Tea Reviews

Six Favorite Teas: See Who Made the List

Christmas · Tea Reviews

2020 Tea Advent Calendar Reviews

In December I tempted to open and drink from thirteen different tea advent calendars. It was definitely a large en-devour to take on. The month started off well and I tried to drink different teas from different advents daily. But on December 11th I was hospitalized and spent 6 days away from my advent calendars, which puts a kink in keeping up with tea drinking. Don’t worry I still drank teas after Christmas to give these advent calendars a fair review.

List of Advent Calendar:

Whittard of Chelsea: Cost – $82.00 | Days in calendar: 24 | Repeats: Yes, 7 repeats | Worth It: No | Thoughts: The calendar has 4 teas in each drawer minus the one that had a tea coaster in it. This was the most expensive calendar of the thirteen I am reviewing and the most prestigious and yet there were only 1 Christmas/seasonal tea in the calendar and there were 7 repeats. If anyone spends 60 pounds or $82 for an advent calendar then there should be something special about the calendar, which this calendar did not deliver. | Will I Repurchase: No.

Tea Type Breakdown: (17) Black – 6 1/2 | Greens – 1 1/2 | White – 1 | Herbal – 5 | Fruit – 3

Bird & Blend Tea Company: Cost – $50 | Days in Calendar: 24 |Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: The Bird & Blend calendar is a great seasonal blends of tea. The packaging was typical of advent calendars with perforated doors and a beautiful Christmas scenery. The teas are teabags packed in an individual packages that has all the tea information and how its prepared; this is great information to have in a tea advent calendar, especially for a new tea drinker. The Bird & Blend advent calendar is a great way to try this company’s tea selection. | Will I Repurchase: Yes, esp. if the tea are different next year.

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 7 | Greens – 3 | White – 1 | Oolong – 1 | Herbal – 1 | Fruit – 5 | Rooibos – 6

24 Days of Teapigs: Cost – $42 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes |Thoughts: The packaging is in an accordion type box with perforated doors. Not the easiest of doors to open but visually appealing. The teas are not seasonal, but if one would like to try a good range of Teapigs teas then this calendar would be a great way to do so. Also, this calendar is mostly herbal teas with a few caffeinated teas. | Will I Repurchase: No

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 4 | Greens – 5 | Herbal – 8 | Fruit – 4 | Rooibos – 3

Adagio: Cost – $29 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: The packaging is like a book with perforated doors, the doors were small and although easy to open the loose leaf tea bags were very hard to remove from the doors, this would be a feature to change in the future. What is noteworthy is that all the teas are seasonal and there is a good representation of tea types. | Will I Repurchase: Yes

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 8 | Greens – 1 | Herbal – 3 | White – 2 | Rooibos – 5 | Oolong – 4 | Pu-erh – 1

T2: Cost – $41 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: The packaging is beautiful, opened like a book with perforated doors. The doors were easy to open and the bags of loose leaf tea were easy to remove. Although, there was only one seasonal tea in the calendar the rest of the teas were a good range of teas that T2 offer. This advent calendar is good for the person that wants to see what T2 has to offer as a tea company in beautiful packaging. | Will I Repurchase: No, because I know the type of teas offered, but I think it is a good calendar to purchase.

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 9 | Greens – 3 | Herbal – 4 | Fruit – 4 | Rooibos – 2 | Black/Green Blend – 1 | Herbal/Green Blend – 1

Birchley’s Loose Leaf Tea Advent Calendar: Cost – $23.76 | Days in Calendar: 25 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: The initial presentation was nice, it is packaged in a box with brown paper envelopes that contained one teabag and the name of the tea inside. The problem I had with the packaging was that the packaging limited the initial scent of the tea and that there were no ingredients included, with so many allergies these days, ingredients should always be included somewhere in the packaging. In the future, if this small tea shop offers us another tea advent calendar I would like to see more seasonal and themed blends. With all that said though, I want to point out this is a small business and it offered a 25 day calendar with NO REPEATS, that is impressive to me. So yes, I think this calendar is worth it for two reasons – Supporting small businesses and offering variety in the calendar. | Will I Repurchase: If the teas changes and the presentation suggestions are considered then yes I would repurchase.

