Brand Spotlight: Pearl Soda Company

Who tried the Vanilla Rooibos tea syrup by Pearl Soda Company in the June box?! Tea syrup is a fun and unique tea product. To make a drink, you just add to seltzer water or follow a simple recipe to create a cocktail. Liz, co-founder of the company, shares more about her company and their products.

How did you get the inspiration for starting Pearl Soda Company?

Like many people, we stumbled on the idea and just couldn't get our minds off of it. The first tea soda was made on a hot summer day when I was working at our sister company, The Jasmine Pearl. I kept wanting to make Dancing Dragon into a stronger, more refreshing iced tea because it was so close to tasting like old fashioned root beer. I realized it would be never be exactly what I hoped without bubbles. So we pulled the soda stream out of the break room and started trying to make sparkling Dancing Dragon. Pretty soon we were sharing with customers and the idea just kind of took hold. It was such a fantastically fun group project to discover awesome flavors and perfect the whole idea. We hope that fun shows in our final product. 

Image courtesy of Pearl Soda Co.

What is tea syrup and what can we do with it?

Tea syrup is a simple concept with a lot of creative possibility. We carefully blend and brew tea at a very high concentration and then add a little pure cane sugar.  Think of it as a simple syrup packed full of flavor. Although our original vision was to make syrups that would eventually become sparkling tea, one of my favorite things is seeing all the awesome ways people use them. You can use them to make mocktails, cocktails, tea flavored desserts, floats- anything! Just keep in mind that one ounce of syrup is enough flavor for a pint sized glass and start experimenting.

Do you have a simple recipe that uses the Vanilla Rooibos tea syrup?

Sure! Vanilla Rooibos has such a nice, creamy flavor that it unsurprisingly pairs well with creamy things. I love love love Vanilla Rooibos with sparkling water and a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top. It's a grown up, extra yummy, crazy smooth and decadent float. You can take it one step further by adding a shot of bourbon. 

In a pint glass, add:

  • 10 oz. sparkling water
  • 1 oz. of Vanilla Rooibos syrup
  • one generous scoop of butter pecan ice cream
  • 1.5 oz. bourbon (optional)

Give it a little stir and dig in!

Also, our website full of other fun ideas, www.pearlsodaco.com

Source: pearlsodacompany on Instagram

Which tea syrup flavor is your favorite?

I get this all the time, and it's always a difficult question because I sincerely love them all. I'd say, I reach for either Dancing Dragon or Blue Mt. Sunshine the most often. Dancing Dragon is so unique and its also the flavor that sparked this whole project so I have a special place for it in my heart. It's made from some of my favorite things; Sarsaparilla- the dominant flavor in root beer, Puerh- aged earthy tea from Yunnan province in China, and Honeybush- a cousin of rooibos that tastes like honey. Blue Mt. Sunshine, on the other hand is very classic. It's made from Nilgiri black tea from the blue mountains of southern India, lemongrass and lemon myrtle. The flavor is kind of like a very gentle Arnold Palmer and it's so fun and easy to make cocktails with. Just a little dash of vodka or gin and you're done!  

Thanks Liz! Learn more and order your syrup at pearlsodacompany.com.

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"Tea Talk" with Writer Lu Ann Pannunzio

Tea blogger and writer Lu Ann Pannunzio knows a thing or two about enjoying the tea experience. In fact, she's written a whole book on the subject! I have long admired her appreciation for tea and her gorgeous pictures on social media. Lu Ann is also the curator of our April box, which will include her book, Tea-spiration, and four more special items she has chosen. Lu Ann was nice enough to chat with me about her blog, her book, and her tips for exploring the world of tea.

Source: teaaholic Instagram

I love your Instagram name, teaaholic. How did you become a “teaaholic?”

I think I have been labelling myself that since I was in high school, haha. I’ve thought about changing my Instagram handle to brand it with my blog and other social media accounts, but I can’t let it go. I discovered tea at a young age because I remember my mom and older sister used to always enjoy it together. One day my sister brought home a wooden box that contained strawberry flavoured black tea bags and I was finally allowed to have my first sip of tea at the age of 7. I didn’t know much about tea back then but I started to fall in love with it because of the connection it brought me with my mom and sister. The best part of my day would be when I had the chance to be “so adult” and sit and sip tea with them. Since then my love for tea has slowly been growing and I have been slowly learning more and more about it.

