Featured & New Tasting Notes
I think I bought this one when I was in Prague on exchange fair. Steeped for suggested, 8 minutes.
Dry tea bag was with really nice and interesting aroma. I think I mostly noticed the mint there, but for sure lemongrass, elderflower and lavender. Maybe little note of spiciness of ginger there too. When I added the water and making the brew, it turned out very herbal in aroma, with none of those distinctive notes. After brewing time, I notice room filled with lavender and lemongrass. It is bit reminding me Douglas fir tips tea from Juniper Ridge.
In taste? Well it’s herbal! Quite refreshing, but as well earthy. There is certainly lavender even in taste. But it is not that artificial one. It is real one, mellowing it a bit.
I wonder how bamboo leaf should taste like?
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw-Tz255GFg with English translation here: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/variace-na-renesan%C4%8Dn%C3%AD-t%C3%A9ma-variation-renassaince-topic.html – unfortunately word-to-word.
Flavors: Earth, Lavender, Lemongrass, Mint
Finished this one off as an eggnog latte! It was delicious, but mostly it was delicious because eggnog is delicious – the taste of the tea itself was pretty masked by the strong and custard-y eggnog, and really I think just a tiny bit of anise and some general warmth from the spices came through in the taste. So, basically I made a more spiced nog.
I’m kind of sad that my last cup of this didn’t really taste like root beer, but not sad that I got to have some tasty eggnog…
I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t had as much time as I’d like to do gongfu tea reviews, though I’ve had plenty of lazy gongfu sessions to sip down old teas. Western steeping seems to be a good compromise. Thanks to Teakruthi for the sample, and sorry for taking so long to get this review posted! I steeped around 4.5 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 190F for 4.5, 6, and 10 minutes.
Wow! These white tea leaves are huge! I’m a bit concerned that I didn’t get a proper balance between the white and black teas in the blend because the black tea collects at the bottom of the bag, but we’ll see. The first steep is a smooth combination of malt, honey, flowers, grass, and autumn leaf pile. There’s a lot of sweetness from the white tea and not much astringency from the black. The second steep is grassier, but still smooth and sweet; the flavour falls off in the third.
This tea lives up to its name and harmonizes the white and black teas nicely. I found it to be a pleasant evening cup and agree with Roswell Strange on the rating.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Grass, Honey, Malt, Sweet
Today has been a super chilly day. It’s cold outside and my class was also particularly cold. Now I am home and back to watching Disney+ and sipping on tea in my pajamas under a cozy blanket.
This tea isn’t my favourite. It is fruity and has a slight green tea twang to it. It’s held up well for its age seeing as even the best before date on this has long since passed but it’s nothing special or life altering.
God, it’s been forever! It seems that every time I try to get myself into some sort of routine when it comes to posting tea reviews, something always happens that causes me to fall even further behind. In this case, it has been a combination of an oppressive work schedule, health issues, and a general sour mood that has left me not exactly feeling like writing in my extremely limited spare time. I’m going to start playing catch-up again with this review, or so I hope. This was my first sipdown of the month and a tea I had been meaning to get to long before I actually managed to motivate myself to try it. My limited experience with winter Shui Xian and previous positive experiences with various Shui Xian offered by Old Ways Tea told me that this would be a quality offering, and it was. It ended up being neither my favorite winter Shui Xian nor one of my favorite offerings from Old Ways Tea, but it was still a very nice tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, cinnamon, raisin, roasted almond, honey, blackberry, charcoal, and pine. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted peanut, smoke, earth, tar, and cannabis. The first infusion brought out a little rock sugar and orange zest on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of mushroom, cream, baked bread, roasted almond, roasted peanut, earth, tar, charcoal, and pine that were chased by hints of honey, cinnamon, blackberry, butter, smoke, and grass. The following infusions coaxed out aromas of rock sugar, malt, roasted walnut, grass, mushroom, cranberry, and pear alongside subtler scents of vanilla and red apple. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of blackberry, butter, cinnamon, smoke, and grass appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, black cherry, roasted walnut, orange zest, pear, red apple, pomegranate, cranberry, malt, and caramel notes. I also picked up some belatedly emerging cannabis hints and subtle notes of raisin, rock sugar, and vanilla. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized mineral, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted walnut, baked bread, caramel, butter, grass, blackberry, charcoal, and cinnamon notes that were underscored by hints of rock sugar, earth, mushroom, tar, smoke, vanilla, orange zest, black cherry, and pear.
