704 Tasting Notes

drank Gingerbread by DAVIDsTEA
704 tasting notes

Hubby and I picked up some of this one yesterday while indulging in a day of treats. Haircut, record store sale, leftover Halloween candy, new clothes – and most of it on discount or gift cards, yay! Then groceries, homemade beef stroganoff, some GTA V online and tv shows before an extra-long sleep. Today is reading, chili making and relaxing all around. Maybe a game of Doctor Who themed Monopoly? Great weekend!!

Anyway, this is one I was interested in but not holding a lot of hopes for because after 3 or 4 years of drinking tea I am finally finding myself disenchanted with rooibos and honeybush blends. Nonetheless, we gave it a go. It is actually pretty tasty, and does much better at lukewarm than hot BUT it is not gingerbread. This is molasses cookies, guys. Gingerbread is a ginger pow with a hint of molasses. Molasses cookies are the opposite and that is what we have here. I want more ginger flavour, and it is sorely lacking. Very sweet and accurate on the molasses though, so that is something. If they had named this correctly I think I would like it a bit more but as it is I don’t see myself buying more.

Hot tips: drink this lukewarm or cold for the best taste, and don’t expect much by way of ginger and you’ll be a happy chappy. For once, the beau and I both had the exact same taste results.


That sounds like an awesome weekend.

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My husband won the Oolong sampler from Teavivre in their recent giveaway and it finally arrived on Friday. Therefore, new tea! Whee! He was obsessed with trying this one first because he loves the idea of monkeys picking tea. He was very disappointed to learn that it is highly unlikely that a monkey touched these tea leaves, but he got over it.

I am not much of a Tie Guan Yin fan but hubby is, so between us we should have a balanced review. I still don’t care for greens or green oolongs but I sometimes see the appeal. This is actually being paired with a fairly brisk breakfast of scrambled eggs with vegetables so hopefully it doesn’t get too lost.

I followed the Western style instructions from Teavivre’s website and steeped the 7 gram packet at 100C for one minute. This yielded a light smelling liquor that has what I think of as a fairly typical TGY taste. It verges on being astringent but it doesn’t really develop. I was worried about the boiling water, but it does work. I am not getting any of the peaches and cream I usually get from this sort of tea but I don’t know if these leaves aren’t like that or if the water muted the flavours. This is a perfectly enjoyable cup though. Lightly sweet, nothing grassy or “green.”

The second steep at 2 minutes tastes much the same. The hubby says it is like a light green, and doesn’t find much of a difference between the two. He seems a little disappointed but I reminded him that gongfu would have given him a bigger variety of flavours but we were lazy. Ah well. :)

Will report on further steeps later. For now, it is groceries and then a return to GTA V and reading and crosswords and Supernatural and tea and lovely Sunday afternoons at home.


GTA V, reading, crosswords, Supernatural AND tea?
Wow. That sounds like a very lovely afternoon. I tried to get my other half to watch Supernatural with me (I just started S1 and am on episode 13 now – long way to go!) but it’s just not his thing. So he plays GTA V while I watch on the tablet. It works. :P

And I have this tea – I’ll have to see if I find it as mild as you did. I bought the samplers because I wanted to learn more about oolongs and how to compare them!


We have been together since teenager-hood and share a lot of common interests. I had him buy me GTA V the day it came out and we have been squabbling over whose turn it is since then. We also have seen all of Supernatural already but love it so much we wanted to start at the beginning. Again! It was a good day. :)

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drank Currant Affair by DAVIDsTEA
704 tasting notes

Wow. I LOVE black currant flavoured things and have asked Davids off and on for over a year to make a good black currant tea. When cocoberry came out I was excited and then horrendously disappointed. When I contacted customer service to share my belief that cocoberry was an abomination they consoled me with the promise of currant affair. With that in mind, I bought a 50 gram bag on faith that a tea with so few ingredients couldn’t possibly go wrong.

For once, I was very right. I steeped this 5 minutes with a hefty amount of leaf and while hot this was a beautiful currant tea with just the right level of sweetness. Unfortunately it become overwhelmingly sweet as the cup cooled BUT I think that was a factor of over-leaf and over-time. This is one that doesn’t need a lot of time or leaf to become a really powerful brew. Others may like the cooler cup best but as someone who doesn’t sweeten her teas, it is a bit much.

