2390 Tasting Notes


Thank you Amanda for this sample! I belatedly wanted to sample this after you had sent off the package – I was so pleased when it was a bonus sample you had sent along!

The dry tea smells fruity, creamy, and with a sour cherry tang. Steeped, it smells sweet and vaguely cherry-like… hope the fruity taste that I’m expecting is there!

Oh wow! THIS is what I wish Cherry Potion from DavidsTea tasted like! This is lovely! I can taste apple and cherry most prominently, but what I’m loving the most is the lack of strange artificial flavours, and the fact that this is caffeine-free. I really hope I can acquire some of this reasonably easily – I need this in my cupboard. NEED. This is seriously the perfect fruit tisane. I mean, I’ll have to try the rest of it in another cup, but I doubt it will change my mind.

I don’t know whether this is just a good night for me + teas, but I feel like I’m on a roll here :P (Good thing, I very literally have EIGHT full cups of tea sitting here to drink!)

Boiling 8 min or more

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Semi-impulse buy when I was at DavidsTea today… definitely didn’t need another tea, but I wanted to try a basic tie kwan yin to compare other green oolongs against (e.g. those from Teavivre). I intended to pick up their High Mountain Oolong too, but didn’t see it on the shelf. The wallet thanks the tea gods for small favours. Another reason I grabbed this tea is because although I like milk oolongs, sometimes the milky flavour can put me off a bit, or be a bit too rich, when all I want is that lovely green oolong flavour. Likewise with overly floral oolongs, so this is one in which neither attribute is prominently featured (I think).

Anyhow, I didn’t have the patience for short infusions today (also, cannot justify wasting MORE time), so western-style brewing it is. A generous amount of leaf: prob 2tsp. I kind of wish I hadn’t brewed so many teas at once – I can’t remember how long I steeped any of them! Should have written it down. Although now I remember – I set this one for two minutes, sniffed it, and decided to leave the basket in longer… and then forgot about it. My guess is that it was in there around 4-6 minutes, which is approximately the range suggested by DT, so hopefully I haven’t ruined it.

The dry tea just smells green and grassy. Maybe the slightest touch of floral, but I’m not sure. Steeped, it smells a bit buttery, a bit floral, and a lot OOLONG! Yes! This is what I want! Please please please taste like you smell.

The moment of truth….. and it’s exactly what I wanted! Oh man. This may only be a mediocre oolong for most people, but holy crap it is exactly what my taste buds were craving (I didn’t know this prior, but they’re currently immensely satisfied and pushing thoughts into my brain of brewing up a whole pot in spite of the row of tea-filled mugs crowding my nightstand). The taste is buttery and smooth, barely floral, and OOLONGINYOURFACE. Bahaha, “oolongin’”: a verb describing an intense desire to drink vast quanities of oolong tea, e.g. “I’m oolongin’ so hard today”. Nevermind me….

Anyhow, I’m not going to say that this is The Best Oolong In The World or anything, as I haven’t tried enough for that, but I’m definitely quite happy with it, and need to now compare it with my Teavivre samples… although I just realized that I only have the honey tieguanyin from them… And my Verdant samples. I think that while I may like the more expensive ones better, this will be fabulous for the cheap, western-style-frequent-drinking option, while I can save the others and truly experience them.

ETA: Second infusion, 94C/5min, definitely not as good, but starts off creamy and almost like more of a milk oolong, and finishes with oolong. A touch more astringency is perhaps the biggest difference. Perfectly good though, for cutting that oolongin’!

200 °F / 93 °C

LOL that was fun to read and I too am a total oolong fan! I love the word Oolongin!


haha oolongin!


oh hey I think I might steal that one. Oolongin! I do that allll the time…


Hahahaha, me too :P

Maxime-Daniel Friðrikson

One damn good Oolong! I miss it :)

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drank Chocolate Cake by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Just brewed up six different & new teas – I am taking procrastination to a whole new level!

First up is Chocolate Cake, cuz I felt SOO left out since everyone else is reviewing it! (Of course, now I’m seeing more reviews of Ice Cream cake and pouting because I ran out of tea balls to try that one too).

