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 :)
After sticking my nose in many a tea-filled can at the Teaopia shop at my local mall I decided on a cuppa of this one, mainly because it smelled powerfully fresh, green, creamy and surprise, surprise! – like coconut! Prepared according to either Teaopia’s specifications or whatever the woman working there decided to do with it (I confess being too busy talking myself out of buying a nice lidded mug to pay attention). I enjoyed the cup, although I’m not sure if that was mostly because of the flavour or because it was a nice, hot beverage on a distinctly nippy day. Unfortunately despite the tempting smell the taste was decidedly lacking. Sniffing the bewed tea delivered the scent of coconut, and a sort of creamy, maybe slightly sweet note, but my mouth got just a hint of the green tea base and a mild sweetness towards the back of my tongue that faded quickly. There was none bitterness you can get from improperly prepared green tea which was nice but it was pretty bland overall. Definitely more of a temptress to my nose then a lover to my tongue. Alas.
So now that I’ve been reunited with my tea (if not all my tea-making toys alas) I’ve been wearing away on my big stash before I make any new purchases, and because it somehow looks a lot bigger then it did two months ago before I went away!
Since I have a nice big tin of this, and since it’s pretty hard to mess up a honeybush and I’ve been going ka-razy! with job applications/interviews/licensing exams I’ve been making it quite a lot. I had to look back and see what I had written about it the first time, and I think I was a little bit harsh, but generally correct. This doesn’t have the rich, decadent coconut-ness I was hoping for, probably because the tarter tropical notes of the pineapple and the sweetness of the honeybush have equal roles to the coconut in this production. But despite not being “what I was hoping for”, this is GOOD. It’s refreshing and surprisingly sweet (go very sparingly if you add sweeteners, this needs little to none or it turns candy-sweet ick!). It comes out a nice amber colour and full-flavoured no matter the random steeping it gets (frazzled me is not so good on water temps and timing), and while I find the flavour is noticeably more pronounced when it’s cold I prefer it hot when there’s still room for a bit of tangy pineapple and creamy coconut to shine through the sweet honeybush.
I’m upping the rating a bit on this one since I’ve gotten over my lack of coconut snit. All and all a good, reliable cuppa!
I have been absent from Steepsterton for way too long simple because I HAD NO TEA. Living at the tip of James Bay (northern Ontario) for two months with a 25lb weight limit for baggage to get up here has put a major cramp in my tea drinking style. The only thing available to me has been bagged Tetely Orange Pekoe (drinkable but not really postworthy). But (drum roll please!), courtesy of my amazing friends down south, and my birthday, I received no fewer then three packages of delicious looking loose leaf – one of which is this blend that I’ve been wanting to try forever (being a huge fan of grenadine-filled Shirley Temple’s as a child).
YAAAAAAAYYYYY! happy tea dance
So expect postings fellow Steepsterites, I’m through with lurking!!
Oh, and to make this slightly about the tea, while I haven’t gotten to brew it up yet the dry tea smell is just lovely – sweet-sweet melded with a nice black tea nippiness and warm vanilla notes – YUM!!
Another bagged, flavoured green I picked up at work. Compared to the Mint Green from Tetley that I really liked this one was a bit of a disappointment. The blueberry flavour didn’t seem to meld well with the green tea, you got this hit of very sweet (and slightly fake) tasting blueberry and then the flavour of the green tea and even though it was from the same sip it just seemed…disjointed somehow? If the blueberry had tasted more like actual blueberries rather then sugary-sweet blueberry candy it probably would have been a good combination, as it was it was meh.
Ending on a good note the green tea didn’t turn bitter even though it was probably overcooked and oversteeped which is handy in a bagged tea which I at least tend to drink it non-optimum tea conditions.
I snagged a bag of this at work today and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The mint flavour is quite definitely present but doesn’t overwhelm the green tea, I could definitely tell this was a green tea with mint, the green was the centerpiece, the star, and the mint made a nice supporting cast.