This was a very complex and interesting tea. It was a little surprising to me that the characteristics of the roast (charcoal, pine, tar, smoke, etc.) came out so prominently and so strongly. Winter Shui Xian is generally not as heavily roasted as other Wuyi Shui Xian, and either this one was more heavily roasted than the average winter Shui Xian, or its roast somehow managed to retain a good deal of its strength and liveliness in storage. I have no clue which is the case. Anyway, this was a very good and very enjoyable Shui Xian, though it was a bit harsher and heavier than I have come to expect winter Shui Xian to be. I’m willing to bet that a few more months in storage would have mellowed it out a bit more.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Cannabis, Caramel, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Roasted, Smoke, Sugar, Tar, Vanilla, Walnut
Thanks so much for these teas, TreeGal! It’s always a great opportunity to sample teas I otherwise probably wouldn’t try. I had been meaning to drink this one soon for a few days and then felt a sore throat happening anyway. Gee, what perfect timing for Achoo. sigh. I was a little wary of this one… it looks like mostly lemongrass in my sample! No matter how much I try to mix it in the pouch. But the flavor is very good. Lots of lemon and I don’t think it’s just the lemongrass that is making it taste like lemon. More like a lemon donut than overly herbal. And the licorice is helping my throat. A pleasant blend and better than expected. I wouldn’t mind having a blend with this mix of ingredients in stock in the cupboard. The second steep on the second night: sore throat gone. I have an awesome immune system. :D
2019 Sipdowns: 77 (TeaRevv – Pumpkin Pie Chai)
Life is different! Disney Plus is out and my brother bought us a subscription and I have literally looked at the movie list for at least an hour because there were so many things I wanted to watch. It’s here and I. am. excited!!!
So now I am watching Disney movies and drinking this as a latte because in addition to Disney Plus, I also have milk again and that is also exciting.
This latte isn’t bad but it drowns out the maple flavor that I love so much in this blend. Alternatively, age has caused the maple flavor to fade but I am blaming the latte because that means there is hope for maple goodness in a plain cup.
So much snow and it makes me so happy. We have a long freakin driveway that needs to be shoveled but I’ll take it. I’ve missed snow as Toronto didn’t really get any where we were. Husband is home today so that’s a nice break too though it means he won’t be home on Thursday. But it means I can actually get some tea drinking in as I have someone to watch her for 5 mins if I want to boil water haha. Excited to get some new teams from 52 teas whenever my tea mule gets a chance to come and visit. But for now I can enjoy the ones I have in my cupboard like this one. Not my favourite 52 vanilla tea but it’s good.
Sample from last order at What-cha. Prepared western (4 grams), 4-5 minutes steep, boiling water.
It is decent black tea with quite strong astringency with baked bread aroma, bit caramel sweetness. As well heavy on malty side. I think I overbrewed it a bit, because all tastes are too strong and hard to recognize each one. It is decent but too strong.
Next time, more precise brewing please. No rating so far.
