1018 Tasting Notes

drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
1018 tasting notes

Ah, yum! If I’m going to drink something with artificial additives why not go full candy and have a tea that’s essentially candy canes in liquid form?

I have not been overly satisfied with most of the new additions to David’s Tea as of late and am left wondering where the “tea” part went. It’s hard to remember to be bitter and whine loudly when I’m drinking this though. The dry leaves have mini candy canes scattered throughout and possess the aroma of vanilla and peppermint.

Liquid tastes like the smell with noticeable vanilla. The peppermint is not too strong with only a light presence of that “fresh” feeling in the back of the throat. My lips are tingling and I’m getting some puckering pungency so this isn’t a flat beverage. Generic black tea is not bitter and provides a meek earthy base.

I think Santa’s Secret will be my indulgent friend for this deadline filled week. Time to read Cloud Atlas and Storm of Swords get cracking on those public executions in 17th and 18th century England!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Out of the four teas from Mariage Frères gifted to me this was one of two chosen because the giver “thought the name was cool.” I am absolutely speechless before her rationale. What makes “Alexandra David-Néel” sound more appealing than teas with names like “Eros,” “Mandalay,” or “Pleine Lune”? I will never know. I’m happy to try a new tea and learn about an interesting historical figure, either way!

In summer the aroma reminded me of winter spices and mandarins but now that it is damp and wet the impression changes to dry desert and floral fruits. This tea does transport me places I’d rather be.

When I first opened my tin and caught a whiff of the aroma I thought “new chai! I need to add milk.” So, without even take a sip, I went straight for the milk and was dismayed at my spicy and fruity milk creation. This tea is actually tasty without the milk; the fruity, mellow, floral notes do not need it or do well with it anyways.

The flavours are complex. The first spices to hit me are the cloves and ginger. After I had my wisdom teeth removed I received a “clove” cleaner so it’s usually the first spice I detect. I will never forget you, cloves.

The ginger is a nice balance of sweetness and zing and leads me to noticing the next jumpy spice, cinnamon, which blends so well with the others I can barely single it out. The cardamom is spicy sweet and I think it may contribute to the last surprising bit of floral sweetness- reminiscent of something potentially citrusy and creamy. While this last note adds another dimension to the tea it tones the spice affect down a notch, and that’s ok.

Aftertaste is peppery and sweet. There’s a pleasant tang from the spices and a black leaf astringent streak but no bitterness that I can pick up! Floral endnote and cinnamon are more pronounced in second steep.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I am glad you wrote these tasting notes, I got this on my shopping list for one day.

And Mariage Fréres´s chai is Chandernagor – also with cloves and something which convinced me that cloves can be sublime.


I’ve come to adore cloves. I’ve lately been craving a powerful, well rounded chai and your note on Chandernagor makes it sound like the perfect choice.

I need to look into picking up some more teas from Mariage Fréres. My four gifts have gotten me hooked!


I am on a chai kick and Chandernagor so far is the one for me – and if you love cloves you really have to try it.

Mariage Freres knows their tea. Sadly, sort of, because they also know how to price their stuff just on the limit of how much I would ever consider paying. But almost always it is worth it indeed!


I wanted to buy this tea but it is only available in tin or bags (agreement with the foundation Alexandra David-Néel —-sounds weird for the memory of an adventurer not allowing loose leaf to honor her name —not sure she would have appreciated…)
Next time I’ll visit MF tea room, I’ll taste a cup of this tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Vanilla Plantation by Silk Road
1018 tasting notes

Sometimes, I just want something predictable to wind down with. No crazy ingredients, funky aromas, or overwhelming flavours- just a nice and simple tea.

Vanilla Plantation is a flavoured tea but it’s a straightforward and honest one. The vanilla here is not overwhelming enough to cause a headache, like some jasmine and vanilla teas. Instead, it maintains its simple Ceylon base with only enough vanilla bean to create a mellow and creamy sweet cloud.

