2972 Tasting Notes

75
drank Big Apple by DAVIDsTEA
2972 tasting notes

I don’t think I had yet tried this one hot, just cold-brewed, so decided to give it a shot today. The tea in the bag smells exactly like a tart, delicious apple, as does the steeped tea, which is very promising! However, even with a three-minute infusion, there’s enough bitterness in my cup to result in it being not particularly enjoyable. Which is quite unfortunate, as this is possibly the best apple tea I have tasted – not a granny smith, but a tart yet slightly sweet red apple (my fave!). I seem to recall being able to discern a vanilla flavour in the cold-brew; it’s not quite as obvious here, but there’s still a vanilla hint. I think I have enough of this tea to try one more cup, which (if I remember), I’ll try with a 2-minute infusion.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Daniel Scott

Interesting…they have a recipe for “apple cider” that involves simmering this one and Saigon Chai together for several minutes. I had to wonder about this one going bitter in that process.

Kittenna

Yeeeaah, this one seems to go bitter VERY easily/quickly. i wonder if a lower temp would help…

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76
drank Strawberry Shortcake by DAVIDsTEA
2972 tasting notes

Woo, sipdown! Heading into work for a while, so thought I’d brew up a few fruity things to take with me, and this one struck my interest. I seem to recall not loving it before (checks previous note, confirmed), and it looks like astringency was my biggest foe, not flavouring. So, a shorter infusion time it is! I’ve been tending to brew flavoured blacks on the low end of infusion times quite a bit lately, so it’s not surprising that this would be the case.

As per last time, the dry tea is strongly strawberry-scented and nuttily caramelly. Unquestionably a dessert tea. Steeped, same deal. I probably should have compared this just for curiousity’s sake to the last bit of Strawberry Zabaglione that Azzrian sent me, but too late now.

Taste-wise, I think I like this much better than last time. I am definitely getting shortcakey flavours, and can clearly taste the strawberry, although it’s still lighter than I’d prefer (I loved piling up the strawberries on my shortcake…) There’s just a bit of astringency, but given that this tea is recommended to be drank with a hint of cream to fully round out the strawberry shortcake flavour, I suspect that addition would eliminate it entirely. The tea is also obviously sweetened due to the nut brittle, so it works very well as a dessert tea.

I think this tea deserves a ratings nudge (at least into that darker shade of green (aka 76 vs. 73) as it’s really rather successful at what it’s attempting to be. I’d certainly drink this again, as long as the infusion time was strictly adhered to. Nice treat on a soggy day! (Speaking of that, I am sooooo not looking forward to my 10K race tomorrow… it’s supposed to be icky and rainy and cold. No personal best record-setting tomorrow, I would imagine…)

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

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91

I ordered this one with “delicate” flavouring and the standard base, as I figured that since I loved the caramel with delicate flavouring, that was probably enough flavouring for english toffee as well.

The aroma is quite similar to that of the Caramel matcha, which, given my love of that one, is completely ok by me! However, it makes me wonder whether I’m going to be able to notice any differences between the two. I decided to make a cold latte using mostly regular milk (instead of my usual almond), and sweetened it with maple syrup, as that’s still the only liquid sweetener I have available!

Initially, I couldn’t really taste “English Toffee” per se. It definitely was a tasty latte, but I would have been hard-pressed to identify it over a caramel latte, or probably butterscotch. However, I left it sitting in my car for a few hours while at Oktoberfest, and when I had a sip of it while driving home, I tasted the unmistakeable flavour of toffee! Delicious! Perhaps it just needed to sit a while. I didn’t want to finish it that evening as I wanted to be able to sleep, so left it in the fridge overnight, and it’s just as tasty tonight.

I don’t think that this one will bump caramel out of being my favourite RL matcha flavour, but it’s definitely quite tasty, and a winner for me! It can be found at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/english-toffee-matcha.html

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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93

Finally, I feel like I have enough time to try this tea and do it justice! However, although I’d love to try the authentic dragonwell method, I simply can’t drink hot tea, and can only envision oversteeping occurring as a result of attempting it (although one day I think I’ll give it a shot, I just really don’t want to burn my tongue right now!), so I’m trying a western-brewing sort of thing. I measured out 3g of leaf, popped it into a brew basket, and went with a 1-minute infusion at 175F, hoping that it would work out.

