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Recent Tasting Notes
Strange VariaTEA TTB – Tea #24
There is a huge unopened bag of this one in the TTB, I think from one of those pre-filled tins. Well, it’s opened now! :P This is listed as a maté but let’s be real, it’s basically a fruit tisane ha ha. There are some little flecks of green in there but they’re few and far between compared to the apple and other dried fruit. Smells delicious though, very berry-forward.
I quite like it, really. It has a nice juicy and full red fruits plus berries sort of flavor. The hibiscus is there but it’s well-balanced and adds the right amount of tartness. I do actually taste a hint of green maté earthiness at the very end of the sip, which is nice. Not really tasting beet, not that I’m upset about that. Derk said strawberry Jell-O, yep that’s about right.
I think I might just keep this one, hmm… Or at least part of it, 100g is a lot.
Flavors: Apple, Artificial, Berries, Blueberry, Candy, Earthy, Fruity, Herbaceous, Hibiscus, Juicy, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Strawberry, Sweet, Tart
Strange VariaTEA TTB – Tea #22
This sounds like such a yummy concept, and it smells very strong but yummy. The oolong looks quite oxidized, which I like the idea of with these flavors.
So. I do like the flavors here. The banana is very Runts-esque, but I’m okay with that. It tastes like a very rich banana bread with extra cinnamon. I do get a touch of toasty autumn leaves from the oolong as well.
However, the stevia… It’s so sweet, I can’t handle it. And it makes me so sad, because whyyyyyyy?! T.T So obviously, not a keeper for me.
Flavors: Artificial, Autumn Leaf Pile, Banana, Cake, Candy, Caramel, Cinnamon, Creamy, Roasted, Stevia, Sweet
Strange VariaTEA TTB – Tea #16
This was was in a cute little tiny baggy, I assume a remnant of a past DT advent calendar. I could see mostly lemongrass and a bit of chamomile, and I enjoy most herbal tisanes so I figured I would give it a try.
I was surprised when it steeped up a pretty deep coral color! I didn’t notice the hibiscus in the leaf he he. Happily, it’s not too much hibiscus – it adds a pleasant fruity tartness but I can still taste the other flavors. Mint is the most prominent, and it’s a combination of herbaceous and more refreshing menthol notes. I do taste the lemongrass, but surprisingly not much chamomile. There’s a touch of mustiness at the end of the sip.
Very pleasant combination, but not something I would feel the need to rush out and buy. Very content to finish up my potful though! :)
Result: Finished Off
Flavors: Apple, Chamomile, Dry Grass, Fruity, Herbaceous, Hibiscus, Honey, Lemongrass, Menthol, Mint, Musty, Peppermint, Sweet, Tart
Strange VariaTEA TTB – Tea #12
So there’s a whole unopened (well, previously unopened) 50g pouch of this in the TTB. I remember seeing this type of tea at What-cha before, but I’ve never tried it, or any Malawi tea that I can recall. So here we are!
I used 5 “pearls” for a 16-ounce pot. I’m really bad about overestimating the amount of tea to use when it’s compressed or rolled, so I probably could’ve used less. They didn’t actually unfurl much during the 3-minute steep, so they could probably take quite a few steeps.
Anyway, on to the tea. It’s very flavorful for a white tea, with a combination of green, black, and white tea flavors. The texture is smooth and slightly thick, and there’s a black-tea-like malty note and body. But it also reminds me of a nutty green tea, such as Long Jing. Smooth and buttery with a pronounced nutty flavor, reminiscent of cashews, and also a light vegetal note. Also picking up on the hay and oats flavors I usually find in white teas, and a lovely natural sweetness. There’s an interesting astringency that sort of tickles the back of my throat.
I’m a bit torn on whether to keep this one, as I’m not a resteeper and that seems wasteful for a tea that barely unfurls on the first steep. Plus this tea is extremely pricey…
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Cashew, Grain, Hay, Honey, Malt, Nuts, Oats, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
Strange VariaTEA TTB – Tea #9
Okay, last one for the night. Another tisane with chamomile!
I actually like this one. The front of the sip is mostly tart raspberry and hibiscus, and then the end is mostly the chamomile. The chamomile isn’t the best, it’s a little musty, but it’s still pleasant. The raspberry tastes like fresh raspberries because of the tart quality it has.
However… I’m slightly concerned that all of the other notes for this are from six years ago. The package was unopened, but I’m wary of drinking a tisane with so much fruit that’s that old… I can’t imagine adding a six-year-old tea to a TTB, but that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t do it.