Tea Type Breakdown: (25) Black – 13 | Green – 5 | Herbal – 2 | Fruit – 3 | Rooibos – 2

Shibui: 24 Days 24 Teas: Cost – $37 | Days in Calendar: 24 |Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: The box these teas came in was simple, well constructed and when opened smelled so good. The teas were packaged in medium brown zip-lock bags and held about 3-4 teaspoons of tea each. My only complaint was the name of the teas were stapled onto the tea bags, they were hard to pull off without tearing the card. But with that said the cards were very informative. They had the tea name, type of tea, if it was caffeinated and non-caffeinated and the ingredients and steeping instructions were there also. There was even a note section to write down your initial thoughts. The teas that I tried throughout advent were great. I think if you want to support small businesses and want to try and variety of teas with great presentation then I hope Shibui Tea creates another advent calendar next year. My two suggestions to the next calendar would be: 1. More Caffeinated teas. 2. More seasonal/holiday flavors. | Will I Repurchase: Yes, if the teas change the following year.

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 7 |Green – 2 |Herbal – 8 | Rooibos – 4 | Fruit – 2 | Pu’erh – 1

YawnBrew (TeaRevv): Cost – $30 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: Once a small kickstarter business now has grown to a medium size internet tea/coffee/hot chocolate business. This is not my first year sampling their tea advent calendar, and like last year I was impressed with the flavors presented inside the calendar. My only complaint, and it was my same complaint last year, is that nothing is displayed on the bag except the number of the Day of the calendar. I would like to see the name of the tea, ingredients or how to steep it. I know this year an app was created but even on the app the tea didn’t reflect what day the tea was represented in the calendar. Other than that, I think the tea advents from YawnBrew are considerate and well delivered. I had the Christmas blends calendar, but there were also a Breakfast blend calendar, a Caffeine-free calendar, and a single origin advent calendar. YawnBrew also offers coffee and hot chocolate advent calendars. Next year check them out. | Will I repurchase: I think I am going to purchase the hot chocolate advent next year. I’m curious.

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 12 |Rooibos – 6 | Herbal/Fruit – 6

Clipper (Not Pictured): Cost – $6.41 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: Yes | Worth It: No | Thoughts: First, I don’t think it is worth it to me, however, if you love herbal teas and are on a budget then this is the advent for you. You basically get two of the same teas throughout the 24 days and if I remember correctly only one green tea was represented. Now I had a friend that had this advent calendar this year and enjoyed it, because this is the type of teas she enjoys, but if you like a variety of caffeinated and caffeine-free teas then you will be disappointed. | Will I Repurchase: No

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Green – 2 | Herbal – 22

Moomin Tea Advent (Norqvist Tea): Cost – $16.05 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No |Worth It: No | Thoughts: The calendar is super cute, it is a box with perforated doors and has the infamous moomin on it. The teas are packaged in a little dessert style box with the name of the tea on the bottom, inside the box is a teabag. The names are interesting and to find out the ingredients you will need to go to the Nordqvist website and find the Moomin calendar, which can be annoying. The sad part is all the teas that I tried were subpar and that was disappointing. | Will I Repurchase: No

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 11 | Green – 4 | White – 4 | Rooibos – 5

BrutaliTeas: Cost – $35 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: I have to first say that BrutaliTeas have been on my radar for a bit so when I found out they were offering an advent calendar I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try their teas out. Again this is a small business and I love to support. The calendar came late to me, which I was aware of and was fine with. The teas were packaged in small round plastic canisters with about 1-2 tsp of tea in each. They were packed closely together in a hard plastic rectangle container with the name of the teas labeled under each small canister. To find out what the ingredients were and now to steep the tea you would have to look on the bottom the rectangle container to do so. What I found difficult was holding all the canisters in place while trying to find out the ingredients and such. I think in the future it would be great to offer a small booklet with each tea information in it, or that the round canisters have the name on the bottom of them instead of the larger container because if the teas are shuffled in any way right now I will never know which tea is which. With that said the names of these teas are so ingenious and and the blends are very good. | Will I Repurchase: Yes.

Type of Teas Breakdown: (24) Black – 10 | Green – 4 | Rooibos/Herbal – 4 | Black Blends – 3 | Oolong/White – 3

Save Our Teas: Cost – $25.80 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: The loose leaf teas were packaged in paper bags and string and clothes pins were included to hang up. I wish the bags and clothes pins had matching numbers. This is a very DIY calendar on the recipients part, and I was not expecting that. However, the teas I tried from the calendar were all good. |Will I Repurchase: Maybe.

Types of Tea Breakdown: (24) Black – 8 | Green – 5 | Herbal – 6 | Fruit – 3 | Rooibos – 2

Nordqvist Tea Advent Calendar: Cost – $22.21 | Days in Calendar: 24 | Repeats: No | Worth It: Yes | Thoughts: This calendar was a last minute purchase and I do not regret that decision at all. I feel this was the prettiest and then most inventive of the calendars I had. The calendar was tied with a ribbon, opened up like a book and revealed small boxes holding one teabag in a circular sunburst type pattern on the right with the numbers displayed on the left in the same type pattern. The boxes had the name on one side and the ingredients and steeping instructions on the other side. All the teas I tried were delicious, the only complaint I can come up with is I wish there were more seasonal blends throughout the calendar. | Will I Repurchase: Yes.

