Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Amoda Tea January 2014 & February 2014 Review

What luck! Just as I was about to post a retroactive review of my very first box from Amoda Tea, my second one came in!

Box Overview
Box: Amoda Tea
Price: $12/month (including shipping)
Ships to: North America
What’s inside: Three varieties of tea

Amoda Tea is a Vancouver-based company that hopes to introduce subscribers to new teas without breaking the bank. For $12/month, they send you three teas of varying types, enough to make 5-7 cups of tea each. They source from many different companies.

Let me get this straight: I really, really like tea. I’m just a beginner but I am really hoping to learn a lot and expand my horizons. So this box was perfect for me. I’m also happy to support a Canadian company.
First look
Both the January and February boxes were identical in design, except for tissue paper colour (January was blue). I love the minimalism of the box, because it fits very easily in my mail box (even with my first Beauty Box 5 alongside it — review coming up)! It also doesn’t waste any extra resources. Simple but elegant, just the way tea should be.

With each box comes an information card that explains their reasons for choosing the teas they did, some information about the company/companies the tea is from, and facts about the teas themselves. On each bag are ingredient lists, a quick taste description, and steeping instructions.  



January Amoda Tea Tasting Box
I realize that there’s only two teas in the pictures above for January… and that’s because I drank it all before this review!

Minty Winter Wonderland || Tiesta Tea
This was the one I finished off, a deliciously cool blend of peppermint and spearmint. I love peppermint teas and this was no exception.

Black Forest || Naked Teas Galore
Although I still haven’t finished it yet, this was probably my favourite of the bunch. Inspired by
black forest cake, this Ceylon black tea was mixed with carob chips and dried cherries. With some milk and sugar, it really did remind me of its namesake. I have enough for one last cup, and I can’t wait.

Genmai Hojicha || Sara’s Tea Caddie
This is a blend of traditional Japanese Genmaicha (green tea leaves and stems) and Hojicha (toasted brown rice). This was my first experience with a Japanese tea and I liked it. It had a smooth, savoury taste and the rice really came through. I like that it’s low in caffeine.

February Amoda Tea Tasting Box
All teas this month were from Verdant Tea. I haven’t been able to try all of these yet.
Love and Joy Blend
This is an herbal blend of marigold, Goji, linden leaf, honeysuckle, chamomile, and more. I’m kind of intimidated! I have never had a flowery herbal tea past plain old chamomile. Heck, I don’t even know what linden leaf is! It smells grassy and reminds me of some incense my mother used to burn in my childhood. However, the smell is a little faded so I’m wondering how old this is. Still, I’m excited to try this.

Master Han’s 2013 Sheng Pu’er
I am very happy they chose this tea, because I was just researching Pu’er/Pu-erh/etc. This is the only kind of tea that is fermented, and so actually gets better as it ages, sort of like a cheese. Sheng Pu’er is apparently not oxidized and so is more expensive. It can also be steeped up to 10 times, developing different characteristics each steep. Because it is specifically not oxidized, I have yet to open it and will not until I decide to steep it. I may keep this in the back of my drawers until I am done with the rest of my tea to let it age.

8 Treasures Valentine Blend
This is a blend of Yabao and green tea. I made this and I’m really upset, because my tea strainer happened to break when I was done steeping and spilled the tea leaves on my counter, so I only got one steep. It’s doubly upsetting because this tea takes a full tablespoon! I now only have 1-2 tablespoons left. This tea’s Jasmine blossoms really comes out in the first steep. It’s a little sweet and a little spicy, too. I really enjoy it.

I appreciate how Amoda Tea chooses all sorts of teas that I’ve never even heard of before. I also like that they have a page with their teas on it with links to buy them straight from the companies.

My biggest concern with the box is how the teas are packaged. Although the bags do come completely sealed, teas (except for oxidized Pu-erh) should be kept away from light to keep from oxidizing. These clear bags don’t indicate any sort of UV protection and so I need to keep the teas either in drawers or in canisters. Every other company I know of ships in opaque bags or cans.

Another thing is that there are a lot of broken leaves and grainy bits, more than I would like. I understand that this is due to small packaging and vacuum sealing, but it doesn’t look good and can slip through the strainer.

Overall, though, I really enjoy Amoda Tea, and recommend it if you would like to try new teas and tea companies!




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