Tea Drops: Cozy New Product for Tea lovers on the Go
By Colleen Luckett
There’s a new tea on the block, and she’s a fast kinda gal who dares to lose the tea bag! Meet Tea Drops, the drop-and-go compressed combination of finely ground organic tea leaves and spices, dashed with a hint of natural sugar. No bag necessary.
Tea Drops is the brainchild of Sashee Chandran, whose mother is from China and father from Sri Lanka. Both countries have long histories of tea drinking, so as you might imagine, Chandran grew up in a very tea-loving household. But as an adult—and being a busy lady like the rest of us—she rarely had the time (or available tools) to wait for her tea to steep in the cup. She experimented with different blends and techniques for two years before coming up with her innovative concoction and officially launched the product in 2015. Just throw a drop into your hot water, stir, and drink up.
Made in the good ole US of A (California to be exact), the Tea Drops sampler comes in a wooden box of five drops of each flavor: citrus ginger, blueberry acai, rose earl grey, sweet peppermint, and matcha green tea.
It’s a woman-owned business, first and foremost. Go girls! And it’s innovative: it seeks to solve a common problem, and it succeeds. We’re also impressed with the fact that the drops are USDA-organic and that the reusable wooden box is more environmentally friendly than some of its boxed counterparts. It’s a lovely box, too. And, of course, losing the tea bag really cuts back on the throw-away factor. Of course, Tea Drops aren’t the only form of “instant tea,” but they certainly are most convenient. Furthermore, instant tea is derived by extracting tea from processed leaves and then drying the concentrate to a powder form by freeze drying. Tea Drops on the other hand, are produced with genuine tea leaves that are delicately ground. We like that they’re quick and easy, and they solve the problem of waiting around for a teabag to steep. Lastly, what we really love is that with each purchase, Tea Drops donates a year's supply of clean water to someone in need through the Thirst Project. And after all, as they say on their website, no water, no tea!
According to some online reviews, there might be a few kinks to work out. The biggest problem we observed was that the drops don’t fully mix in the hot water. Chandran promotes the product as “disintegrating” or “dissolving” into the water. To her credit, there is a disclaimer—“due to the use of genuine tea leaves, some sediment at the bottom is expected and drinkable”—as well as information on the sediment’s added health benefits. But be aware that some people have complained of leaf parts sticking to the bottom of the cup and in their teeth upon drinking it. A second complaint is that real tea aficionados think the tea has a weak flavor. Others loved the taste, but if you’re looking for a strong flavor, this one might not be for you.
Finally, some consumers considered Tea Drops too sweet and asked Chandran to develop unsweetened versions. The result is Tea Sprinkles, Chandran’s name for unsweetened organic tea powders. These “mood teas” consist of finely ground, nutrient herbs and teas that dissolve in your cup of hot water and come in three blends: turmeric, pineapple, and orange peel.
A larger concern is the cost: the sampler gives you 25 drops for about $35, and an individual box of 8 starts at $11.00. Considering you can buy a box of 20 tea bags for about $3.50 and an entire 12-sampler pack of 20 bags each at Celestial Seasonings for about $37, we find the price to be a bit steep (no pun intended!). Recently, the company has developed single-serve packets that sell for $2.00 (or three for $5)—making your cost per cup at least $1.67. They’re handy, so we imagine some consumers will consider the convenience worth the cost.
Overall, we think Tea Drops and Tea Sprinkles are a fun idea, and we encourage folks to check them out and let us know what you think. However you decide to drink that hot cup of tea, though, make sure you use your Koffee Kompanions Kup Kap cup cover—the best way to keep it hotter longer, teabag or no!