3034 Tasting Notes


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180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Thanks to Teavivre for this generous free sample, and apologies for such a slow review!

I used about 2 tsp of tea in 2.5 cups of water for this tea, as I did with the DT version. This version definitely brewed up more quickly and strongly than the other, and even though it had less than half the time to brew, the flavour is quite similar. The biggest difference I’m noticing between them is in terms of sweetness; this tea is noticeably sweeter, and the sweetness emerges prior to swallowing, so is not just in the aftertaste. Other than that, both have a sweet, slightly seaweedy aroma, and the flavour of crispy fried seaweed, which is kind of toasty/seaweedy/delicious. Very interesting! After a bit of thought, the flavour could be described as quite “buttery”, which is how the fried seaweed comes off because of all the oil present. It’s tough to say which tea I’d prefer; I imagine that Teavivre’s has greater longevity, so if I was to purchase this again, that would probably be my choice, although I doubt I’ll pick this one up again of my own accord.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Ginseng Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
3034 tasting notes

So tonight I decided that it was high time to sample my ginseng oolong sample from Teavivre, and alongside it, the sample of ginseng oolong that I recently picked up at DavidsTea! I brewed each according to the given instructions to see how they fared compared to each other.

I used approximately the same water:leaf ratio for this tea as for the Teavivre version (about 2 tsp for 2.5 cups), and noticed that the colour/aroma definitely took quite a bit longer to develop in the DT version, which is likely why it required 5 minutes instead of two.

The aroma of this cup is sweet and just sliiightly seaweedy. It’s interested, both my roommate and I noticed that the tea smells and tastes much like a fried seaweed snack we tried and loved last year. Basically, salted and fried up crispy seaweed. I’m wondering now if there was ginseng in it, or if it’s just a coincidence that the two are similarly scented/flavoured. It’s actually quite an interesting, tasty flavour, kind of toasty and delicious, and then an intense sweetness emerges, which must be the ginseng, along with a mild oolong flavour. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of the sweet aftertaste, as it reminds me of licorice and artificial sweeteners, but I don’t find it quite as bad as either of those, so can tolerate it. So overall, this is actually a pretty yummy cup. Perhaps not the first tea I’d go for given a choice, but it’s certainly worth trying!

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I’m glad you reviewed and compared both of them…will save me a few dollars, I won’t bother to try DT’s version since there are no major differences…


There may be some subtleties, but I’d say if you’ve tried Teavivre’s, you definitely don’t need to try the DT version. Teavivre is more bang for your buck, I feel, that’s the biggest difference.

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drank Green & Fruity by DAVIDsTEA
3034 tasting notes

Hrm. I could have sworn that I reviewed on here the cup of this that I got as a free tea from DT on… February 29? Or perhaps I wasn’t yet a Steepster at that point.

Anyhow, I first tried this in last year’s advent calendar, and thought I liked it, then had a bad experience with it from the store (it made me gag a bit, so I went back and had them add sweetener, and I still was gagging, and ended up pouring it out). I picked up a small bag of it to try out myself to see what the deal really was.

The aroma is fruity… but it’s a sort of fruitiness that doesn’t really agree with me. Like another tea reminded me of Mango Diablo (which I dislike), this one does too. I’m starting to wonder if I dislike DT’s dried mango… (is there mango in Long Life Oolong too??)

The flavour is kind of sweet-ish, and with a strange taste, which must be the green rooibos. It’s not as medicinal as the red can be, but still, I’m not really enjoying it here. Yeaaaah, this is not my cup of tea, at all, and as it’s unlikely to be an infusion problem, I’m going to have to attempt to get rid of the remainder of this one (a cup’s worth) through other means. Blecchh.

Boiling 8 min or more

This tea does the same thing to me, maybe you’re right about DT dried mango… I ditched what I had left this summer in a cold brew, and that unpleasant after taste was still there!


It’s funny, because I adore dried mango as a snack. But there’s something in this blend, Mango Diablo, and Long Life Oolong that makes my stomach roil. And it can’t be a base tea, because they’re green rooibos, green tea, and an oxidized oolong, respectively (but I would have suspected flavouring of some sort anyhow).

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I had a similar experience with this; tried it in-store for their free tea give away on February 29th, loved it, then bought some of my own to brew and it was just awful every time. Sometimes added sugar or agave helped, but more often than not it was just awful, no matter how long I steeped it. I like Mango Diablo and some of their other teas with dried mango, so I really wonder what it is with this tea.


