8325 Tasting Notes


Another really old tea.

Tastes pretty flat/dull and though it does have a little bit of a vaguely fruity taste it’s certainly not definiably “strawberry” in any way – though if I recall correctly, even when this tea wasn’t old as shit it still didn’t quite taste like strawberries!? I see I’ve rated it pretty high – I don’t think this cup deserves that rating, but I wont drop it because I think what I’m drinking now is like three years old?

I added a bit of vanilla agave eventually to soften/smooth out the cup – it was better with that. Even without it added in, the tea wasn’t unpleasant tasting – just really nothing special at all.


I found an old Teavivre sample last night and served it. It was amazing. I can not imagine what it must have tasted like fresh and new. And it is no longer available. whine

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This tea has definitely gotten weird with age and is showing signs of aging actually much quicker than I anticipated it would – the smell of the dry leaf in the tea is a kind of fermented/acidic vinegar-y type aroma, and I think it’s coming from a combo of the red fruit and honey flavourings just changing with time. It’s a bit off putting on aroma alone…

That said, it steeped up actually quite fine – very smooth, the same sweet ginseng and red fruit notes I would expected to get from this blend with floral green oolong undertones. The big difference I found was that the distinct taste of the honey flavour was pretty mild/flat – so I think that flavouring has lost most of its oomph. I’d happily take it being a bit weaker/flat over fermented funky, though.

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 and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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Sipdown (701)!

Intoxicatingly smooth and robust cuppa, which I feel like I wasted a little bit by drinking Western style – but I just really wanted something rich and complex and I also had a strange amount of tea leaf left…

Very deep flavour, coats the mouth and lingers well after finishing the sip. Majority of the notes are the same as Gongfu but a little less complex, and there’s obviously less evolution of flavour. Notes, I would say, as oak/mahogany wood, sandalwood, really robust leather, dark chocolate, and black cherries.

This is a WOW tea – gotta remember to check is CS still has it in stock…

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Brought in to work by a coworker; I was excited to try it because it smelled incredibly fresh and sweet, with a little of that greener note I often like in fresh white teas!

I have to say I disagree with CS’s tasting notes – I really can’t find the “cinnamon” in this at all. For me, it was very smooth but nice and light bodied/delicate with very soft notes of fresh hay, and then a mix of Spring Flowers/florals and a greener (but not bitter) cucumber skin note with a TINY bit of lemony citrus.

I enjoyed it a lot though – not enough to pick some up, because Bai Mu Dan is bulky and takes up way more space than I’m willing to dedicate to it – but if she leaves the bag at the office and doesn’t mind, I might dip into it again…

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Gongfu in the Jin Shuan yixing…

Pulling notes straight from instagram because I just realized I’m been writing tasting notes today for like four hours – and I do know that I wrote a good one on instagram the day that I drank this tea. Worth noting that I drank this w/ food – some cranberry and hazelnut crackers and a cranberry/red wine chevre…

The tea has such a velvety, thick mouthfeel and smooth, buttery/creamy condensed milk & fresh spring flowers profile – really, really brings out the creaminess of the goat cheese, and coats the whole mouth. This crisp, tart notes of cranberry are like an explosion of fruit – made all the more sweet by the thick creamy oolong and floral notes. I really love the contrast of flavours here, it makes both the tart fruit and the silky oolong seem all the more flavourful!

My jin shuan pot is also seasoning really nicely, I’m happy to report!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2ckiFsgg4H/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vABetmtBDj0

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drank Thyolo Oolong by Tealet
8325 tasting notes

Gonfu Sipdown (702)!

Sipped down this older Thyolo Oolong sample – I know I’ve had this tea for a long(!) but I can’t remember exactly when I got it. I think it was from Liquid Proust!? It was alright; nothing special but nothing awful either – tasted like crunchy leaves and lemon peel…

The shiboridashi I sipped it down in actually the much cooler part! I’ve been helping a coworker in our education/training department who is currently going through the process of getting her Tea Sommelier certification from TAC. We’ve been doing weekly tea tastings together of straight teas to build/develop her tea palate. It’s actually been incredibly fun for me, and it’s also been incredible watching the growth of her tasting abilities!

Well, this Monday she surprised me with a gift to thank me for helping her! I was shocked, but then even more shocked when I opened up the bag and saw this STUNNING shiboridashi with a matte, speckled turquoise glaze! It looks kind of like a dragon egg, and it’s BEAUTIFUL! Turns out she’d gone to our hardgoods department and reached out to one of the buyers to see if they could hook her up with a one of a kind piece of teaware for me as a thank you! So, this stunning shibo was picked out especially for me, and I guess another one just like it doesn’t exist!? It’s so damn pretty!

But like – you can’t just hit someone up at 9AM on a Monday morning with one of a kind teaware and not expect an emotional response!

