2823 Tasting Notes

69
drank Paradise Found by DAVIDsTEA
2823 tasting notes

Backlog from earlier today. I remember disliking this one the first time I brewed it up as it was so strongly hibiscusy and floral. So, decided to drop the infusion time to 3 minutes and use about 1.5 tsp of leaf for my slightly oversized mug… and success!! I can’t remember exactly how it tasted, but it was not too tart, nor too floral; instead, the flavour actually resembled the aroma of the dry tea, which I definitely did like! So I’ll give this one a little ratings bump. Still not a tea I’d pick up again, but not as bad as I had thought, it just requires some attention paid to the hibiscus!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89

Ok, so I was pretty skeptical of this tea. Mostly because bleh, hibiscus. But hey, it’s supposed to be Strawberry Rhubarb, so the tartness should be appropriate, and I like teas with the creaminess of yogurt, so all hope is not lost!

The dry tea smells, to me, exactly like a strawberry Campino candy! Delicious delicious DELICIOUS! I’m so excited! Although guaranteed it won’t taste quite like that since there is hibiscus, but if the strawberry and yogurt come through…!

Steeped, it smells a bit more like realistic strawberries and some tartness, but as it’s cold, there’s not a ton of aroma.

I was very conservative with the infusion time so as not to end up with a mouthful of blechy hibiscus (it worked earlier today for me – I had quite a lovely cup of Paradise Found, which I apparently neglected to log)… and I think I was successful! There are lots of little yogurty floaties, a consequence of the tea cooling, but I can deal with that. I am quite shocked at how well the hibiscus works here though! The tartness pairs perfectly with the very much realistic strawberry flavour, and with the creaminess, I can actually imagine myself to be eating, say, plain yogurt with a lightly sweetened topping of strawberries/rhubarb! Delicious! I imagine that this tea would be absolutely glorious sweetened, but I shan’t ruin it for myself by doing that.

Add another to the potential re-buy list… this one’s pretty good!

ETA: I’m impressed! I re-steeped this one in half the water, and paid no real attention to infusion time, and actually got quite a nice second cup! Surprising because of both the hibiscus and the fact that it’s a herbal! Again, it was a tart drink, but fresh strawberry tart, not hibiscus tart. Not as creamy, of course, but I’d make the effort to use these leaves a second time. Also, I’m kind of sad that pretty much all the new teas were misses for me, or at least, not teas that I’ll miss when the season’s out. Luckily, this one’s the TOTM and I think therefore staying on as permanent, which is awesome!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
tigress_al

That is good to know that the hibiscus isn’t too overpowering. I might pick some of this up now that I know that. Thanks!

Kittenna

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tart. But it works here, and you can definitely taste the strawberry and creaminess, not just hibiscus. It came off moreso to me as an unsweetened fresh fruit sort of tart.

Daniel Scott

You had the same reaction as me! THIS is how you blend hibiscus! It really works with rhubarb and a genuine tart strawberry flavour.

I too have been conservative with the steeping times on this one. Even at 4 minutes, I found it slightly tarter than the one they gave me in the store, which really makes me wonder either a) how much agave they put in mine, or b) if they’re only giving it 3 minutes in the store, despite the steeping directions on it.

Raritea

I just wanted to add that I agree about how the hibiscus was blended. I was incredibly surprised at how balanced all the flavours are in this tea!

Sil

This is the only tea dt’s has had recently that I’d like to try…. Hmmmm

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79
drank Banana Nut Bread by DAVIDsTEA
2823 tasting notes

So I did a Bad Thing again today, and stopped in at DavidsTea after hitting the gym… because there were ~9 or so teas I hadn’t tried and was dying to! Soooo now I have six cups of tea sitting here to review (!!!!) and they’re all cold, because I got distracted by an hour long phone call with the boy! Hazards of longish-distance dating, I suppose! Good thing I like cold tea.