Tea Type Breakdown: (24) Black – 7 | Green – 5 |Herbal – 2 | White – 4 | Rooibos – 6

Reading Challenges

Participating in the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge

The aim of the Nonfiction Reader Challenge is to encourage you to make nonfiction part of your reading experience during the year.

Join In:

The challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st 2021. Participants may join at any time up until December 1st 2021

My Challenge Goal:

Nonfiction Nibbler : Read 6 books, from any category

The Categories:

1. Biography 2. Travel 3. Self-help 4. Essay Collection 5. Disease

6. Oceanography 7. Hobbies 8. Indigenous Cultures 9. Food

10. Wartime Experiences 11. Inventions 12. Published in 2021

Follow my progress on my Yearly Reading Challenges page.

Reading Challenges

Participating in the 2021 Audiobook Challenge

The Challenge Details:

  • Runs January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021. You can join at any time.
  • The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2021 than you did in 2020.
  • Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
  • ANY genres count.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc.
  • If you’re a blogger grab the button and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook or Tweet about the challenge.
  • Updates plus a giveaway will be posted twice during the year. The first update will be July 2, 2021, and the last update will take place on December 30, 2021.

My 2021 Achievement Level: My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+

Reading Challenges

Participating in 2021 Craving For Cozies Reading Challenge

Since stumbling onto this challenge last year and finding a joy in reading cozy mysteries, I picked the lowest tier in this challenge yet I am about to surpass the challenge. So this year I am going to step it up a notch by choosing the tier: Famished – 26 – 51 Cozy Mysteries.

I can’t wait to start this challenge and continue reading the series I discovered in 2020 and discovering new cozy mysteries in 2021. The books will be listed on my Reading Challenge page.

Christmas · Tea Reviews

Countdown to Christmas

This year my countdown to Christmas will consist of sipping and reviewing Tea Advent Calendars. I am excited!

Listed below are the Tea Advent Calendars I will be sipping & reviewing this year:

Moomin Tea Advent Christmas Calendar | 24 Days of Teapigs | YawnBrew: Christmas Blends Tea Advent Calendar | Bird & Blend Tea Advent | Whittard of Chelsea: The Tea Advent Calendar | Shibui: 24 Days 24 Teas | Birchley’s Loose Leaf Tea Advent Calendar | Adagio Tea Advent Calendar | T2 Advent Calendar | Clipper | BrutaliTeas Tea Advent Calendar | Nordqvist Tea Advent Calendar | Save Our Teas: 25 Days Advent Calendar

I’m reviewing the advents on:

  1. Overall presentation
  2. Festive tea choices (not just the basic teas offered year round in shop)
  3. Is each day original/no duplicates
  4. Overall taste of the teas
  5. Worth the price

The best place to see individual tea reviews and festive photos is to check out my Instagram: @booksnteatourist

Let the Sipping Begin!

Reading & Reviewing · Reading Challenges

Reflections on a “Food” Memoir

I recently devoured the food memoir “Life from Scratch: a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness.” by Sasha Martin.


I picked up this memoir a few years ago with the inclination I would read it sooner rather than later, we see now that it was later. With that said, It could have not been read at a better time in my life.

How many times have you picked up a book to read that looks to be about one thing but once you begin reading it becomes something slightly different than what you expected? For some this is very frustrating; for others though, it is an intriguing exploration. I fall in this latter category, and was pleasantly enveloped in Sasha’s life story.

It’s a ‘food” memoir with lots and lots of messy, yet beautiful layers. A story about a woman that survived abandonment, estrangement, dealt with trust-issues, and struggled to see who she really was after all these issues weighed her down; to become a woman that loved fiercely, found strength through adversity, and was able to forgive those that abandoned her so long ago. Through all of the ups and downs her one true positive, her fondest memories as a child and what helped her become grounded as a wife and mother was her love of cooking. This “food” memoir is a life spent remembering the comfort of food of the past, finding adventure through creating dishes during a time of personal restlessness, and being satisfied with how the Global Table adventure brought family, friends, and strangers into Sasha’s life to help her heal and be happy with her present day.

This quote from the book sums up everything for me.