So here’s some photos of the tea (but also the shibo): https://www.instagram.com/p/B2fVqkhg1Z4/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8HoEvDh70Y

EDIT: Looks like this tea was 2014!? And also definitely from LP. Damn, didn’t realize it was that old – definite tea hoarding problems…

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drank Ceylon Oolong by teakruthi
8325 tasting notes

Gongfu Sipdown (703)!

Decided to finish this tea off Gongfu to see if I could draw out some different flavour notes and improve my overall impression/experience with this tea. I’m very thankful to teakruthi for the sample and giving me a chance to try this tea (and the others they sent) but I’m also sad to report that I had an even more negative experience drinking this tea Gongfu than I did with my first tasting.

I experimented with a couple different things throughout the session – such as steep times and water temperature. However, a consistent seemed to be that when drinking this one Gongfu I kept drawing out a very, very bitter taste from the leaves. Not really much else sadly, aside from a bit of a mulchy/grassy note. I’m thankful for the fact I was also eating Prickly Pear at the same time because the mellow sweetness of the fruit was really helpful in tempering a lot of the sharp bitterness of the tea – but once I finished off the fruit it was mostly downhill from there.

Largely, I’ve found a lot of success with my samples from Tea Kruthi – but not this one. You can’t love everything (it’s just not realistic) so no hard feelings; but I am a little glad to have finished this particular tea off now…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2nKabrgmgI/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMwOnjk0ux0

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Thick, creamy latte enjoyed last night!

I have maraschino cherries in my fridge right now because I’ve been craving them all week and I decided to try to float a cup on the thick foam on top of the latte but evidently they’re just so damn heavy and they sunk to the bottom. Still gave me a delicious treat at the end of the mug though, so I’m not mad about it. I’ve always found this matcha tasted like a strawberry milkshake to me, and this is reminding me of this small restaurant we used to sometimes go to with my grandparents when I was REALLY young (like, maybe five/six) where we’d order strawberry or chocolate milk and the waitress would often add extra maraschino cherries to the bottom of the cup for us – it was a sweet gesture, and it made my brother and I SO happy. So, this cup has actually wound up being very nostalgic for me…

I wanted to work on tasting notes last night but was struggling to find some motivation. So, I ended up putting it off and now I’m working through my list this morning/afternoon. Making pretty good progress – but it’s still a lot to get through. Sometimes people ask me why I write so many when I sometimes find it a little gruelling to work through so many of them a week – and my answer is that I find it somewhat gruelling during the process, but then feel an incredible sense of accomplishment when I’ve finished it! I also like having records of what I drink – and have had a lot of incredible learning takeaways from being able to reference old tasting notes and see how my palate and general education level have changed.

Additionally, though, the structure and routine of it has been really great for my mental health. I’ve spoken about this before in the past – but when I first starting writing on Steepster around six or seven years ago I was highly depressed, and I’ve gone through swings of depression over those six years – but in general I think having something to write/log every week has been very stabilizing for me. I am definitely a person of routine, and find a lot of comfort in it. The community here has helped immensely too – but in general the entire ritual of drinking tea/incorporating it into my life and then writing about it has just pulled me from a dark place more times than I can count.

I bring it up because I think I’m kind of hitting one of those rough patches right now – I’ve been in Montreal for almost a year now and I’m realizing that I haven’t made as many connections/friendships within the city as I would have liked to at this point and I’m feeling a little isolated within the city right now. I don’t really know anyone outside of work, and a bunch of the people I’ve become closest to at the office have now moved on to other jobs more related to the fields they studied (happy for them, of course!) which has become even more isolating…

I’d just like to make some deeper friendships outside of work, you know? I’ve always struggled a lot with that though.

I’m gonna get through this though! It’s weird, to hit a rough patch but to also be constantly surrounded by one of the things that makes me happiest – tea! I’m doing better than I have in the past though, and I’m thankful for that!

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 and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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From last weekend!

Topped a blueberry bagel covered in marscapone with a few pinches of blueberry matcha; just a simple addition but upped the blueberry flavour a bit and added sweetness. Loved the creamy mascarpone and blueberry combo as well.

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 and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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drank Daddy Cool by TeaTaxi
8325 tasting notes

A little flat. A little dull.

Steeped this one for a very long time too (like 12+ minutes, because I got distracted) so I really had the expectation that when I went to drink it the flavour would be intense. I still got notes of marzipan/almond, but no richness/sweetness and the rooibos was a little bland and woodsy. Mouthfeel was nice and thick though, with a pleasant coating sensation.

I think the tea is just old – I even noticed in the dry leaf aroma that it seemed like bright and sugary as what I remember my last tasting being like…

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gong Fu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – those only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “Exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gong Fu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.


Montreal, QC, CA



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