2229 Tasting Notes

93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

This is simply a smelling note, as yet, since I’ll have to abandon my too-hot-to-drink tea to get back to the lab… but my goodness does this ever smell delicious!! I’m not sure cocoa is quite how I’d describe it, but the scent is amazingly rich and complex. I should note that the dry tea, although it smells good, does not live up to the actual flavour of the tea.

I wasn’t even planning to try this tea as it contains chamomile (YUCK), but the DavidsTea girl assured me that she hates chamomile too but still likes this tea, so I figured it was worth the $3 or so to give it a shot. Excited!

(Ok, just tried a small sip of the very hot tea and I am VERY excited as it is creamy and dark and rich and yummy. But need to leave now sooooooo…)

So back to it, and trying the cold tea… and WOW. Just wow. This is everything I could have wanted for an afternoon treat without the calories. I taste no chamomile whatsoever (or it’s blending beautifully with the other flavours), it is simply all rich, dark, chocolatey/coffee goodness. I am genuinely impressed. I’m also hoping that the giant piece of coconut that this cup got is not the sole creator of this yumminess, otherwise I will be sorely disappointed for future cups when they have about 1/5 or less of the coconut. Assuming that this is not the case, it looks like I may have just found my afternoon-in-the-lab treat tea :D

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Creme Caramel Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

I had high hopes for this one. After recently falling in love with Alpine Punch (and knowing that it’s seasonal), I wanted to try and find something that could replace it. Unfortunately, Creme Caramel Rooibos isn’t the answer.

Although I sometimes like sickly sweet things (and know that the smell of a tea does not necessary correlate to anything about it once steeped), I find the smell of the dry leaf a tad difficult to stomach. It’s just SO sweet and strongly scented of caramel. But as with Cranberry Pear, I am capable of ignoring such things. However, I can’t ignore the odd smell combination that I get from the steeped tea. The strong caramel notes are still there, but now I can smell the woody rooibos, and there’s some sort of smell going on that I just don’t like. Speaking to my roommate, I called it ‘old people’, but I’m really not sure. To be honest, I can’t remember what the tea tasted like at this point; I just remember being unimpressed and not being sure I even wanted to finish it.

Since the tea has cooled, it seems to have lost the strange smell and simply smells strongly of sweet caramel and rooibos, which is ok and expected. I’m actually liking it much better cool (probably 5-10 degrees above room temperature?), as it now tastes more as I would expect.

Definitely a sweet, smooth, creamy, caramelly dessert tea, but probably won’t make it back into the cupboard once it’s gone (unless a comparison to DT’s Creme Brulee produces unexpected results). Just not quite the right combination of flavours for me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Honey Bee by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Had some of this for my morning meeting as I wanted something light and apparently don’t have a lot of options left at work! Although it was good, and smelled deliciously pollen-y and sweet, tasting much the same, I think it won’t end up being one that I restock, mainly because I have fallen in love with Alpine Punch and other sweet rooibos that I prefer as they have a creaminess to them as well. Oh well, about 1 cup’s worth of leaves left for another day.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Fantasy Island by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Another disappointing cup. Just not my sort of tea, I suppose. Further tasting notes to come (they’re on a sticky somewhere).

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

Oh banana oolong. You are so amazing. So slightly sweet and banana-y and creamy and calming and delicious. Where have you been all my life?

On cup three and I think that’s all it will give me. The smell is still creamy banana and oolong but the taste is very weak, even after nearly 10 minutes of steeping. NOOOOOOOOOOO – I’m still planning to sit here doing statistics for another couple hours! :’(

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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66
drank Bear Trap by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

So second shot at hot Bear Trap? I’m still not convinced, sadly. I wanted more of a juicy berry flavour, and instead, it’s more of a sour dried berry that I’m tasting. There’s a smell that’s familiar to me that I can’t quite place… and don’t quite like. My best guess is perhaps the strawberry leaves? But I really don’t know. I also find the tea to be rather weak. It’s not horrible, but there are so, so many teas I’d rather drink. I think I’ll give it a shot with sugar/agave/honey the next time I drink it, but will be glad when my sample packet is gone.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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85
drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Erm, so kind of went on a tea shopping spree today. Picked up 9 samples… However, as teas-to-try are to be my reward, the roommate has all of them (save this one) safely hidden in her room so I only get a new one on the days where I am productive!

So, onto the review of Alpine Punch (which I actually have had before, in a little online ordering sample package I received at Christmas). To start, the dry tea smells pretty darn amazing. A bit nutty, a lot sweet. Steeped, it smells exactly the same. Very promising! And it tastes pretty much exactly how it smells, sweet and almondy (like amaretto as described by DaisyChubb), with the rooibos hiding in the background and subtly appearing mid-sip. Yum. I wish this was part of the permanent collection – I think I like it better than Creme Brulee. We’ll have to see how it compares to Creme Caramel Rooibos, which is currently sitting across the hall…

ETA: Second steep is also pretty good. I happen to be able to compare the two side by side, and the difference is essentially reduced creaminess (coconut??), in both taste and smell. The tea tastes fruitier and with more apparent rooibos, but is still quite smooth, sweet, and enjoyable.

I think I might have to go back and get some more of this… while the store still has some. I didn’t notice how much was left though…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
DaisyChubb

Glad you enjoy! Man I wish I wasn’t moving so I could go stock up on this, but it’ll be for the best for now. I’ll live vicariously through your tasting note!

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79
drank Chocolate Orange by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Ok, so this tea smells amazing, exactly like a Terry’s chocolate orange. That is undeniable. However, the taste doesn’t quite live up. The scent of the steeped tea is still delicious, but I’m not getting enough sweetness or orangey flavour. Perhaps this would be remedied by me adding sweetener myself, but I reaaaally don’t want to slide down that slippery slope. (But I have about 85g of this tea to drink, so may have to). There is a nice chocolate flavour, though – although it’s critical to use water hot enough and steep long enough to melt the chocolate! I don’t like this one enough to buy it again, though.

As other people have also commented – I have also previously noticed a distinctly fishy odour (not taste) to the steeped tea, which is a real turn-off. I am beginning to wonder whether it is a batch problem, though – I ended up with (at least) three bags of this at Christmas, each from different places. Currently drinking from the BC bag, and experiencing absolutely no fishiness whatsoever, which makes me much happier than the previous cups I’ve had (none of which were from this bag). I will have to experiment a bit more, but if this is the case (and it’s not a steeping issue), I’m hoping DT will be willing to exchange my fishy bags for either a different tea, or at least a non-fishy incarnation of this one.

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

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88
drank Chai Apricot by Tea Desire
2229 tasting notes

A tasty, interesting twist on a regular chai! The tea is slightly sweet and apricot-y and the aftertaste is spicy, with a definite overall spiced chai sort of flavour. Lighter-tasting and sweeter than a typical chai though, which is nice because it means I don’t feel any need to add milk or sweetener. The green tea is not discernible to me, but looking at the dry tea I can’t see much of it either, so am not terribly surprised. Definitely not a bad tea to have been given a 250g bag of for Christmas!

ETA: Second steep a day later is very spicy, and with considerably less fruity apricot flavour, although it may just be hidden by the spiciness. Just realized I made a big error though – steeped it in near-boiling water for 5min, not ~80C water. That may have affected things. It’s not bad, just verrrrrry spicy tasting, probably would be delicious with milk and sweetener.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Kanpe Tea by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Finishing off the last of my Kanpe Tea today… Unfortunately I think it’s mostly hibiscus tonight, so nice and tangy but that’s about it. Too bad :( Now I can’t remember whether I liked it enough to want to buy it again!

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

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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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