Thursday, September 6, 2018

Review: Good Morning tea by Tea Plays

When I need a bit of a mood boost, tea always comes to the rescue. The experience of preparing a favorite tea and tasting it truly cheers the soul. This is the concept behind Tea Plays, a small tea company trying to bring a bit whimsy to our tea ritual. The Tea Plays teas are designed to be chosen based on your current mood and situation.The blends are aptly named Brainstorming, Sweet Home, Good Morning, and After Lunch.

The teas are referred to as 'bonbons' and they are compressed into a ball and packaged in colorful wrappers. The teas are in a translucent box, so you can see all of the cheerful bonbons inside. I decided to focus this review on the Good Morning tea, as I was sleepy when I opened the package. Tea Plays describes the Good Morning tea as, 'First fragrance of calendula, accompanied by honey-aromatic Dianhong black tea from Yunnan, China'. The full ingredient list is dianhong, calendula, and mint.

The dry compressed leaves smell like chocolate, with a sweet floral/herbacious aroma which I'm guessing is the calendula (I don't think I've ever had calendula before). The steeped tea has smooth honey and chocolate notes from the dianhong, but there is also the mint, which masks the full flavor of the black tea for me. Mint always seems to dominate my palate, no matter what else is in the ingredients (although it does blend well with chocolate). The calendula mellows the flavors out, making it a bit more balanced. It's pleasant, but the calendula makes this blend feel a bit soothing, which isn't what I prefer first thing in the morning. The addition of the mint may be for refreshment, but it's not a flavor I look for in my tea, especially in the morning.

Tea Plays tea ball in the filter

The bonbons are supposed to be prepared using disposable tea filters included in the package. I normally wouldn't use these, but I did so to make sure I tasted the tea the way the vendor intended. Per the instructions I put the tea in the filter, popped it in a cup, poured hot water in and let it sit for a few minutes (directions said to let it sit for 'roughly one minute', which barely produced any flavor).  I nudged the teabag around quite a bit during the steeping process and the tea ball unfurled a tiny bit. The tea was a bit weak, so I decided another bonbon in a small teapot with a large infuser basket. The teapot allowed the compressed tea ball to unfurl on the very first steep. The tea in the teapot was much more flavorful, and I based my tasting notes on this steep.

Tea ball hasn't really unfurled in the filter

A note on the filters: they appear to be made out of plastic, but I couldn't verify this. I sent a question to the Tea Plays team and will update this post once I find out. Whatever the materials are, I wouldn't recommend using the filters for this tea as they constrict the leaves too much.

The bonbons are very cute and playful, keeping with the company name. The colorful wrappers are enticing. I'd say keep these out of the line of sight for little ones, as both of my kids immediately thought they were candy!  The Good Morning bonbon wasn't for me, but if you enjoy mint and calendula with your tea, this is definitely one to try. Just make sure you give the tea room to expand. Try it with a small glass teapot or mug, as it's fun to watch the leaves unfurl.

Thank you to Tea Plays for providing this sample for review! To learn more about the tea you can visit their website, and to purchase you can find them on Amazon.

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