In general though, I love this. I am already considering getting more to have an at home and at work stash. I did have a few coworkers complaining of a weird smell though so I might have to take the work stash home. :( Two thumbs up for a currant tea done right!


I want to get some of this! It sounds very good :)

Aimee Popovacki

its so good!… they haven’t wowed me with a tea in quite some time… i’ve liked some of their new ones, but haven’t loved anything enough to buy more than like 25g of it… this one is great :) .. i never got to try cocoberry because it has mango in it, but i haven’t heard anything good about it!


Good to know! I love black currant as well. Those British black currant licorice candies = love.

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Oh my god, this tea is amazing. THIS is what I wanted every time I opened up a new Butiki tea. I wanted to love them as unwaveringly as so many on here do. So far, only the Ruby Pie has been a re-buy for me but this tea is fantastic. I always thought I didn’t like assam. Clearly I just had the wrong ones. This is caramel and cocoa and honey and rich but not bitter with a wonderful lingering smoothness that has a sweet edge like I’ve had some premium chocolate.

I tend to fall hard for Chinese blacks but this has a caramel sweet note that I may not have ever experienced in another tea. Especially in contrast with the disaster that was my previous tea of the day, this is phenomenal. I can only hope that future cups taste as good as this, because this is nectar of the gods right now. I don’t tend to rave about a tea, but this one deserves it. A+! This could usurp Black Dragon Pearls as my favourite black tea.

Now to keep slurping. And re-steeping. And slurping some more. Mmm!


YAY!!!!! I’m so glad you a)enjoy ruby pie and b) found out that you love this one too!


I love this one but I think I like Butiki’s Hattali Lion Assam better! I think that one is the best tea I’ve ever had.

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drank Cocoberry by DAVIDsTEA
704 tasting notes

This might be a new record, 12 ingredients AND natural and artificial flavouring. It does include black currants though which I adore so I am giving it the old college try. Initially, the aroma is very pleasing and berry-ish but then I get the bitterness of the coffee bean coming through, combined with the mate which also lends a bitter note.

Steeped for 5 minutes (Whoops!) this has an aroma very similar to the dry tea. Unfortunately I am at work and was called away on rushes so it has cooled half an hour before my first sip. I am a bit leery of the multiplicity of smells and presumably tastes in this one, but I persevere! This is lukewarm at best and tastes like smoky coffee to me. No berry, no anything. Arguably this would be a very mild coffee but I don’t drink coffee. Ever. Gross. The smoke is staying in the back of my throat and trying to choke me. I gave it a second sip but I can’t give it any more. This is disgusting. Yuck.


This is why I don’t tend to go for DT blends too often anymore…meh


I actually just contacted DT to say how disappointing this tea was. That is something I have never done before but this was gross!

Aimee Popovacki

thats good lol.. maybe if they hear from enough disapointed fans, they will go back to the way they were.. rather than bring out all these new weird teas all the time, i’d like to see them go back and bring back some of their amazing ‘retired’ blends!


I’ve been drinking DT teas for three years and not a whole lot has changed, though I do see more straight teas disappearing again. There have always been 5 new seasonal teas and a year ago or more they started the tea of the month. Teas have to go sometimes as well, but I wonder how they decide which ones to ditch. There have been a couple that were retired that I adored but most of them were meh for me. I would like to see them step away from the coconut and try a few more simplistic blends to really captivate a flavour rather than assault the senses. I buy my straight teas elsewhere but do still try the odd new blend every once in a while. This one really stood out as a disaster though.

Aimee Popovacki

mmm i agree… i liked when they had the from garden to cup series this summer (however, i feel like there were only two or three teas… ) but they were delish, and last year when they focused in on the straight teas for a month and brought out a couple.. one of my faves is the black jasmine pearls.. hopefully they go back to that!

The Cup of Life - Lu Ann

I agree with you both. Ever since DT has become so much more popular (good for them!!) I feel like they keep changing to retain more new people to the tea world by creating blends you’d never think would exist. I understand from a marketing stand point that it obviously makes sense to do that but I think they should also focus on the consumers who have been there since day one and who loved their blends that did not have so many artificial flavouring in. I agree, I hope they bring back more “retired” blends. We will have to keep an eye out for that on they’re web specials too!