It definitely smells delicious and like chocolate ice cream. Yum. Not as sickly sweet as birthday cake; I’m ok with that. I used a generous amount of leaf (a generous tsp + a generous half tsp, so probably closer to two) since there have been comments as to it being weak.

Seriously… the aroma of this one brewed is FABULOUS. It took over my entire kitchen! (And trust me, it was difficult to smell the pu’erh I was steeping because the chocolate got in the way!) Taste-wise, it’s definitely a successful chocolatey ice creamy tea. Clearly you guys who are saying it isn’t great have not tasted my cup. Admittedly it’s a bit thin-tasting, but only because my tastebuds are convinced that it tastes like chocolate syrup and therefore should be thicker!

For whatever reason, I’m getting a touch of scratchiness in the back of my throat while drinking this… perhaps it’s stevia, perhaps it’s sugar in this tea (it happens when I drink or eat something overly sugary sometimes too). A bit bothersome, but I can get over it.

I like this a fair bit better than I was expecting to. I’ll have to keep a watch on whether or not this one’s kept on permanently, because I think I’d like to have a tiny bit of this on hand for those days when I truly want a chocolatey sweet tea. It’s definitely not an everyday tea, though.

ETA: Second infusion, 5 minutes and boiling water, is worthwhile but definitely weaker and kind of watery. I probably won’t try a third (if only because drinking 4L of water this evening might not be the greatest idea??)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Ok! Giving this one another shot with better parameters this time. I used about 4g of leaf for 250ml of water in my basket infuser.

First infusion (30s/205F)
There’s a light, honey-like aroma to the cup. Delicious! There’s a sweet and malty sort of honey flavour, with an oolong aftertaste. Quite good (and a big change from last time!)

Second infusion (35s/205F)
There’s now a light, almost floral aroma. The brew is stronger, richer, and kind of woody with more astringency than I would like; I probably shouldn’t have increased the infusion time. My bad – I thought it smelled too much like hot water at 30s, and it was a split second decision! It’s definitely still drinkable though.

Third infusion (45s/205F)
There’s a similar aroma to the previous infusion. However, the flavour changes here – there’s less astringency, and I’m getting almost a fruity sort of flavour here. Actually, perhaps it’s wheaty. A flavour I would imagine that sweet dry hay might have (although I have no familiarity with it, just an impression of it in my mind). It’s hard to place exactly what it is. I prefer this infusion over the second, which is just too astringent for me.

Weird! There’s a bit of a lingering sweet aftertaste with this infusion too. Kind of like what fennel can leave behind, but more pleasant.

Fourth infusion (35s/205F)
This time, I cleverly(!) sipped from my cups prior to the next infusion to make sure things were tasting ok, so after tasting the third infusion I decided to drop the time back to cut the astringency (I missed taking a sip between the second and third though, otherwise I would have dropped the infusion time back down then!)

This one tastes much like the third to me, minus the astringency. Maybe I’ll be able to figure out the flavour now?? …nope.

Ok, so this time things were MUCH more successful, and I may have yet another go with the leaves I left downstairs. I realize I made a couple of judgment errors while infusing here, but I think that I need to stop with this tea until I acquire a gaiwan and learn how to use it. Also, I need to take some sort of palate-training course or something, so I can say more than “ok, so this steep is definitely different than the previous but uh, not exactly sure how…”

I’m going to hold off on officially rating this one again, because I still don’t think I’ve experienced all it has to offer. It would currently garner a rating in the low 70s according to my scale, but I believe it’s worth more than that! Looking forward to my future attempt(s).

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Hah you always crack me up. I do enjoy reading your reviews. I feel much the same way when trying to explain what I am tasting.


Hehe I always struggle finding that perfect steep with new teas. But that feeling when I finally nail it? Swoooooon~


I like your perseverance with this tea Krystaleyn. Dancong oolongs are kind of notorious for being demanding of careful preparation. But I figure, if you can nail the moody brewing needs of Dancong, brewing other teas well will seem easy. Dancong oolongs are among my top favorites of all teas, so learning the optimal brewing of them was something I was willing to work hard to gain. It took a number of mistakes for me to get consistently good at brewing them well, but sometimes I still fumble a steeping if I’m distracted.

