Alakaban Tea Box Review February 2017

Alakaban is an online tea subscription service delivering tea from Sri Lanka to your door. As a world renown tea lovers’ destination, Sri Lanka has a tremendous amount to offer. With their strong connections to the former Ceylon, they have an understanding of tea and tea culture.  I love that this is a Canadian box!  Not only Canadian, but from my own province of British Columbia!  I feel a little proud!… But I’m Canadian, so not too proud and I’ll apologize if my pride offends you.

They kindly sent us this box for review.

Choose between the Novel-Tea Plan, Thirst-Tea Plan, or Taste-Tea Plan:

Novel-Tea Plan ($39.99) is a once a month payment that covers one month worth of tea.  Each box contains two 150 gram bags of tea. Combined, all 300 grams (10.5oz) of tea will serve 120 – 150 cups.  Inside the box will also be three nicely paired spices that will blend well with the chosen Tea.  Last but not least, every month we will be including bonus items to make your tea experience delightful.

Thirst-Tea Plan ($29.99) is a once a month payment that covers an entire months worth of tea.  Each box contains a 150 gram bag (5.3 oz) of tea which will make 30 – 40 cups.  Inside the box will also be three nicely paired spices that will blend well with the chosen Tea.  Last but not least, every month we will be including bonus items to make your tea experience delightful.

Taste-Tea Plan ($19.99) is a once a month payment that covers one entire month of tea.  Each box contains a 70 gram bag (2.8 oz) of tea which will make 12 – 15 cups.  Inside the box will also be two nicely paired spices that will blend well with the chosen Tea.  Last but not least, every month we will be including bonus items to make your tea experience delightful.

Ok, so can we just start with how cute this parcel is?!  I just couldn’t help but take photos of it!  It reminds me of the line “brown paper packages tied up with strings”.  Such a tiny gesture, but it adds so much!  It made it feel personal.

At first glance I was super impressed with Alakaban Tea!  Usually tea boxes just have a couple bags of tea in them, but this one had three thatched baskets, cloth bag and mystery box!  I’m super intrigued and delighted!

I may or may not have squealed a few times while unboxing this!  Seriously!  How cute is all this?!

Spoon and Strainer

A biodegradable wooden tea spoon to measure your tea

A small disposable strainer to strain your tea from the saucepan to your tea cup.  It comes with an interchangeable cloth that can be cleaned in the washer.

I have never seen cloth steeping bags and I’m absolutely in love!  I find paper steeping bags will leave a paper taste and metal will leave a metallic taste.  I feel cloth would be the least offensive on the tea after taste wise.  I can’t wait to try them!  These items are even display worthy.

Tea

This month we present to you tea directly from the hills of Kandy.  As the capital of the Central Province, Kandy holds a special place in Sri Lanka as the last kingdom of the Sinhalese and for its spiritual significance.  In addition, it was in the Kandian estate Loolecandra that the very first tea shoot was planted.  Your February’s special tea brings you Kandy’s Orange Pekoe-A.  This grade of tea describes whole-leaf black tea that has not been torn or broken down during production.  The leaves are quite large and thick that it can be tightly wound or opened.  The OPA teas are known worldwide for it’s rich quality.  Kandy’s brew gives you a copper-toned tea with a delicate flavour.

Wow!  Such an education to be had here.  At first I was a little let down that the teas seemed so plain, as I’m use to getting some pretty extravagant teas in other boxes, but now that I’ve learned a bit more about the origin and blend I’m excited to try them!

If you find your black tea a bit too bland Alakaban has provided a few spices to add in!

Cocoa Nibs

Coco Nibs is a Valentines special.  Cocoa was first introduced in Sri Lanka in 1834 during the British reign.  Of the many varieties of Cocoa Sri Lanka nurtures one called Criollo that is known to bring out the optimum flavour in its plump beans.

Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon is a slightly different spice than regular cinnamon.  It is lighter in colour, sweeter and has a delicate scent that gave its alternate name ‘true cinnamon’.  Cinnamon has numerous health benefits and Ceylon cinnamon with its sweeter nature helps reduce levels of sugar in desserts and drinks.

Coconut Jaggery

Jaggery is a famous form of sugar for many Sri Lankans even today.  It is the unrefined non-distilled form of cane sugar.  However, Sri Lankan in fact produces a rarer version of the jaggery using the sap from coconut palms.  Many Sri Lankans would have a nibble of the sweet jaggery with their plain tea.

Wow!  Tea drinking has just entered a whole new level.  I feel this box would be worthy of it’s own tea tasting night with friends.  I can just imagine how the pallet would change with each added spice.

Flavour Bomb Surprise Box

We have added pouches of personally ground spice that you can add to your prepared tea.  The idea of the flavour bomb is to give you a taste of traditional tea from all over the world.  This month’s flavour bomb is called “Cupid’s Concoction” and consists of a mixture of cocoa nibs, cinnamon and coconut jaggery.  Just add 1 flavour pouch to 1 cup of plain tea.  We have added empty tea bags so you can make your own tea blends.

So cute!  I love that the hearts are hand crafted as well.  The personal touches to this box are fantastic.  I also like that a few extra bags have been provided for my own concoctions!

Alakaban Tea February 2017 – Final Thoughts

Love this box!  It really outdid itself with the added spices in thatched boxes, the cloth strainers and wooden spoon and the flavour bombs!  I feel like this box takes tea drinking to a whole new level.  Like I mentioned, I could see this box generating a monthly tea club in my house where we can try different teas and spices to compare.  I would love if they included some food paring recommendations to heighten the experience!

-Shonah

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