682 Tasting Notes

drank Pineapple Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
682 tasting notes

I didn’t realize I never posted a longer review! We finished this one up today and it is on my re-buy list, honestly. The oolong is there but very subtle under the sweet pineapple. It puts me in mind of dried pineapple more than fresh, but that’s okay. It is one of the rare cases where a flavoured oolong meshes really well for me. It is a bit cost prohibitive, but it’s also an excellent treat to enjoy once in a while.

I continue to be amazed at how good it is!


I just brought this one home today, wonder how it compares to Butiki Pineapple oolong! Sounds great from your description…

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Whoops, this is yet another overdue review on a tea from Teavivre. Out of the package, this one has a very bold aroma, roasty and rich with some completely unexpected cocoa notes, but also an earthy, mossy smell. That last note is one which I have grown to appreciate – this is a tricksy oolong, putting me more in mind of a black tea. I love black tea!

I used the whole sample in my perfect tea mug with water that’s probaby around 90ish degrees. The steep was around 3ish minutes, yielding a liquor that is dark for an oolong but would be light for a black – a warm yellow, reminds me of an IPA or similarly styled beer in colour. The steeped aroma is subdued cocoa, with some dark earthy notes – almost reminding me of peat and cocoa. I don’t know why I say peat as I’m not completely sure what that smells like, but that is what comes into my head.

First sips are rich, earthy. I get a fairly bold roasty oolong flavoured, with a hint of spice at the end. Maybe something cinnamon or nutmeg? It’s a little sweet at the finish, unexpected but really nice. I get the sense that there is a bit of bitterness lingering underneath at all, but it isn’t fully developing, so it just gives a sense of complexity. This is a fairly bold tea and could handle additions if you were so inclined but certainly doesn’t need them – the mark of a good tea, in my books.

I have had a couple Big Red Robe oolongs now, and I must say that I really enjoy them. The flavours remind me of black teas more often than not and they’re nicely complex but still drinkable. This one almost has a savoury aspect, it puts me in mind of of a nicely seasoned roast. What is going on in my head today?! IF I can get teavivre.com to finally accept my credit card, this one might get slipped onto the order. Very yum.

EDIT to add that as it cools, I get a smokey note. It explains the sense of tobacco I was getting earlier. This is the second tea I’ve had recently with that slightly smoke that develops late in the game and I am liking it. Maybe I’ll be able to try a Lapsang some day.

PS – This reminds me a lot of the Teavivre Dragon Pearls. What’s up with that? : )

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Now THIS has a smell – strawberry matcha is bold and in your face once opened. It reminds me of strawberry lollipops and other strawberry candies. Definitely doesn’t smell like a fresh strawberry, but that’s okay since it isn’t one. I am thinking right off the bat that I will like this one better cold as the idea of hot strawberry is a little iffy, but I try everything hot first cuz that’s how I like my tea.

Sifted and whisked up 1/2 teaspoon of this bad boy, the steeped smell puts me in mind of a strawberry bath bomb. Unfortunately that means it smells good in theory but is not at all something you would want to ingest. I feel like I am about to eat playdough or something else equally ill prepared for human consumption.

The taste does not match the aroma (thank God!) but the aroma is there in my nostrils and not going away. I don’t get a taste of chemicals, but neither do I get the sweet strawberry I hoped for. Actually, I don’t get a lot of anything. There is that light bitterness I seem to find in all matchas but not a whole lot else. As I continue to drink, I get more of a buildup of flavour, unfortunately what is building up puts me in mind of chemicals. Ugh.

I’m going to add a drop of honey and see if that makes any drastic changes. With honey, the smell is the same but the taste has improved marginally. Now it tastes like slightly honey flavoured chemical waeter. With the foam I actually feel a bit like I’m drinking the suds in a bubble bath. Okay, this will be one to try cold, or as an addition to a smoothie. After having tried 4 flavoured matchas and 1 unflavoured, I am coming to the conclusion that matcha isn’t for me. Luckily, the beau likes it and will use it all up but I wish I hadn’t invested in it. It upsets my tummy sometimes too, which is annoying. I don’t know why green teas hate me, but it’s disappointing.