I’m going to offer you a suggestion, which may seem like going out on a limb, but I think it might offer you the results you’re looking for with this tea, or at least get you closer. I did a lot of research to find out how the locals of Chou Zhou brew this tea, which is the main city near the Phoenix Mountain range. There are people who purport that gongfu brewing started in this area, and given the sensitive nature of the tea they had available to them, it seems to me a reasonable probability that such techniques in tea preparation could have come out of the necessity to get a good cup of the local tea…

So what I do with Dancong is use a small amount of water for each steeping. My gaiwan holds about 100ml, which is roughly 3 ounces of water. I typically use anywhere from 4-7 grams of leaf, which ranges from 1/3 to 2/3 the capacity of my gaiwan. It really depends on my mood wether I use more or less, but I would suggest starting with less like the 4 grams you mentioned using last time. The Chao Zhou natives go full-tilt and literally stuff their gaiwan with leaf until it’s coming out the top, but they’re going for a very bright and intense flavor that is appreciated more for the aftertaste it leaves than for the taste of the liquor. I imagine this would be experienced as bitter for people unaccustomed to it, much in the same way that very spicy food is too much for people who don’t eat it often.

Anyway, try 4 grams with half the water (around 120ml) for each steeping, and steep for only 15 seconds. I always do the first 8 or so infusions of dancong at around 15 seconds. And that’s counted from the moment the water starts to touch the leaf to the moment it all has poured into my serving pitcher. About 15 seconds is apparently the traditional guideline for dancong brewing in Chou Zhou. Here’s a great little youtube video of a guy preparing dancong at a Chou Zhou tea house. You can count on your fingers how long he does each of the two steeping shown, and each time it is about 15 seconds from the time water touches the leaf to the time it’s all poured out. Also, look at how much leaf he’s using. Crazy! I don’t recommend trying that, but it’s illustrative to see how they like it. His gaiwan is probably about the same size of mine.


Now, I want to say another thing to help you here. You don’t really need a gaiwan, pitcher and small cups to brew tea this way. If you have a brew basket, all you would need to do is fill it with the 4 grams or so of leaf, and then fill the 250ml cup you brewing in to only about 1/3 – 1/2 of its capacity, then pull out the leaves after about 15 seconds. You could then probably do this at least 7 times without needing to add time, only when you start to taste the tea weakening a little, add another 5-10 seconds. When it weakens further, you can venture out into longer steep times without making it go bitter.

David and I just finished filming the next video for the Verdant TV series and it’s going to explain, much like I have here, how to simulate gongfu tea with whatever you have on hand. When the editing is finished it will go up on the website. We hope that it will help people feel more comfortable trying this traditional Chinese way of preparing tea without the barrier of not having all the paraphernalia. Really the main goal of gongfu has always been about making the best cup of tea possible, and we do believe that it does produce better tea as a rule. I hope you find this comment helpful, and I look forward to seeing how your future experiments go. Don’t give up! All the work to brew a great cup of tea is worth it. Happy drinking!


Proud of your perserverence!

Dylan Oxford

Very informative piece Geoffrey, thanks! Watching that video though… I have no idea how that guy doesn’t burn his fingers. Yowza, he just throws that hot water everywhere!


@dylan – he’s got mad heat calluses for sure. that guy’s like a gongfu heavyweight. doesn’t even flinch. I’d be crying!

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drank Grey Duchess by Souvia
2390 tasting notes

In an attempt to get through all of the teas in the huge box I received from LiberTEAS, I decided to randomly select one tea to sample whenever I have time to brew up more than just a couple of teas. I think today would qualify :)

Obviously, this is the tea I picked out! I’m a fan of earl greys – they bring back happy memories of getting tea drunk with my best friend back in elementary school. Great fun :) And more recently, they remind me of my boyfriend and his mom, as they both like earl greys and earl grey cream teas; his mom always serves them after dinner. Lately I haven’t had too many though, as I’m interested in exploring other flavours of tea.

Anyways, onto the review! The dry tea, in spite of many lavender blossoms, just smells like an earl grey. However, the lavender comes out quite strongly when steeped. I used a slightly heaping tsp for about a cup of water and am hoping it doesn’t come out too strong!

