894 Tasting Notes

I’ve been eyeing up the Scarlet Jasmine blend on Teavana’s website, which I suspect is just Dragonfruit Devotion and Jasmine Pearls. It sounds like an awesome combination, but I don’t want to buy 100g of it. So last night I mixed Dragonfruit Devotion and three pieces of DAVIDs Butterfly Jasmine tea to see if the flavour combination did work.

It was a little tarter than I would have ideally liked, but overall, jasmine green tea with a good fruit tisane is a winner in my books. The floral jasmine goes really nicely with fruit flavours.

I might pick up Teavana’s blend at some point, if I can find someone local to split it with (or if it ends up on sale) but for now I think I can make due with blending something similar at home.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Elderflower Spritz by DAVIDsTEA
894 tasting notes

While this isn’t bad, it’s not great. The dominant flavours are berry, floral and sweetness, which mostly mask the green and white teas. There is a bit of a medicinal note which isn’t bad, but doesn’t add anything to the tea either. The dry leaf is really beautiful and the smell is consistent with the flavour of the steeped tea. All in all, it tastes surprisingly generic.

It’s possible I oversteeped this, as my timer malfunctioned, but it didn’t get bitter or astringent.

Flavors: Berry, Floral, Medicinal, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Blackberry Mojito by Teavana
894 tasting notes

Cold brewed 6tsp in 16L of water over night, but my impressions are pretty much the same as last time I tried this – mint, berry and lime are present if I focus, but the experience is mostly just super tart with a hint of mint. I added a bit of sugar which maybe helped it?

I love the concept of this one so much, but for me it’s just a flop.

Flavors: Berry, Mint, Tart

Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp 54 OZ / 1600 ML
Liquid Proust

This is not acceptable! There are too few blackberry teas for one to not taste good :(


This one was unfortunately my introduction to loose-leaf tea. It was sour and not minty at all for me. Thankfully, it didn’t stop me from trying other, far superior blends. :)

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drank Mint Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
894 tasting notes

Another morning latte. This one has a better balance of the matcha and flavouring than the vanilla, and the coconut note from the sweetener is barely noticeable. I feel like I should be super into this, as I love matcha and I love mint, but while it’s quite good, it’s just not grabbing me.

Still a nice, tasty cup.

Flavors: Grass, Mint


Sipping on this right now. Definitely enjoy it more than the vanilla!

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Yesterday my partner and I decided to go on a mini road trip, to see how the landscape is melting and to try out the new truck on some dirt roads. We drove the loop in Nopoming Provincial Park, which is north of the Whiteshell, along the Manitoba-Ontario border. It’s a lot more rugged and less developed than the Whiteshell, and much quieter at all times of year, which, in my opinion, makes it far superior. When I’m camping or in the wilderness, people are the last thing I want around.

The prairies at this time of year are fairly dull. While I generally see them with an artist’s eye, and appreciate the nuances of all the different colours and textures, even those subtle differences are flattened in the post melt, pre bloom of spring. The fields, trees and ditches blend together into a fairly uniform grey-brown, contrasted with the uniform blue and deep green of the sky and evergreens. Add to that the road and the clouds, and you have five colours for this season.

Once you hit Canadian shield, the landscape gets more interesting – shield is always a less subtle beauty than the stark flatness of the prairies (and so utterly flat, in a way that I haven’t experienced anywhere outside of Manitoba.) The rock, interspersed with mixed forest of fir, spruce, poplar and the occasional birch, creates a macro texture, while the lichens covering the surface of the rock, and striations of broken sedimentary rock that protrude along the side of the road add a more subtle and delicate texture. Lakes, rivers and streams frequently abut or cross the winding road that undulates over granite that the road builders chose not to remove.

I sipped a travel mug of this as we drove, prepared earlier. Two pagodas, steeped for five minutes in 14oz of water yielded a rich, deep tasting brew, full of cocoa, malt and sweet potato. A good choice, whose flavour held up well in the travel mug, which seems to inevitably carry some trace of other flavours, no matter what I do.

I got a second excellent steep out of the two pagodas later in the evening, still rich and deep tasting.

The directions on the package recommend three pagodas per cup, but that is without a doubt overkill. Each one is at least the equivalent of a teaspoon of tea, possibly closer to two.

