(Gifted for purposes of review)
Well, Christmas came early for me this year, when BRUU Tea (pronounced “brew”) very kindly sent me one of their monthly subscription boxes to try. If you didn’t already know, I’m super fond of subscription boxes, because I resent making decisions, I love new teas, and getting things through the post every month brings me joy. I also think subscriptions are a really handy way to try teas that you would never ever pick yourself, let alone commit to a larger pack of, especially when you’re starting on your loose leaf journey.
BRUU Tea takes the classic “tea in a box” model, and adds their own spin to it. As well as including three of their own ethically sourced blends for you to try (BRUU are proud members of the Ethical Tea Partnership), each month they visit a different area of the world, and include a bonus “Discover” tea, with information about the grower. They also include a themed gift, so it’s an exciting present to yourself (or, y’know, an actual present to someone you love) every month.
BRUU was started around five years ago, not so much from a love of tea, but in response to a dislike of poor quality tea bags. During a trip to York, the founder discovered loose leaf tea, and that tea can actually taste, well, fresh and delicious, and from there the idea grew. Since their inception, BRUU Tea have been featured in Esquire, The Guardian, Good Housekeeping, and now of course, Mrs Radfad Drinks Tea.
But enough of my flapping, on with the review!
First things first, the packaging, which is important for a number of reasons, but especially if you’re reading this thinking maybe you can sort out Aunty Jill’s Christmas present.
The box is stylish, fits through your letterbox, and keeps the product nice and safe, as well as being recyclable, so we have full marks there. Once you open it up, it’s crammed full with goodies – 3 of BRUU’s teas, the Discover tea, an info leaflet about the Discover tea, and three little gifts based on November’s theme of China (I was lucky enough to also have a mesh egg infuser included with my box – this doesn’t come as standard but can be added on to the first box for £4.99. I would argue that it’s not great value for money for the quality of infuser, but it is very convenient as it comes with your order, so it depends what you prioritise, especially if you are buying this as a gift for someone who may not have any infusers at home already).
So on to the teas!
We have a good spread of teas here – a black OP, a white/green fruit blend, a dessert rooibos and a green tea, surely something for everyone.
We’ll start as I did…
Pedro OP (Black Tea)
Pedro OP or Orange Pekoe (no, it doesn’t taste of oranges, think orange like Holland) is a perplexing little number. When I think OP, I think bolder, richer, hearty tea. Orange Pekoe was named “best tea to have with a fry up” over English Breakfast. So when I opened the bag and inhaled honey and vanilla notes, I started to become a little confused – the aroma reminded me of the London Fog and lavender honey creme patissiere that I made I while back (yeah I did just drop that in there).
I steeped for the full 3 minutes, and the liquor was as you see below, light golden in colour, and very fresh in taste, almost touching on oolong, but with an oakier note, and an aroma of honeyed florals. Definitely not your average black tea, nor your average orange pekoe. My current theory is that the fermentation period of this tea is shorter than usual, allowing the lighter notes to flourish. Definitely not a tea to have with sugar, milk and a bacon bap, more to be savoured by itself.
Wild Apple (White/Green Tea)
Ooooh she’s fresh. The dry leaf aroma of this tea reminds me of a very apple-y version of Ginger Peach Snowcone from Tea by Daniel, the freshness of the white tea and ginger, and for that reason I decided to try it both hot and cold-brewed, as I would Ginger Peach Snowcone.
I first steeped the tea for 3 minutes in 80 degree water, and what a treat. Such a lovely light tea, without a hint of bitterness, despite containing two sometimes temperamental teas. There’s a gentle sweetness over the tongue, but it’s not sugary.
I also cold brewed this tea overnight, which was possibly a little too much, but it’s a tough call with a blended fruit/white/green tea mix – white teas need a shorter time, but fruit needs a lot longer to release the full flavour in cold water. It was perfectly fine to drink, with a lovely fruit flavour, but the white tea was a little heavy. I didn’t want to re-experiment with the rest of my sample though, as I’m looking to pick up a good quality lemonade to brew the rest of it with – I think it will make the most fabulous mix.
Discover Tea – Mao Jian (Green Tea)
Sometimes, when I look at green tea bags in supermarkets, I feel so sad. They could not be further away from teas like this spring harvested Mao Jian. The dry leaf aroma is very sweet, and light green, but the liquor aroma gives me some sencha vibes, which I was not expecting at all, but is never a bad thing. The mouthfeel itself is much more crisp, compared to a buttery sencha, but it has a warming, green, floral taste quite unlike anything I’ve had before. Best for moments of peace and quiet contemplation, perhaps pretending to be Uncle Iroh from Avatar (yes I know it’s not ginseng but I think he’d like this one).
Terry’s Rooibos (Um… Rooibos)
As the saying goes, “it’s not Terry’s – it’s mine”, and this was the first sample to completely disappear /whistles innocently/. On its own, this rooibos blended with chocolate chips, orange peel and orange blossom smells divine and scratches a sweet itch. But oh, as a stovetop latté, that is where this tea shines. I’ve been having half oatmilk, half water, and just a little sprinkle of sugar, and allowing it to come to the boil and simmer gently for a few minutes – simply wonderful. But now it’s all gone, and I might have to use the code that comes with the subscription box to get 10% off my order of some more (ha haaa, you’ll need to purchase a box to get the code, I think BRUU might revoke my tea privileges otherwise!)
As this is a subscription box and the teas change every month, my rating is based on whether I consider the box value for money. So comes the matter of the price. What do you think three 14g teas, plus an extra tea plus a free gift might cost a month? Well, if you’re in the UK, it’s a maximum of £10, including postage, and if you were to get a 12 month subscription, it would cost you £9.34 (okay, £9.33 recurring) per month. And if you’d like to give someone a 3 month subscription, at the moment, it would cost you £28.50. If you’re outside of the UK, the price increases to include shipping of £2.99 a month, but that’s still a pretty fabulous deal. I mean, I guess you can tell from my tone that I think it’s great. As I said at the start, I really do believe in tea subscription boxes, because otherwise it can be quite time consuming (and wallet consuming) for a newbie or simply a busy person to access quality loose leaf tea on a regular basis, and you can get stuck in a rut of being unwilling to try new things for fear of being stuck with a whole stash of tea you don’t really like. BRUU are able to deliver you ethically sourced, quality teas not only from their regular blends, but from tea plantations in China, India and Sri Lanka that they, as a team, visit, all for less than the price of a few takeaway coffees a month.
❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
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