There has been a growing number of tea advent calendars with new ones popping up every year! I was drawn to this new one because it featured single-origin teas and tisanes from around the world.
Description: “This countdown box has been carefully curated by tea experts for the tea lover who cares about the origin, the producers, terroir, and tasting notes.”
Review: Since I am sensitive to cinnamon, during the holidays, blended teas can be tricky for me as it is a popular ingredient. This product was launching for the first time this year, and there was limited information. So, I reached out to The Tea Practitioner’s Instagram and Sierra, one of the owners, who confirmed that the advent calendar did not have cinnamon. So, I decided to buy it as my 2022 advent!
The shell of the advent calendar was a large white box with a big bow. Inside the box were 24 teas stacked in two layers. Each pouch contained between 3 grams, for more bulky teas, and 5 grams for most of the other teas. The teas/tisanes came from countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Malawi, Thailand, and even Canada! The advent calendar included:
- 2 white teas
- 1 yellow tea
- 5 green teas
- 4 oolong teas
- 5 black teas
- 3 pu’erh teas and,
- 4 herbal teas
There were also two postcards, one providing information about the advent calendar and the other with western and gong fu cha brewing recommendations for the 6 types of teas and herbal tea. Since this could be a gift for someone, I appreciated there were detailed brewing recommendations, and some were even broken down further like Chinese and Japanese green teas and raw vs ripe pu’erh teas.
Since I knew I wanted to brew and share the teas with my family, I opted for western style brewing, which gave us each a small cup of tea to taste. For each tea type/tisane, I used the same steeping parameters and the middle time and temperature recommendations. This seemed like a fair way to gauge all the various teas.
As a past customer of The Tea Practitioner, some of the teas/tisanes were familiar to me, but many were not! It was always fun to pull out the next tea for the day. With any experience like this, there were some I liked more, and some I enjoyed less, but this speaks to the diversity of flavours within the box. Once all 24 teas were revealed, it was nice to compare all the teas and see the wide range of flavours and types. Some of the small details I liked were the sizes of the pouches, which were easy to open, and how one side was the labeled with a number and then flipping it would reveal the tea. I also liked how the type of teas had colour-coded labels which made it easy to identify. Some of my favourites are below!
That being said, I did have a few minor issues with the advent calendar, namely the box and information about the teas. The box containing all the teas was a bit large and bulky. As a gift, I can see it being quite eye-catching, but half the box was empty and when I was moving it, some of teas had shifted out of its neat configuration before I even opened it. That being said, it is more of a packaging issue and with a smaller/tighter box, it would be an easy fix. A smaller box would also make it easier to find the right tea for each day.
The second issue was information on the teas. This was partially my fault, as I didn’t notice the dedicated website listed on the information postcard until after the 24 days were over. However, when I went to visit the URL, it did not work. I also could not find all the teas manually searching on the website. So, I contacted Sierra again and she informed me that it was a technical error with the URL being incorrect on the postcard. Regardless, while it is nice to have it on the website, not all people will visit it, so I would have liked it if the countries, harvest years, and general information was listed on the pouches or on a separate postcard as a quick reference. Additionally, elderflower, which was the first item also should have had a note on the pouch or in the box as it states on the website that it can be harmful if not brewed hot.
Overall, I really enjoyed the tea advent calendar. I liked the focus on single-origin teas/tisanes as that is something important to me since I believe tea producers and countries should be highlighted. There was also a good range of teas/tisanes with recommendations to brew it in two different styles. Sierra also posted daily brew-along videos on Instagram, but I chose to avoid those because I wanted to drink the teas without a reference point. However, that is how I originally found out that I had to brew the elderflower hot.
This would be a nice gift for someone who wants to sample a lot of different teas and be surprised. Brewing the teas/tisanes western style, there was enough to brew each one at least twice. I can’t state how much I enjoyed teas and how each one was unique. While the tea selection was great, there are some minor issues that can be improved to make next year’s advent calendar even better(3.5/5 rating)!
- Company: The Tea Practitioner
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