The down side is that these things do occasionally stop going, since people have lives and emergencies and what not.
To work as well as possible, there are usually some guidelines to follow, such as....
Don't get greedy, leave some stuff for the next person.
You don't have to spend a fortune on the stuff you add, but don't throw in 10 year old instant ice tea from the back of your pantry either.
Post to the community or let the coordinator know when you receive the box.
Forward the box to the next person in 1-2 weeks (holidays and emergencies get exceptions).
Post to the community or email the coordinator and the recipient when you send it (sending it with the internet-tracking option is often recommended or even required).
These things can get REALLY big. As in requiring huge boxes and $30+ to ship! On the one hand that can be awesome since you get to try lots of different teas and teaware, but it can also make it difficult for people to participate if money is tight for them. Two ways to deal with this would be to either limit the size of the box to an agreed upon size, or for those of us who can afford it to add a little extra money to the box or to a paypal account when we send it on so that when it gets to someone who can't afford all the postage, it's there. If we want to limit the box size, I'd be more than willing to start a second (or even third) box as soon as I was notified that the first one had gotten too big. That way the people at the back half of the list would still get a chance to participate.
So, if there's any interest in doing this I'll start an LJ community where we can decide on guidelines and get a list together. I'm willing to get the box started and coordinate it (and any subsequent boxes we might add) by starting it off with this set so that no one is stuck unable to try loose leaf tea because they don't have the right brewing equipment.
Please pimp this far and wide and send people back to this post to express an interest. If at least 5-10 people are interested, I'll go ahead and order the starter set, get the community set up, and get this thing going.