Teatime fun list #14 Try a tea subscritpion and a Harney and Sons Subscription Review

One of the best ways to explore the world of tea is through a tea subscription. A tea subscription is simply, an amount of tea sent directly to your home each month for a fee. Almost every tea company has some sort of tea subscription. What you get in each subscription can vary so widely, I thought I would review each subscription I currently have in detail, rather than try to do a general overview of subscriptions. This month, we are going to look into my Harney and Sons Tea of the Month subscription. I have been a subscriber for 6 months.

When you subscribe you get the choice between receiving tea sachets or loose-leaf tea. If you choose the sachet subscription you get a tin of 30 sachets. The teas you get will be flavored and unflavored. The teas will be a mixture of black, herbal, white, green and oolong teas. If you choose the loose-leaf option, you will get up to 4 ounces of tea. If you choose tea sachets for your subscription your first month will include a teacup or mug. The teas will be flavored and unflavored. The teas will be a mixture of black, white, green and oolong teas. If you choose loose-leaf tea for your subscription, you will get a small 2-3 cup tea pot with an infuser. There are no substitutions or returns on teas in the subscription. I prefer loose-leaf tea so that is what I subscribed to and what this review is based.

I decided to subscribe to Harney and Sons’ tea of the month after seeing some You-Tube videos and reading the reviews on the Harney and Sons website. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive but there was a couple of comments I would like to address further because they really apply to all tea subscriptions, not just Harney and Sons.

One commenter wasn’t pleased that he could have purchased the teas that came in his subscription box cheaper if he had bought them directly from the website. I understand the frustration, but the monetary value of a tea subscription isn’t based on a single month’s tea. The monetary value of the tea subscription is based on the value of the tea over a period of time, usually a year. I would argue, the value of a tea subscription isn’t the amount the tea costs but in how much you enjoyed drinking the teas over time. Generally, Harney and Sons subscription gives two teas a month if they are cheaper teas and then the next month they will give a one tea that is more expensive.

Another commenter stated there weren’t enough classics in the subscription. In the last year and a half, I have subscribed to several different tea subscriptions and none of them have included the classics like Earl Grey or English Breakfast. The idea behind tea subscriptions is to get you to try teas you may not pick for yourself so they may not include the everyday classics, no matter how good they may be.

After 6 months of being a Harney and Sons tea subscriber here is what I like:

  1. Harney and Sons subscriptions are very generous with the amount of tea of tea they provide. These are no 5-6 cup samples. These are full sized tins with enough tea for 20 to 40 cups of tea.
  2. The variety of teas they provide is amazing at getting me out of my comfort zone with teas I would have never picked for myself. I wouldn’t have picked these teas because they are outside my limited tea drinking experience or outside my price range for tea. I have recently put one of the teas I have received on my list of all time favorite teas.
  3. I love the fact this subscription comes in tins. There is just something classy about tea in tins. Also, empty tins are expensive, so I love the fact I can reuse the tins for other teas once they are empty.
  4. Every month, the order comes with free samples. Free samples always make me happy.
  5. Shipping is always free on any tea order, no matter how big or small, not just tea subscriptions.

What I don’t like:

Haney and Sons is easily one of my most favorite tea subscriptions I have ever tried. The things I don’t like about it are more personal preferences then reflections on the subscription itself.

  1. I would like to see herbal tisanes and Pu’erhs included in the subscription because they are my favorite kinds of teas.
  2. I would like to Harney and Sons to seal the tins with something other than stickers. I hate sticker residue with a mad passion. No matter how careful I am when I try to open the tins, I always end up with sticker residue that has to scrubbed off. I get why they do it but it still drives me crazy

Like I said these things are personal preferences not a reflection on the subscription itself.

Is it worth it? If you are looking for the classic flavored teas than this subscription isn’t for you. However, if you are willing to be open minded and try teas that may be outside of what you are used to this subscription is definitely worth the 19.50 a month you pay for it. While not all the teas I have received over the last 6 months have been my favorites, all of the teas have been enjoyable and furthered my tea education in some way. To me, that makes this subscription worth what I pay for it.

This product was paid for by me. I don’t take any form of monetary compensation, free product or free subscriptions from the companies whose products I review. All opinions are my own.