You have a beautiful blog, The Cup of Life. What kinds of things do you discuss over in your corner of the internet?

Thanks so much! I want The Cup of Life to be a spot on the Internet that tea lovers can visit and slow down with their own cup of tea. The blog is filled with some tea infused recipes, crafts, reviews, and anything else I learn during my tea journey that I wish to share. My most favourite part about tea blogging is the wonderful tea community online! I have connected with so many awesome tea lovers around the world and I hope to continue to!

Writing a book is a big project! Can you tell me more about your book and what inspired you to write it?

I have always wanted a book that didn’t teach me about tea and how to properly make it, but instead celebrated all the moments we experience with tea since that’s the reason why I fell in love with it in the first place. There is a quote I love that goes something like, if you can’t find a book you want, write it yourself and that’s just what I did with Tea-spiration. My thoughts for Tea-spiration were to take readers back to when they first started to drink tea and why they loved it then. In Tea-spiration I highlight all the great tea moments us tea drinkers can experience — big or small. For instance, that moment when you first open a freshly sealed package of tea and take in that aroma, or even the moment when your tea leaves begin to unfurl.

This book was written with all tea lovers in mind, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tea enthusiast or a casual tea drinker, every tea drinker should be able slow down and relate to some of the book. The size of the book should be noted too because it’s meant to be the perfect book to have during your tea time, fitting easily on your tea table or packing up with your tea ware. 

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Source: teaaholic Instagram

What can you recommend to someone who is just beginning to explore the world of tea?

Drink all the tea! AND drink it however you like it. I think one of the best advice is to not be afraid to explore tea your own way. You can follow the instructions on a package of tea that tells you how to prepare it properly, but after that you should experiment with your own ways of making it and see what you like best. There have been a lot of teas in the past that I thought were the worst things ever, until I started to “break the rules” by steeping them another way and notice the difference that made. This little bit of advice is also discussed in my book. 

How many cups of tea do you drink each day?

I usually have 2 mugs of tea and then several tasting cups of tea each day. My first mug of tea is usually right in the morning and a bold black tea such as Assam, sometimes I will also whisk a bowl of matcha later in the morning. Later in the afternoon I’ll try to actually sit down and have tea with my gaiwan and sip from tasting cup sizes. The last mug of tea is usually before bed and it could be any kind (caffeine doesn’t really bother me at night!).

You have an hour free from responsibilities and chores. Can you describe your perfect “tea break?”

No responsibilities and chores? Ahhh…that already sounds so perfect already but, of course, tea can still make it better. A perfect “tea break” for me would consist of a tray of fresh baked scones (I really like my scones, haha), a fancy tea cup, big pot of tea to keep refilling, jazz music playing softly in the background (sometimes I’ll even have my boyfriend play live jazz music for me, haha), all technology far away (!!!) and Tea-spiration by my side for whenever I need to flip open a page and connect with my tea a little bit more :) 

Thanks Lu Ann! I strongly recommend visiting her at The Cup of Life blog and on Instagram as teaaholic. You won't be disappointed!

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Brand Spotlight: My Tea Bling

Did you receive My Tea Bling in your November Tea Box Express box? If so, you were in for a treat! This handmade item is certainly something special. My Tea Bling's founder, Tara, tells us more about her product and how she came up with her unique idea.

Source: myteabling on Instagram

What is My Tea Bling?

MyTeaBling is a handmade, stainless steel, Swarovski Crystal charm made to clip onto any tea bag!  Not to be confused with a tea infuser it is a truly unique idea!  The idea being that there is nothing in existence that "replaces" the usual string on your average bag of tea!  

Not only is it made to be fun and a celebration of how wonderful Tea makes us feel, but it is functional too!  Often times you may run across a bag of tea that does not have a string, but this solves that problem and can be used to help in a variety of ways!

Can My Tea Bling be used with all cups/mugs?

Yes it can!  The chain of the bling comes in 2 sizes:

One is made for average size mugs that are often used at home. And the other is a smaller size, known as the "Shortie,"  which is made for more traditional fancy style tea cups. 