Finished this one off after having had it in my cupboard for quite a long period of time; it feels like an accomplishment to have finished it off but it probably shouldn’t given how long I had it and how small of an amount of tea that I had in the first place…
I brewed this up because another tea that I had recently reminded me of it/had be craving it but now I can’t remember what tea inspired my wanting to finish this one off. I’m kind of glad I did though – I think this was already on the cusp of not tasting super great anymore and this is probably as far as I could have pushed that. It has that sort of very thick caramelized sugar and toffee note – definitely accurate for a brulee flavour. The orange is more of an orange reduction; very heavy and sweet and sticky in the mouth. Conceptually it’s divine, but there’s just something really unpleasant about the cup too. I think it’s less the flavourings in the blend and probably more the case of the oolong itself just getting stale/flat over time. Or, alternatively, the oils in the little orange swirls getting going off…
Are there other companies out there right now with this sort of caramel/orange or bruleed orange profile? I quite like the idea of it and would love to try another company’s interpretation of it.
It’s all good! Calm your nerves
Okay, I will try, my tea.
I have an exam tomorrow and now it is first time I am looking at it. If I fail, it is still okay. I usually fail first one. But in Thursday another one. Why?
Okay, no time to cry. Actually I feel I know it. But of course I am stressed a bit. Maybe more than I actually should. Steeped for 10 minutes, when dry I noticed mostly lavender and hops. As a beer lover certainly interesting to smell hops when drinking tea.
In taste it is very herbal like and lavender is on the top of taste followed with hoppy profile. Weird taste but it is somehow pleasant.
Flavors: Herbs, Hops, Lavender
I’ve always looked forward to shopping at Daiso whenever visiting the west coast. For the unacquainted, Daiso is an Asian dollar store that sells some really nifty Japanese items. Kawaii stuff, stationary, housewares, toys, snacks, etc. So imagine how stoked I was when the first Daiso store in the midwest opened up just a few minutes from my house. I’ve been dropping by regularly and usually leave with one of their bottled Japanese teas.
I’m a big fan of the Ito-En line of bottled teas and their Golden Oolong is one of my favorites. Last night though it was missing from the beverage case so I picked up a similar tea from a different brand. This Sangaria tea was a darker oolong than Ito-En which is made from a blend of Tie Guan Yin and Huan Jin Guei leaves. To me it tasted like a Da Hong Pao. A heavier roast with a cinnamon warmth and motor oil like thickness and mouthfeel. Definitely on the darker end of the oolong spectrum. Not my preferred flavor profile but still a very drinkable tea.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Dark Wood, Thick
I guess I mentioned elsewhere how this tasted, since I’ve written no note – but this was very reminiscent of the flavouring that old 52teas used to use liberally (and that I rather enjoyed), so this tea was very much kind of a trip down memory lane. Was it brulee? I’m not sure, maybe it there was some sugar, but I did enjoy it. Kind of a rich, caramelly black.
When I was a kid, we had a small fig tree that would produce one fig a year. The six of us would split that one fig, and it was always so wonderful. I haven’t found a store that carries fresh figs, and I don’t like dried ones, so anyway, maybe fig tea will do the trick? Actually, this one tastes entirely like roses. I thought it was fun that the blend had oats in it, but all I can taste is rose. Since I’m not a big fan of floral teas, sadly this is not a winner for me. Still, thanks to amandastory516 for the sample! Can’t rate it too highly because it doesn’t taste how it’s supposed to at all.
Another new tea from DT that quietly launched in select stores and that will also be online!
This is a tea that’s a bit tricky for me to talk about just because I’m not a green tea person at all and I’ve only had it once or twice – but it’s an absolute favourite of everyone else who works in the tea department, most of whom drink it basically daily. To be fair, I am the only tea department employee who dislikes green tea. Even still, I actually don’t mind this one but I find it more average than amazing. Which, on my own personal straight green tea scale does mean a great deal/put it higher than the majority of greens…
So, for people who might not have the straight tea familiarity to infer from the name, this is an Anji Bai Cha – which is a Chinese green tea that is kind of sometimes classed as a white tea?! But only in China, really. It’s a weird one for sure, and there’s a lot you could dig into to discuss that further – but the point is that this is a pretty traditional and established tea type.