I’m happy to report that I was quite successful – the tea has a light, sweet aroma and a rock sugar flavour much like the Tung Ting Vietnam oolong I just drank from DavidsTEA, however there are light seaweedy notes mixed in here, and additional vegetal notes… and so much more that my poor brain can’t seem to describe! Short version? This is delicious, and a perfect tea selection for this evening. The seaweedy notes I’m getting here are what differentiate this most in my mind from the Dragonwell-style Laoshans, which have the rock sugar sweetness but IMO much less complexity aside from that, with only the green beany sort of flavour. This tea is also so, so smooth.

Very impressed with this one, even though I didn’t brew it as recommended! Onto a second infusion shortly, as I know greens do not take well to sitting overnight prior to re-steeping (in my experience), and I really want to see how this one lasts!

ETA: Second infusion for 1:15 is lighter and less distinctive, but still quite tasty. The vegetal notes are a bit more in the background, and I almost feel like I’m getting a hint of a popcorn sort of flavour… air-popped, we’re not talking buttery here. Yum. Still smooth as anything. I think I’ll try for at least one more infusion (probably 2 minutes) before thiefing some of my roommate’s sesame oil and munching on the leaves…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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82

I picked some of this up in a sample size from Verdant – I absolutely love the sample sizes! Such a great way to sample ALL the teas, which seems to be a necessity for me.

Initially, my roommate said that the aroma of this tea reminded her of manure! (Not an association I was getting.) However, after some thought, she amended it to “barn/hay”, which I completely agree with. A sweet sort of aged hay. I definitely would have pegged this tea as a white strictly by aroma, although I honestly can’t describe as to the reason. It just smells like a white tea!!

I used 5g of this one, as per the recommendation, although brewed for 30 instead of 20 seconds, as I felt that the additional 10 wouldn’t hurt (I was right).

The flavour of this one is oddly familiar. I’m not sure if it’s the Yunnan Jasmine that I’m thinking of (probably?), but I could swear I’ve tasted this flavour before. However, it’s more more intense than I’m used to. It’s kind of sweet and hay-y, rather light and very smooth. There’s almost a musty sort of aftertaste, which I assume is from the aging. Definitely tasty, and well worth the sample size, but not my favourite, as I really seem to lean towards greens and oolongs as opposed to whites.

ETA: Second infusion (25s) is pretty good too… and it dawned on me that I think I might be likening this to the Yunnan Black I have from Verdant. Hrrrrrm. As a white, the flavour is much better though, I think…

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
LiberTEAS

Yes, I agree, the sample sizes from Verdant are just perfect!

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93
drank Tung Ting Vietnam by DAVIDsTEA
2972 tasting notes

Shared a pot of this with my roommate tonight thanks to the DT $1 packet of tea promo. I admit that my expectations weren’t super high, but apparently I need to change my views!

The dry tea of this one is a fairly nondescript green oolong. Larger-than-usual rolled balls of tea, but with no particularly notable aromas (or rather, nothing different than any other green tea/green oolong). We were skeptical of the 5-minute infusion recommendation, but decided to just go with it…. definitely not a decision we regret!

I went to take a sniff of my cup of tea after my roommate poured it out, and was completely blown away – the smell of this one is deliciously sweet and reminds me quite a bit of Verdant’s Laoshan greens. Delicious! Entirely not what I was expecting at all! The flavour matches perfectly, and definitely makes me think of Verdant’s Dragonwell-style Laoshan green, with a sweet rock sugar flavour and light green bean sort of flavour. The tea also is very smooth, and a light oolong flavour emerges at the tail end of the sip.

