Sips By Is a Subscription Service for Tea-Lovers Looking for Something New
I've always been more of a tea person than a coffee person.
I associate a steaming cup of tea with stormy British days, or cozy days indoors with a good book—whereas, I associate iced coffee with migraines and the jitters. When I stumbled upon Sips By on Instagram, the company immediately piqued my curiosity. I reached out to the company, which was kind enough to provide me with a free month's subscription to try it for myself.
Sips By creates curated tea subscription boxes for their customers every month, based on their personal preferences. Each monthly box costs $15 and includes four different teas sent right to your mailbox, based on what you're looking for in your hot beverages. Every box brews up at least 15 tasty cuppas, and once you've tried them all, you can rate them to help Sips By better craft your future boxes.
Customizing My Subscription Box
The whole process begins with taking a quiz that determines the types of teas that get sent your way. I was curious to see how in-depth it would be, and find out if it would actually create a box suited to my tastes. To my delight, I was pleasantly surprised by their thoroughness.
Straight out of the gate, it asked me one of my most important tea questions—whether I go caffeine-free or caffeinated. Since I can be super sensitive to caffeine, I opted toward going completely caffeine-free. In the past I've noticed that few people take this into consideration, and I was thrilled to see that this was an option.
Next, it asked me if I prefer loose or bagged teas. I would have said bagged-only, but when I read that Sips By includes disposable tea bags with all of their loose-leaf teas, that concern went out the window. It also asked if I preferred flavored or unflavored teas (I enjoy a mix of both) before getting into a huge list of flavor profiles, from berry and chocolate, to smoky and earthy, and telling me to pick yes, no or maybe for each of them. Out of 19 flavors, I only gave a definite no to licorice root, because I think it's kind of icky.
(via Sips By)
Next, it asked me to select the types of teas I was willing to try. Out of those 15 varieties, I was up for tasting them all. Lastly, it asked me about how I typically brew tea, how often I drink it and whether I had any dietary restrictions or allergies. Once I'd answered those questions, my results were sent away to craft my perfect box of teas.
(via Sips By)
About two weeks after I entered my preferences, I got an email from Sips By with a link to track my package, as well as a link to my list of curated teas. It included an Organic Beauty Me Tea from Full Leaf Tea Co., an Organic Honey Vanilla Moringa Tea from Miracle Tree, a Chamomile Lavender tea from Ashville Tea Co. and a Strawberry Blend from Tea Head. The website also included links to learn more about each of the teas, and also where to buy them at a discount.
My box arrived just a day later with instructions and descriptions for each of the four flavors, and I was immediately ready to start sipping some summer-y cups of tea.
Chamomile Lavender by Asheville Tea Co.
I decided to start with what sounded like the milder flavors, so I went for the floral Chamomile Lavender. I boiled some water in a kettle before steeping the tea bag for about 10 minutes, mixing in a little honey to sweeten it up. I usually use a dark-colored mug, so it was tough to see if the color of the tea changed much, but the flowery scent was amazing.
When I finally took a sip, I was really pleased with the way it tasted. The chamomile and lavender blended to create an earthy, herby flavor with just a hint of apple, and it was super mild and easy to drink. I love lavender for rest and relaxation, and this tea definitely had a soothing effect on me. Apparently, it also has antibacterial properties, which is an added bonus.
Organic Honey Vanilla Moringa Tea by Miracle Tree
Next up, it was time to try the Organic Honey Vanilla Moringa Tea. I don't believe I've had any moringa tea in the past, so I was eager to give it a try. According to the Sips By website, moringa is a superfood that's packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Mostly, I was interested in how it would taste.
Again, I boiled some water in the kettle, and this time steeped it for five minutes, adding a little bit of raw sugar to enhance the sweetness. It was love at first sip. While I had a tough time detecting whatever flavor the moringa contributed, I could easily taste the sweet notes of vanilla and honey, which were accentuated by the sugar. This delicate tea was so easy to drink, and it was the first I ran out of.
Organic Beauty Me Tea by Full Leaf Tea Co.
The Organic Beauty Me Tea required a little extra work, simply because it was a loose leaf tea. Thankfully, Sips By sent me a bunch of disposable tea bags to fill and use myself, making the process super simple. I poured an estimated teaspoon of the mixture, including gorgeously vibrant rose petals, into the little satchel before tightening it up and adding it to a cup of boiling water, letting it steep for about seven minutes.
I was a little wary of this tea at first because, scent-wise, it had a lot going on. The blend smelled of peppermint and ginger, with a hint of herbs and flowers behind them. I wasn't sure if it would make sense to add something to sweeten the tea, so I left it alone until I tasted it. It turned out that I didn't have anything to worry about. The slightly harsh ginger, mint and herb flavors all mellowed out together into one harmonious blend. It wasn't overpowering at all, and it tasted even better with a bit of honey mixed in. Plus, this tea's description says it also promotes clear skin and healthy hair, on top of a bevy of other benefits. I have to say I'm a fan.
Strawberry Blend by Tea Head
Last but not least, it was time to try the Strawberry Blend. This one fascinated me because the tea mixture is made up mostly of dried fruit, including elderberries, apple, blackcurrants, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. The tea blend smells like a strawberry fruit snack, and once I got a whiff, I couldn't wait to see how it would taste.
To get started, I poured about a teaspoon and a half of the mixture into one of the brewing bags before letting it steep in boiling water for 10 minutes with a little raw sugar. The result was a bold, red tea with a lightly fruity aroma, and the longer I let it brew, the more impatient I grew to taste it. It wound up being everything I wanted it to be. The flavor was very subtle, but it carried the sweetness and tartness of the berries inside of it.
At first, it was a little strange for something fruity to have such a hot taste, but over time, I grew to really enjoy it. And while I haven't had the chance yet, I'd love to make an iced tea version with a little more sweetener, and maybe even a little cream. It seems deliciously versatile, and I don't think this is the last I'll be seeing of this tea.
I loved each of the four teas in my Sips By box, and I think their service and its customizability are awesome. It's a great choice if you love trying new things and you're sick of committing to teas at the store, only to find out you don't care for them and get stuck with the rest of the box.
However, at about a dollar a cup, Sips By is definitely pricier than testing out with individual teas on your own. However, I think the fact that it learns your tastes and gives you the chance to experiment with new flavors and varieties is entirely worth it if you're willing to spend that little extra. No matter what kind of tea lover you are, I think Sips By will have something new to offer.
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