I used the hot water dispenser in the cafeteria and was a bit worried it would turn out bitter from scortching the leaves or oversteeping but no bitterness to be found at all! While I’m sure there are probably better mint greens out there in the loose leaf world I’m bumping the rating up a bit on this one because it was really good for a bagged tea, and the convenience factor cannot be denied. I might consider picking some of this up when I need a bagged green for on the go.
Caved and got this tea a while back (before it showed up on the Select obviously, d’oh!) because I was seduced by the idea of a tea that tasted like a) ice cream, and b) a type of ice cream I love. Mmmm creamy and sweet and nutty oh my!! ::happy dance!:: Ahem, okay back to the tea…I steeped according to the package directions, but I was a little worried I might end up with something ickily bitter because I wasn’t able to control the time as much as usual (moving (the bane of my existance), has necessitated me packing up all my beloved tea stuff, and the only strainer I have on hand is incredibly leaky resulting in a lot of the tea actually ending up in the bottom of the cup, and hence oversteeped). But no need to fret, the cup has no trace of bitterness, even from the little bits still swimming around happily in there (thankfully they settle well). The dry tea smelled lovely (say it with me: creamy and sweet and nutty oh my!) and there were big chunks of pecan amongst the leaves. The taste seems a bit muted compared to the smell. It definitely has a faint sort of maple-y sweetness, and a creamy sort of note when I swallow but the nutty pecan goodness is hiding from me.
The black tea flavour is definitely present and pleasant with decent strength but little bitterness. This could be a cup I could drink sans milk or sweetner, but in the name of experimentation I added some to see if it’d round out the tea and maybe bring out those elusive nuts? A spash of milk and half a sweetner packet did make this taste creamier and sweeter, helping the ice cream comparison, but unfortunately didn’t do anything to make it taste more pecan-y.
Overall from my first cup of this I say that it is a yummy, fairly mild and easy to drink black tea with a natural sweetness, creamy notes, no bitterness, and good with or without additives. Unfortunately it seems closer to a “Vanilla ice cream” or “Maple ice cream” tea then a Butter Pecan one because I just can’t find the nuts! I’m hoping playing around with the steeping might bring it out a bit more? Does anyone have any suggestions?
UPDATE: Okay, when I stick my nose into my cup and inhale I can definitely smell pecans and when I exhale after taking a sip I can sort of smell them for a moment. Are all my ten thousand or so taste buds just broken? o_O
I got a big, beautiful tin of this during the Memorial Day Blowout on Steepster Select a while back and I was super-excited to try it because of my love of all things coconut and the fact that it was blended with honeybush which I’ve come to enjoy rather more then rooibos.
The dry tea smelled AMAZING. Like “wow!”, “yum!”, and “can I eat it?” all at once. There were giant chunks of pineapple (a wee bit shocking at first) and nice big flakes of coconut. The scent was sweet with that rich creamy note I associate with coconut.I made a cup of this following the directions on the tin, and went up to the 10 minute steep time because I wanted to maximize the flavour and since there’s no worry about bitterness why not? I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a sheen of coconut oil floating on top of the tea which I’ve come to expect from my other pina colada blend. I first tried it neat, and found it rather lacking in flavour. From the smell I’d expected a solid punch of tropical-sweet and coconuty goodness but it just wasn’t coming through, instead I mostly tasted honeybush (a slightly sweet woodsy flavour). I added a bit of honey to see if that would bring out the pina colada flavours and it did to a certain extent, the pineapple notes got more prominent but it didn’t do anything for the coconut.
The coconut in particular was a let down, I’d really hoped for the rich, almost oily mouthfeel I’ve gotten from other coconut teas, and the chunks of coconut in this one should have provided that…
Overall it was an alright tea that tasted okay, so I’m not really sure whether I’m actually disappointed or my expectations were just too high. Based on this I’m going to score it generously in hopes that my next attempts are more satisfying. Next time I’m going to forgo the honey and try a bit of milk/cream and see if that gives this tea more of the decadent heft I was hoping for.