“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
I know. It’s not even Halloween yet. But before you seriously side eye me for bringing up the holidays, I promise I have a good excuse. Today the DavidsTea 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar is back in stores, and if this year is like every other one before it, it’ll be sold out well before anyone has even thought about putting up a Christmas Tree.
If you’re feeling a bit out of the loop, Canadian tea retailer DavidsTea curates a stunningly packaged Advent calendar every year containing 24 different loose leaf teas to sample in the days leading up to Christmas. If you’ve ever enjoyed one of those chocolate Advent Calendars as a kid, this basically takes things to a whole new level of indulgence. As a die hard tea lover there is nothing better than getting up each day and seeing what new flavor awaits me.
Thanks to the fact that I probably spend way too much money on tea every year, I received an email from the brand that allowed me to pick my calendar up a few days before the official launch. So let’s take a closer look at exactly what the deal is with this year’s collection and how it compares to the 2016 version.
One of the most obvious differences between this year’s calendar and previous years is the shape. This is because DavidsTea has added a 25th box containing a tiny ornament and a $5 off your purchase of $20 or more coupon for Christmas Day. The coupon actually becomes effective November 13th, so if you’re buying this as a gift to yourself, you might want to utilize said coupon for your holiday shopping. While I dig the fact that DavidsTea wanted to switch things up and do something aesthetically different, I think I preferred the rectangular shape from last year over this square one.
That being said, this year’s calendar is still entirely adorable. There are less cute illustrations than there were in previous years, but we get the benefit of being able to actually see the numbered boxes through the transparent cover. The packaging feels equally sturdy as past years, and the doors stay secure with a magnetic closure.
Another slightly less positive change is that the price has gone up from $40 to $45. You are also getting slightly less tea by net weight (7.8 oz this year versus 8.0 oz last year or 220 g versus 225 g). I don’t blame DavidsTea from wanting to capitalize on arguably one of their best selling items, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bit of a bummer.
So is this year’s set still a decent value? Let’s do a little math. Looking back on my review from last year you ended up paying $10 for every 2 oz of tea you were getting, which, considering the variety of teas in this collection and the fact that they individually range anywhere from $6 to $11 per 2 oz, works out to be a pretty fair price. This year that cost per 2 oz has gone up to $11.50. So yes, you are mostly likely paying more per ounce for each of these teas than you would get at the tea wall buying them loose. However, you also have the additional cost of packaging, presentation, and just the whole novelty of an advent calendar to consider.
What it all boils down to is that yes, I do think as a gift this set is worth the price. For all practical purposes you still get enough tea each day to brew anywhere from 2 to 3 cups, which over the course of 24 days I think makes for a wonderful experience. It’s beautiful to look at, is incredibly festive, and will undoubtedly make whoever is on the receiving end of said set feel like they’ve been spoiled. My only hope is that the popularity of 24 Days of Tea won’t eventually skyrocket the price into territory where it stops feeling worth the investment.
So let’s get on to the fun part! Here is the list of the 24 different teas in this year’s collection. Something to note, if you or the person you’re gifting this set to has a nut allergy, this collection does contain several teas with nuts in them. DavidsTea does a good job of labelling allergens in their teas, and I’ve listed the most common ones here for you to take a look at. If it seems weird that a tea would have milk or soy in it, it looks like the majority of the teas that contain those ingredients include candy or some kind of chocolate chip, which is where I assume they’re coming from.
Alpine Punch // Rooibos (Contains Almond & Coconut)
An almond-scented rooibos with apples, cinnamon, ginger and nuts.
Buddha’s Blend // White & Green Blend
A zen melange of jasmine pearls, hibiscus blossoms and white and green tea.
Candy Cane Crush // Black (Contains Milk & Soy)
This creamy mint black tea is strewn with candy cane bits and snowflake sprinkles.
Caramel Shortbread // Herbal (Contains Almonds & Hazelnuts)
Shortbread fans will love this buttery blend of willow bark, almond and cherry.
Carrot Cupcake // Rooibos
This sweet, creamy blend of carrots and warming spices is a real fall treat.
