How many memories do you have of a warm beverage and a special event or friend that shared that moment? It seems like tea and coffee have always been a way to come together, have a conversation, share stories and keep not just our bodies warm on cold nights, but it seems our souls.
I have grown up on tea and coffee since I was a little girl. On my dad’s knee at the Italian neighbour’s home stealing the milk foam off his cappuccino. And my mom, she brought the English heritage out – but it was black tea with either milk and sugar or lemon and honey.
There is a reason why there are cafes seemingly on every corner, in every city or town. They are more the norm than the watering holes, being way more acceptable for all ages and types of social interactions and meetings. We, as a society here in Canada, usually meet up for a beverage with friends to catch up. Ahhh, but what happens if you live far away, don’t drive or can’t make your schedules match up? My friend Kathryn and I, friends from good ol’ University of Guelph but now living a 3 hour drive away, schedule “coffee chats” where we brew our own at home and set up a time to chat. We also send each other small, sentimental things in the mail that make the other smile and remind her that we care.
So when my friend Allison told me of her family company, Tenota, and wanting my opinion on their product, I first thought, “I want to send one to Kathryn! What a great idea!”: a service sending tea with a personalized note attached, literally!
Obviously, I wouldn’t be the one receiving the tea to taste if I sent one to my dear friend, so Tenota sent me one to try. (I’ll be sure to send one to Kathryn with the great promo code Tenota provided for me and my followers (keep reading to find it!).)
I was lucky to receive my foodie gift in the mail quickly.
The rustic and sturdy kraft-paper envelope with printing reminded me of an old fashioned printing press. First impression: cute, quality and a home-y feel.
Upon opening the envelope, I was greeted with the tenota graphic: (the latin word for tea). Cute touch.
I pulled out the card. One side had a cute note saying “Someone sent you a gift!”
And the other side said “Tenota tea notes…. Tea with a message”. The wintery weather and Canada Post handling of home delivery I think played a big part in a tiny bit of smudging…. but honestly it just looked even more rustic and handmade.
And drum roll for the presentation….
The personalized note attached to the tea bag was adorable! It was a note within a card, within a package, with a gift! Something perfect to send to a best friend far away, grandma in her retirement home, a sick relative, a pick me up for a new mom or sick colleague. And honestly, what about the foodies in your life? I’m thinking of all the people I know who love tea and love receiving gifts in the mail (who doesn’t?)!
The cute pyramid tea bag was definitely an additional highlight as all I can think of is those gourmet teas at Starbucks that I order. For some reason a 3D tea bag resembling the Egyptian pyramids always makes me feel spoiled and a bit like royalty compared to the run of the mill 2D circle or square normal options.
The green and white teas were blended with herbal and fruit additions. The tea was creamy with a definite flavour of pear and a note of spice. The white tea definitely took the spotlight with the green tea adding a bit of depth. The orange peel, though minimal in amount, definitely gave a strong but fresh flavour with fennel seed adding a “bite”. I’m assuming due to the high quality of the product.
I added honey as I was sipping it alone but it would pair well with a sweet or savoury scone. I’m thinking something more of the cranberry variety (with the pear flavour in the tea complimenting the tart berry) yet perhaps a blueberry pie slice would pair well with the orange to balance it out.
One surprising ingredient was the calendula petals. I don’t think I have ever had them in a tea, so I can’t say that I know what I’m tasting and looking for….. but I’m assuming it added a bit of a light floral taste.
That night I was on the run, so I had to leave the last sips in my cup. Upon my return hours later, I though “Hmmmm I wonder if it would taste great cold?” (PHEc tip: Making iced tea at home can involve gourmet flavours at a minimal cost!) It was still so flavourful and sweet, that this would be a great blend to send year-round to those iced tea lovers.
All things considered, I’m jealous of Allison’s family company, Tenota. A simple idea with attention to detail that delivers a delicious tea gift made from quality ingredients, historically reminiscent packaging with a personalized message that would bring warmth to any heart and home in Canada.
I highly recommend their products as well as this sentimental service to spread cheer and smiles across the miles. Don’t wait for a special occassion to surprise someone or let them know you are thinking of them. But if you need an excuse, January is Hot Tea Month and February brings us the day celebrating the most historic sender of notes – St Valentine!