I even use mine on the go to add some excitement to my tea when grabbing a cup to-go at my local coffee shop!  (Although, I would like to note to do this at your own discretion and to be super safe about it being careful that the lid is secure)!

Source: myteabling on Instagram

Can you use it with loose tea as well?

This was traditionally invented for the average American tea drinker who grabs their usual tea bags when shopping at the grocery store. However,  since using MyTeaBling I have found that loose leaf tea drinkers often use single-use tea filters for their tea.  These filters do not normally come equipped with anything to seal the bag closed.  So now, with MyTeaBling, you finally have a go to product that securely clips the bag shut with no mess or fuss that just happens to be blinged out with Swarovski Crystals!

What gave you the idea for My Tea Bling?

One day I was enjoying my usual afternoon cup of green tea to pep me up. I was at a coffee shop surrounded by people ordering things that sounded so fancy when I was handed my plain cup of tea with the little string hanging off of it.  I was struck with a feeling of wanting to fit in and feel special too!  After all, tea is so good for us and just makes you feel amazing when you drink it!

Then it hit me! I had a vision of a beautiful sparkling pendant hanging from my tea cup!  I thought to myself, "Wow! wouldn't it be cool if there was something more than this boring string hanging from my cup?!  Then my tea would certainly look as great as it makes me feel"!

I figured there must be something out there to replace this string and add some more excitement to tea time! But when I found that nothing like that existed... I created it!  

What colors do you offer and which one is the most popular?

Currently I offer Classic Clear, Pink (which I figured every girl could appreciate),  Amethyst Purple, and a Brilliant Vibrant Yellow. (I find that the Classic is the most popular probably because it would look beautiful on any variation color of cup).

But I knew that when I started this whole concept the idea was to really make each person smile and feel special and show their true selves!  So I am working on adding new colors every day!  In fact I am certain that as you are reading this a whole new batch of colors and concepts have probably already been made available! 

I aspire to have a full color spectrum!  People are truly unique and I feel everybody deserves to celebrate that with a color that sparkles and is something that they really love!  

What is your favorite tea?

My Favorite tea is Green Mint Tea.  The cool thing about that is that I realized that now when I use MyTeaBling I can add some fresh mint leaves to it by just simply clipping the mint along with my bag of tea!  The more I use it- the more fun things I find I can do with it!  

What is your favorite thing about having created this new invention?!

Ya know, I never really labeled myself as a "Tea Drinker" but what I didn't realize is that many people, such as myself, really are all along!  Because even if we sit down to a cup of tea a few times a week at work or at home- we all are really "Tea Drinkers"!  

Now that I created this product and dove head first into the world of tea out there I have not only tasted so many delicious flavors and tried so many fun things - but I have also met so many amazing people along the way!  It's so much fun just really enjoying this whole experience in the communiTEA!

Thanks Tara! To learn more and go Christmas shopping visit my-tea-bling.myshopify.com.

As you can see below, My Tea Bling made a fun and sparkly addition to the November box where it paired nicely with Nunshen tea sachets (mug not included).

November Box Photo Credit: katietdoodle

The Tea Box Express Christmas box is coming to town in mid-December! Subscribe or buy a gift today to secure yours!

Brand Spotlight: Oliver Pluff & Co.

The July Tea Box Express box features Oliver Pluff & Co., an interesting company with a fascinating niche: pairing tea with American history. Kyle, the founder of Oliver Pluff, tells us more about his company, including their dedication to historical teas, from sourcing the tea leaves to the unique artwork on their products.

Source: oliverpluff.com

How did Oliver Pluff & Company get started and how long has it been around?

After college I traveled and worked with Samaritan's Purse International Relief for 6 years, which took me to disaster areas in Africa, Latin America, and Turkey. In former British colonies, tea was a big part of the culture and the agriculture.  It doesn't take long to take notice of the higher quality tea and coffee that these countries enjoy.  After I returned home, I decided to start a business in 2009 as a premium iced tea company.  Within the year, we met Colonial Williamsburg Foundation which became our biggest customer, requesting our assistance to create their colonial tea blends.  This boost to our sales took us in new directions as a business and we realized that historical teas were being overlooked.  We began to create Early American teas and now we sell to around 300 historic sites and museums around the country. The line has grown include new products such as our Colonial Blend Coffee, Cacao Shell Tea, Old English Wassail, and Colonial Remedies.  This fall we are launching a few new spice and tea products.  The brand continues to grow and evolve.  