Bleh. Oh well, it doesn’t really hurt me to encounter a tea I dislike! There are plenty I love :D And thankfully I only have one cup’s worth left, so I’m not stuck with a ton of something I hate. To be fair, I actually seem to remember my first cup of Mango Diablo being not terrible, and the reason I disliked it was because it tasted like bell peppers… but since then, I’m associating it with a flavour that just makes my stomach churn…

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drank Read My Lips by DAVIDsTEA
3034 tasting notes

Yummy!!!! So chocolatey and minty, but not gross whole-leaf peppermint like I dislike, more of a candycane sort of peppermint, which I find completely tolerable in conjunction with chocolate! I thought I would finish off the tin of this from the advent calendar last night, but alas, there was more than just 1.5 tsp in the tin, it was more like 2.5. So I left the rest for my roommate.

Anyhow, I’m drinking this one cold as well as it has sat since last night. It tastes pretty much exactly like liquid peppermint patties, which I actually really like. And aside from the lack of actual… chewable matter in my mouth, this is quite satisfying as a dessert tea! Definitely one to pick up if you love chocolate mint.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Whoops. Brewed this one up and had nary a sip. My bad. It was the last of the leaf too. Ah well, another oldie gone. Perhaps I can get some more in the future.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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Finished off the remainder of this packet today (sipdown!!); about 1.5 tsp in 8 oz. of water. A pretty tasty cup of dragon well, for sure – a fair bit of vegetal flavour, though not as much sweetness as had it been fresher, I suspect (this is like, 4-year-old tea, though it appears I only opened the packet for the first time about 4 months ago). Unluckily for me, I just accidentally choked on a big mouthful of it, and spit it all over my bed, marking the second time THIS WEEK that I’ve had to change my bed sheet due to a tea spill, and at least the third or fourth time in a couple months (although this is the first time it was due to choking). I have really got to work on this… not only am I wasting tea, I’m making messes! Thankfully I usually have spilled straight teas that are light in colour/flavour…

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

Wow, a 4 year old tea. I feel better about some of my teas that I drink that are quite old, too.

Do you have a favorite vendor for Dragon Well?


Yeah, I have some oooold teas! Put them in my “drink now!” pile, but I don’t have a lot of will to drink them since I have so much newer, more interesting stuff!

I actually haven’t tried a lot of dragonwells. I have some from Teavivre, and I’ve tried a couple others, so I know how they should taste, and can recognize when a tea is a bit older (sometimes). I personally really like Verdant’s Dragonwell-style Laoshan Green, and also their Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell.

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Wow. I made the most AMAZING cup of this last night! The aroma was absolutely amazing, 100% a strawberry crisp (rhubarb? not so sure). Oh man oh man! Hadn’t drank this one in a while.

Anyways, I ended up leaving the majority of the cup sitting overnight, and am drinking it now, and it’s just divine. Liquid strawberry crisp in a cup. Delicious light cinnamon aroma and flavour. You could convince me that there are oats in here too, although I think Frank is the only one who puts actual oats in his blends. Mmmmmmm. I can’t believe I ever didn’t care for this one! Clearly I was just doing it wrong. It’s absolutely amazing. Definitely a tea I’d repurchase (I wonder if it’s still available online?) Biiig rating bump.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Think i saw this in the store still….


This one’s from last year’s collection and has only been available online for a while now. I checked and it’s sold out online :( I think you’re thinking of Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait :) Also good, but not as good.

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drank White Whisper by Butiki Teas
3034 tasting notes

This tea seriously looked exactly like water when it was steeped. Just the barest hint of colour. There’s a wonderful sweet aroma emanating from the cup. Flavourwise, the tea is so light I can hardly taste it. It’s almost a.. corn nut? corn silk? sort of flavour with a bit of tea aftertaste.

I think I’m going to try the second infusion for closer to 10 minutes. This tea’s just a bit too light for me, personally, although the flavour hints at deliciousness.

ETA: Second infusion (82C for 10:15) has more flavour, and tastes kind of like sweet peas! Like, the flowers, not edible pea pods. Interesting! I think this tea simply needs a longer infusion time for me. Delicious, and so smooth.

165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Delicious! Reminds me of Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan quite a lot initially, even though it should taste quite different (I would think). There’s a light cinnamon undertone, a delicate bai mu dan flavour underneath, and citrusy notes at the forefront. This tea is marvellous. I love it!

Second infusion (4 min/82C) is definitely more lemony (like, a lemon verbena/lemongrass sort of lemony), and retains the bai mu dan flavour as well. I can’t really pick up the cinnamon this time.

Thanks so much for the sample, Momo! I’m surprised that even though this tea is nearly a year old, it’s still quite delicious!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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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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