Between sharing these and drinking them often, they’ll be gone soon, and this will be a definite restock. They taste wonderful and the shape is also wonderfully suited to steeping without a strainer, and so, quite convenient.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 14 OZ / 414 ML

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Yesterday’s morning cup. I love how reliable and delicious this is. Pure raisin and milk chocolate. Smooth and sweet. Just perfect.

Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
894 tasting notes

I picked up a tiny sample of a couple of the new flavoured matchas last time I was in DAVIDs, to see how they compare with Red Leaf.

I knew these were pre-sweetened when I bought them, but had forgotten, so found that fact a wee bit off putting when I went to make it. I put a teaspoon and an half (roughly) into the blender with cold milk and boiling water, and gave it a good froth. While it is quite sweet already, I decided to add a pinch more sugar, since I generally like my matcha lattes sweet.

I find the coconut nectar an odd choice of sweetener, because it doesn’t have a neutral flavour – it tastes like coconut water, and this flavour combines with the vanilla to take centre stage above the grassy flavor of the matcha.

This isn’t bad, but I’m not overly impressed either. I like a bit more of a matcha flavour from my flavoured matchas. So I will enjoy what I have left but I probably won’t buy this again.

Flavors: Coconut, Grass, Sweet, Vanilla


Interesting. I have never used boiling water with matcha.


I add it to the cold milk, so the actual temperature of the liquid is somewhere between 60-70C. Because I am too lazy to heat the milk separately.


Oh, see I like them cold with milk. It’s like a milkshake.

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drank Tie Guan Yin 1993 by Nannuoshan
894 tasting notes

The dry leaf is dark green, verging on black, and twisty, but not rolled into balls. It smells woody and earthy, with hints of orchid that contrast in a very interesting way.

Steeped, the leaf smells intensely floral and woody. The tea soup is a pale amber colour and very clear. It smells very faintly of honey and wood.

On the first steep, the wood note is dominant, with honey and orchid in the background. I steeped 1g in 50ml of 90C water for 30 seconds, as per the steeping directions, but the flavour seems a bit light. I think this might have benefited from a quick rinse and a bit of a rest, to let the leaves open up a bit more, or just a slightly longer first steep.

The second steep is amazing. Everything about this steep is stronger and deeper, with well balanced notes of wood, roast and honey forefront, backed up by a lovely orchid. The finish is long, with a honeyed, tangy vegetal note that develops long after the sip. The texture is creamy and smooth.

The third steep intrigues me. The steeped leaf has taken on an almost acrid, charred wood note that I find unappealing. But the flavour of the tea is incredible. There is more roastiness and less honey than on the second steep, but toward the end of the sip there is a melted butter and brown sugar taste that contributes to the rich, creamy impression from the mouth feel.

The fourth steep once again seems lighter on flavour than it should be. While the flavours of the third steep are present, they are mild and a bit muddled.

For the fifth steep, I didn’t bother timing precisely and just let the tea sit until it seemed like it was ready. The butter, brown sugar and orchid are back to being more prominent, but at this point the leaves are staring to lose their flavour.

This is an amazing tea that shows its age through the fine and complex flavour. While three of my five steeps were not all that impressive, I was quite blown away by the second and third, and I think it is well worth drinking for those steeps alone (and I think with some tweaking of steeping technique and parameters, at least three incredible steeps could be had.)

I drank this and made my note without looking at anyone else’s impressions, and it’s so interesting to see the variety of different experiences people had with this tea. There’s a great deal of diversity in the flavours that people picked out.

While this may not be an every day kind of tea, it is one that is absolutely worth trying.

30s, 30s, 45s, 45s, 1min+

Sample provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Creamy, Earth, Honey, Orchid, Roasted, Smooth, Tangy, Vegetal, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML
Liquid Proust

The direction really say 30s? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an oolong with less than a 3 minute advisory.

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drank Orange Pekoe by Red Rose
894 tasting notes

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drank Ceremonial Matcha by Aiya
894 tasting notes

My sweetie and I drank several bowls of this last night, whisked into hot water. Perfectly sweet, creamy and grassy – not a hint of bitterness. This is ground very fine, so there’s not gritty mouth feel or clumps.

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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