The box came with this information card. My teas were selected based on a pretty extensive profile I filled out. This isn't an exhaustive list but here are some of the choices I made:
- Caffeinated or herbal OK
- Black, green, white, and oolong OK
- No licorice (this is often used to sweeten teas but I don't care for the flavor)
- Loose or bagged OK
- No coffee flavors (I do not like the taste or smell of coffee)
- Guarana and yerba mate OK
- No guayusa (this is in Runa Tea and it makes my throat tingle until I take Benadryl...)
- Chocolate OK (encouraged, really)
- Flavored and unflavored OK
- No stevia (I'm not a fan of stevia in drinks)
- You had the option of picking vegan, which I did not choose, as some teas may have honey or dairy ingredients and I am OK with those, but then I selected not to receive anything meat/shellfish/etc. derived (might be easier for them to offer "vegetarian" as a selection as well)
- No mushrooms (there are mushroom teas and I have tried a few in other subscription boxes and I do not like them)
I thought the profile covered most things well. I'd add "vegetarian" as an option and would also add "no lemongrass" as an option because I really don't care for lemongrass. But overall the profile survey was pretty comprehensive. (There was also a specific allergy section where you could pick items from a list not to get.)
Let's see what I received!
Loose Leaf Filter Bags - Buy a box of 100 for $11
You can choose loose or bagged tea or a mix. I am OK with both and regularly buy both. When you get loose leaf tea they will also send some disposable filter bags. (The cloth bag is a reusable filter bag, as well.) These are made from unbleached paper and are biodegradable and I do like the convenience of throwing them out instead of digging all the wet tea leaves out of a disposable strainer. I would assume you do not receive these if you opt for bagged tea only as it wouldn't make much sense to get them then.
Republic of Tea Orange Blossom White (4 bags) - Buy 50 Bags for $16.50
I was familiar with this brand because they have tons of it in my Whole Foods and I do sometimes buy a tin (this is the brand that comes in the cylindrical metal tins). But I had not tried this particular tea before. It is a white tea with both orange flavoring and orange blossom flavoring (both are natural, not artificial). I found the orange flavoring more noticeable than the orange blossom. I liked this one a lot. I tend to leave my teabag in for a long time while I am working on projects (still working from home for the foreseeable future!) and it didn't get bitter at all, even with overstepping, although that is probably normal for white teas. Anyway, this was an excellent selection and it's nice to find an orange-flavored tea that's not orange spice because, while I do like orange spice teas, that's not *always* what I want.
Stash Tea Chocolate Mint Oolong (4 bags) - Buy 18 Bags for $3.95
I think I have tried this one before? It seemed familiar. I spent $50+ at Stash Tea a couple of months ago (I wanted like $4 worth of stuff but was determined not to pay for shipping) and I am pretty sure this was thrown in as a free sample. At any rate, it is really good. I used to think I didn't care for oolong teas, but what I actually didn't care for was Bigelow oolong teas, and I like all the others I've tried, including a few from Stash. Stash does chocolate mint teas very well. This has natural chocolate flavor as well as chocolate and carob powders and peppermint and it works together nicely to make a very chocolatey blend that is sweet or that feels sweet without having any sweeteners in it. If you are into putting milk in your tea this would be a great one to try that with, although it doesn't need it.
Zest Tea Superberry Samba (4 sachets) - Buy 20 Sachets for $12.95
This brand shows up in fitness subscription boxes every now and then, I guess because it is caffeine-enhanced. However, I am pretty sure I have not tried this flavor before. You get about 135 mg of caffeine per cup, which is more than your typical cup of coffee. I allow myself to have only one of these per day because I'm on blood pressure medicine and it doesn't seem to cause any trouble at that level. I would not drink all of these at the same time. I did think it helped me wake up and keep focused through a morning's work. This is a green tea with the extra caffeine coming from tea extract, and it has natural acai, strawberry, and passionfruit flavors as well as some safflower petals for appearance. This does taste like it has strawberry but the acai and passionfruit make it a little more tropical or exotic, and it doesn't get bitter with oversteeping.
Wight Tea Lavender Earl Grey (about 8 servings) - Retail Value $6
This was a totally new brand for me. I also used to think I didn't care for Earl Grey, but it turned out to be a particular brand of Earl Grey I didn't like (Bigelow again) and I have enjoyed all the others I've tried, including this one. This is a pretty simple lavender and bergamot blend with black tea. It has a really enticing, almost peppery aroma when you first pour hot water over it. It's kind of hard to describe but it's the kind of smell that makes me know it'll be good. I did not measure this, just dumped some in the disposable filter bag, so I may or may not get 8 servings out of it, but you can weigh or measure if you are so inclined.
Verdict: I didn’t calculate a total value for Sips by this month since the items aren’t sold online in the provided quantities and/or configurations. There were 20 servings of tea in my box so they are about 75 cents each, or a little less when you add in the filter bags. I think this is a fair value for a couple of reasons:
- First, other than the loose Earl Grey, you can't buy these quantities of tea from the manufacturers or supermarkets. And smaller packages, in general, cost more.
- Second, you get multiple servings of each tea to try, but you haven't committed to purchasing a whole box, so if something doesn't work out, you haven't paid like $13 for a half-pound of loose-leaf or 25 bags, etc.
- Third, the risk is decreased even further because you fill out a profile. So I was able to eliminate certain flavors I don't care for (coffee, licorice) before even receiving my first box, therefore increasing the likelihood I would enjoy my selections. Since I drink a lot of tea already, I have a good idea of some things that work for me and some that don't.
Also, for what it's worth, I liked that all the packaging was individually sealed and nothing was repackaged. In the end, I have to conclude that the profile quiz really works because I liked everything in the box and 3 of the 4 teas were completely new to me.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, your subscription would start in October. From Sips by:
Renews Automatically. Allow up to 3 weeks for your first box to arrive. Subsequent boxes will arrive within 2 weeks of your original order anniversary date on a monthly basis until you cancel your subscription.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 50% off your first box!
Value Breakdown: This box is $15 per month, so you are paying a little less than 75 cents per serving of tea.
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