Not surprisingly, the dominant flavour in this cup is lavender, with bergamot notes and a vanilla finish. At three minutes of steeping, the tea is definitely not overpowering, and quite pleasant to drink without additions, which makes me happy. I think I could use a bit more cream/vanilla, and perhaps a touch less lavender, but this is tasty! Thanks LiberTEAS!

ETA: I realized a bit belatedly that this reminds me a lot of DavidsTea’s Jessie’s Tea, likely mostly because of the strong lavender flavour and creaminess. I think I preferred this tea though. Can’t compare the two because I sent off the remainder of Jessie’s Tea with my boyfriend, but that’s ok.

Also, second infusion of this one the next day is pretty good! 3min infusion. Can still taste the lavender, and am not really perceiving it as an earl grey until maybe the aftertaste. Definitely worth the second infusion though. Not sure about a third as I threw out the leaves to use the teaball for another tea – but they did still have some aroma left, so there might be further potential!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

This sounds very pretty to watch let alone drink. I’m becoming a tea voyear.


Unfortunately lavender blossoms aren’t as pretty as they sound! But I wasn’t steeping in glass, so perhaps it looks nicer than my imagination thinks it would be :)

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drank Honey Bush Choco Caramel by ZenTea
2390 tasting notes

Time for a break from black teas – a brief honeybush interlude! Thanks Amanda for this sample!

Based on Amanda’s notes, I made sure to use an ample amount of the dry tisane and the tea ball has now been sitting in the cup for…. ever. I don’t know, maybe 30 minutes? Maybe more? I want something really desserty!!

Dry, it smells DELICIOUS! Sweet and caramelly with almost a hint of cheesecake zing? Odd, but whatever, it smells good! Not getting chocolate, but I don’t particularly care.

Steeped, I can smell caramel and honeybush. Mmmm.

It tastes pretty much like a caramelly honeybush, too. Ooh, and the caramel taste is lingering in my mouth! Delicious. It could definitely stand to be stronger yet, but I like the flavour. Desserty without being overly sweet. I think maybe I am getting a bit of a chocolatey flavour, but it’s pretty subtle. Thanks Amanda, this one’s quite nice!

Boiling 8 min or more

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Thank you so much LiberTEAS for giving me a sample of your cherished 52teas blend! I’m a huge tomato fan myself, and this tea sounded SO interesting! Perhaps if there are enough of us who swear to buy it, Frank will create another tomato-based tea??

Anyhow, onto the review. The dry tea smells like a slighty smokey, peppery black tea. I wasn’t expecting to smell too much else, so am not terribly surprised.

Steeped, the tea smells a bit smoky and peppery. Not much tomato or basil flavour apparent. Hmm, and it’s pretty much the same as that, flavour-wise. I’m not perceiving any basil flavour, nor tomato, despite intentionally putting in the large piece of sundried tomato that was in my pouch, and selecting out some basil flakes.

Ok, I just dug the steeped tomato out of the tea ball and chewed on it a bit – there’s some flavour left; perhaps a longer infusion would have helped, but I don’t think there’s enough left to have flavoured the whole cup. Eating the tomato chunk while drinking some of the tea helped a bit, but the chewing distracted me from paying enough attention to the flavour, haha.

Ok, so this was somewhat disappointing, but I think there’s real potential in a tomatoey tea! At least for my personal preference though, there would need to be a heck of a lot more tomato, as well as more basil. I still have a couple cups worth left, so might try adding some extra dried basil, and using some sundried tomatoes I have (although they are packed in oil, so that might be a tad gross).

(Alternately, was four minutes of steeping too long, and it made too much ‘tea flavour’ come out, masking the tomato?? There isn’t really any astringency/bitterness, so I thought I had done it correctly this time…)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

I usually steep this one for three minutes. Did you add a pinch of salt? This helps bring out the tomato a bit. The basil is very subtle.


GOOD LORD this sounds AMAZING! The sad thing is they don’t sell it anymore right? So you find something so good and can’t get more OUCH! But oh wow to sample it would be devine!


