I converted to drinking only loose leaf tea last year and gave this gift pack a try. While it was decent, I have since had better and will probably not be ordering it again.
For one, it is impossible to tell the age of the teas in the tins. For Pu-erh, that's not such a big deal, but for green teas and the Jasmine, you want normally want to get a batch that is a fresh as possible. PierMall is a big reseller of products from around the world, and there is no telling how long what you get had been sitting in some huge warehouse, slowly losing flavor. Another consideration is that you get a random sampling of Chinese teas, no the specific types that is implied by their Amazon listing. If you visit their website, you will see that they draw from this selection:
* China Black Tea * Tiekuanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) * Oolong * Lung Ching DragonWell Green Tea * Yunnan Pu-erh * Jasmine Tea * White Tea * Pu-erh Tea with Chrysanthemum * Lychee Black Tea * Rose Black Tea * Rose Green Tea * Osthsmum Green Tea
I don't know about you, but I'd like a little more certainty when buying a product. If you are new to tea and trying different varieties out, or are getting this as a gift, then it isn't such a big deal. Of what I received, the Oolong was the best. The Pu-erh was okay, though nothing special, and the Jasmine has a slight aftertaste, leading me to believe it was artificially flavored. Good Jasmine tea should be flavored by the scent of the flower, nothing else. The green and blacks were just okay.
You could do worse if you were to buy teabags, but not much. I would recommend buying good loose leaf tea from dedicated tea vendors who are more upfront about what exactly they are selling you. At this price, you really can't expect to get quality tea. But if you are looking for an inexpensive gift for someone who doesn't know their tea, you could do worse. At least afterward you have some cute little tins in which to store future teas! It may cost a little more, but I think one would be much better served by ordering samples from a company like Heavenly Teas or Adagio.
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