Sunday, 15 February 2015

Amoda Tea Review January and February 2015

Box: Amoda Tea
Price: $18/month, including shipping
Ships to: North America
What’s inside: 4 different teas (~3 cups each), tea filters; they also have a cute tea sipping playlists every month which can be found here

My January Amoda Tea came a little later in the month, so I decided to wait until February to do a double review. I also found this fitting considering that my very first Amoda Tea box was last January, 2014 -- and I did the exact same thing

I'm still subscribed after a year (albeit with a few months of pause as the company was sorting itself out), and I still wholeheartedly recommend this subscription for any casual tea lover. It's a great way to try a variety of teas without feeling bad if you aren't a fan of one, because they're only 3-4 cups each bag. Though some details of the subscription have changed since I first began, it's still very similar. Unfortunately, one thing that stuck was the clear plastic packaging, which I'm still annoyed with. I hate the possibility of my teas oxidizing under light, so I have to store these all in my cupboards away from sight.

January came with no extras like the pastry I got in December. February came with a 15% off coupon code, which might come into use to stock up on my fave teas from past boxes. There was a slight change in the paper tea filters from December. They are made of a slightly different weave and instead of having a straight cut pocket, it's diagonal. Nothing major.

Click below the cut to see the rest of this review, and the eight teas I received in the last two months!

January Amoda Tea Tasting Box

Hawaiian Ginger Jasmine by SwanSisters || Jasmine Green
Ingredients: organic Hawaiian ginger, jasmine pearls, orange peel

The word exotic comes to mind when we sip this. Naturally sweet, exquisite and mellow Jasmine pearls are livened up with spicy ginger & zesty citrus. The ginger is grown on an organic farm in Maui. The Dragon Pearls are infused with jasmine flowers six times when the jasmine pearls are made.

I didn't get much ginger out of this, but it was still very delicious. A light and tropical flavour while having an almost oolong-esque fullness. It also smelled wonderfully citrusy without the flavour coming across in the tea, which I prefer because I tend to not enjoy teas with too much citrus.

Tropical Green by Octavia Tea || Green
Ingredients: green tea, rose petals, marigold flowers, natural passionfruit, mango and grapefruit flavour

Light fruity teas tend to get neglected in the winter, but they're great all-day sippers. This tea is much more than what 'tropical' might conjure up. There's sweet tropical flavours for sure, but there's also an amazing floral character enveloping the entire tea & a fun citrus finish that blends well with the vegetal notes of the green tea. 

To me, this was a lot like the Hawaiian Ginger Jasmine but with more "tropics" and more "grass". The citrus came out more than the previous tea, and it was overall a lighter taste. I enjoyed it, but I would definitely pick the Hawaiian over this if given the choice. 

French Lemon Creme by Petali Teas || Rooibos
Ingredients: green rooibos, lemon peels, calendula, lemon wedges, vanilla

A tea that's bursting with fun flavour. Luscious lemon & creamy vanilla sweetness make for an amazing lemon cream pie aroma. This is built on a green rooibos base, which is processed differently than its cousin red rooibos. So, this blend has extra health benefits from locking in the herb's natural enzymes.

Terrible. I've used all of this up by steeping it in different ways -- less than the recommended time, exactly the recommended time, at the far end of the recommended time, with the paper filters provided, in my own metal filter... it always ended up being a sour mess that tasted oversteeped even when I brewed it for only 2-3 minutes. I know I'm not a fan of citrus, but this was something else. Shame, because it smells just like lemon cheesecake in the bag.

Rara Willow White by Napali Tea Traders || White
Ingredients: white tea

Your clean slate for the new year. A classic, aromatic, 2nd-flush white tea. Meaning, this is sweet and fruity with subtle classic white tea notes and a floral aroma. There's citrus notes to be tasted subtly in the finish. What a fine example of a white tea! Hand-picked one leaf and one bud. 