Chocolate Macaroon // Black (Contains Pecans & Coconut)
A sweet, satisfying blend of black tea, coconut, chocolate and pecans.
Organic Cinnamon Rooibos Chai // Rooibos
This breath-freshening tea combines rooibos, cinnamon and apple.
Coffee Pu’erh // Pu’erh
Even coffee lovers go for this blend of pu’erh and real coffee beans.
Organic Cream of Earl Grey // Black
A creamy twist on the classic Earl Grey, with a rich hint of vanilla bean.
Forever Nuts* // Herbal (Contains Almonds)
This nutty jumble of almonds, apples and cinnamon steeps bright pink. It’s nuts!
Glitter & Gold // Black
A sweet, spiced black tea with pretty little gold star-shaped sprinkles.
Hot Chocolate* // Pu’erh & Black Tea Blend (Contains Milk & Soy)
A rich and fudgy blend of pu’erh, black tea, cocoa nibs and chocolate.
Lemon Pound Cake // Oolong
This buttery, citrus oolong tastes just like a sweet slice of lemon pound cake. Yum!
Let it Snow // Green (Contains Milk & Soy)
Frightful weather? Try this festive green tea laced with cinnamon, clove and custard.
Organic North African Mint // Green
A refreshingly spicy mix of green tea, mint, cardamom, ginger and licorice.
Raspberry Cream Pie // Rooibos (Contains Milk & Soy)
Treat yourself with this creamy blend of rooibos, raspberries and white chocolate.
Organic Saigon Chai // Black
Black tea with Saigon cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and peppercorns.
Santa’s Secret* // Black (Contains Soy)
A special holiday blend of Chinese black tea, peppermint leaves and spices – all sprinkled with real little candy canes.
Organic Silk Dragon Jasmine // Green
Spring-plucked green tea, scented with night-blooming jasmine flowers.
Sleigh Ride* // Herbal (Contains Almonds and Coconut)
This sweet, tart and earthy herbal is as nice and rosy as a caroler’s cheeks.
Organic The Spice is Right // Green
A sweet and spicy blend of green tea, cinnamon and orange peel.
Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait* // Herbal (Contains Milk)
This rich, tangy blend combines rhubarb, strawberry and yogurt pieces.
Walnut Orange Scone // White (Contains Walnuts)
This dainty sippable version of a scone balances white tea, warm walnut and bright orange rind.
White Cranberry Bark // Herbal (Contains Milk)
Get your holiday fix with this infusion of white chocolate and tart cranberries.
*Repeats from the 2016 Calendar
If you aren’t afraid to be adventurous with your tea, there is no denying that this collection is awesome. Not only do you get to sample different types of tea, but you also get a huge variety in flavor profiles. From warm and spicy, to tart and fruity, to a pure and aromatic, these winter inspired infusions cover all of your holiday bases. In total you get four rooibos teas, six black, five herbal, six green and white teas, two pu’erh, and an oolong. The balance between the types of teas offered is pretty perfect in my opinion, and I honestly wouldn’t have suggested they do it any other way.
There are also only five repeated flavors from last year’s set, none of which I am unhappy to see making a return. Sleigh Ride is quite possibly my favorite seasonal DavidsTea flavor, so I will never complain about it showing up year after year in this collection. It also looks like there are also quite a few new teas being sampled in addition to a few of their year-round staples like Buddha’s Blend.
Long story short, there is a reason the 24 Days of Tea flies off the shelves every year. It’s festive, its fun, and its the perfect way to spoil a tea lover in your life (yes, yourself included). It’s also offers a perfect opportunity to get out of your tea “comfort zone” by giving you so many new flavors to explore, as well as helping you figure out exactly which of the many DavidsTea offerings you might actually want to pick up in bulk. Even though I wasn’t overjoyed about all of the changes for this 2017 version, I’m still 100% happy with my decision to fork over my money and take this gift set home. It’s quickly become one of my favorite holiday traditions, and I feel like the lead up into Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it! Honestly, the only downside at this point is needing to wait until December 1st to start sampling.