Aimee Popovacki

thats true.. there are quite a few that i only tried once or twice because of the time when i got into tea… there’s some i never even did get to try that sound amazing!!

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This is one I picked up a few months ago and am finally getting to. I decided not to open all my teas at once but instead to focus on a couple at a time. I have done some Butiki sipdowns recently so I get to open some of the remainder. I was very interested in this as I frequently think I want a good vanilla tea but they often come off coconut-y rather than caramel-y. I hate coconut, so that’s a BAD thing. I figured with caramel right in the title, this couldn’t end up with a coconut note.

Unfortunately, the smell of this one comes off as more coconut than caramel to me. It also smells like it might be bitter, which seems unlikely given my steeping parameters (perhaps 3 minutes, less than boiling water). I am not much of an assam drinker though so it could just be the bold assam making itself known aromatically. Let’s hope. It certainly smells strong with a sweet note underneath it all that has me hopeful.

Luckily, this tastes a lot more gentle (but still full and smooth) than it smells. I don’t get any coconut vanilla taste and there isn’t any bitterness from the assam. Instead I get a full bodied black tea with some caramel notes throughout. No sweetness, but no bitterness either. The tea is present but not dominating. Yet, at least!

The aroma is such a strong factor here that I enjoy it best when the cup isn’t too close (I really do find the smell so strong it is almost off-putting) but it is definitely drinkable. I think that it might be improved by a bit of sugar, I might try that sometime if I remember.

For me, this one is good but not a knockout. The disconnect between what I smell and what I taste makes for a weird drinking experience, even though it is tasty in the end. Not the best tea for me, but definitely good quality!

EDIT: Wow, I am the only one who wasn’t totally blown away by this one. I feel left out. Maybe next time!


Okay, this is one that definitely improves as it cools. About 40 minutes after pouring it I feel like I am drinking warm liquid caramel in tea. The assam has totally taken the backseat to the caramel and vanilla. Now to remember to let this cool a bit before drinking. I would edit this into the note but I can’t seem to edit at the moment, instead I have to copy/paste into a new one and delete the old. Too much work!


overleafing helps a bit too with the taste :)

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drank Sugar and Spice by DAVIDsTEA
704 tasting notes

Fearing the worst but hoping for the best, I picked up 10 grams of this blend. I tend not to like the cinnamon used at Davids, but I could hardly resist a black tea with apple and vanilla. I always want a good apple tea, so I will try them even when one or two of the ingredients has me leery. Dry, this smells of mulled apples, cooked in their juices with some spice. I made homemade applesauce yesterday with cinnamon and a bit of sugar, and this smells like it but with a bit more kick of apple.

Steeped, I am mostly getting the dry musty smell that I find typical of DT’s cinnamon. I don’t know what it is as I enjoy cinnamon at home in things and find it appealing, but Davids’ cinnamon always smells like old scented wood rather than what I think of as cinnamon. No tea or apple aroma, nor any sweetness or vanilla. Sipped at 3 minutes it was quite weak, so I am steeping longer to try to tease some taste out of this one.

At closer to five minutes, this smells about the same but finally yields a bit of taste beyond the musty cinnamon. I can’t taste the tea but there is a vague flavour overall. Not necessarily apple, vanilla or sugar. Those notes are all drowned out or mixed together into a mess I can’t untangle. As it cools I get more of the apple, but this is a tea I would prefer to drink hot so that doesn’t exactly help.

I have enough for another cup but at the moment this doesn’t impress me at all. I feel as though it could be greatly improved with a better cinnamon or a stronger tea base. Or maybe even more of the theoretical apple and vanilla. Heck, even putting some sugar in here would probably help (given the name). I won’t be re-buying though as at this point in my tea drinking life, a tea that needs help isn’t a tea for me.

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I thought I had this one before today, but I must not have logged it. I sat down for a gaiwan session with the beau on this lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve already made some applesauce and need to start on bread and soup soon. I LOVE cooking Sundays, and they are only improved with good tea, good company, and ideally a good book. I dug out my tea feet, they desperately need a session. I water them so rarely that they soak it up as quick as they can. Greedy!