2. You have a theme of history and American heritage throughout your product line. How did this become such a big part of your brand?  

The historical teas are what we are best known for, especially our Bohea.  It's a smoky black tea blend from colonial times.  There are other colonial teas that we have not yet been able to source, with names such as Congou, Singlo, Twankay, Imperial, Pekoe Skin.  I am enjoying the historical research and the culinary adventure to seek these out.  We continue to meet more small, passionate historical groups and gourmet stores who are so excited to have a chance to carry our line.  Our customers continue to request more from history (last year I learned about sugar cones and nippers). Our vision is to connect people to American heritage through historic beverages.  We would like to be the best-known company in America for this small, unique niche.  

Source: Oliver Pluff Instagram

3. What is the inspiration behind the unique artwork on your products?

Our tea packaging uses linen labels and stark, two color art, with fonts and art from a different period.  We seek to re-create some of the experience from a different era.  Our slogan is "A Leaf from America's Tea Heritage".  It's been useful to select our art and packaging with this guidance in mind and our customers enjoying the chance to sip and ponder American history as we offer short historical descriptions of the products on each tin.  

4. From where do you source your teas?

Whenever possible, we source from the same gardens that supplied the British East India Company.  This is primarily China, but also includes India and Sri Lanka.  We limit ourselves to around 30 teas to keep our tea as fresh as possible.  

5. Which Oliver Pluff tea is your favorite?

For about three years now I have been hooked on the breakfast teas.  English Breakfast, then Irish Breakfast.  But I was surprised last year by our Colonial Bohea over ice.  There's something thrilling about the smoky flavor with light cane sugar as an iced tea.  It's been fun to bend tradition by icing down the colonial teas.  

Thanks Kyle! You can learn more about Oliver Pluff at oliverpluff.com.

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Brand Spotlight: Piper & Leaf

Piper & Leaf is a family run tea company based in Huntsville, Alabama. Connor, one of the owners of P&L, shares more about his company and their desire to source locally and promote community.

Tell us a little about Piper & Leaf and how it got started.

P&L started because we were looking for a grassroots way to create passion for our community. We wanted to highlight our local food systems and sources as well as bring people together. We take fruits & herbs from the area that we grow ourselves, get from local farms, or forage in our woods and blend them with premium quality tea. We were blessed to start at the same time as several other organizations and companies in our area and state interested in creating a passionate, artistic, connected community.

Source: piperandleaf.com

Piper & Leaf offers an interesting tea selection. Can you tell us more about how you come up with your blends?

We play...a lot! We will either be inspired by a story, a taste, a brew, an experience, or just an idea. We play with it and have fun till we come up with something interesting. One of our most popular seasonal blends, Pumpkin moonshine, was inspired by one of our favorite Artists, Tasha Tudor. Her first children's book was called Pumpkin Moonshine (an old term for a Jack-O-Lantern) about the Autumn Season. So we created (basically) a pumpkin spice chai that uses real pumpkin and spices. It happens to taste pretty good too. ;-)

Do all of your tea blends make great iced tea?

Yes! We specifically create our blends for iced tea since we are in the lovely warm south. All of our blends taste great iced or hot though.

From where do you source your teas and other ingredients?

Some of this answer goes back to the top of who we are. The tea leaves come from Japan, Sri Lanka, China, and other traditional quality tea locations. Then we blend them with local product. We are exploring partnering with a small, local company making a Yaupon Tea (similar to Yerba Mate of South America). 

Source: piperandleaf.com

Which Piper & Leaf tea is your favorite?

Pumpkin Moonshine and Sweet Dixie (inspired by a beach trip. Think Pina Colada).

Thanks Connor! To learn more visit piperandleaf.com.

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Brand Spotlight: Full Leaf Tea Company

The Tea Box Express September box will feature a tea from Full Leaf Tea Company. Matt, who co-founded the company with his wife, Lisa, shares more about Full Leaf, the vast selection of tea they offer, and their high value on customer service.

