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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Hello! My name is Kelly, though many people in the tea community call me Ros or Roswell.

I am a mid-twenties tea addict, blogger, and all around nerd. I grew up in the Prairies, but a few years ago I relocated to Quebec to pursue a career with DAVIDsTEA in the tea industry! I’m still working on getting my French language skills down…

My first introduction to tea, in any form outside of instant and bottled iced tea, was about seven years ago when I happened to stumble upon DAVIDsTEA while looking for a birthday present for a friend! I tried their Birthday Cake rooibos blend, and I’ve been hooked on tea ever since! In those seven years; I was introduced to the online tea community, expanded my interest in flavoured teas to include a deep love and appreciation for straight teas and traditional brewing methods, got a tea themed tattoo, started reviewing teas, amassed a sizable tea and teaware collection, became a TAC certified Tea Sommelier, & even came full circle by beginning a career in the tea industry with DAVIDsTEA!

I consider myself a Jack of all Teas, and strive to have a knowledge and appreciation of all tea types, formats, and styles of drinking. I don’t like to feel boxed in to just being a “flavoured tea” or “straight tea” drinker – my expectations may vary depending on the type of tea or how it’s been processed/prepared but if it’s good tea, it’s good tea no matter how it’s been made!

You name it, I probably drink it- and I’ll absolutely try anything at least once.

My default method of preparation is hot, Western style, and straight – but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea or use a different method of preparation I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gongfu. 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.

I’m also one half of the “tea and fandom” podcast GeekSteep where, weekly, we discuss newly explored fandoms over tea as well as try to figure out the perfect tea to pair with each fandom. You can find us on Spotify and Apple & Google podcasts.

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

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strongly spiced profiles (and most Chai in general), mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, 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.

Please contact me at the instagram account listed below if you would like me to review your teas.

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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