I have a confession to make – I'm a tea-a-holic. Some people like their fine coffees, exotic wines, but for me, nothing is better than a good cup of tea. In many ways, I think you could say I am addicted to tea. I have so many different varieties of tea in my house that I have to ask permission to buy tea, just because we already have boxes of unopened specialty tea just waiting for the right occasion. I have teas that are meant for the winter, some for the summer, and others that are meant for everyday use in the spring or fall. Even so, I am always trying to find more exotic and fun teas, especially since I was given a tea ball and tea "infuser" (strainer). If you are a serious tea drinker, you already know that loose tea is the best way to go since you can easily adjust the strength and flavor of the tea, especially if you like to experiment like me and mix different types of teas. When I was given the opportunity to review's ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea as part of their holiday promotion, I can't tell you how excited I was to try it!
ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos Tea: Who is ITO EN
For those who haven't heard of ITO EN, they are a very well known Japanese company that has been making fine tea products for over thirty years. They are still fairly new in the North American market, founding their offices here in May of 2010. Their goal is to introduce the ITO EN line of tea products and help everyone in the United States and Canada develop an appreciation for their high quality tea. They make a variety of products ranging from bottled teas to specialty loose teas for just about any occasion.
As some of you know, I also try supporting eco-friendly businesses, another reason I have fallen in love with ITO EN. They are one of the pioneers of corporate social responsibility and eco-friendly business practices. Over the years, the parent company has won numerous awards from the Japanese government for their environmental policies and eco-friendly packaging. One of their policies that I think is really cool is that the used tea leaves from production are upcycled into other products, including benches, uniforms, pens, and a variety of other products! They also work with Whole Foods non-profit organization, Whole Planet, to alleviate poverty in third world countries. In my opinion, it is great knowing that I am purchasing tea from a company that loves to give back to its community and the environment.
ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos Tea: Packaging
One of my biggest complaints when buying tea is that it is usually not visually appealing when you buy it loose. Most companies just throw it in a sealed bag and call it a day. This is the main reason I rarely ever buy tea as a gift, and one area where ITO EN is different. When my box of ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea arrived from UPS, I had no clue what to expect, but was excited to get into the box. What I found was a beautiful tin in different shades of orange. This metal tin is visually appealing and something that I truly wouldn't mind sitting out on my account along with my other canisters.
Now, as someone who enjoys tea, my first concern was how was it packaged inside and was the tin just for look. To my surprise, the top seals in such a way that it lets very little air into the can itself, allowing your tea to stay fresher while opened. Just like coffee, tea can lose its flavor over time due to air exposure, making it important that you keep it in a dark, cool, and air tight environment. ITO EN seemed to be thinking ahead with their ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea packaging. Once you open the tin, it isn't too surprising that the tea itself is in a vacuum sealed package. Since this tea is very fine, I highly recommend cutting with a scissor or very carefully opening it from the top seam. This is very fine tea so if you are a bit too aggressive, you WILL make a mess – and more importantly, waste the excellent tea!
ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos Tea: Tea & Flavor
I will be totally honest with you, ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea is unlike any other tea I have tried. Most of the unique flavor is attributed to the South African Aspalathus Linearis plant. From what I've read, the leaves from this plan are like fine needed leaves, making the tea itself fairly fine. With the mix of ginger and tangerines, you are left with a very colorful tea that is a mix of orange and brown, just like the colors of the tin itself. Below, is a picture of some of the tea itself, both in the bag.
Since this is such a fine tea, it is very important that you have a good tea ball or tea strainer. Below, I have pictured of both of these products. Both work just fine with this tea. The trick to making the best cup of tea with this tea is similar to making other types of tea. You need very hot water and patience. Personally, I prefer to use a tea pot since it gets the water to the right temperature without overheating it. Water that is too cool leads to the tea not steeping properly. For this tea, put 1 teaspoon of the tea into a tea strainer or tea ball. For a six ounce cup, steep the tea for two to three minutes. While you may be tempted to drink the tea immediately, I recommend letting it sit for about five minutes to let the tea properly cool, allowing you to enjoy the flavor without burning your tongue.
As for the flavor of the tea, I absolute love it! It is a smooth tea with a bit of a sweet aftertaste. With a bit of sugar, you can easily taste the tangerines, with a slight hint of ginger. I was worried that the ginger would be overpowering, but it very nicely compliments the rest of the tea. ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea is a very nice, smooth tea that isn't too rich and perfect as an everyday treat or as a nice tea with an afternoon snack!
ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos Tea: Where to Purchase
Interested in trying ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea for yourself? It is currently being sold on the ITO EN's website 3.5 oz tin for $12. ITO EN also sells their specialty tea in seven other flavors – Golden Oolong, Sencha Green, Gyokuro, Darjeeling, Ceylon Breakfast, Genmai Green, and Jasmine Green. Since some of these teas do feature different ingredients, they do vary in price, ranging from $12 – $45 for a 3.0 – 3.5 oz tin. To see all of their offers, feel free to check out their packaged tea tin section at their online store. For deals on their tea, make sure to check out ITO EN's Facebook & Twitter page.
ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos Tea: Gifts
If you have someone in your family who loves tea, they would love finding this specialty tea in their stocking or wrapped up with a nice tea pot set. I am one of those people who believe very strongly in giving gifts that go with the individual. Any tea lover would love getting a fun, unique tea pot along with a beautiful tin of Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea. While you can buy gift packs with different types of teas, I highly recommend making a custom set for your favorite tea lover. Pick a selection of two to three tins, and package them with a cute tea pot that goes with their own unique decorating style. One of my favorite gifts was actually the cute little tea pot pictured below, which my little sisters gave me years ago as a Christmas gift. If you want to give an elegant, unique gift this Christmas, I highly recommend putting together a gift pack with ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea as a centerpiece of your gift set!
Disclosure: Budget Earth did not receive monetary compensation for this review and giveaway, but did receive a 3.5 oz in of ITO EN's Ginger Tangerine Rooibos tea for review purposes via Tomoson.com. All of the opinions on this blog are the opinions of said author and these opinions may differ from your own. Budget Earth is not responsible for sponsor prize or prize shipment.