2229 Tasting Notes

93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Felt like a cup of amazing today, so had some of this. First cup was good, but second steep very disappointing today. Oh well! I think I need to be sure to put extra tea (2 tsp?) in the teaball because I like this one best when I can really taste it. I can’t believe that the instructions call for only a 1 1/4 tsp. Anyways! Have a lovely 50g tin of this now, so have lots to play with :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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93
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

A friend gave a sample pack of this tea to me for my birthday, and I was of mixed opinions. Pumpkin pie is not my most favourite thing in the world. But I do like chai. Anyways, I have no choice now but to try it, which I’m always game for anyways!

I have to admit, the dry leaf smells pretty amazing. It absolutely SCREAMS holidays to me, and takes my mind to a fabulous Christmassy place (even though I associate pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving, which is not usually white and snowy). I can’t figure out what exactly the smell is, though – it’s not quite like the pumpkin pie my mom makes, it’s more like… pumpkin bread? Pumpkin muffins? Either way. Yum.

Surprise, surprise, the steeped tea smells even MORE like pumpkin bread/muffins. It now has a kind of “baked goods” scent about it, and the spicing has been turned down a bit, but it still smells delicious. Please, Pumpkin Chai, be one of those teas whose flavour is faithful to its smell…

Holy crap. It’s like I’m drinking a piece of pumpkin bread! Real pumpkin is the first flavour I can taste, followed by the delicious spicing appearing at the end of the sip. Ahhhhhhh, why didn’t this taste so good the first time I tried it, so I could have gone and bought a big tin of it? Maybe there’s still some left… somewhere. (Intermission while I check the DavidsTea site… and yep, they still have it. Whew!)

Seriously. I am quite impressed. Definitely tasting the cinnamon as the dominant spice, but it’s mellow and delicious. Why oh why do I already have so many chais to get through??

ETA: Second steep smells considerably weaker, and tastes much the same. A bit disappointing, but I will live. Perhaps 5 minutes of steeping wasn’t long enough!

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

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72
drank Jessie's Tea by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

I picked this one up to compare it to some other rooibos (Alpine Punch, Rooibos de Provence, Creme Caramel Rooibos) before making a decision about what to purchase – Rooibos de Provence enchanted me with its lavender, so naturally a lavender-coconut blend might be something I like, right?

The dry tea smells quite sweet and the lavender is there, but perhaps not the most prominent smell of the bunch. Reminds me of what I thought Creme Caramel would be like (while instead it smells absolutely sickeningly sweet).

While I didn’t smell a ton of lavender from the dry tea, once steeped… that’s ALL I can smell! I’m not sure how I feel about this – this was one of my concerns with trying lavender in tea, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to drink a flavour I more commonly associate with bath products. Here’s hoping it’s just the smell, and not the taste too.

Ok, first sip… tastes like lavender. And minty – maybe that’s a bit of the lavender too? I actually am not minding this flavour in my mouth like I was worried I would. Along with the lavender, I’m definitely tasting creaminess (coconut), and a bit of a caramelly sweetness, both of which show up late-sip. Interesting combination. I’m feeling a bit of scratchiness as it goes down my throat – not sure what causes this, but I get it from many teas, particularly if they’re steeped to be on the strong side (extra leaf), or oversteeped. It’s somewhat annoying and detracts from my enjoyment of the tea, but I usually just deal with it.

Aside from the scratchiness, I’m finding this to be a nice, relaxing tea. Nothing super special, but I think it would be a good drink to accompany bedtime reading. I don’t think it will be one I keep stocked, but I’m glad to have tried it! And now I know for certain that lavender does not, in fact, taste like soap in a beverage!

ETA: Second steep is pretty good. Seems that rooibos tend to have at least two flavourful steeps in them, which is excellent.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Forbidden Fruit by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Trying this today as I realized it has been discontinued, but it appears that my store still has some left (so since I bought it, I had better try it now so that I can buy more if I like it!)

The steeped tea has a dark, fruity fragrance which is probably the figs. The first flavour I taste is melon, perhaps honeydew, which is followed by the rich sweetness of the figs, and I think it’s the oolong tea that leaves a bit of a creamy aftertaste. I almost taste a bit of chocolate in this tea, which is odd. The more I drink it, the more I’m liking the late-sip creaminess (definitely thinking it’s oolong now), and I’m liking the melon less (even though ever since I tried Goji Pop I’ve been super excited to try any tea with melon in it!)

ETA: Not too enchanted by the second steep. Yes, it accidently sat overnight, and I thought it tasted so-so before reheating it, but now that it’s heated all I can taste is weak cardboard?? Strange.