There has never been even a hint of bitterness in all the times I’ve had this although there is a slight pleasant pungency which keeps the tea from being too soft and dull. Undoubtedly, there are better vanilla blacks out there but this is the nicest I’ve had so far. It’s so rich it tastes like it already has milk. It’s similar to Silk Road’s London Fog, with a creamy start than a pointy black base to skim through it.

The dry leaves smell of vanilla with something vaguely citrus-like. The liquor is a bright gold. Wet leaves are brown and fragrant and hold up well for two steeps.

I’ve also had this iced with chocolate soy milk which is very tasty. I’m glad my friend convinced me to buy this- it’s become one of my favourite Silk Road teas.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Sounds delightful!


Mmm sounds great. I’m also super curious about Silk Road’s London Fog. Googling it now. :P


I’m so happy that you finally reviewed this! Despite the fact that I’ve been eyeing this forever, I’ve been too lazy to go there every time I’m downtown.


The London Fog is ok, especially if it’s infused in milk. It’s a Ceylon based earl grey with vanilla- so lots of citrus! Silk Road seems to be fond (maybe too fond?) of their Ceylon and citrus pairings.

I usually miss the shop on my trips downtown as well, or it’s closed by the time I get there. If you want to try their teas I think this is a decent one to start with! Silk Road might not be the best out there but their selection of simple and straight teas contrasts nicely with the David’s Tea and Murchies nearby. When you visit the shop they should give you two free samples to drink too.


hmmm i may have to give these guys a try. This sounds delicious!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Canton Orange by Silk Road
1018 tasting notes

Now that I’ve had more time with this tea I can’t believe I ever mistook its citrus scent for anything but an Earl Grey’s bergamot. The illusion of oranges comes from the profound amount of bergamot that jam-packed into this, and it is an overload. I don’t think I have ever smelled so much bergamot, ever and it takes on a sickeningly sweet and sour perfume quality.

This time I had it with milk, the natural sidekick of “the Grey”, and it was much more agreeable. Very creamy, very tart, very Earl. That “perfume” bit comes to rear its ugly head, however, and the last note and the aftertaste is rather nauseating because of it- too bad. Less steeping time is more in this case unless you like the sensation of bergamot taking over all of your senses in a sudden sweeping, conquering blow.

Very citric, but it doesn’t have that sweet, super-fruity quality that orange has and all of the tart, scent oriented powers equated to bergamot. It’s more like dose of lemon if not full bergamot. It’s not a bad Earl Grey but I think I’ll stick with others for now.

Key words: bergamot, perfume, earl grey, “needs milk”


will all that citrus and bergamot you describe, you’re lucky your milk didn’t turn!


It was a close thing, my milk did protest much! The bergamot, along with the orange-y Ceylon base, was maybe too much citrus for me and my unsuspecting milk to handle.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Sleigh Ride by DAVIDsTEA
1018 tasting notes

I don’t even know how to begin describing the scent that this mad array of ingredients gives off. It’s cinnamon spiced fruits and nuts with a roasted quality and, overall, comes across as some kind of candied roast mixture. It smells good, crazy but good. The items in this herbal blend are similar to the Kanpe herbal concoction and Forever Nuts.

Steeped, it smells like Forever Nuts, which reminds me of hot cheros. I am getting a lot of the hibiscus. It seems strange to have something at once be so tart and fruity and yet so nutty, spiced and roasted. It ends on a sweet & sour note in the back of the mouth, and tingly cinnamon and puckering cheeks. The notes in the sip go “zing”, than melting smooth, than “zing” again… is this herbal tea playing “Jingle Bells” on my tongue? Maybe if I drink it differently it will play a different tune?

Crazy, crazy Christmas tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Cookie Dough by DAVIDsTEA
1018 tasting notes

It’s a bit weak for my tastes. Drinks like chocolate chip cookie dough with lots of chocolate chips. The scent of the dry leaves reminds me of chocolate liquor.

It’s best as a latte as that’s when the nutty ingredients and brittle flavour mix with the dairy to give an overall impression of clumpy, sweet, dough. When I went to visit my parents on the mainland I added some caramel toffee syrup to the latte and ended up giving the cup to my mother. She loved it.