Flavors: Apple, Chamomile, Hay, Hibiscus, Honey, Musty, Raspberry, Sweet, Tart
Another one from the TTB. I wasn’t expecting much when I picked it out, yet it turned out to be the sleeper hit of the day. It was refreshing, true to flavor, and truly enjoyable both hot and iced. I slightly preferred it hot because of the creaminess of the coconut. Not sure how many steeps it can take – I only made two because I was capping out my caffeine intake for the day.
Strange VariaTEA TTB – Tea #3
There were two lonely little sachets of this in the box, and I like mate and ginger so I figured I would give it a try!
I quite like it, actually. The ginger is definitely the strongest ingredient, but it doesn’t burn my throat or anything extreme. Then I taste a gentle lemon note and the earthiness from the mate and/or guarana. I would guess there was turmeric here as well, which there doesn’t appear to be. I don’t really get matcha, though I didn’t see evidence of that when it was steeping either, and thankfully I don’t taste much licorice root. Ginseng… maybe a hint?
Anyway, I found it rather pleasant, and am surprised by how extreme a reaction some other steepers had ha ha. Maybe these sachets were older and had calmed down a bit! I would consider having some of this on hand, especially for sore throats, upset stomachs, or sickness in general. But it seems DT doesn’t offer this tea anymore anyway.
Result: Finished Off
Flavors: Earthy, Ginger, Ginseng, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Spices, Sweet, Turmeric
I really didn’t enjoy DT’s chai matcha, so I was a little worried when I opened my 2 oz bag of this one. Luckily, the flavor profile seems to go in a totally different direction. Whereas the other one was red hot cinnamon, this one is more difficult to describe. I taste mostly matcha with a bit of flavoring, but I really can’t tell what it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s a bit cookie-ish? It’s not a favorite, but there’s nothing bad or too weird here either. The flavoring is quite mild.
I love love love this tea, especially for congestion or sore throats, I always keep myself stocked up on this one because I have to have it anytime I’m sick. Lovely without honey or with, especially good with lots of honey on a sore throat.
For the sipdown prompt, “a raspberry tea.” Prepared cold brew.
I was surprised to find that this is blue raspberry flavored, but as that is a flavor I enjoy and one I don’t think I’ve encountered in tea before, I’m fine with it. It steeps a deep hibi red but there is so much sweetness here there is only a vague hint of fruity tartness… Mostly I get a strong fruit punch flavor followed by sweet blue raspberry. It’s a very thirst-quenching cold tea, which is how I plan to finish this… I’m not sure how I’d feel about the flavor warm, though.
Flavors: Artificial, Blue Raspberry, Candy, Fruit Punch, Sweet, Tart
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge – July Tea #8 -A tea you’ve forgotten about
BUT how do I KNOW if I have forgotten about a tea unless I haven’t actually forgotten a tea? I’d have to randomly stumble upon it while looking for another tea. I think I’m just very aware of my tea collection at this point, regardless of its vast ridiculousness… so I don’t think I forget about a tea TOO often. But this is a sipdown and I haven’t written a first note for it yet, so I’ll go with this one. I “forgot” to write a note for it? It’s a good idea for a prompt anyway… I only had a bit of this in one of the David’s samplers I bought a while ago. Let’s just say this tea was not the reason I bought the sampler. This is one of those David’s blends that SAYS there is white tea in it, but it’s probably a very small amount because it looks like mostly other goodies. I have never had fresh pom before, so to me this blend just tastes like tartness. And probably pom flavoring if I’m stretching my imagination. Not bad, but more white tea would have kept it interesting and not tart overload, where I feel like hibiscus is doing most of the job for the pom. There is a syrupy quality that keeps it pleasant enough for a couple cups, but grateful when it’s a sipdown.
2022 sipdowns: 88
Bleh, I really don’t like something here, maybe rose? It makes this blend quite sour and peppery. There’s also something fake and strange tasting in there. With milk, it’s a little less unpleasant, but it really isn’t the tea for me. I tried it again cold brewed, and I still tasted way too much sour, fake weirdness. I won’t be having more.
Did you know that DT carries straight hibiscus now?
We actually pretty sneakily released this tisane around two weeks ago, and it hasn’t really gotten mentioned/called out anywhere so it’s an easy one to miss.
When we started looking for a straight hibiscus to carry we ended up tasting a lot of different hibiscus samples from all different origins. Like, a lot of hibiscus. There were some tasting where it was just an entire cupping line up of hibiscus over and over. We tried productions that were incredibly tart and sharp and some that were surprisingly sweet with really intense berry notes. It was a rough tasting line up on the palate.