Not too disappointed to know that this one’s gone forever, but I won’t have any trouble finishing my little bag of it.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

I had a big bag of this, and for some reason it disappeared!! only ever got two cups. Over a year later and it still hasn’t been found shrugs

Kittenna

You’re not missing out…

Indigobloom

I hated it at first, then I kinda liked it?! I dunno, one of those love/hate things

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90
drank Coco Chai Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Another tea from advent calendar leftovers. Unfortunately, I steeped this one rather long and have not had the chance to drink it, so now it’s cold. As a result, I don’t believe that this will necessarily be a fair assessment of the tea, but I’ll talk about it anyways!

To begin with, it smells just like chai. Yum. Although spicy, it seems to be warmed and tamed a bit by something – perhaps the rooibos? Taste-wise, it’s a bit chocolatey, and has excellent chai spicing. I did skimp on the leaves a bit though, so as to leave enough for my roommate to have a last cup as well, so although it isn’t as strong as I would like, that very well may be because I just didn’t use enough tea.

I think this would be great for evening caffeine-free chai lattes! Might be worthwhile to keep a small bag of in the cupboard, but I really need to use up the ~500g of Tea Desire chai I received for Christmas first.

ETA: Second steep (for 8+ min, ~95C water) is quite nice! The spicing is still there, but it is quite mellowed by a sweet chocolatey flavour… a really nice twist on a chai. I don’t taste any rooibos whatsoever (and didn’t during the first sips either). I think I like this a fair bit more than Chocolate Chili Chai (although I think that name would far better suit this rooibos!)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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95
drank Mulberry Magic by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Definitely not what I was expecting! “Mulberry Magic” makes me think of fruity, mulled wine far more than it does a nutty-smelling leafy blend. But its similarity in appearance to Toasted Walnut (yum!) and the fact that it’s caffeine-free (!!) compelled me to buy it anyways.

Similar to Toasted Walnut, the dry leaf as well as the steeped tea smell sweet and nutty. I also find the taste similar (if I recall correctly), although of course the distinct flavour of green tea is missing, so it just tastes like sweet nutty leaves. Which I like! I’m not getting “cake batter” or “vanilla cupcake” any of the other comparisons that have been made, but given that I don’t hugely care for either, I’m not disappointed. Looking forward to doing a direct comparison between the two teas just for curiousity’s sake :)

ETA: Steeped a second cup today, and accidently left the teaball in for waaaay too long (8+ min for sure). Was worried that it might have oversteeped… but I tasted it and it’s still amazing, just a bit weaker than yesterday (surprise surprise). Upping the rating because this is one downside of toasted walnut – too long of a steep results in icky bitterness! Perhaps they will both find a home in my cupboard…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Another cup of this one to solidify some purchasing decisions. Extra almondy today (I think there was a large piece in the mix), but still sweet and delicious. I really wish this was permanent in place of, say, Creme Caramel Rooibos, so I could pick up 50g now and decide later whether to buy a larger quantity, but I don’t want it to disappear before I make such a decision… bah!

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Nom nom nom. I’m still enjoying this tea, but not as much as the first cup. I can really taste the black tea today, but the aftertaste is still rich, creamy, chocolately, and perhaps malty? Still a treat to have (and I always think that if you’re craving a tea, it was obviously good!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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75
drank Mango Madness by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

I had high hopes for this one as I do all fruity teas with their light flavours and natural sweetness. The dry tea smells very fruity with overtones of citrus, making me think of a tropical juice blend… which is great, because I quite like to drink tropical juice blends! :D

Once steeped, I find the tea to be a bit less than I was hoping. Although pleasantly sweet, with mango and citrus the dominant flavours, it is weaker than I’d like, and I can’t detect the white tea at all. However, its very tropical flavour and ample sweetness make me want to keep a small bit of it in the cupboard…. and to try it iced, as I noticed that the flavour improved as it cooled.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 15 sec

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Sooooo… I think some of this tea’s yumminess was definitely attributable to the large piece of coconut I had last time. :( This cup had neither a chamomile flower nor a large piece of coconut (although there are smaller pieces), and it’s not quite as good. Still good enough for me to likely purchase again, but decreasing the rating a tad because my first cup was far better. The first cup paired the creaminess of the coconut quite well with the richer coffee/chocolate flavours, while this cup lacks enough creaminess for me to really feel like it’s a decadent treat.

Also, a resteeping of the first set of leaves yielded a much less satisfying cup. Tasted ok, but given the cost of 1.5tsp of tea leaves, I’d probably rather just grab a fresh bunch.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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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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