76
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
31 tasting notes

A David’s Tea just opened in my town!! YAY! Unfortunately I am on a strict no-tea-buying diet until I have room in my tea chest for more goodies. So going into a brand new tea shop who’s offerings I’d been very fond of when I was sent them by friends in cities already blessed with a David’s Teas was well, masochistic to say the least. Possibly damaging to my psychological well-being, I think I strained something in exercising my restraint and not buying any loose leaf. So while I simply marveled at all the offerings, I left only with one cup of brewed tea, specifically this Pumpkin Chai.

I love pumpkin (my favorite kind of pie!), and a chai is just the best tea for this time of year in my opinion. As this is one of their limited time only seasonal teas I just had to try it while I could (it narrowly beat out another seasonal selection, the Lemon Cream Pie which also smelled intoxicating). I’m not exactly sure of either the amount of leaf, or the water temperature this was brewed in since the lady behind the counter made it, but I definitely think the water was cooler then boiling. Unlike many other places I get tea I didn’t have to wait half an hour for the drink to cool enough to avoid tongue-scalding, making me think the water was much cooler initially.

In the big tin the tea smelled lovely, a warm black tea note mixed with a subtle combination of chai spices (compared to some of their chais that have peppercorns in them this one was positively mild). There was a hint of the creamy, sweet, slightly…vegetable-y? note of pumpkin as well which seemed to give it a nice depth.

The lady gave me the cup with the tea in one of those little tea pouches and suggested waiting 2-4 minutes to let it steep. No suggestion of sweetening it unlike the package directions so I didn’t, though I think a hint of honey or brown sugar would have really brought out some of the flavours. I went on a walk, and sort of forgot about the pouch of tea, and so it probably steeped 10+ minutes. No bitterness resulted, even when the amount of water the tea was in steadily decreased. The flavour of the liquid tea wasn’t as strong as I had hoped, the black tea was rather milder then most I’ve had before (as evidenced by the fact I was happy to drink it without milk or sugar, generally an absolute necessity when I drink blacks like English breakfast). There was a hint of chai spices, mostly cinnamon that I noted, but again, not terribly strong, more something you noticed when you swallowed. The pumpkin well…I can’t really say I got a real pumpkin note from this. It’s a pretty subtle flavour most of the time so I wasn’t too surprised, and there was definitely another part of the tea that wasn’t “black tea” or “chai spices” but without the title I don’t know if I’d have identified it as pumpkin. More of just a bit of creamy richness to the tea rather then an actual pumpkin taste maybe. I enjoyed this tea, it was nice having a black that I didn’t feel needed any additives, and it was pleasant just to sip on a brisk fall evening.

One other note, I was rather disappointed in the layout of the David’sTea store. The had all their teas in big tins on a shelf behind the counter, necessitating that a sales person bring the tin to you. Now I’m a person who likes shopping on my own, I’ll ask questions if I have them, but otherwise I’m not big on conversing with sales people etc (prefer to slowly come to my own decisions without the pressure of someone standing there waiting) and this layout basically forces you to stand at the counter and chat. The sales people were very nice, friendly and helpful, but I also found them a bit pushy, bringing me all sorts of teas I hadn’t asked for and sticking them under my nose. While many of the David’sTeas teas sounded/looked/smelled amazing and so I’ll be back, I much prefer the layout of tea stores in my town like Teaopia/The Tea Store/Cha Cha Tea who have their teas along the walls and let people sniff and comparison shop undisturbed and on their own. Just my two cents, just in case a David’sTea representative comes across this note :)

Preparation
8 min or more
Meghann M

Awesome that you have a Davids tea store near you! I’m very jealous of that. Teavana is set up like that, with the teas behind the counter with the sales people. I don’t enjoy having to chat and be sold to by the sales people either. I get too flustered with all of the sales tactics and usually by nothing or too much.

Feisty

I’ll admit I’m pretty stoked, although my bank account trembles with fear! I’m glad there are other “shopping hermits” who prefer and undisturbed tea hunting experience. I find I usually buy less with the over-the-counter set up, just because I don’t want to feel like I’ve been pressured into something (even if I would have purchased it on my own eventually).