Sorry this tea didn’t agree with you. :( But if you need to find it a new home, I’d be happy to offer mine! ;)


Oh noes! :(


I’m thinking my fiancee will be all over it, but if we both don’t like it, I’ll get in touch, Charoma!


No worries. :)


Do you have the chocolate matcha? They go together pretty well!


I’ve tried two fruit ones from red leaf and they both tasted like chemicals to me. The desserty ones are great thought. Try a black matcha base with a non fruit flavor. Maybe you’ll like it better. :)


First time I tried this, I didn’t like it either. In fact I haven’t reviewed it yet for that reason. But today… I tried it using the shaken bottle method and cut down the powder by half, it seems to work! for me anyhow. A little on the tart side, which I like


I’m the opposite, I actually like the fruit ones and not the desert-y ones. Then again I’ve just had boysenberry and black cherry (not strawberry… yet)

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drank Silk Dragon by The Tea Merchant
682 tasting notes

Finishing up this sample today (in almost record time!) and wanted to share that I am getting a cuppa peaches and cream corn today. That is the smell and that is the taste – the dry smell actually makes my tummy a little upset (some greens and oolongs don’t agree with me) but the taste isn’t having that effect. It’s interesting how vanilla can lean so many ways in terms of flavouring – thankfully this isn’t coconutty vanilla, but more baked goods style. And apparently corn. : )


How interesting! I will have to try mine again and see if I get any of that.

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Full disclosure: I won this as a prize from Red Leaf Tea for helping to rename their Sugar Destroyer tea so I am not sure what the flavour strength is on this one. Thanks RLT! I would guess it’s not very strong as I didn’t get much aroma from the bag. There was some definite sweetness, but it smelled sort of generic, much like I found the cookie and cream matcha to smell. Actually, they both sort of smelled like the caramel matcha. For a non-green tea drinker, I think I need really high levels of flavouring in my matcha to make it palatable. Otherwise, what’s the point in flavour, eh? : )

The taste is..something else altogether. It is sweet. Not sugar sweet, but naturally sweet, rather than an addition. Sort of like how fruit is sweet but candy is cloying? Anyway, it’s yummy. Smooth with a sense of richness. I wouldn’t call it cheesecake if I hadn’t seen that on the label but it IS nice. Once again, a stronger flavour level would probably help distinguish the taste for me but that’s a personal weakness. I do get a bit of bitterness that lingers on the tongue – I’m not loving that. I think I will add a hint of honey to nix that.

Okay, honey may have turned into grapefruit agave. So sure me, it’s delicious. With the sweetener, the bitterness is muted and barely noticeable, which I prefer. I think this mixed with the caramel matcha would be super delicious – though it’s good on it’s own, it needs a little something to take it up a notch for me. It would be super yummy as an additive to a smoothie or cookies or something like that.


And just when I think they won’t tempt me with matcha again. Now they have a cheesecake flavor? That sounds like it would make a great matcha blending flavor.


Whoa! Congrats!! What was the new winning name you came up with?


I think it went from Sugar Destroyer to Sugar Buster. Not much of a change, but it was a thrilling win! : )

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I tend to forget that I like Keemun. I recently finished off a tin of a low grade Keemun from a local tea store, and turned to this one today to try something I hadn’t tasted before. Teavivre graciously sent me this in my first batch of samples months and months ago – and though I thought I tried it, apparently not. Actually, I owe Teavivre half a dozen reviews. I feel miserable about it, but a lot of times I just want to drink a tea and enjoy it, rather than thinking about the review I owe. Anyway, on to the tea.

