Friday, 9 August 2013

'Tea Horse' Review

Do you like the look of the teas on Tea Street blog, but are too busy to know where to start?  Well, Tea Horse has sent me a box, with logo green tissue paper inside, which to unwrap makes me feel like it's my birthday.  Inside are four tea packets of quality loose tea and a leaflet with info about each one. I'm officially in the Tea Horse club..!


Tea Horse is a subscription service, and like a magazine subscription it's delivered straight to your door each month.  What a novel idea! It's aimed at "anyone looking to discover new flavours and explore the world of gourmet loose tea".

In each exciting monthly tea package, will be a selection of four different teas that are said to be fresh, quality teas not found on the high street.  The flavours hail from all over the world and their Master Taster is only the Director of the UK Tea Council!


In this instance, i've been sent Kukicha tea from Japan, Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, Panyong Golden Needle Tea from China and Earl Grey from India.  I can see why the leaflet is called 'Four Nations'!  Out of these I only know a bit about Ceylon and Earl Grey and am new to Kukicha and Golden needle, so this will be interesting!   


In the box is a set of tea filters aka large tea bags! They're unbleached and biodegradable and sent to you so you can drink your loose tea samples wherever you are, even without a teapot!     I read the leaflet for notes on each tea and how to take it, and find a space on the back to write my notes.  This begins to feel like a Masterclass..!

Brewing

This is the science, as they say!  I've measured out the amounts per cup and brewed according to the instructions.  

Clockwise from top left: Kukicha, Ceylon, Earl Grey, Panyong Golden Needle





Kukicha looks the most different at the moment because it's the only green in the selection.  The flavours between each one prove to be much more diverse. 



I can tell that all these teas are of good quality and slurp mindfully to learn about how each one tastes.  The Japanese Kukicha and the Earl Grey stand out for me as they're unusual with interesting new tastes for me!




Conclusion

This service is a novel way to taste and learn about many different quality teas without ending up with a bunch of expensive no-goes in the cupboard!  You can trust that the specialist tasters at Tea Horse are doing the running around for you and all you have to do is pick up the box from the doormat and see whether it's a yes or a no!  

It's £11.95 per month (so about £3 per 20mg packet - a bargain in my opinion), £35 for 3 months and £120 for a year.  I think i'd do a few months worth until i'd found my favourites and then buy these individually in larger amounts. For example, I couldn't get enough of the Earl Grey (as usual!) so I could go to the Tea Horse store and buy just this one for £4.30 for 50g or a larger size. 

It also makes me think it'd be worth starting a tea group with teas such as these, meeting up with friends or in the village and doing an 'Avon/Tupperware/book' type club!  Like a wine circle and being able to walk in a straight line afterwards!  Otherwise it's fun to discuss online so let me know if you've tried any of these on facebook or twitter!