“And perhaps that’s been Mom’s secret all along: her brutal common sense that slices through any and all notions of what “should” be. From our living room kitchen back in Jamaica Plain to this global table, it’s about getting our fill. Not just of food, but of the intangible things we all need: acceptance, love, and understanding.”

Community · Personal Life

8 Acts of Kindness & Encouragement

Music Store Etsy Banner(1)


It has been close to a month for some and as few as two weeks for others that we have been advised to social distance ourselves. Even though we have to social distance I believe there are still ways we can connect meaningfully and make a difference in others lives during these trying times.

Listed below are a few ways I feel one can show acts of kindness and encouragement:

  1. Buy groceries for the elderly in your community that are more susceptible to the virus.




2. If you live in an apartment building set out a box of books in a common area so others can take or leave a book to read during this time.




3. If you have the means, financially contribute to food banks in your area or pay someone’s rent or a bill of some kind because they can’t work from home in the type of job they hold.




4. Find ways to virtually encourage friends and family in your life with live chat.




5. Walk your elderly neighbors’ dogs.


dog walking


6. Bring back the art of writing letters through snail mail and write to friends and family and/or write lovely notes for your neighbors letting them know you care and if they need anything to reach out.




7. Make a meal for someone that is in Quarantine, of course take precautions in delivering it.


Cook a meal1


8. Place a prayer box or bucket outside your house on a fence or table for people in your community to place prayers in so you can pray for them.


prayer box


Please help me add to this list in the comments below. I always enjoy learning of ways we can share kindness and encouragement towards others in the world

Personal Life

What I Am Hoarding During COVID-19

Welcome to 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis! Everyone is dealing with this pandemic in different ways, but one thing people are doing similarly is hoarding items they feel will make them safe and prepared as we are told everyday to self-isolate in our homes, learn the art of social distancing (physically), and try and stay well. Because let’s face it, it isn’t a matter of IF we get COVID-19 it is a matter of WHEN we will get it.

I recently watched (The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do) about how Covid-19 attacks the body and the lasting effects it will have on it when one recovers. This video alone, peaked my Fear more than all the news I have consumed in the past months. In this video it talks about our lungs and how they are aggressively attacked during the infection, but it also talks about the lasting damage it will have after the fact.

Not everyone will agree with what I am hoarding but hear me out. I am a HUGE believer in herbs and super foods helping minimize everyday ailments and illnesses. **No they should not take the place of medicine but they should always be considered a supportive helper in the fight.**

So I went down the research rabbit hole and began investigating if the super food I swear by for my chronic migraines and TMJ could alleviate some of the damaging affects COVID-19 could potentially create within the lungs.

Let me introduce you to: Turmeric!

10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin – Focus on benefits 1-3.

Turmeric is Being Touted as an Effective Herb to Keep Coronavirus at Bay

**NO turmeric is not going to save me, but I do believe my lungs will be happier with me in the long run for taking precautions now rather than later. **

How do I consume Turmeric:

  • Hot Tea!
  • Indian food
  • Herbal drink shots
  • Jamu Drink




So Yes, Turmeric is what I will be hoarding during this time of uncertainty.

Personal Life

Do I Hear Crickets?

It has been a long time since I have blogged regularly. I’ve tried several times to come back to blogging but seem to let it fall to the waste side after some time. I love talking and sharing the things I enjoy with others but writing it all down in paragraph form seems very daunting at times.

I think my last post on this blog until tonight had to do with 2017 goals, WOW!

It is now three months into the year 2020 and we are learning how to social distance ourselves from one another to slow a viral pandemic from infecting everyone.

So what have I been up to for the past 3 years? In 2018 I quit a job that had lost its lackluster. I basically began some type of Social Distancing that year briefly. Later in the year I began socializing and volunteering in things I missed and enjoyed. Until recently volunteering and traveling with friends had taken over my life. Volunteering was rewarding yet very stressful at times. I also, took a step out of my negative comfort zone and started counseling. Counseling for the past 10 months has been the best thing I could have done for myself, I’ve learned so much about why I behave in certain ways, an how to correct such behaviors.

Some of my Favorite Discoveries in the past few years:

  • I love a good cup of hot tea
  • My 2nd favorite way to consume a book is through an audiobook.
  • I have experienced lots of rewarding travel adventures with friends and family.
  • I have grown a lot in my faith
  • I journal in more ways now than just bullet journaling. I actually have taken a break from bullet journaling and expanded into faith and travel journaling.
  • I have fallen in love with the cozy mysteries sub-genre.

I hope to make writing a habit again and come here to write down some fun memories, share my faith journey, discuss tea and books and whatever else comes to mind that I think needs to be shared.