We did a steep with boiling water for around 3 minutes, the liquor was rich and surprisingly brown in our new glass bubble tea cups. If you want smallish double walled cups, the Bubble ones at Davids Tea are super cute. I love them. Anyway, the tea was rich in flavour, I remember lots of strong notes, reminiscent of chocolate. Why do so many of my favourite black teas remind me of chocolate?! I REALLY enjoyed this one and would consider adding it to the Teavivre order I am trying to make (for some reason their site is refusing our credit card as payment. I’m a little bummed). The flavour was bold but not harsh and it was very smooth with no bitterness. (all good points in my book!) See my note on Persian Apple for how the second steep went, heheh.

This is a keemun win, for sure. Now to get my order to process…


I hear you regarding posting reviews of teas sent to be sampled and reviewed. I also have yet to review a few teas Teavivre sent me. Eventually, though …


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I love when a good black reminds me of chocolate :)

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80 degrees, three minutes steep. The beau made this one for us (after accidentally steeping Teavivre’s Keemun Hao Ya for 20 minutes, hah!) so I didn’t get to smell it beforehand. His sense of panic when he oversteeped the keemun was hilarious. I had to point out that there is plenty of other tea in our house if he wants some.

The steeped aroma reminds me of sweetened boiled apples – like homemade applesauce with no cinnamon and too much sugar. Actually, really appealing. I don’t tend to like green tea and I have been on the hunt for the perfect apple tea for two years. Do we have a contender?

First sips are light on flavour – no green tea, but there is something appley. Tastes more like green apple jelly bellies than applesauce though. Though I LOVE Jelly Bellies, that means the flavour is coming aross as artificial to me. Good, but artificial.

As I keep drinking, I get a bit of the bubblegum flavour I tend to get from DT’s newer flavoured blends. It does happen to taste exactly like a green apple jelly belly though! Won’t have any trouble finishing the sample I purchased, but I don’t anticipate a rebuy. I might like to see a bit of sour apple in there somewhere to cut the artificial sweetness. Yummy, but too standard. If I were just starting out in tea, I would probably fall for this, but I’ve been around the tea block too many times. : )

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drank Matcha Salt by DAVIDsTEA
682 tasting notes

Picked some of this up yesterday out of curiosity – the smell has a hint of matcha, but I didn’t find that to be present in the taste. I used it on supper last night and it really packs a salt punch – but be careful to use just a little unless you want a very salty meal. It’s neat, but more of a gimmick than a necessity for me, I think.


Well thanks for sharing!


I wondered about this – thanks for the review!


Oh darn, I was hoping it would be amazing!


I might get it anyways just because I need a good coarse salt for things like pretzels or soft caramels – I might just have to add a bit more plain matcha too ;) Thanks for the review!


I think this would be useful for cooking and dusting things with. I saw some chocolates with matcha inn them that were then dusted all over with matcha powder. So, the idea of something sweet dusted with the salty matcha or something like that would be a culinary use. A straight shot might be way too much salt.


You can also make your own by mixing matcha and himalayan sea salt/ fleur de sel. Yum!


I just bought some from Cube in L.A. that taste’s better than most fleur de sel’s I’ve had. Still, salt….for drinking….I’d only use it for culinary use even as matcha.


@Bonnie, I understand it to be marketed only for cooking. No-one would want to drink this – although apparently my fiancee thought that was the intention at first! : )


I want some!


It would be a risky move from David’s to start selling tea confections and jelly at their stores, but I’d love them to.

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I don’t know what is wrong with me or my taste buds, but I did not get any cookies or cream out of this, either in taste or aroma! I prepared 1/2 teaspoon, sifted and whisked – then got sweetened matcha, but no flavour! I ordered the distinctive flavouring, and am wondering if I should have taken it up a notch. I will be trying it again another time, in case something was off in this experience, but I am a little disappointed. The aroma wasn’t even cookies and cream – it was almost more burnt sugar/creme brulee. I’m not a fan of milk at all, and don’t particularly enjoy it in matcha, but I might try that at some point to see if it brings out the creaminess. Hoping for better matcha luck with the cheesecake and strawberry flavours.