If you’re looking for a straight oolong from DavidsTea, I highly recommend this one! It is an absolute treat, especially given the price of a tiny sampler packet right now. Hoping the next infusion is as tasty, although we won’t find out until tomorrow :)

ETA: Second infusion (~6.5 min) is not bad, but I think that’s all these leaves have to offer. The flavour is still a touch rock sugary and much like the first infusion, just lighter and with a bit of astringency.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
2972 tasting notes

Whoops, brewed this a touch strong today, but it was still good. Love love love marshmallow root, and the delicious lemoniness of this blend! Can’t wait for my 52teas order to arrive, fingers crossed it arrives tomorrow…

ETA: Second infusion is still lemony delicious. Oversteeped a bit again though. I forget how finicky this one is…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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14
drank Toasted Sesame by Adagio Teas
2972 tasting notes

Thanks to Awkward Soul for sending me a bit of this tea! I don’t think it’s particularly well-liked, but I was curious. Toasted sesame reminds me of Japanese desserts, and therefore makes my mouth water, but I’m anticipating disappointment.

The aroma of this one is… rather like a straight black tea. That sort of straight black tea I don’t particularly care for. (I really need to sample black teas from different regions so I can explain this better!) Even with a 4-minute infusion (5 minutes was recommended), I’m getting a fair bit of astringency. I really can’t taste anything but astringent black tea, to be honest. No sesame at all. Perhaps I’ll try the rest of my sample in a 3-minute infusion, but I have doubts that I will get anything good out of it. Ah well. I have a (tasty) 5th infusion of Verdant’s Aged Traditional Anxi Tieguanyin to make me feel better before bed!

Hrm. I feel like I’m being quite the harsh reviewer tonight, but I feel like I’ve had a lot of mediocre to bad tea tonight. Just one of those nights, I suppose!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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62

Bought the smallest amount possible of this one (8g) just to satisfy my curiousity.

While it was brewing, there was a most unpleasant aroma. Almost like…. stinky feet? Blech. Stinky, rooibosy feet. Since the tea has now cooled, the offputting smell is gone, and it now smells mostly like a sweetened rooibos.

The flavour actually isn’t all that bad; it tastes like a vanilla rooibos. A lingering vanilla aftertaste, like vanilla extract, is notably present, which is not something I’ve ever previously tasted from a tea, but other than that, it’s a fairly nondescript flavoured rooibos. No medicinal taste here either, which is a big positive. Not a tea I particularly want to drink again though, especially given a plethora of other much tastier flavoured rooibos options (e.g. Creme Caramel Rooibos, Oh Canada, etc.), but it probably serves its intended purpose well.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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49

Eh, this one is not quite what I was expecting. It brews up quite murky, and with an offputting aroma that I can’t quite place. It’s a little reminiscent of Super Chocolate or Dr. Chocolate (carob??) The flavour is surprisingly weak, given the aroma, and mostly tastes of murky cocoa and cinnamon. The mouthfeel is drying though not astringent – kind of like getting chunks of chalk in your mouth. I can’t taste the coconut at all here either.

I have enough left in my bag for another shot at this one, but I’m really disappointed :( This is definitely one of the least tasty teas from DavidsTea I have tasted.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
CupofTree

that’s a shame, this one sounded really good.

Helena

It tasted okay to me when they brewed it up at the store. I had it hot and it it tasted like a cinnamon vanilla cookie to me :D

Kittenna

Yeah, definitely going to have to give this another shot…

Buy the Stars

Hm, I thought the weak flavour was just me not using enough tea, but if it’s weak all around that’s definitely disappointing. I guess I’ll give it another shot to see if there’s any difference.

Kittenna

If anything, I overleaped this cup, as I have a tendency to do that. I’ve been finding some of DT’s teas to be weak in flavour lately though. Maybe this one needs the full 7 minutes, not just 4?

Buy the Stars

That could be it. I’ve noticed similar things from black blends rather than straight teas, especially from David’s.

Kittenna

Erm, I definitely typed overleaFed, thank you autocorrect. Yeah, typically I don’t steep straight blacks or 52teas black blends for more than 3 minutes, as they get bitter/astringent. However, flavoured blacks from other companies like DavidsTea seem to withstand longer times quite well, and in fact may actually require them.

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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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