It’s about time one of these was directly about tea, right?
Recently, I joined a new subscription service—this time for a monthly shipment of four carefully curated loose leaf teas. Tea Runners, for those who may not be aware, is the creation of husband and wife team Charlie Ritchie and Jewel Staite. They taste teas and pick their favourites—the best ones—for each shipment. I also know through social media this selection process can include going to tea expos. Frankly, I am jealous about that—I would love that sort of thing.
Anyways, I stumbled across Tea Runners because I happen to be a fan of Jewel’s work as an actress and tea—so naturally this had to pop up on my radar at some point. My ultimate decision to try it largely stemmed from adjusting my tea stash and a desire to try new things. But enough of the background here. Let’s dive in:
I have to say, I love the packaging. It reminds me a little bit of a fancy cardboard envelope, but still sturdy like a box. I love the design on the whole box, inside and out, and combined with the name Tea Runners, I cannot help but be reminded of pirate ships. It all evokes a feeling of exclusivity and exoticness. Each tea blend comes in its own vacuum sealed bag, much like what you would find with DavidsTea, though these ones are a shiny gold.
Perhaps my favourite thing about the packaging, however, is its size. It fits perfectly into my mailbox, which means I never have to worry about the mailperson deciding to leave a note for me and forcing me to pick it up elsewhere. They have an easy place to put it!
So I guess the big question is what did I think about the teas chosen for the September box? I think my biggest worry, given you don’t choose the tea for the most part, is not enjoying a particular blend rather than a worry about the quality of the tea from an objective viewpoint. I’ll talk about each blend individually in a moment, but first I will mention one thing about the teas they send. Before each shipment they send you an email about which teas they are including, along with a description of the ingredients—so if you are allergic to something, you are able to email them and they are able to make some accommodations (I believe they will substitute for a different tea). I have not had to take advantage of this, given I am not allergic to anything, but I love how others have this option if they need it.
Now lets get to each blend!
Ginger Lime Rooibos
I figured I would start with the blend currently in my mug (well, about to be finished anyways). This is a great blend for the evening, since it is a caffeine free tea. I love the sharp spice of the ginger in particular with this blend—I think the combination of ginger and lime (along with lemon myrtle and lemongrass), would make this an ideal blend to sip on if you had a cold or a sore throat. I might just save a little from my packet to try if I do fall ill in the near future. I haven’t quite tested this one to its limits yet, but I do know I did not taste a difference in the quality during my second steeping. I hope to push it further just to see how well it holds up, but I am definitely pleased with it so far.
The first thing that comes to mind with this blend is the word herbaceous. This is fitting, since Jewel and Charlie used this word in their description of the tea! I know some people who might not like a herbaceous note to their tea—I know I was one of those people when I first began drinking tea years ago—but rest assured this blend does not overpower you with the herbaceous flavour. This is, I believe, where the matcha comes in. The matcha seems to sweeten and tone it so you are energized and in love with the blend. It’s not my favourite of the bunch—but I still quite enjoy this blend! I also steeped one serving of it three times and it holds up pretty well.
The first thought in my mind when I drank this tea was: my Dad is going to love this. It is a quality, pure green tea from Simao, China. It is quite a fragrant, strong blend and delicious to sip on cup after cup. Speaking of multiple cups, I steeped one serving of tea leaves four times and could barely tell the difference between the first and the fourth cup. I didn’t go for a fifth simply because it was the end of the day and I didn’t want to leave the leaves overnight. Speaking of the leaves, I love how they unfurled while they steeped—not quite as much as I have heard the blooming teas do (though I have never tried these myself), but it was still nice to watch!
Himalayan Golden Black
Did you know there was a Global Tea Championship Award? Well this blend was a 1st Place Winner in the Black Tea category. So, the stakes were definitely high on this one. However, there is no need to worry as I have actually saved my favourite blend in the box for last.
There are a number of flavours in this blend, though it remains a pure black tea. You definitely get a bold, toasted flavour at the forefront, though you can also taste some sweetness in notes of honey and stonefruit. For a moment think of the best pure black tea you have had, whether it was from a tea bag or loose leaf. Then raise your expectations of Himalayan Golden Black.
While Himalayan Golden Black does remind me of an English or Irish Breakfast tea, I think it is far better than any of them I have tried. Like the others, this tea’s flavour lasts for multiple steeps, something I find important in a quality tea.
Every tea in this September shipment of Tea Runners was a winner in its own way. My overall favourite tea blend still remains Earl Grey, and the quality of the teas in this shipments makes me hope they include Earl Grey in a future shipment—somehow I think the Earl Grey they choose will top my list of specific favourite blends—never to lose its crown. So what it comes down to? I love Tea Runners.