Pinkys Up Glass Travel Infuser — A Review

One of my favorite things to do before bed is to watch Tea videos on You Tube. I get a lot of my ideas for tea subscriptions I would like to try from these videos and its always interesting to see what other people are drinking. One thing that has always puzzled me though, is why many of these you tubers have so much tea ware. Many of them have large walls with multiple shelves filled with dozens of mugs, infusers, teacups and saucers, travel mugs, Iced tea glasses, and tea pots galore. I mean you can only use one big teapot at a time and only need one teacup or mug for each person in your family, right?

Well, after some recent experiences, I can honestly say, I don’t buy tea ware strictly for its functionality or because it I’d something I need. Sometimes, I buy tea ware because it is just so darn pretty, like this Pinky Up Travel infuser. It was the prettiest piece of tea ware I owned by far and I really wanted to like it but there are some significant problems that, in my opinion make it unsuitable for traveling anywhere with it.

What I like:

  1. The infuser basket has very fine holes in it so the finest teas won’t escape the infuser and float around in your tea.
  2. The infuser basket has a lid so there will be no escaped tea leaves floating in your tea. Can you tell I don’t like tea debris floating in my cup?
  3. The lid on the bottle doesn’t leak. I had some doubts about this when I first tried the infuser.
  4. The infuser basket sits firmly in the infuser bottle, so it won’t bash you in the teeth when you take a drink.
  5. It’s really pretty, especially when you have a richly colored tea in it and the sun behind the infuser bottle.

I really wanted to like everything about this infuser bottle but there are a few things I don’t like about it at all.

  1. The lid doesn’t have a spout, so you have to take the lid completely off to take a drink which makes it difficult to take a drink when you are driving or walking. You really have to stop moving to take a drink which is very inconvenient in a travel bottle.
  2. The notes on the box talk about being able to use it to brew hot and cold teas. When you pour 212-degree water in it to infuse a black tea, the water bottle almost immediately becomes too hot to handle. Since it is glass bottle that doesn’t have a handle there is no place to put your hands where you won’t burn the crud out of them. It takes about 20-30 minutes to cool down enough to grab and go.
  3. What do you do with the infuser when you don’t want to oversteep your tea?
  4. They break way too easily for something you are supposed to travel with. I have been keeping my infuser on my desk at work to make cold brewed iced tea for after lunch. This morning, I accidently knocked my infuser over and it broke when it hit the desk, a drop of less than 6 inches. How is something that delicate going to last being jostled around in your bag while you are out walking the dog or doing your errands?

The infuser is beautiful and if you are going to use it at home, at your desk at work, or going your mom’s to visit, it is definitely worth having. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well as a travel infuser it is just too delicate and gets way too hot to handle. I have other mugs in my collection that are much more suited to traveling, so I won’t be purchasing another Pinky’s Up Travel Infuser.

This product was paid for by me. I don’t take any form of monetary compensation, free product or free subscriptions from the companies whose products I review. All opinions are my own.

Teatime Fun Time #4 — Buy A Tea Mug that reflects your Personality

What no one tells you is that when you start drinking tea you also start collecting things to hold your tea in, it might be a dainty teacup and saucer, a hefty tea mug or some combination of the two. You will need travel mugs to keep your iced tea cold in the summer and your hot tea hot in the winter. You will want clear glasses to show off your pretty teas and containers to brew iced tea in. There are, literally, a cup or mug for every mood, occasion and fandom out there.

I am partial to mugs for my tea. I am a big girl, and I am always a little afraid I’ll break those dainty teacups just by breathing too hard. Plus, teacups usually don’t hold enough tea for me. I going to share some of my favorite mugs in my collection. WARNING!!!!`If you are offended by the f word you may want to wait until my next post to read any further. My sense of humor is a bit blue and that is reflected in the mugs I collect and use on a regular basis.

I have pretty mugs that I use when my 77-year-old mother comes over for tea because she wouldn’t appreciate my other mugs at all.

I have sarcastic mugs that express my day to day feeling about life.

I have mugs that reflect my love as a fan for new shows.

I have mugs that reflect my long-time love of very old shows.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on cups or mugs. I got my Deadpool mug at the thrift store for 2 dollars. I have had my Enterprise mugs forever because I am a serious Trek nerd and have been since I was around 12 years old. I’ll be 53 in December. The point is to find the mugs or teacups that reflect your style, sense of humor and personality. Have fun with it.