I actually think this one is an AMAZING quality one as well – like, the leaf quality is OUTSTANDING and I say that as someone who is generally really skeptical of the straight/traditional teas that DT often selects. It’s very much a straight tea for straight tea drinkers, and something that deserves care, attention, and deep appreciation. I know a lot of the DT customer base (though certainly not all) doesn’t really do Gongfu style brewing, but this is the kind of tea that would just be amazing prepared that way and really well situated for it. Add to that the fact we got that awesome quality green tea and it’s organic!? Like, wow.
I genuinely mean it when I say that I think this is the highest quality green tea that DT has ever carried. Nicest in terms of flavour is definitely subjective because people’s tastes can be so different. However, this is good quality tea.
As for flavour!? Well, I actually really agree almost perfectly with the little tasting note blurb/description used for the tea’s web page:
“Fresh, buttery and invigorating, with vegetal notes of artichoke, asparagus and a hint of roasted corn.”
How often does that happen!? (Not often.)
Honestly, I mostly just wish that this tea was getting the fanfare and promotion that I think it warrants. Quietly releasing it is just kind of sad in my opinion. It’s also a bit nitpicky of me, but I wish we’d just called this “Anji Bai Cha” instead of Anji Green. It’s a really good quality, traditional/straight green tea and for the price tag associated with it I think that the primary purchaser for this is going to be the kind of person who already has the knowledge base to appreciate the traditional name. Why are we playing it down by simplifying the name!? We found something awesome that I think straight tea drinkers will love – so use language that speaks more strongly to them!
But that’s just my two cents. The tldr is that I don’t love this one myself but I recognize the quality and how amazing it is that DT is even carrying something of this quality at all…
Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.
It didn’t taste quite like bread pudding to me but it was a nice warm, comforting tea especially now that it’s chilly out. It is balanced, very smooth and spiced just right with raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves notes. I liked it much better when I used twice the amount as directed. It was fuller, richer and was a nice dessert tea. I can taste the bread notes more with double the amount.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Cloves, Creamy, Nutmeg, Raisins
This was my “Amazon Spice Guayusa” sampler from Fusion Teas.
Decided to do something a little different today, as I do want to focus on some of my older samplers, but I’m still trying to keep to the “spice” profile associated with chais. This is a guayusa mixed with lemongrass and cinnamon; I’ve had relatively few guayusa blends (which is a shame, because I tend to enjoy the flavor of guayusa more than yerba mate in general, but finding blends with it is far more difficult than the latter!) and having something different than another black tea chai but that still offered a caffeine punch sounded nice this morning.
The steeped tea smelled strongly of cinnamon gum, but I found the flavor wasn’t as strong as I was expecting. I get notes of dry hay, a muted citrus that lacks the notable tang that accompanies lemon, a touch of mint, and an aftertaste of cinnamon that adds a bit of flavor to the cup but doesn’t leave a warming sensation on the tongue like other cinnamon spice teas I’ve tried. The cumulative flavor is very grassy or herby with a slight cinnamon touch right at the finish.
Honestly, the more I drank this, the more I enjoyed it. It wasn’t what I expected when I first sipped it, as the smell and the taste created a big disconnect in my mind. But once I settled into the earthy flavor and was warmed from within from the cinnamon, I started to really get into the blend. It’s a simple but effective tea.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Hay, Mint, Sweet, warm grass
This is a nice Darjeeling-type tea. It’s quite green. and aromatic – in fact, its aroma was the strongest point for me with intense meadow, hay and fruit fragrances. Prepared gongfu the taste was similarly intense, sweet and floral, with a typical Darjeeling profile. Muscatel was not too prominent, but flowers and stone fruit notes came out quite strong. Eastkyteaguy and Leafhopper identified individual flavors well enough, so I will not go in there.
The disappointing parts in my experience is that the complexity of taste fades quickly – I could not get many quality steepings. Oh, and also it was quite horrible Western style: just a bland undifferentiated sweetness that turned me off enough that I could not finish my cup (which is rare for me). It probably requires a very high leaf-to-water ratio to shine.