Despite its light flavour, the tea is rich like its namesake. It’s Milky, sweet, nutty, and noticeably chocolate geared. It imitates raw cookie dough very well but I’d rather eat the real thing.
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Big Apple by DAVIDsTEA
1018 tasting notes

I went to visit my old roommate, who happens to work at David’s Tea, the other day and really went overboard on buying samples (and mugs). I’ve found a new way to waste resources and procrastinate: hold heat-sensitive mug under hot water, while turning it slightly. The colour change lasts longer if a hot substance is actually in the mug so I promise I won’t do that horrible thing too often.

Most of the samples I picked up were winter teas but I also grabbed a few non-seasonal deviants under ex-roomie’s “persuasive” coaxing. Big Apple was one of the deviant teas; along with Buddha’s Blend. She was a huge advocate for Big Apple but told me that it’s tricky steep and should be left in cooler waters than suggested. With that tidbit I steeped Big Apple around the 70 Celsius mark.

Big Apple smells so strongly of apple that it should be no shock that it also tastes like apple. The exciting factors are the hints of vanilla and unidentified spice (cinnamon or nutmeg) that I get. The tea gives an overall impression of apple pie with ice cream or some other baked apple dessert. It’s buttery and gooey light like a doughy crust or melted ice cream. Cream white goes into a soft green spice and end with a fruity, teasingly tart, apple. I feel like I’m drinking a baked and generously buttered spiced apple, especially when it cools down. Aftertaste is mostly apple. No astringency at all.

At about 5 min with estimated 70-82 C water, the second steep still has some apple flavour and a mushy vanilla note but I’m not picking up as much spice, only the softest of coatings! The liquid still gives off the scent of spiced apple but the aftertaste has creamy white tea with a toned down apple. Third steep is very diluted but Faintly fruity and very buttery leaves.

I haven’t had Mom’s Apple Pie or Movie Night in a while but this reminds me vaguely of both of them. Big Apple is much more buttery than the former and doesn’t taste as oily and weak (tea-wise) as the later. I have to try it at the actual recommended temperature, but for now I’m satisfied with this tea.

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This is my favorite tea -you did a great job describing it – now I want some :)
You just reminded me that I need to try Mom’s Apple Pie – Thank you


I can see how this would be your favourite. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be so delicious- Best DT I’ve tried in a while and my favourite “apple” tea of theirs. :)


My first impression was that the tea tasted like apple pie with ice cream. Glad to see I’m not the only one!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Buddha's Blend by DAVIDsTEA
1018 tasting notes

Buddha’s Blend has a great floral fuzzy peaches scent to it but it doesn’t come off as a “candy” tea. The smell was definitely a selling point for me.

The first time I prepared this I experienced that astringency that only comes from oversteeping, or using water that’s too hot. Despite my mistake, it wasn’t undrinkable and the taste was heavy on the peaches with a perfumed milky endnote like plain yoghurt-both sour and creamy.

This time around I think I got it right, with a cup that’s simply a creamy, floral, peach delight with only a shadow of tartness. The last flavour is still light jasmine but it is no longer abrasively sharp. This tea is so indescribably smooth and full bodied with only the slightest puckering sensation that it may be a contender for my more permanent collection. The white and green leaves do give off detectable complex flavours but I think I’m picking up more white, here. Smooth, creamy, floral, fruity notes coexist with the more prominent jasmine and white hibiscus. Everything blends flawlessly together and holds up well on second steep. The only downside is the floral fruitiness of it can become overwhelming and the more bitter aspects of the tea leaves come out more as it cools.

Note: when I come across something new and edible that I’ve never tried before I usually attempt to eat it. This is what I did with the white hibiscus after first steep and it was so deliciously creamy and subtly sweet that… Yes, I probably shouldn’t have eaten it but I was curious and now I have an idea where the milky fruit flavour comes from. For those who saw “hibiscus” and shied away, it tastes very different from the normal, very tart, red variety that infiltrates most blends.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

you made this sound really yummy… It’s one if those I always wonder about but never buy, I might have to remedy that!