 

Source: fullleafteacompany.com

Tell us a little about Full Leaf Tea Company and how it got started.

Full Leaf Tea Company  values the “tea experience" just as much, if not more, than the products we offer. We (Matt and Lisa Hammonds) launched Full Leaf with the intentions of sharing our passion of tea with anyone and everyone. 

The heart of the company is the personal touch with each customer. With every order, a handwritten note is placed within each box.  We talk directly with any of our customers that have questions right away.  We like to be in touch with what our customers are looking for so we can give them an experience they will love!

Full Leaf offers a lot of tea options! Can you tell us more about how you come up with your different blends?

Our blends are created based of a handful of things. We strive to create the perfect blend for every need. Our research on ingredients is a HUGE part of how we decide what is brought together. 

For an example, our “SkinnyMe” tea was created out of the demand of a metabolism boosting/weight loss tea. Though we all know there is no “magic potion” that will drop the pounds, we found some key ingredients that will naturally help the process. Though trial and error, we found the perfect ratio of spicy, sweet, and rich to bring fourth a delicious cup. (whether you want the benefits or not! :) )  

From where do you source your teas and other ingredients?

Our teas and ingredients are sourced from ALL over the world! If we can buy local (herbs/spices) we do. But we work directly with the source to ensure the quality of each product we receive.

Source: fullleafteacompany.com

Which Full Leaf tea is your favorite?

Now that’s TRICKY! There are so many categories of tea to choose from!

My wife has a few favorites, lets start with her…

Fancy French Breakfast- black tea with a hint of vanilla

Seasonal Tea- “Holiday Brew” She thinks its like Christmas in a cup

Organic Masala Chai- She drinks it with a little honey and almond milk

I happen to have a sweet spot for matcha.  I drink our ceremonial matcha almost daily because it is delicious and gives me the perfect level of energy all day.

As for our other teas, I really like all of our “raw” tea like our Lung Ching green tea or our Award Winning Chamraj Estate Handmade oolong tea.

The good news is with more than 100 teas to choose from, you will never be bored!

Thanks Matt! To learn more and see the incredible tea selection for yourself, visit fullleafteacompany.com.

To sign up for a September box that features a tin of Full Leaf Tea Company tea, purchase a subscription or a gift by September 5th.

Brand Spotlight: Chai Diaries

It's already July and we have a great box coming up this month! July's featured tea is from Chai Diaries. The company's founder, Ami (<--she grew up on a tea plantation in India!!!) was kind enough to share a little more with us about Chai Diaries.

Source: mychaidiaries.com

How did Chai Diaries get started and how long has it been around?

I started Chai Diaries in 2013 when I moved to America from India.  My family has harvested tea in India for over 100 years, which motivated by passion from a very young age. I’m inspired by the serene joy that comes from the tea drinking experience and I wanted to share the culture and ritual of tea drinking with others.

Have you always been a tea enthusiast?

You could say I was born a tea enthusiast.  Growing up on my family’s beautiful tea plantation was enough to get me hooked.  Each flavor recipe is an exciting tasting adventure as you perfect the blend. I have a love for developing refined blends and beautiful aromas because it captures my memories from childhood and allows me to share this experience with others.   

How did you come up with the name and where does the “diaries” part come in?

Chai Diaries is built on the principle of honesty and the importance of self-reflection.  The ritual of enjoying tea is sacred to each individual. You pick a tea based on the mood of the present moment and I encourage its enjoyment as a reprieve in what may otherwise be an overwhelming day. Tea drinking can be both a personal and introspective experience or shared with a friend, but I believe it should always provide pleasure.

From where do you source your teas?

Our teas are sourced directly from tea growing estates around the world. We have years of relationships established with the estate owners across countries like India, China, Japan, Taiwan, allowing us to ensure that we are procuring what’s best for our customers. Our specialty teas are then hand blended in-house in California with natural whole fruits and botanicals. Each tin is hand packed fresh when we receive orders from customers, ensuring their Chai Diaries experience is one filled with freshness and love!

Which Chai Diaries tea is your favorite?

