Sipdown (135)!

Well, I’ve got a few tasting notes to get through that have built up; it was kind of a busy week for me…

I wrote my exams for Tea 106 and got 98% on the written one. Though I will have to wait for the presentations to see how I did and those two. I’m feeling pretty good about it though! And last night was my boyfriend Kyle’s 19th birthday, so I planned his party for him and then we took him out to the bar. It was a really lovely night, and selfishly I’m kind of glad that he’s finally legal drinking age so he can accompany us to the bar regularly and I can spend more time with him.

I drank this tea with my roommate Cathryn while we were cleaning house and getting drinks and what not ready for people to come over: I think the sample was from VariaTEA? Thank you to whoever provided it, though!

One thing about drinking tea with my roommates/non tea drinking people is that I find more often than not I’m just enjoying the experience of sharing tea with someone who otherwise wouldn’t be drinking it, so I’m not paying very close attention to the flavour I’m actually experiencing. Personally, I think that’s more than acceptable as a trade off: as much as I love good tea and exploring the nuances of the flavour of good tea there’s something to be said for the experience of taking tea too.

We drank this Gong Fu though; I did a quick rinse and then we had probably around six or seven infusions? I think we could have extended the session farther but it was getting quite close to party time so we cut it short. I was hesitant about sharing this one with Cathryn ‘cause it’s a Pu and typically people react so extremely to Pu’erh. She actually really liked it though!

So, since I was more focused on the experience/conversation than the specifics of the tea I can tell you that this had notes of: Earth, Mud, Baker’s Chocolate (not overly sweet, a little bitter but in a good way), Roasted Nuts, Char, Wood, Malt, and maybe even mushrooms a little bit? Definitely can’t tell you which infusions in particular focused on which notes or how the flavours evolved and changed and worked with one another. Those are just the flavours I distinctly remember experiencing at one point or another.

The liquor was nice and velvety though; a really rich mouthfeel and viscosity. It wasn’t all that aggressive, but it was bold and fairly sweet. I definitely enjoyed the session! Actually, I sort of wish I had more of this just to go back and make more astute observations: but I’m happy with being able to say I just really enjoyed this one, and the company I was sharing it with.

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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 in the tea department of the DAVIDsTEA head office. While I’m still sharing my own personal thoughts on new & existing DAVIDsTEA blends, I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any comments expressed are a reflection of my own thoughts and opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company. Any DAVIDsTEA blends you currently see with a numeric score were reviewed prior to my being hired there and have not been adjusted since becoming a DAVIDsTEA employee.


Montreal, QC, CA



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