*Will rate another time after I re-try.


I didn’t quite understand the hype myself. I wasn’t too fond of the flavor and didn’t really taste much, either.


Same here, I just can’t grow to love this one for some reason. It tastes rather chemical like to me

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Holy Hannah, these are huge. I expected pearls, not marbles – and I am in love. Taste and smell aside, these things are beautiful. I requested a sample of these a few months back and Teavivre graciously obliged…then they somehow ended up in a strange place and never got used. My bad. Teavivre, thanks again for the sample – I’m so in love with the look that as long as they taste halfway decent, I’ll be ordering more (and some Bailin Gongfu!).

I used 4 marbles and steeped them in nearly boiling water for 3 minutes (my standard black tea steep setup). The liquor is amber, but lighter than many black teas. The aroma is bold, reminds me of cigarettes/cigars. Typically that would be unpleasant, but this isn’t. It’s like the sweetness of tobacco mixed with something musty and rich. Old leather? There’s a hint of “ashtray” which I don’t like, but hopefully that’s just a smell.

First sips are rich, very rich. Like very dark chocolate, sans sweetness. There is a smokiness in the taste which probably explains the “ashtray” aroma I was getting earlier. It is mild, but very there. Reminiscent of a campfire with dark chocolate smores. Now, typically I don’t enjoy smoke or dark chocolate, but this is working for me. It’s very smooth, there is no bitterness, nothing with bite. It is very different from other black teas I’ve tried, but I think this is something I want in my cupboard. I don’t think of it as an every day tea, but I could totally get a hankering for this.

I’ll need to try it a few more times (and get the beau’s opinion too) but I think this is definitely something I should order. I’m running low on good plain black tea, so I should stock up. Right?! : )


I ordered these weeks ago, and my last two Teavivre orders have been hung up in Hangzhou for weeks now. I WANT MY DRAGON PEARLS!!!!! (a la five year old kicking and screaming on floor). All other Teavivre orders have come in about seven days.

Yogini Undefined

Ooh I’m so glad you reviewed these today, as I have some as well that I’m wanting to try, but I wasn’t sure how to brew them. I got confused on the tea vivre site that said 10 pearls for an 8oz teapot, but that didn’t seem right. These pearls are MASSIVE! Would you add anything to this tea or drink it straight? I nearly always add stuff to my blacks, but I usually try a sip of it prior to adding anything just to see.


I never add anything, so my opinion isn’t that useful. I don’t like to cover up the tea unless I’ve screwed it up or it’s poor quality. It is very hearty though, I think it could handle additions if that’s what you like – it’s all about your tastes!


Agree! I usually do ~4-5 pearls for a 12oz tumblr, or ~3-4 for my 4oz tasting set. I agree, this tea is bold enough to take additions, but even though I can be kind of iffy on strong blacks, this one is smooth enough to go without.

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I am a lover of many things, but my passions include my records, tea and books (not necessarily in that order!) I embrace local food and good cooking as much as I can, and place great value on time with family and enjoying the bounty of nature. As of January 2014 my husband and I finally moved to the country to be closer to family and continue our journey in a family home. We have been wanting to do this for a couple years, so we are very excited to follow our hearts. We also have a wonderful kitty named Emma that is the princess of the house.

I am drawn toward good Chinese blacks, enjoy some herbals and the odd roasted oolong. Greens and whites can make me nauseous, but I will have flavoured ones on occasion. While I don’t yet adore puerh, I am giving it my best effort. Chamomile and coconut are the devil though, I wish they didn’t exist. Mint has been a particular favourite of mine since childhood, and I enjoy both flavoured and pure teas though unflavoured blacks are tops for me.

As for ratings, I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: WOW. This is the cream of the crop.
71 – 80: This is a solid tea. I enjoy it, and would recommend it to others, but may not repurchase.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. May try again to improve.
41 – 60: Bleh. Might finish it, but it’s not to my taste OR just doesn’t impress me at all.
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.



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