Oh well that would definitely depend on my mood.  What I love so much about Chai Diaries is that we offer an array of premium teas to suit each and every mood and function.  In the morning, I love having our Chinese Organic Dragonwell, a beautiful pan-fired green tea exclusive to that area in China. But in the evenings I’ll enjoy something a little more fruity and iced, like our Blood Orange blend or our summer favorite – Passion Fruit Oolong!

Thanks Ami! To learn more and see their tea selection, visit mychaidiaries.com.

To sign up for a July box that contains Chai Diaries tea, purchase a subscription or a gift by July 5th.

Brand Spotlight: The Cookie Department

We're pretty excited about the tasty treats that will be part of the April box.  Today we learn more from Akiva about The Cookie Department, a company he founded in 2009 that puts a unique twist on the everyday cookie.  The company currently offers six different flavors and every cookie is hand baked.  We can't wait for you to try them!

Source: thecookiedepartment.com

Tell us a little more about starting The Cookie Department.  Why cookies?  

I started my sales career in the functional beverage industry.  I worked for two small start ups about 10 years ago.  Before that, I had attended culinary school and majored in pastry arts.  I decided to combine the two areas of experience to start my own brand creating functional cookies for all.  I started the company with $500 and baked part time in my cousins bread bakery in Berkeley, CA.  I would bake at night and deliver to five local cafes in the morning.  Fast forward to present and we're in over 500 stores.  

What is a “fully functional” cookie?  What makes them different from other cookies?  

At The Cookie Department, we start with classic cookie formulations and fortify them with unique and innovative ingredients like coffee, caffeine, rBST free whey protein, superfoods, antioxidants, detoxifying spices, and probiotics, giving our customers an extra benefit with every bite.  

Your cookies include ingredients like maca and sweet potato.  Are these cookies healthy? 

Our cookies are healthier then most.  We do use butter, sugar and flour but all of our cookies have added benefits.  Maca is a superfood full of vitamins and minerals.  Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants.  Our cookies do not contain any trans fats nor do they contain any preservatives or chemicals additives.  

How do you come up with the flavors?  

Honestly, my mother helps me! I grew up in a household where my mother was always baking something.  If it wasn't bread, it was granola, brownies, black bottom cupcakes and lemon bars.  I can always count on my mother to help me come with all my unique formulations.  Its only after we finalize the formulation that we create a function to attach to the marketing of the product. 

Which cookie is your personal favorite?  Which one is the most popular with your customers?  

I personally love the Snap Back but I have to admit that our new flavor, Cherry Bomb, a gluten free double chocolate cherry probiotic cookie is a runner up.  Our Snap Back and Awaken Baked are two of the best sellers in our line.  

Thanks Akiva!  To learn more, check out The Cookie Department website.

To receive or give an April box, sign up for a subscription or a gift by April 5th.

Brand Spotlight: PuurBody

The upcoming February/Valentine's Day box (sign up by Feb. 5th) has two exciting goodies from Etsy-based PuurBody.  Brandi, the creator of PuurBody and mother of five (!!!) boys, was nice enough to share more about her products and her business.  It was a pleasure working with Brandi and choosing tea-inspired items that we know you'll enjoy in this month's box.

Sneak Peak! (Source: PuurBody Etsy Shop)

You have hundreds of products on Etsy! When did you start and how did you get into this?

I started PuurBody in 2010, after learning to make natural hot process soap for my family. Even a family of seven couldn't use up all the products I was making and developing and since I was a stay at home mom, an online business was the perfect opportunity for me!

You also have thousands of positive reviews, which is no small feat. How do you keep your customers so happy?

I have the greatest customers that are extremely understanding, even when I mess up and drop the ball, I'm always grateful for their patience and understanding and try to put myself in their shoes and respond in a way that I would appreciate as a customer.

Many of your body products have food themes. Where do you get the inspiration for this?

I am a huge foodie, and I love to cook and eat! I'm also not a fan of typical scents or florals so a lot of my scents have been inspired by favorite recipes or places I've been, it's fun!

Which products are your most popular ones?

My men's products have been far more successful than I imagined, back when I just made shaving soap because my husband had a shaving mug and brush, and then made beard oil and balm when he grew a beard. Never imagined myself making products for beard care aficionados but as the mom of boys, the manly scents come naturally to me even though I'm TOTALLY a girly-girl.

What is your favorite part about running this business?

