Monday, June 11, 2018

Alakaban Tea Review

I love a good cup of tea, so when Alakaban Tea asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their boxes, I said yes right away! They send a DIY box of tea and spices for the perfect cup.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Alakaban Tea is based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada and all of their tea and spices are entirely organic and purchased from farms in Sri Lanka. Each box contains tea directly from an estate in Sri Lanka, as well as carefully paired spices, handcrafted tea tools, and five flavor pourches.

They have three subscription options (prices are in Canadian dollars):
  •  Taste-Tea Plan: $19.99 per month for 70 grams of one type of specially chose tea, two spices, and a few surprises!
  • Thirst-Tea Plan: $29.99 per month for 150 g of one tea, three spices, and surprises
  • Novel-Tea Plan: $39.99 per month for two 150 g bags of tea, three spices, and surprises
So this comes out to about $15.39 for Taste-Tea, $23.09 for Thirst-Tea, and $30.79 for Novel-Tea in U.S. dollars.

They offer free shipping on orders of $50+. When I entered my address at checkout for the Taste-Tea Plan, it added $15 CAD/$11.55 USD for shipping to New York. Since this is a Canadian subscription, I also entered an address of a random business in Toronto and it added $10.43 CAD for standard shipping.

This is a review for the April Novel-Tea box. I'm publishing in June because I received the box about a week ago, I'm assuming shipping took a little longer because it was coming from Canada to the U.S.

I was excited to sample this box because I've never made my own tea. By that I mean I usually only buy pre-packaged tea bags; I've never added all of the ingredients myself. I also really like that all of the ingredients are directly sourced from farms in Sri Lanka, so by purchasing a subscription you're helping out a small business.

The tea this month is a black Ceylong tea from an estate in Badulla. Ceylon refers to the region of Sri Lanka in which the tea is grown, not the actual flavor/style of tea itself. There were two bags of loose leaf tea, as well as a few tea bags inside the small box pictured above.

The tea bags are already filled with the cloves, jaggery, and almonds that are also included in the box for the loose leaf tea.

The box contained two tools this month: a wooden teaspoon and strainer. The strainer is still inside the white bag pictured above, when I took these photos I didn't realize it was still in there, I thought it was just the spoon. Why didn't I just take another picture of it? Because I just made the tea and the strainer is currently sitting on my counter, drying out. But it's also wooden and the strainer part is a canvas bag like the one the spoon is resting on in the above photo.

The spices come in three woven baskets. They're so cute and reusable for other spices once you use all of these up. The box contained Ceylon whole cloves, almonds, and jaggery. Jaggery is a traditional cane sugar that smells similar to brown sugar.

Ceylon whole cloves


As I said earlier, I've never made my own tea this way, so I was very interested to see how it would turn out. The instructions are simple, just boil one cup of water on the stove, add a teaspoon of the tea, and then add the spices as you choose, to taste. Let it all boil for two minutes, then strain into a teacup.

I added half a teaspoon of almonds, a teaspoon of jaggery, and a bunch of pinches of cloves to my tea because I love cloves.

Here's everything coming together on my stove top. It smelled so good!

I used the biggest, widest-brimmed mug I have because I was nervous that I would spill the tea everywhere when I tried to strain it. Luckily I avoided spilling, but that's why it looks like there's hardly any tea in the mug. Well, I guess there is hardly any tea. The recipe only called for one cup of water, so I think next time I'd do two or three cups plus equal parts teaspoon of tea.

The tea was so good. The added spices blended perfectly. I only added a big of sugar because I don't like overly-sweet teas, and the jaggery was a perfect complement to the sharp black tea. The cloves were my favorite, and the almonds were an interesting touch that I've never had in tea before. Overall, the taste was smooth and slightly spicy.
Bottom Line: Alakaban Tea is a must have for tea lovers! It's a great way to learn about new teas and spices, and being able to customize the cup to exactly how you like it is the best part.

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