2661 Tasting Notes

drank Strawberry Ginger by DAVIDsTEA
2661 tasting notes

Brewed this one up again today, mostly because it found its way to work somehow, and seemed appealing at the time! So why not. I seem to recall having hibiscus issues in the past, so kept the infusion to a careful 4 minutes.

While it’s certainly never going to make it into the ranks of my favourite teas, this cup really isn’t too bad. The ginger is mild and soothing; the strawberry is reduced to more of an underlying fruitiness, but that’s ok. I’m finding it to be a touch weak (maybe I should have used a higher leaf:water ratio), but I’m drinking it cooled right now, and it’s rather refreshing.

ETA: Re-steep for quite a while produced a tarter tea that was bitter from the ginger, but still not bad, especially compared to the stevia-laden wonder (i.e. Chocolate Cake) that I was attempting to enjoy alongside it.

4 min, 0 sec

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Brewed this up tonight but drank it while playing a game with the boy and my roommate, so failed to noticed a great deal about it. It was good, but spectacular? I’m not sure. I used probably about 2.5tsp in ~10oz. of water at close to boiling for ~30 seconds. I’ll have to re-infuse later, and write a proper tasting note when I have a bit more time to contemplate the tea!

ETA: Second infusion tonight, for 1 minute (I think), and it’s roast and bakey like a darker oolong. The leaves really have such a burnt smell to them; I find it fascinating! I think the Four Seasons Oolong from Butiki smelled much the same. Perhaps I should try the two side by side if I remember someday. Anyhow, this is tasty, but I need to spend a bit more time on it next time! Here’s hoping the leaves are good a little bit longer…

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Forbidden Fruit by DAVIDsTEA
2661 tasting notes

Another tea I haven’t had in ages! That I logged in February, therefore must have bought this package then…. getting old!

The aroma is kind of fruity and rich; I could be convinced that it’s fig. Although I used to eat fig cookies all the time, and have eaten figs, I’m not actually super sure as to what sort of aroma they have!

Oooh, this is oversteeped :( A little astringent for my liking. It’s also a little… weirder than I remember. The flavour’s a bit floral, almost, although more fruity. That’s probably the fig, though. I can kind of taste the oolong background, but the astringency is really ruining it for me here. Astringency gives me an unhappy tummy. I’ll finish the cup, but… bleh. Probably not a loss that DT discontinued this one.

4 min, 0 sec

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drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2661 tasting notes

Grr, my data is being all stupid. What’s the point of a program that does automatic calculations of area under the curve when it doesn’t work properly and you have to do it manually anyways!? GAH!

In other news, this tea is delicious. I feel like I should stop drinking it so that I can keep it around longer so I don’t have to buy more, since I need to not be buying tea…. which kind of makes sense, but really is more backward than anything! :P Ah well. It’s one of the best replacements I’ve found so far for the sugar and fat-laden coffee beverages I used to buy from Second Cup a little too often…. and it comes without the upset tummy! Joy!

3 min, 0 sec

Oh I totally have that problem. Trying to get rid of some of my samples/teas I won’t reorder, but I keep drinking the ones I really like!


I hate numbers that won’t stand still and let me beat them into submission.


Hahaha, pretty much, gmathis! >:(

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drank Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
2661 tasting notes

Brewed this up a couple nights ago. The first infusion was unfortunately somewhat ruined by the chai-flavoured Timolino sad face but the real reason I’m writing this note is because of the second infusion! I left it steeping for OVER AN HOUR (by complete accident), and it was absolutely delicious! This was following a 3 minute first infusion the day before.

Anyways, just needed to record this awesome event for future reference! I’m not sure the leaves will have anything left for a third infusion, but I hung onto them anyway to see if I have time tonight to try.


Is this from the latest $6.00 batch? or an older batch? I wonder why the price dropped so much (and if it relates to quality/taste of the oolong)..


This is from when they had the spend $20 get a free 50g of tea promo, so it was before the price drop. However, it’s the second bag of it I picked up, and I swear it’s different this time from the first time (as in, not as good), but I may be remembering incorrectly.

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drank Honey Bee by DAVIDsTEA
2661 tasting notes

YES! A sipdown! From last year’s advent calendar, no less! I told my roomie that we should try and finish off all of our advent calendar teas before Christmas, as they’re getting a bit old… Luckily, I didn’t start buying a lot of tea until Jan/Feb (and even then, it was mostly DT, and not really a “lot” in comparison to a month or so later…)

Like any rooibos blend, this one really requires a fine filter. Unfortunately, I’m at work, and the only options here are a teaball with large-ish holes, a fine mesh teaball that would be great except for the fact that it has gaps between the two halves, and paper filters. I wasn’t thinking, and used option B instead of C, so am left with a cup full of tea bits. Oh well.