Nooo! I forgot that you had recommended that! I’ll try that next time.


This tea log made me incredibly hungry. Oh man!

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Another unfortunately-stored sample from my unenlightened days. Here’s hoping I can get something out of it! There were no recommendations for steeping parameters, so I went with two heaping tsp of leaf (it’s rather fluffy and old) and the parameters for TreasureGreen’s ‘Treasuregreen Silver’ green tea.

First infusion (~84C/2min)
As I’ve had a fair bit of luck steeping greens in increments of about 30s, I started with this one at 30s, but after pouring it out, the “tea” smelled like hot water, so I poured it back in to infuse for another 30 seconds. Same deal at this point, so I let it go another full minute. Don’t really have high hopes for it, because the water probably cooled down quite a bit with all the back-and-forth I was doing.

Steeped, this one pretty much has no smell to it. Hoping it tastes like more than just water… Ok, it does, but definitely not very strong. It’s a very mild green tea, I am getting a vegetal taste, and almost a bit of a toasty flavour(?) No astringency or bitterness, but just VERY mild. I like it though! If it was stronger, I think I would quite enjoy it.

Second infusion (~87C/3min)
This one got a solid three minutes. Again, no real aroma. The flavour is a bit more on the toasty side and less vegetal, but still rather weak. I’m pretty sure age and storage are huge factors here.

I’d like to try this one again, freshly purchased. I think there’s potential! It just wasn’t very strong. I think I have enough of this left to give it one more shot, and there might be a bit more leaf left than I used today, so here’s hoping that decreasing the amount of water + more leaf might bring out a bit more flavour. Current rating is based on a bit of speculation that this tea will be stronger when fresh :)

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

such bad luck with teas lately! maybe it’s your kettle? :(


I’m pretty sure that this tea is just a consequence of poor storage and age. It is upwards of a year old, and has likely been stored nearly that long in a definitely-not-airtight clipped bag. I actually don’t use a kettle at home – I microwave water in a cup :D (Or boil in a pot on the stove.) Can’t justify buying two kettles, and the one I do have is much more necessary at work. Neglected to use filtered water today though; that could have muddled flavours.

Work is a different story though since I have an electric kettle there and because Guelph’s water is pretty hard IMO, it’s quite caked with scale. I wonder sometimes whether teas brewed there are off because of the water.

However, I think the main reason for my bad luck with teas lately is just that I haven’t paid enough attention to steeping parameters (or I have, and it turned out they weren’t really appropriate). Things are looking up though! I haven’t really screwed up any teas today, and I’ve tried five!


oh hard water is not fun to make teas with! though it tastes good cold, I guess the minerals affect the flavour. Bleh!
phew, I was getting worried for you. Bad tea runs are so depressing.


As depressing as it may be, my wallet certainly approves! Haha :)


heh, yes mine to! it’s a balancing act… my tea happiness vs that of my wallet!


Just curious, when you use filtered water what are you using? I always use tap water, but I never considered that using water that goes through a brita might produce a better taste.


Yep, a Brita pitcher filter in my fridge is how I filter my water. I dislike the way tap water tastes here when it warms up (it’s fine cold), and the Brita fixes that. My assumption is that it’s better for brewing teas (particularly straight, lighter-flavoured teas) than unfiltered water. To be honest though, I’m not sure about that – I actually just posed a question on Verdant Tea’s website (on an article about water for tea) regarding water quality & filtration, as I would like to know!


Actually, http://verdanttea.com/the-first-ingredient-in-tea/

David Duckler has already replied to me :) So informative! I should probably go replace my filter now though – just occurred to me that I haven’t since early January! Whoops!


I’ve read about that. It’s funny because I hate drinking tap water. It tastes like pools smell especially when its warmer. I keep telling Dylan you need to drink spring water, minerals taste good. I guess it makes sense it would make tea better too.


Krystaleyn – Oh… Oops. I haven’t changed my filter in about that long either. That could explain the less-than-stellar results with my fave greens lately.


Oh my, that sounds tricky, trying to manage water quality and hardness! I’m glad I live in an area that has pretty good tap water (and I can get lovely water fresh off the mountain 15 mibs drive away from my house!)


smartkitty – Haha, even though I signed up for Brita’s filter change reminder program, I still forget (such is what happens when you read reminders at work). But I changed it yesterday, go me!