Amariel

My Teaopia has them behind the counter just like DAVIDs, though I don’t mind this, as the SAs are all generally well versed in the teas, so I can usually figure out something to get, based on a mood I have coming into the store. So I enjoy the conversation, personally. I feel like someone is trying to find me what I am looking for, and sometimes, I am brought something I wouldn’t have normally given a glance at, and they have become favourites. I’d have skipped them had it not been for the layout. But, to each his/her own. Some people like SAs come right to them when they enter a store, and others like to browse peacefully until they need help.

Angrboda

When selling by weight I much prefer it when only the shop employees have access to the tins. That limits the number of people who can go around lifting the lids again and again and poking at the contents. How many complete strangers have had their paws inside this tin? Have they touched the leaves? Were their fingers clean? For the local tea shop where I lived before, I would usually go on their website at home and then take a list with me to the shop of the things that seemed interested in, but then the couple who owned it, and the woman who owned it before them, were all good at listening to what I was searching for and suggesting something without pressuring.
If it was sold pre-weighed out, I’d prefer to be able to help myself and then bring my stuff to the counter.

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Meghann M

Awesome that you have a Davids tea store near you! I’m very jealous of that. Teavana is set up like that, with the teas behind the counter with the sales people. I don’t enjoy having to chat and be sold to by the sales people either. I get too flustered with all of the sales tactics and usually by nothing or too much.

Feisty

I’ll admit I’m pretty stoked, although my bank account trembles with fear! I’m glad there are other “shopping hermits” who prefer and undisturbed tea hunting experience. I find I usually buy less with the over-the-counter set up, just because I don’t want to feel like I’ve been pressured into something (even if I would have purchased it on my own eventually).

Amariel

My Teaopia has them behind the counter just like DAVIDs, though I don’t mind this, as the SAs are all generally well versed in the teas, so I can usually figure out something to get, based on a mood I have coming into the store. So I enjoy the conversation, personally. I feel like someone is trying to find me what I am looking for, and sometimes, I am brought something I wouldn’t have normally given a glance at, and they have become favourites. I’d have skipped them had it not been for the layout. But, to each his/her own. Some people like SAs come right to them when they enter a store, and others like to browse peacefully until they need help.

Angrboda

When selling by weight I much prefer it when only the shop employees have access to the tins. That limits the number of people who can go around lifting the lids again and again and poking at the contents. How many complete strangers have had their paws inside this tin? Have they touched the leaves? Were their fingers clean? For the local tea shop where I lived before, I would usually go on their website at home and then take a list with me to the shop of the things that seemed interested in, but then the couple who owned it, and the woman who owned it before them, were all good at listening to what I was searching for and suggesting something without pressuring.
If it was sold pre-weighed out, I’d prefer to be able to help myself and then bring my stuff to the counter.

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In hopes of standardizing my ratings a bit more I’ve devised my own scale:

1 – 19: (F-) Ugh. Given to Mr. Sink Drain to enjoy after a couple sips. Never again. Would only give away with a strong warning (or to someone I didn’t like).

20 – 29: (F) Ick. Managed to finish the cup out of stubbornness, but tasted bad the whole time. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

30 – 49: (F+) Meh. I didn’t warrant an “ugh” or “ick” it but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

40 – 59: (D) Okay. Not a truly bad tea but just personally not my thing. Will (try) to finish but won’t reorder.

60 – 69: © Decent. Drinkable and getting towards good but just falls a little short. Will finish but won’t reorder.

70 – 79: (B) Good. Enjoyed this tea. Will likely reorder at some point but probably won’t be a tea shelf regular.

80 – 89: (B+) Very good. Would definitely put on my “reorder” list when I run out.

90 – 99: (A) YUM! A favourite. Would go on my “pre-order before I run out list” to keep it on hand.

100! (A+) OMG! Mind blowingly-good. The tried-and-true favourites that I MUST ALWAYS HAVE.

I am an acknowledged book addict, intrepid snowboarder, amateur teaite, crafter-creator, eager debater, ICU nurse, reluctant runner, animal lover, tree hugger + future world traveler.

With a palate ruined by years of hot-sauce-on-everything, espresso-based lattes and university student cooking I prefer bold teas and often miss nuances unless they are the gustatory equivalent of a two-by four. I don’t enjoy bitterness and love chais.

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