This one’s first up, and the only one I intentionally bought more than 10g of, because it’s so heavy. The aroma of the dry tea reminds me quite a bit of DT’s Carrot Cake (which I didn’t mind, unlike many people), so it’s kind of sweet-ish and nutty, and if I sniff hard I can pick out banana.

I would like to sincerely thank those people who’s tasting notes I read beforehand who warned me not to use a difficult-to-clean infuser basket because wow, does this tea ever make a sticky mess! I used my ForLife all-metal filter, which is so much easier to clean than my Finum baskets. This tea brews up to quite a light colour, which I wasn’t really expecting, and the aroma is kind of banana-y (although it’s cold, so that might be unfair).

The flavour is quite sweet, nutty, and definitely banana-y. It’s also quite smooth (I’d attribute that to the banana) and if I try, I can imagine that I’m drinking a liquefied piece of banana bread. So overall, I think this tea is pretty successful! Unfortunately (well, kind of fortunately, I suppose!), I’m not the biggest fan of banana bread, so although I’m enjoying this cup, it’s not a tea I’d purchase again. I’ll enjoy the second cup that the rest of my 20g gives me (I was heavy on the leaf and made a larger-than-8oz cup). Also, I am getting just a bit of a chemically flavour from the tea. Not too strong, and not uncommon, but it is there.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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84

Ummm… so for the first time, I’m guilty of not remembering who gave me this tea! I think it was Indigobloom? But there’s a small chance it was Sil. Thanks, whoever! :D

Anyways! Felt like a pick-me-up this morning, and some black teas seem to upset my stomach a bit (or at least the thought of drinking anything astringent/bitter is offputting), and I saw this baggie sitting around and figured, why not! I’m having a lazy morning inputting work data at home after an AMAZING night last night seeing Wicked (OMG!!!) with the boy.

I only saw gongfu-style instructions for this tea on Verdant’s website, so opted to go with a slightly modified version. I used my whole little baggie of leaves (so maybe 3 or so grams) with probably a bit less than 8 oz. water, and bumped up the infusion times a little from the recommended 10 seconds.

First infusion (20s, somewhere near boiling): I’ve not had much success with the darker oolongs from Verdant, so wasn’t sure what this first infusion would leave me with. The wet leaves in the brew basket smelled quite strong and almost burnt, so I was a bit worried! Luckily, however, for no reason! If anything, this is a little weaker than I would have liked, but is an absolutely lovely oolong! A bit sweet, creamy, and characteristically woody. Quite delicious!

Second infusion (15s, approx boiling): Unfortunately I didn’t save any of the first infusion to test this one against, but it tastes similar, only perhaps a bit stronger, more creamy and flavourful. There’s perhaps a bit more creamy honey sweetness this time.

Hopefully I get to a few more infusions later in the day! I think I’ll try 30 or 45s next to see what I can coax out of these leaves.

Thanks again, sample-giver! :P

ETA: Third infusion (near-boiling, 45 seconds) – I’m drinking this one cold, and got a interesting chocolatey flavour from it. Pretty tasty. Fourth infusion (near-boiling, 1 min) isn’t that great to me. Perhaps it needs a longer infusion. Nice oolong aftertaste, but the rest is rather lacking.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Indigobloom

I know this is in my cupboard, not sure if it’s in Sil’s. Love this one!

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72

Thanks to Della Terra Teas for a generous sample of this tea! It’s absolutely loaded with coconut, which got me pretty excited – hoping it tastes as good as I expect!

Although this tea contains almond, I wasn’t expecting the aroma that I got when opening the bag, which was very amaretto-y/sweet, like marzipan. I was anticipating more of a nutty aroma. Steeped, the tea smells quite similar. At this point I was pretty worried that it would just taste much like DavidsTea’s Amaretto, which I just gave away to my now ex-roommate as it really wasn’t a favourite. However, the coconut and the black tea base really transform the amaretto flavour into tasting much more like a macaroon. I almost feel as if the black base here tastes more like a dark oolong, solid and a bit bakey, which works perfectly. At three minutes, there’s not a hint of astringency or bitterness. The coconut adds a significant dose of amazing creaminess – probably the most deliciously coconutty tea I have tried!

