Saturday, 15 March 2014

Amoda Tea March 2014 Review


Nothing quite cheers me up like tea in my mailbox, especially when it's been a long and cold winter.

Box Overview
Box: Amoda Tea
Price: $12/month (including shipping)
Ships to: North America
What’s inside: Three tea samples, enough to make 5-7 cups of tea

First look
This is my third month with Amoda Tea, and I'm not looking to stop any time soon. I love that they're based in Vancouver (my birth city) and that they get teas from all sorts of companies.

This month's information card has the same design as January, and the same tissue paper as February. Shame. I'm still loving the minimal packaging, though. This month, Amoda Tea wanted to "show you that fun flavours, quality tea, and education can come together in individual teas, wrapped up in one little package." With a diverse range of tea types and flavours, Amoda Tea certainly picked some unique sounding teas for us to try.

Honey Scented Black
Rooibos Kalahari
Caramel Toffee
Honey Scented Black || Oollo Tea
This tea comes from Taiwan, and is a black tea... made from Qingxin oolong (varietal)! It can also be resteeped up to four times. Amoda Tea tells me "it tastes of delicious honey and natural caramel and has a round body and smooth liquor." While it certainly treads the line between oolong and black tea, and had a rich honey-like colour when steeped, I didn't really taste the honey or caramel flavours, even after the first steep. It was nothing special, to me.

Rooibos Kalahari || Tea Affair
This tea, when first opened, kicked me in the face with full frontal citrus. The cat actually jumped away and wouldn't get near me for a while because of how strong this tea is. Made with rooibos, lemon grass, cornflowers and "natural flavour", this caffeine-free tea luckily did not taste as much of lemon and lime as it smelled. Supposedly, steeping it longer will impart more citrus flavour, but no way am I doing that. I'm not big on citrus, but I love rooibos. I did taste both the citrus first and rooibos sweetness second in this tea. It's not something I would pick from a store, but I think it would be really nice on a hot day -- if we ever see one again!

Caramel Toffee || Octavia Tea
This is a black tea... not! A full-fledged oolong in disguise as a dessert tea, Caramel Toffee contains highly oxidized oolong tea, hazelnut brittle, caramel pieces, and "natural flavouring". The tea leaves smell sickly sweet. Luckily, when I steeped it, almost all traces of that saccharine smell was lost and I ended up with a really nice tea! It's sweet, but not too sweet for me. As the tea cooled, more of the oolong taste came out. This might be good cold.


In their information card, Amoda Tea gives a small blurb about oxidation -- essentially, oxygen reacts with compounds in the tea (or in your fruit, on your skin, etc.) to cause it to release various compounds. In some teas, we purposefully oxidize them to give a certain flavour, as in black teas. However, once teas are created and shipped, we want to reduce oxidation as much as possible (except for some Pu-erhs, which I explained last month). Obviously, we'd like our tea to keep its original flavour.

I find it ironic that Amoda Tea is telling us this, because light is one thing that contributes to the process of oxidation. By packaging their teas in transparent bags, as soon as I take them out to take photos, I am causing my teas to oxidize. This is a complaint I made last month, but still an important one. I truly hope that Amoda tea realizes this and changes their packaging to be opaque. We can see the pretty leaves when we steep them!

Overall, I'm still happy with this service and I'll continue to subscribe. If you love tea, or just want to try tea out for your first time, give it a try!

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