*I received this product free for testing purposes. All opinions expressed are my own*
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this a few times on this blog, but I'm a big tea drinker. There's something about tea that is so soothing, from the ritual of actually making it to getting to hold that warm mug in your hands and sip it. I go through a lot of tea, especially during the colder months. My greatest moment of joy was discovering that my grocery store of choice sells one of the teas I like in the bulk section for half the price of it in the box. So anytime I'm offered a chance to test out and review tea for this blog I take it.
For the most part there is no such thing as bad tea per say, so when reviewing teas it's more about how it tasted (full bodied, any bitterness, what notes do you taste, ect), the quality of the tea, and the tea company itself. And tea, like makeup, is a personal preference. My favorite tea ever may not be everybody's cup of tea, pun intended. Sometimes personal bias can affect a review as well, if I'm upset with a company I'm less likely to give their product a glowing review (or even review it in the first place). I am recognizing that I am annoyed with the company that sent me this sample (I'll talk about why in a second) and I am currently is a significant amount of pain or I'm less likely to be forgiving of certain things.
Culinary Teas is obviously an online tea shop that specializes in the more gourmet teas. I received the Good Mood Tea, which is a black tea with organic cacao nibs and other natural mood enhancers in it. Well, I sort of received it. So I get having a limited budget for PR stuff, but I received their 1 oz sample pack (which retails for a criminal $3.75) instead of an actual container of their product. So not only can I not review their packaging, which is an important part of product review, but I only had enough product to make a full cup for myself and a half cup for my son. That's like receiving a foil pack of shampoo and being asked to do a full review. Obviously I'm pretty annoyed at that. An actual pack of the Good Mood tea retails from $12.50 to $35.75, depending on the size you get. This is an expensive tea company, so I expect better things from them.
As far as the actual tea, it was a pretty looking blend for sure. Because I had such a small sample I didn't get an even mix of stuff, like there was only one piece of orange rind in the whole mix. Since it is a loose tea you need to either put it in a tea infuser or strain the tea into your cup, which is how I prefer to make my loose tea. This is a pretty basic black tea. A nice black tea with very little bitterness, but a basic black tea. You really don't get any of the cocoa nibs and while I could smell a bit of the orange I couldn't taste it at all. It wasn't a bad tea, but looking at the ingredient list I expected to taste something besides black tea. And for the price they're charging I had better be blown away. I don't mind paying more for tea, the Mighty Leaf brand is up there in price but they are so worth it. This tea reminded me of something I'd get at a restaurant during the fall, not a gourmet blend.
Overall I'm not impressed and I wouldn't recommend this tea to anyone. While some of their other blends sounded good, after the let down from this blend I won't be paying almost $4 to try a single cup. If you want to give them a try, you can find them at CulinaryTea.com. Maybe you will enjoy them more than I did, but for me they fell pretty flat.