The only downside is that I used 1.5 tsp for about an 8 oz. cup and kind of wish the tea would be a bit stronger – I suspect I’m finding it a touch weak simply because much of the volume is taken up by coconut, which adds creaminess but not a lot of depth, a quality provided moreso by the black tea. Might try a longer infusion or more tea next time, since I have at least enough tea for 4 or so more cups!

ETA: Re-steep in less water (5 min, near boiling) isn’t great. Kind of creamy, a bit chocolatey. Not even much almond. Definitely wouldn’t hold up to a third.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

I’m finding this to be the case with a lot of the della terra teas. Really enjoy the flavours but they’re muted…not as strong as I would really love.

Kittenna

I have one other from them to try, a pumpkin one. I now have like 4 different pumpkin teas to compare, lol. One from Butiki, DT, Della Terra, and iHeartTeas. We’ll see how it holds up. Perhaps an exp’t for tonight (or a cooler day…)

Sil

Let me know heh

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2823 tasting notes

Another office tea I haven’t had in ages. Mmmmmm, delicious!! I frequently forget how much I actually really love this one. It’s still a great substitute for a specialty coffee drink without all the calories, in my opinion!

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec
Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

mmm, I love Check Mate! I have just one teaspoon left and it’s been sitting in my stash untouched until I decide to do a DT order. Then I can drink it.

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100

Haven’t had office tea in ages! But it’s time for some computer work, so lucky me :) I think I oversteeped this one a little today, but it was still pretty tasty. I’m so spoiled now at home with a thermometer and filtered water! Yum! I had better get tea-drinking if I want to be able to justify going out and picking up the 10+ new teas from DT that I have yet to try!

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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62
drank Golden Stars by Butiki Teas
2823 tasting notes

Crazy. Three teas I’m the first to review! Perhaps I should see which others I can be first at reviewing, too! :P

This tea is composed of these adorable little stars that during steeping, swell up into mini flower-like things. So cute! It’s also nice and easy to measure out the appropriate amount, which is convenient.

I’m not getting much aroma from the tea, if anything just a bit of sweetness. The flavour is a sweet, light green tea, not really like any I’ve had before. The sweetness is kind of caramelly and delicious, which is quite nice, but the biggest bonus here is how incredibly smooth the tea is. No astringency or bitterness at all. Unfortunately, I’m tasting just a touch of what’s coming off as soapiness here; it shouldn’t be the cup nor the infuser, as the infuser previously held Spring Twist and was not washed with soap in between, likewise with the cup. It’s not terribly strong though. I do wish the tea was a bit stronger, so next time will probably try 7 stars instead of 5 in my ~8-10 oz. cup.

Definitely a tea with potential, but it has no chance against the two Butiki oolongs I tried recently, which were amazing.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

Is the soapiness the “lemon” notes? Or is that something else?

CHAroma

Ooh, what were the amazing oolongs you tried?

Kittenna

Oops, Stacy I had missed your comment! I’m not sure as to soapiness vs. lemon, I’ll try to check next time.

For sure the Gui Fei Oolong, and I honestly can’t remember which other…

Kittenna

It looks like the other was Sparrow Tongue. I was pretty sure, but not certain. They’re good! Gui Fei tastes like ice wine to me if steeped strongly and for a long time!

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89

Woah, another Butiki tea that I’m the first at reviewing?! Strange!