Holy moly! Okay, another tea from that big stash, this time from Teekanne brand. And fruit one.
But the catalogue is saying it is from 2010 (first appearance) so it can be 9 years old? Well, let’s see if it is even drinkable. It says only Früchte Geheimnis (Fruit secret). As it is so old, no chance to find out what is in. Here, a catalogue entry: https://www.catawiki.com/catalog/tea-bags-and-tea-labels/manufacturers-brands/teekanne/3210051-fruchte-geheimnis
Brews quite light tea honestly. Maybe it is not 99 per cent hibiscus and more fruits are there. But I am completelly unable to detect which ones are in.But in taste it is clear. Apples, with little of orange (zest maybe?) and hibiscus tartness. Hmm, okay – maybe the age?
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXlBCWlv0E0
Prepared in one litre french press for everyone in family.
So my insomnia has been pretty bad lately, even after cutting back on tea. Wanting to avoid going the melatonin route, I decided to look into tisanes. Internet research consistenly turned up chamomile and valerian as effective sleep aids. Since I like chamomile on its own, I decided to try it first.
My stash of Rishi chamomile medley had more herbs than chamomile flowers left so yesterday I set out to procure some organic loose leaf chamomile. However, Whole Foods only carries the bagged variety and the giant 1 lb bags sold on Amazon are overkill. Luckily I was able to get half an ounce of pure chamomile from the Spice & Tea Exchange.
Tastewise, this was a delicious tea on its own. Sweet, citrusy, and honeyed with a bright yellow color. Normally I steep chamomile for 5 minutes but I decided to brew it extra strong and steeped for 10 minutes. Even then it was soft and very soothing.
A couple of cups of this and some classical music on Spotify definitely helped me sleep better last night. Hopefully it’s not simply a placebo effect because it’s such a lovely and relaxing bedtime tea. I will experiment tonight by upping the quantity of chamomile and maybe blend in some dried lavender.
Flavors: Citrusy, Honey
Gift from ashmanra.
A blend of black teas with purple corn in a sachet.
Brewed in 8oz at 205F for 4 minutes.
It was death, the blackest black I’d ever seen. I drank it anyway. Dense malt with some cocoa, a little spicy, hints of purple corn, bitter, metallic. STRONK. I was like why tf does this taste way overbrewed? It’s full leaf tea not fannings. I turned my head toward the sachet sitting on the lid to my cup and was like OH. It was almost bursting at the seems with leaf. Enough for a large pot, too much for a mere cup. But there was no turning back. I had written my fate in the devil’s ink. What laid in store was hours of misery as I battled caffeine sickness.
Dummy got owned by some frilly sounding word for teabag.
One of my older sampler tins, I decided to make a warm cuppa of this for my morning tea. I’m actually enjoying this one more than the Chocolate Hazelnut and Rooibos Chocolate Chai, as both of those I found a bit weak on flavor unless I really upped the leaf content, but I’m getting a pretty sweet, marshmallowy note from this cup with just my teaspoon. I do still feel that, like the others, the chocolate note is a bit weak — I can tell it is there, but it is coming out more like a chocolate sweetness than a chocolately flavor to me? At least that’s the impression I’m getting, while I’m really tasting a marshmallow flavor, and I can’t think of many teas I’ve had that flavor note from before. Especially without trying to add lapsang souchong to the blend (which is a migraine trigger for me so I have to avoid it), so I’m really enjoying this. I’m getting a hint of a biscuity note too, which is nice, and making me wish I had some biscuits or grahams to eat with this cuppa. I just wish the chocolate was popping a bit more, but I tend to feel that way about a lot of teas. If I had some chocolate almond milk I’d be curious how this would fare as a latte, and if the marshmallow flavor would still hold up against the milk… if I end up making a grocery run I may have to try that out while I still have some of the sampler leaf.
Flavors: Chocolate, Graham, Honey, Marshmallow, Smooth, Sweet