I like this one today better than I recall liking it last time. For whatever reason, it’s a little bitter (mate??), but definitely honey-sweet in aroma, and with a sweet-ish flavour that makes me think pollen. Also, there’s a hint of lemony citrus flavour, but just a hint. I don’t think I’ve ever tried pollen, so why I’m compelled to say it tastes like pollen, I have no idea. The honey/pollen flavour also remains after swallowing as a rather pleasant aftertaste. So, this blend is tasty enough, and I could see maybe dosing other blends with some of it, but I doubt I’d pick any more up (and no longer have any left).

I’d start an ‘advent calendar tea sipdown’ countdown, but I don’t know how many we’ve already finished! Hmmm, I should find that out. We’re probably done aproximately 1/3 of the tins, but some, like David’s Organic Breakfast, and the Japanese Sencha, are still very full, as we only drank them once…. More things to do with all that time I don’t have!

ETA: Second infusion was pretty unremarkable. Not bad, but not a great deal of flavour. Worth it if there’s no other tea around, but that’s probably it.

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drank Cranberry Pear by DAVIDsTEA
2661 tasting notes

Wow…. it has been ages since I’ve drank/logged this tea! I’m trying to get through some older teas before they “expire”, so when I saw this one today, I figured it would be a good candidate, as I bought a 100g tin sometime in February 2012 or so.

Brewed up, it smells deliciously sweetly of fruity cranberry, and the flavour is much better than I remember! The black tea is quite unobtrusive, but I can taste the fruitiness from the pear/cranberry (and apple) quite well. This is one tea that definitely requires a longer infusion though, as the fruitiness takes a while to show up. However, the positive of this is that the black base only becomes slightly astringent with an extended infusion, so either leaving the infuser in indefinitely, or for 8-10 minutes, works quite well.

Yum! What a lovely afternoon cuppa. Still have a fair bit of this one left, so I’ll have to remember to drink it a bit more often!

ETA: Still got flavour in the second infusion, yeah! Probably because I actually took the teaball out. I was annoyed, though, because when I went to throw out the tea, I ate a cranberry and it was still rather tart. Which means there was still some flavour left, which I hate (that means it could have been in my tea! Grrr.) Oh well! Didn’t eat them because the tea leaves get all in there, and I’m not a fan of eating black tea leaves. Green, on the other hand, can be surprisingly tasty…

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Yay, my first of two recent Verdant orders arrived! Lots of samples, and an ounce or two of a few other things! Couldn’t wait to get started.

I used 2 tsp of tea in a probably slightly-bigger-than-it-should-have-been mug, and followed the western brewing instructions on Verdant’s website. The aroma is of quite a spiced, delicious-smelling chai, both dry and brewed.

The flavour, unfortunately, is a touch weak, and is coming off to me a bit more like spiced water than chai. I blame this on a poor leaf:water ratio. However, the spicing itself is delicious!! I can’t pick them out individually (and need to get going, not sit here contemplating for ten minutes!) The aftertaste, however, is of a rich dark chocolate.

A great blend with a lot of potential, but I think I need to put some effort into testing different brewing parameters to get the perfect mix! Right now, there definitely isn’t enough tea background for me (but since I have a nice little 1 oz. package of Laoshan Black now, I could always add a bit of that!

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

I hate you! My order still hasn’t arrived lesigh

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At the first whiff of this one while steeping, I was pretty sure this would not be a tea I’d like. The name makes it sound so good, but… so much mint! And I really, really don’t like mint, especially when it’s the dominant flavour in a blend.

Surprisingly, however, although it smells incredibly minty, the flavour is so much more complex! It’s kind of creamy and rich from the white chocolate and vanilla, and although the spearmint is quite apparent, the combination of the flavours works quite well and masks whatever it is that I hate about mint (I’m not too certain about this…) Definitely a blend I’d drink again!

Thanks for passing some of this along to me, Amanda!

Boiling 8 min or more

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Felt like trying a new-to-me honeybush tonight, so poked around in my box from Amanda and found this one! Perfect!

The flavour is definitely fruity (I could be convinced that it’s raspberry), however it’s also a bit perfumey, and the aftertaste seems to morph into a bit of a fakey-fruit flavour. I can’t say I’m tasting the ‘cream cheese danish’ part at all, but given my usual inability to taste such flavours in teas, I’m not terribly surprised.

Ok, the more sips I take, the more I believe I’m tasting raspberry, but unfortunately, that’s it. However… it’s a pretty good honeybush anyways! I’ve been looking for new options to drink in the evening, and don’t have too many fruity rooibos/honeybush blends, so I’m quite happy to have another cup of this one for a future evening!

Thanks for sending me a sample of this one, Amanda!

ETA: Bleh, not really enjoying the second infusion of this one. No surprise, as it’s a honeybush. Down the drain you go!

Boiling 8 min or more

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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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