The dry aroma is very sweet and subtler than other Shus I have kicking around. Steeped the aroma is familiar barn – wet hay, damp wood, leather and earth. I used to be very turned off by this smell but it has come to be appealing to me over time.

I did a ten second rinse and first steep of 20 seconds at 90 degrees. This is lightly sweet, actually very light in general. None of the earth/leather/hay taste comes through. Pretty mild. Second steep at 30 seconds, 90 degrees. This tastes like it smells, almost a bit too strong in flavour but not aggressive or bitter. Nice. No astringency at all. Marvellous!

Third steep is 30 seconds at 95 degrees. Hoping for more leather, earth and damp wood. This is a black tea drinkers puerh, I think. I love black teas and that is what has led me to pu. This one is a nice transition tea. I love the lack of bitterness but still intense flavour. Anyway, third steep closely mirrors the second. Bold wood, leather, earth. No sweet, no bitter.

Fourth steep of 45 seconds at 95 degrees is very similar to #s 2 and 3. Still no bitterness, but bold earth, wood, leather are all present.

I don’t know that I will get to more today, so I had better save this. Signing off!

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drank Swiss Apple by Tea Forte
704 tasting notes

Someone left these at work for others to drink and I decided to take one. I rarely drink teabags but I like to try apple teas so here I am. I don’t understand what chocolate is doing in this tea but I am giving it the old college try. I don’t see any chocolate in the bag, mostly rooibos with an overwhelming aroma of cinnamon and some dust. Presumably cinnamon dust.

Steeped, it smells kinda sour. It’s gross, but almost like vomit. It’s very pungent. This does not smell good. I have had a couple roobois blends to tails up on me that way in terms of smell. I’ll just give myself a few minutes before I try it.

Once I got the guts, it’s not too bad. I don’t taste anything like that sour note and I don’t get anything chocolate either. Mostly just cinnamon/spice and rooibos with a hint of apple. Certainly nothing to write home about. Honestly, I’d give it away too. I’m not finishing the mug. Kinda blechy without being outright disagreeable.

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
704 tasting notes

I prepared this one again today with more leaf to try to bring out some of this wonderful flavour that everyone else is getting. This was a definitely improved cup, with a natural honeyed sweetness and some spice notes that reminded me of cinnamon. I also had a bit of a crust taste, like I was drinking a flavoured tea rather than a ‘plain’ black. This is definitely a lot better than my last lackluster cup so I am increasing the rating a bit but I still object to the price. It is good but luckily for me there are others I like better.

At the end of the sip there is a hint of lurking astringency but it never really develops. I do know it is there, waiting. It is hard for me to balance the leaf to get enough to make this flavourful without it going bitter. Maybe a bit less leaf and a bit more time next time. I might have 2 or 3 cups in there still.

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Well, this needed refreshing. I have been drinking loose leaf for many years, and have fairly well nailed down my tastes. I love Chinese blacks and some other unflavoured teas. I occasionally drink flavoured teas, or herbals, but the bulk of my tea is unflavoured with no additives. I stock regularly from Teavivre with the occasional Verdant purchase and the odd re-stock at Davids. I love mint, am learning about the wide world of puerh, and prefer ripe to raw, so far. I don’t like green or green oolongs very much, white is okay and roasted oolongs are pretty good. Coconut and chamomile are awful, and I wish they weren’t in so many blends!

At home, I live with my husband and cat in a house built by my grandfather, which we love. We share many interests – books, tea, video games, board games, tv/movies. On top of that, I love crosswords and recently took up knitting again, so I’m having a hard time balancing all my passions at the moment. I’m a big fan of Doctor Who, as is my entire immediate family. I love spreading the Who love!

We also spend a lot of time with family, when we can. I’ve got a gaggle of younger brothers, and we like to spend time with them. The wonders of the internet allow us to spend time together even though some of them live a few hours away.

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: These are great teas, I love them, regularly stock them or savour them as unique treats.
71 – 80: These are solid. I drink them, I like them, I may or may not keep them on hand regularly. This is still good stuff.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. Might be lower quality, not to my taste, or outside my comfort zone.
41 – 60: Not likely to keep drinking…hoping hubby will enjoy!
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.



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