In the end, this was our favourite! Why? Well, we thought it had the best balance of all the things a hibiscus drinker would want but was also pretty approachable for someone who maybe hadn’t tasted a lot of straight hibiscus. It’s got some bright, lively top notes but it’s not super aggressive – unless you steep it for a really long time because you want that quality to come up – and the body and finish have more natural sweetness and a hint of a berry type of flavour!
Personally, I don’t know a ton of people who actually drink straight hibiscus – let alone straight hot hibiscus (unless you’re making a mulled beverage, perhaps). Mostly I think people use it as an ingredient to make other beverages, which is a great option for adding colour or a nice punch of flavour. However I have actually had this iced a few times because it’s pleasant enough that, if I’m in the mood for something stronger with some tang, I can get through a full cup with no issue.
In fact, earlier this week I decided to do a “teas I drink in a day” theme day and I ended up making a verrrryyyy strong iced cup of this to sip on over lunch and in the meeting I had right after lunch!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CgP-NpROgXL/ (The first pic)
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uI2LF2iir4
Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.
I bought a tin of this years ago, have it at least once a year and never get around to writing a note for it. Probably because it’s underwhelming for me. The leaves look so chopped. I guess I liked the idea of peach and jasmine for an ultimate summer tea, but the peach isn’t my favorite and the jasmine is never there. I definitely make sure not to oversteep this. At least the tin is almost gone already? At least there isn’t stevia in it?
Strawberry Rhubarb is one of my favorite summer flavors so I was excited to try this fruity tea. I always find it interesting to read the ingredient listings and see that the primary flavors are not the lead ingredient. Apple is listed first and then 3 other ingredients before we get to strawberry and rhubarb flavoring. I wonder if I had blind tasted this how I would have tasted the tea. I’m sure knowing the name of the tea influences my tasting.
I currently have pitcher of this iced in the fridge and a mug of it hot on the table to finish off the packet. I have found it to be a tart, fruity tea. Definitely taste hibiscus and strawberry. I am absolutely reminded of a strawberry-rhubarb dessert.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Rhubarb, Strawberry
(DavidsTea 2022: 126)
2022 Sipdown 146/365!
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge April 2022: “Health” tea
I understand this was intended to be a “detox” tea? I don’t know that aloe is used in many drinks, generally. I feel like it doesn’t have a great deal of flavour.
Brewed up the last of this into a large jug of iced tea. I recall not minding it, but it was kind of floral, and that bothered my husband. Wouldn’t refuse it if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again except by accident (because it sounds appealing, haha).
(DavidsTea 2022: 125)
2022 Sipdown 145/365!
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge July 2022: Tea from a Canadian company
Found these lovely little tea blooms that I believe were courtesy of VariaTEA some significant number of years ago. I think I have three flavours; somehow this ended up at the top of the pile. It’s a black tea bloom, which is different that most I’ve had.
Aroma was lightly strawberry, and flavour ended up being pretty true – a mild black tea with gentle candy strawberry. It’s fairly simple, but I did enjoy it. The bloom was also pretty, although I admit that I steep the blooms in an infuser, which kind of changes the experience, because they inevitably have little pieces that fall off and annoy me if they’re left in the cup. I do think that this might be an interesting one to have tried… grandpa-style? (Is that where you leave the leaves in the cup and just add water over time as you drink it?)
I really like this tea. Probably because it has licorice in it. It’s been a nice tea to have around in the evenings when I need a tasty decaf option. The licorice adds sweetness without the stevia weirdness and the whole thing does have a light honey flavor to it. One of these days I need to add some real honey in it. I got to harvest a few frames recently from one of my 6 beehives, so I’m rich in honey at the moment!
Sipdown theme: Tea you’ve forgotten about
Got a lot to go to sip this one down. I have a little less than 50 g in a tin and then another unopened 50 g bag. So I definitely know that I wasn’t in the best place last year so I am not going to dwell too much on my tea buying habits of last year and focus on enjoying and sharing the stuff I have this one. So those of you involved in the TTB this year may see some of this in there. :)
Tasting note: I like the the grassy, rich notes of this oolong with the sweet creamy coconut. It has a tiny bit of oil but just little specks. It is a nice rich tea that kind of reminds me of a spinach creamy soup. My own drawback with the tea is that sometimes the flavoring can be a bit much. Noy sure if its the smell or strong flavor but it isnt always easy on the stomach.
This tea is made up almost entirely of candy, but it was super on sale, so I bought it anyway. Yeah the flavor really isn’t great. It’s like the worst parts of candy – thick and artificial. It coated my mug in the grossest film that was hard to remove. The flavor was pretty mild, but what flavor there was I didn’t enjoy, even with plenty of milk.