This tea is yummy but it can also be quite finicky, especially if the water’s too hot and the green comes out. If you do pick some up I hope you have a good experience!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Merry Cranberry by DAVIDsTEA
1018 tasting notes

This has the most amazing fruity spice smell, ever. I know it says the liquor is golden green but I was really expecting it to turn red with the amount of cranberries I see in the blend. In this serving I got a gigantic piece of cinnamon the size of the top digit of my thumb- so as huge as a mountain, everyone!I didn’t read the ingredients carefully so it was a surprise to get a licorice scent from the liquid- from the anise.

Drinking it, I’m mainly picking up spicy sweet and something leafy that I can’t place. This is different. I thought it tasted alcoholic at first but it’s just the anise/licorice association. The cranberry-apple sweet notes and this leafy-ness come out more as it goes from hot to warm and reminds me of the Cranberry Pear tea. The anise has a nice sweet component too and I can handle it a lot better than fennel. Tangy sweet aftertaste with cinnamon prevailing throughout… that’s what I get for dumping a jumbo cinnamon stick in! Texture: somewhat oily (safflower) and tingling on lower cheek walls.

This is, without a doubt, a little taste of Christmas and I don’t think I would enjoy it as much out of season. It’s perfect for right now though and making me very excited for the upcoming holiday. Apparently there are mistletoe and green tea leaves in this? I don’t know what mistletoe leaves tastes like but you could have fooled me with the tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

Mistletoe. I wonder if that’s contributing to the taste of Christmas?


I’d like to think so. What is mistletoe supposed to smell or taste like? I’ve never handled it before. I had another cup of this tonight and this time I got way more green leaves than cranberries and cinnamon. It tastes creamier but I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the mistletoe.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
1018 tasting notes

Before I start I have to come clean with something: I don’t like strawberry things. Weird, eh? I also have the worst hand at steeping black teas and avoid them for their astringency.

Already, the strawberry scented Marco Polo and I look to be in a doomed relationship but that’s not the case. Oddly enough, I find this tea to be delicious. I’m not even sure the “strawberry” tag is right- it’s more of an impression of many syrupy fruits. It reminds me of dark chocolate dipped strawberries, which I do like, or even of a cherry jam filled black forest cake. There are fruity and creamy components but the base is ultimately dark and strong. It’s nice to have a dessert tea that doesn’t scrap the “tea” part or isn’t masked over with sugar additives.

My cup today started out hot and astringent, to warm and floral, and then lukewarm with a finishing aftertaste of fruity chocolate. My now empty cup smells like caramel. It’s a complex tea and I can’t do it justice.

Side note: I received this as a gift, along with three other teas, from a friend who came over for a wedding. I’m chocked that Mariage Frères isn’t more readily available where I live but grateful for the experience.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

That’s awesome that you were able to try this!


Yes! I didn’t even know this company existed until I was gifted the four tins. Definitely a bittersweet experience.
My tins are still full so I’m more than willing to send out samples if anyone wants to try and can show me how to go about doing that :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Favourite Flavours/Ingredients:

-Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan
-All Citrus: Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, Yuzu
-Anise, but not licorice
-Ginger or Clove-forward chai
-Grass/Marine/Vegetal/Nutty Green teas
-Florals: Rose, Lavender, Jasmine…
-Musky and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Eucalyptus
-Berries: Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry
-Bananas, and most fruits actually.

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:

-Stevia and most sweetners
-Cinnamon-forward chai/blends
-Apple & Cranberries
-Mango pieces (love mango outside of tea though)
-Coconut pieces (as a sub/filler ingredient)
-Metallic or overly artificial teas
-Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.

Subjective Rating System 3.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. I’ll impulsively buy in large quantities and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. I’ll try to keep this one around when it’s practical.

76-84: A good tea, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Alright, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Average to mediocre cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, the unholy abomination that is a chimera. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.


BC, Canada

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer