Sipdown (594)

Sample comes from VariaTEA!

I’m basically doing the whole sample from VariaTEA in one go, as a larger Western-sized teapot of it. I was really skeptical of this one, as the smell of the dry leaf is somewhat off putting (peppery citrus and sour grass) and the steeping recommendations are strange. Plus, I’ve not had great luck with yuzu teas as of late…

I decided to follow the weird AF steeping recommendations on the package though: if I’m only making this once then I might as well do it the way they want me to, right? So I measured out my tea leaf, boiled my water to 185F and steeped the tea… for one minute. To be totally fair, it is flavourful even after only a minute of steeping. Now, is it a flavour that I’m on board with? That’s a great question.

It’s weird, to put it simply. I’m not gagging in disgust of anything, though. The green tea itself is actually really roasty tasting – giving me strong roasted brown rice/Genmaicha type vibes, as well as this sort of “popcorn” kind of taste? A tiny touch vegetal/ocean-y in that way that Japanese green tea often is. If this was the only flavour in the cup, I think I’d actually quite enjoy this type of profile. However, it’s not the only thing going on here and that’s where shit gets kind of weird?

So, there’s yuzu in this tea and it’s actually a really strong yuzu flavor. Very distinctly citrusy, with a sort of lemon/grapefruit kind of vibe to it. It’s also really peppery though, and I think what I’m settling on as I sip away at this pot is that as much as I like the lemon/grapefruit kind of notes of yuzu I just don’t really like yuzu ‘as a whole’ because I loathe how strong that black pepper sort of taste is, and how it cuts into the citrus notes. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to my palate.

Even ignoring how much I’m not feeling the peppery notes though, there’s something that feels very inharmonious to me about this heavier roasty elements of this tea alongside that bright citrus note. Doesn’t mesh well, and there’s not a flavour note really tethering the two together. So even though the roast is good and the citrus is good, they’re not quite good together? Or at least that’s where I’m landing on this one, I think.

So yeah – not a bad tea, though some bad qualities. Just kind of a weird and not really for me type of tea? I’m sure some people would love it, though.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Citrus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Ocean Breeze, Popcorn, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Vegetables

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Bio

Hello;

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.

Location

Montreal, QC, CA

Website

https://www.instagram.com/ros...

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