I'm not a fan of white tea, but I'm open to trying more to find one I do like. This, unfortunately, was not one of them. I found it very herbally. For tea drinkers who are all about pure, plain teas, I would recommend it. It's a fine tea, just not for me. 
January's box was sort of a dud for me. One tea I liked, one I kind of liked, one I didn't really like and one I detested completely. Also, was there a ton of citrus in this box or what? Can't win them all, eh?

February Amoda Tea Tasting Box
Keemun by SwanSisters || Black
Ingredients: Chinese black tea

A classic Chinese black tea to appreciate a holiday in an important tea-drinking culture: Chinese New Year. This is a rich, lightly smoky black tea that's smooth & bold. There's a subtle rose note that adds depth to this cup. It has an assertive edge that gets more pronounced with longer steep times. Try it more "edgy" -- 1 tsp in 8oz for 3-5 minutes.

A strong black tea. I can see this being very offensive to most casual tea drinkers. It's almost medicinal in nature. I'm not sure if I like this or not! I probably won't be buying it in the future. I would maybe place it on the same level as the Rara Willow White. It might just not be for me. I seem to be more a Western tea person when it comes to black and white teas, while I prefer Eastern oolong and green teas.

Serene Tea by The Honest Leaf || Herbal
Ingredients: organic peppermint, chamomile, lemon peel, passion flower, jasmine flower, organic hibiscus, lavender, organic lemon extract

This tea does exactly what its name promises -- brings serenity to your day. Ingredients like chamomile, jasmine and lavender really do have that affect [sic]. We taste the apple-like flavours of chamomile, a perfect lemon squeeze and smooth mint. There's tart and sweet florals playing off one another and hints of relaxing lavender that come out mid-sip.

A great tea for anyone who is a little overwhelmed by how pepperminty many peppermint teas can be. Plus, I found this super flexible. Some peppermint teas I've tried turn absolutely horrific if steeped too long, but this handled my absentmindedness like a champ. Nice and smooth and perfect for quelling an upset stomach.

Hazelnut Pear by Petali Teas || Green 
Ingredients: gunpowder green tea, pears, oranges, cinnamon, hazelnuts, cardamom, apples, natural flavouring

"Gunpowder" green is a smooth, full-bodied tea that's perfect for winter. Blended with a surprising ingredient list, we hope you're curious to try this out! The vanilla cream is a perfect complement to the smoky gunpowder green & its natural nuttiness is accentuated with hazelnuts. "Peared" up with fruit and cinnamon, this is a really tasty blend.

Am I curious? You betcha. I had no idea if this would taste nice to me or not, and... it ended up being my favourite of the bunch! One of the few teas where I can easily pick out every single flavour, and where every ingredient complements the others. No single ingredient overwhelms the tea, as I was worried the cinnamon or cardamom would. This reminds me of a warm roasted pear with cinnamon and vanilla. Two thumbs up.

Lavender Cream Earl Grey by Aromatica || Black 
Ingredients: Ceylon black tea, bergamot, vanilla, hibiscus, lavender petals, and natural flavour 

This tea brings together the best of all the earl grey worlds -- bergamot, vanilla, cream and lavender. Why have them in 4 separate Earl Greys!? This is a sweet, creamy, delicious black tea with floral hints. The vanilla and cream soften the bergamot citrus edge. You can still enjoy this variation with milk.

This is a good tea. I might just be saying that because I love almost any incarnation of Earl Grey, but I really do enjoy this. It smells lovely in the bag and steeps to a nice, creamy flavour. If you like Twining's Lady Grey this is very similar in terms of its lightness on the bergamot. I will definitely consider purchasing this again, though given all the Earl Grey blends in my house right now I'm going to put it off... maybe.   

 February's box was very nice, though I think the Keemun was a bit of a dud for me. 3/4 ain't bad considering the huge variety of teas there are to choose from, though! 

As always, I highly recommend Amoda Tea. Check them out! They don't just do subscription boxes, they sell tea and tea accessories as well! They ship right from Vancouver to anywhere in North America.

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