Developing new products, definitely! From the inspiration to the development and testing, it's something I never get tired of, the trouble not to add ALL my new ideas at once, and to keep it down to manageable levels!

Thanks Brandi! You must hop over to PuurBody to look through the awesome selection of handmade soaps, candles, lotions and even deodorants.  

The February tea box showcases items from SerendipiTea, PuurBody, and more!  To give or receive this month's box purchase a subscription or a gift by Feb. 5th.

Brand Spotlight: SerendipiTea

We are thrilled to feature SerendipiTea as part of our February (Valentine’s Edition!) tea box.  SerendipiTea was founded in New York City in 1995 and has been importing and selling high quality loose leaf teas (and putting together some amazing blends) ever since.  The February box from Tea Box Express contains two wonderful blends: Once Upon a Tea and Roses Plenty.

Jennifer Villano of SerendipiTea was kind enough to share more with by answering some questions.

Once Upon a Tea (Source: serendipitea.com)

Tea Box Express: You have an impressive variety of blended teas and tisanes.  Who comes up with these combinations and where does the inspiration come from?

Jennifer Villano: Linda, the co-founder, creates the SerendipiTea recipes.  Her inspiration comes from so many different sources - literature, poetry, spins on culinary recipes (savory & sweet).  By reading through the names and descriptions you'll see many different references.

TBE: With a tea blend, is the visual component as important as the taste?  

JV: We always say that in the end it's the flavor that's most important but visuals are certainly key as tea is a multi-sensory experience.  We choose with our eyes, nose and finally taste.

TBE: Who gets to do the tasting?

JV: Linda and Sonam do the cupping for straight tea but everyone tastes when a blend is in development.

TBE: Which SerendipiTea tea is your favorite?

JV: I have a few favorites as it is hard to narrow down:

Guatemala Black - medium-bodied and very smooth.  Not to mention exciting as it is the first tea in the United States from Guatemala.

Moroccan Mint - a robust blend of gunpowder, peppermint and spearmint

Koh Samet Sun - a delicious, lemony combination of ginger, orange peel and lemon grass

Crème a ‘la Orange - a silky balance of orange, Rooibos, vanilla, licorice, lemon balm and sunflower and cornflower petals.

TBE: From where do you source your teas and other ingredients? 

JV: All countries of origin are identified in our catalog: the tea (camellia sinensis) comes from places such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan & Taiwan as well as Thailand, Kenya, Guatemala, Tanzania, etc. Tisanes (botanicals that are not tea) come from many places including Europe, China & Egypt to name a few origins.

TBE: Does anyone from SerendipiTea ever travel to the origin countries? 

JV: Yes, Linda the owner an co-founder travels extensively to meet and work with the various families and owners of the tea gardens and estates from which we source our tea. She has been all over the world from India to Taiwan to Gautemala and writes about her travels and tea in general for various trade and tea-focused publications.

You can also read about some of her travels on our website and sometimes in her monthly blog on our website as well.

Thanks Jennifer!  To learn more and look through the many, many teas and tisanes check out the SerendipiTea website.

To receive or give a February box sign up for a subscription or a gift by February 5th.

 

 

 

 

A Valentine's Tea Box Coming Right Up!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  If you're looking for a unique gift for a tea lover in your life (or a little treat for yourself) then look no further!

We have 3 good reasons why you'll love the February box.

1.  It includes TWO (!!) unique blended teas.  Here's a sneak peak at one of them:

Yes, those are real rose petals in the mix!

2.  It wouldn't be Valentine's Day without chocolate, right?  Consider that covered.

3.  The box will include two handmade all-natural tea-inspired bath & body products.

February's box is full of unique products from neat brands.  You won't want to miss it!  

To receive or give a February box sign up for a subscription or a gift by February 5th.

 

"Tea Season is Upon Us"

Roxy from grrfeisty says that "tea season is upon us" and we couldn't agree more.  A warm beverage is the perfect answer to a cool morning.  Her pictures of our October box are exquisite.  How funny that Roxy's (highly impressive) nails matched the color scheme of the box!

Source: grrfeisty

You can read Roxy's full review and enter her giveaway for a free Tea Box Express package (hurry, ends Monday night!) here.