Anyhow, in the mood for an oolong tonight. Had some fun making rice krispie squares with the boy tonight (oh, what an adventure! He topped them with not only M&Ms, but butterscotch chips, and then chocolate “drizzle” (AKA blobs). And somewhere in there we thought it would a good idea to put the squares under the broiler to melt the butterscotch chips, and ended up toasting the whole thing… oh boy!) and now am trying to pack quickly for our weekend at “the cottage”! Hopefully fun! Either way, it all meant I wanted an oolong. Yep.

Sorry Stacy – I completely forgot about the updated brew parameters you sent me, so just went with what was on the bag (I tested it though and definitely didn’t screw up, so no worries)! Anyways, in the bag, this smells fairly nondescript. By aroma I probably would have thought it was a vegetal green, or green oolong.

Brewed up, there’s a bit of a sweetish smell, no, more than a bit, and it’s also a bit oolongy. A little green, a little toasty.

The flavour of this one though? AMAZING, GUYS! Rich and honey-sweet, with perhaps a hint of toastiness, yet a green oolong sort of quality to it too. It reminds me of the Gui Fei Oolong I had from Butiki a couple days back, at least in terms of the type of sweetness, but it’s lighter here, and the woody dark oolong flavour is notably absent. This is another one, though, where I’m nearly at the bottom of my cup before even finishing my review, which is a very good sign. At a four minute infusion, there’s just a hint of an astringent, drying characteristic at the end of the sip, enough to make me contemplate trying a slightly shorter infusion, although if it were to cost me in sweetness, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Anyways! I’m no oolong expert or anything, but this one’s another delicious, no-fuss oolong, in my opinion. While Verdant’s darker oolongs are definitely amazing, I find them to be a touch more finicky when brewing, which is not a problem here.

Also to note: I probably used more than the 1 tsp of tea recommended here. Probably closer to 1.5 tsp. So, fewer cups from the small bag, but that’s ok. Still far cheaper than a beverage from Starbucks, or Tim Hortons, even!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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42

Er…. so when I pulled the infuser basket out of this one, the aroma I got made me think of tomato. Like, tomato soup. Or V8 juice. Very strange. It makes me quite apprehensive to try this tea…

Circumstances resulted in this tea completely cooling before I got to try it, oops. It still smells like a herby, brothy tomato soup. So strange. The flavour is… like sweet-ish, herby tomato water. Uh oh got this impression in my head and it won’t go away! I can recognize some cinnamon in the flavour, but that’s about all that I can pick out.

Oh man. Totally just realized that it smells vaguely like autoclaved contaminated LB medium (for those of you in sciencey fields)! Combined with V8-containing media that was used in a lab down the hall from mine once upon a time. That was not a good association to have made. I think I’m doomed with this cup. I did drink it; it’s palatable, but not a tea I think I’d want to drink again. I see it has been discontinued though, so I guess people won’t be drinking it again!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Bonnie

oops I just think this is a funny review though

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Weeeeiiiiirrrrrd! I have never heard anything like that about this tea! I think you may have doomed yourself mentally or something :)

Tomato? So strange…haha.

PatchworkSheep

Just had tomato soup for lunch, and this made me laugh.

Kittenna

Seriously, yeah, this was weird! I smelled the infuser basket this evening before tossing the leaves (yeah, I just couldn’t try again), and I mostly smelled cinnamon this time, along with a few other flavours. No tomato. I still have some of my sample left, so will see what that does at some point!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm, that’s the most confusing thing I’ve ever heard of, actually. haha.
Do the dry leaves smell at all like tomato to you?
…maybe you unknowingly used a dirty contaminated soup bowl instead of a mug ;)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Did you ever end up trying this again?

Kittenna

I have not, but I do plan to at some point! I’ll try to get to it sooner rather than later if I can…!

CupofTree

you know what? I just tried my sample of this and without reading your review first, I immediately was reminded of sweet potatoes. and I didn’t like it.

Kittenna

Yeah, something just wasn’t right for me either. What I really need is to have someone brew this and give it to me without me knowing what it is, to see if I get the same impression the second time.

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Bio

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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