TassieTeaGirl – I was a big fan of my hometown’s tap water. When I drank filtered stuff there it was more because it was colder having been in the fridge. Here in Guelph though, the water is considerably harder and like Missy says, tastes/smells like a pool (so heavy chlorination?) when warm, and that makes me gag.

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drank RadioactiviTEA by Man Teas
2390 tasting notes

Ok, I’m only trying this one because of my curiousity about 52teas’ blends and the generosity of Azzrian! It’s not something I would typically pick out myself…

The dry tea looks so much like coffee! I suppose that’s because it’s CTC, but it’s really odd. And consequently, requires a filter with teensy weensy holes, or alternately, a disposable filterbag, which is what I went with. There isn’t toooooo much smell to the dry tea. It smells kind of like a… black tea. And perhaps has picked up the slightest hint of Mayan Chocolate Chai in its aroma. Highly doubt it will be present in the tea though.

I’m really hoping I didn’t oversteep this one… used a level teaspoon’s worth in a regular mug, and 95C water for just over 3 minutes… and it smelled POTENT. The aroma actually reminds me strongly of Red Rose, an association I’m only making because of recently having drank some Red Rose. Had I not, I probably would have recognized it as a familiar smell and been frustrated at not being able to place it!

The flavour is definitely not as strong as I anticipated. It really just tastes like a “standard black tea”, which I would use to describe any black tea I had prior to 2012. There is some astringency, and a hint of bitterness – I probably could have used a bit less tea and dropped the infusion time to 2:30 and been a touch happier, but it’s not bad. I am not really caring for this one plain though, it’s just too boring-black-tea-like. It really does taste like a bagged tea. So, I’m sure it will be great once I add some milk and sugar, and I’ll be able to finish it off that way, but not a tea I’d purchase myself!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Southern Belle by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Continuing my flavoured black tea exploration this morning!

I picked a sample of this one up a while back but just haven’t gotten around to trying it yet, primarily because it’s a black tea. Really, I should have taken it to work, because that’s where I’m looking for caffeine, but for whatever reason I didn’t. Anyways!

The smell of the dry tea is pure peachy goodness. Reminds me quite a bit of Long Life Oolong (no surprise). I suspect that I would only ever need/want one peach tea in my cupboard at a time though. I think I’m going off fruit teas a bit, and being more intrigued by other flavours and straight teas. I’m sure this will turn around eventually though!

Er… I think I’ve let this one cool a bit too much. It looks like there are yogurt floaties in the cup XD Ah well, too lazy to go down and re-heat, so I’ll just try it! Can’t be worse than rooibos floaties (ick!)

Yum!! It tastes VERY peachy. Granted, I made sure that there was a lot, probably a disproportionate amount, of peach chunks in my brewing basket, but it definitely achieved the desired result of MEGAPEACH! With definite yummy creaminess. I really can’t taste the black tea at all, but given that this doesn’t taste like peach juice, I’m sure it’s lurking in the background giving this tea a fuller body than just peaches. Might also be that my mouth is still accustomed to the stronger tea flavours from the previous teas I drank, and so it’s not picking up the subtler taste here.

Ok, drinking more of it I can taste a malty sort of background which would be the black tea. Also – yogurt floaties not an issue at all. They may look a tad odd, but I can’t even tell that they’re in there, so they’re probably re-dissolving in my mouth or something.

I actually am really liking this tea! It’s better than Long Life Oolong (although that tea hasn’t been given a fair shot yet), and as Uniquity says in her review, it does taste like a peach Campino! Maybe a touch less sweet, but that could be remedied with a bit of sugar. Now I’m craving Campinos…. are they still around?!

ETA: Second infusion surprisingly good! Enough that I may try a third (although I’m getting a bit tired of black tea by now… go figure!)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Oooh no! I was eyeing this tea and decided not to purchase based on the reviews. I think I will have to try it just because of this post!


Well, I thought it was a pretty good creamy peach tea :) So if that’s your sort of thing, I think it would at least be worth a sample size!

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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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