85
drank Caramel Spice by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

So thanks to the notice of discontinuation (online only) regarding a ton of DavidsTeas, I went and picked up small samples of another 12(?) teas. As if I needed more to try!

Anyways, this is the first product of today’s expedition. I really only picked it up because of the name; the smell of the dry tea is kind of odd. It’s almost like lemongrass with a hint of orange peel? I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up based on the smell, but any tea with ‘caramel’ in the name warrants a taste test in my opinion :)

Steeped it also has an odd smell which I tend to associate with off-flavours/weakness, along with some orange peel. It just occurred to me that the crappy (hard) Guelph water might be contributing to strange flavours in weak teas such as whites. Hmmm. Mental note to try and remember to use filtered water next time.

Perhaps I steeped it too long; I’m tasting a somewhat (but not unpleasantly so) astringent black tea base, with general fruitiness overtop and a touch of orange. Every now and then I get a whiff of more sweetness. I’m really not getting much cinnamon or spice flavour though.

Overall, not bad, but this would fit into the category of a warming morning tea for me, and it isn’t likely to beat the deliciousness of Glitter & Gold, so glad I tried it, but that’s another one out of the way :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Ian

D: Do you know which ones are being discontinued?

Uniquity

If you follow DT on facebook they posted a list of teas which will be "discontinued on March 6 (I believe). They will all be available online permanently, but no longer in stores. It’s a pretty big list, but a lot of them seemed to be seasonal ones that hung around.

Kittenna

Beat me to it by a long shot, Uniquity :) I also now see that my wording was quite unclear! But yes, that’s the first official word about discontinuation I’ve ever heard. Still three teas I’d like to try that my location didn’t have in stock.

Uniquity

I like that they’ve finally said something, but it kinda sucks that they’ll only be available online. Since I live so close to actual DT locations, I never have any cause to order online (and pay shipping!) :D

Angrboda

Do you think it would be possible for you to order online and then pick it up at the shop instead of having it sent to your house? Perhaps you can save the shipping that way. The local tea shop where I lived before had a webshop as well, and they had that as an option to save shipping fee.

Kittenna

Did you realize that you can semi-cheat on the ordering online and get free shipping? I ordered some teas last time (to get online-only Swampwater, Mom’s Apple Pie) and they didn’t quite make my order up to $50… so I tacked on a $10 gift card. I’m not sure how much they would let you get away with this, but it’s worth a try?

Also, I kind of asked re: sending an order to the DT store so it isn’t left on my front porch (which is at a busy intersection) for 9 hours… The response was that it might get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps your best bet would be to make a joint order with someone else to reach the free shipping amount?

Angrboda

That’s a strange excuse, really. Isn’t it just a question of designating an area for that sort of thing where all the people working there know where that area is? Sounds more like they just didn’t want to bother with it and didn’t like saying so.

As for the gift card trick, it’s not really cheating though, because they can’t smell that you’re not planning on giving it to somebody. So how are they to know. (Is it worth it to avoid shipping though? How much does that run up in for you)

Kittenna

I wasn’t directly told no re:shipping to the store; perhaps if the issue was pursued one could get somewhere. Maybe something to bring up to DT on the Facebook page? Quoting, I was told ‘For future orders, we can look into delivering it to our Guelph store instead, although as they receive many shipments weekly, it is very possible that it may get lost in the shuffle.’ And there was no mention of eliminating shipping charges (although I hadn’t asked about that).

For me, shipping would only be $5, but given how much I spend there, supplementing a purchase with a gift card to get the free shipping would be worth it, since I’d quickly use up the card in the store.

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Ian

D: Do you know which ones are being discontinued?

Uniquity

If you follow DT on facebook they posted a list of teas which will be "discontinued on March 6 (I believe). They will all be available online permanently, but no longer in stores. It’s a pretty big list, but a lot of them seemed to be seasonal ones that hung around.

Kittenna

Beat me to it by a long shot, Uniquity :) I also now see that my wording was quite unclear! But yes, that’s the first official word about discontinuation I’ve ever heard. Still three teas I’d like to try that my location didn’t have in stock.

Uniquity

I like that they’ve finally said something, but it kinda sucks that they’ll only be available online. Since I live so close to actual DT locations, I never have any cause to order online (and pay shipping!) :D

Angrboda

Do you think it would be possible for you to order online and then pick it up at the shop instead of having it sent to your house? Perhaps you can save the shipping that way. The local tea shop where I lived before had a webshop as well, and they had that as an option to save shipping fee.

Kittenna

Did you realize that you can semi-cheat on the ordering online and get free shipping? I ordered some teas last time (to get online-only Swampwater, Mom’s Apple Pie) and they didn’t quite make my order up to $50… so I tacked on a $10 gift card. I’m not sure how much they would let you get away with this, but it’s worth a try?

Also, I kind of asked re: sending an order to the DT store so it isn’t left on my front porch (which is at a busy intersection) for 9 hours… The response was that it might get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps your best bet would be to make a joint order with someone else to reach the free shipping amount?

Angrboda

That’s a strange excuse, really. Isn’t it just a question of designating an area for that sort of thing where all the people working there know where that area is? Sounds more like they just didn’t want to bother with it and didn’t like saying so.

As for the gift card trick, it’s not really cheating though, because they can’t smell that you’re not planning on giving it to somebody. So how are they to know. (Is it worth it to avoid shipping though? How much does that run up in for you)

Kittenna

I wasn’t directly told no re:shipping to the store; perhaps if the issue was pursued one could get somewhere. Maybe something to bring up to DT on the Facebook page? Quoting, I was told ‘For future orders, we can look into delivering it to our Guelph store instead, although as they receive many shipments weekly, it is very possible that it may get lost in the shuffle.’ And there was no mention of eliminating shipping charges (although I hadn’t asked about that).

For me, shipping would only be $5, but given how much I spend there, supplementing a purchase with a gift card to get the free shipping would be worth it, since I’d quickly use up the card in the store.

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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