Finally broke into my bar of this maybe a week ago, I think on my last day at the office before we went on our Christmas break?

It was a sort of cold, rainy/drizzly day and I woke up just kind of thinking “this is a shou kind of day” and that quickly evolved into a “actually, it’s a shou with chenpi kind of day”. Unlike doing what I normally do when I feel like that, I didn’t go for W2T’s Big O but instead decided that I would break into something I hadn’t yet tried before, and I’ve been sitting on this tea for a while…

I steeped it up Grandpa style because that’s simply what’s easiest for me to do at work while I’m running lab tests and such – but also because I find that generally shou works REALLY WELL steeped this way, and the addition of chenpi doesn’t change that. One of the squaeMy first impression was that there was less of that distinct mandarin orange note in this tea than in Big O, which is probably my favourite chenpi blend at the moment and the one I drink most often. I mean, it was still there but I felt like the profile was more so a sweeter shou pu’erh with date/fig, damp garden soil/petrichor, sweet and kind of cocoa-y notes and a very smooth, thick mouthfeel. I do feel like an hour or so later, after I had been drinking and rebrewing for a while, the orange notes were popping more for me as the flavor of the pu’erh declined a little bit. I think, though, that what is probably going on is not there there’s necessarily so much less chenpi in this blend but that it’s just more of a natural compliment to the pu’erh mix here, so it stands out a little less than the bright chenpi notes in Big O, which don’t meld together quite so seamlessly (though they’re still complimentary in that tea, don’t get me wrong). Is it necessarily better or worse that the chenpi doesn’t stand out as much here? I don’t think there is a correct answer, just a better fit depending on what you’re craving in that moment.

I’m happy to have both in my cupboard.

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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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