4451 Tasting Notes

drank Ruby Red by DAVIDsTEA
4451 tasting notes

After all the really caffeinated teas this morning there was a definite need to switch to something herbal or decaf, and this was cold brewing in the fridge so I strained it and am enjoying it now. It’ll probably be the last brew of the night…

The dry leaf of this one is surprisingly much more grapefruity than I expected; I kept imagining something weakly grapefruity flavored or something over the top sweet/candy like but this smells surprisingly very bold and true to form. I can smell the lemongrass too; paired with the grapefruit it’s lively and fresh.

The taste isn’t nearly as bold or vibrant as the smell, but it still packs a strong punch: the red grapefruit flavor is strong and accurate with a bit of natural tang and sourness especially in the top of the sip, and a whisper of bitterness. The body/mid sip is much sweeter comparatively and the finish is more mellow. I can taste the lemongrass faintly, as well as softer apple notes and the rose, especially in the aftertaste. There’s a very comforting, round flavor to this blend and it feels very layered.

I have enough leaf left for a hot infusion, and I definitely look forward to it. I can imagine there’s definitely going to be some differences in flavor but I expect it will be equally as lovely. This one definitely made my evening a lot better!

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This is a queued tasting note.

Cold brew – accurate Saskatoon berry flavor. Really, I’m not gonna use this note for tea related stuff though. I badly need to vent about some work bullshit.

We’ve been having a lot of drama at work recently; and I guess that comes with half of the staff in my department being high school students but this week really takes the cake. One of our most recent courtesy clerks (the people who gather carts, do price checks, keep the bathrooms clean, bag groceries, etc.) was fired for a very memorable reason; sending unsolicited nudes to about 80% of the other courtesy clerks.

Seriously; I don’t understand what the fuck she was thinking. Like, these were literally deliberately taken pornographic pictures which she sent to male and female staff alike without any prompting from anyone. On top of that, she posted them on Facebook. How attention seeking, and probably troubled, do you have to be? The assistant manager in the kitchen even wound up being sent them, which is probably the most problematic part; she’s 16 and he’s in his mid twenties. That’s so illegal. And the fact he now has child porn on his phone (even though he deleted his phone, you can’t really delete stuff like that) could potentially cause so many problems for him. It doesn’t help that a lot of the female highschoolers find him moderately sketchy already; now there are rumors going around that he sent pictures back to her and it’s just one big cluster fuck. It’s so hard to sift out what’s actually true, and what’s just wide-spread gossip.

But seriously; I don’t really have an issue with nudes in general; but for one you don’t just repeatedly spring them on people (especially when they’ve asked you to stop). It’s all about the consent, people! And for fuck’s sake – if you’re underage you simply SHOULD NOT be taking pictures like that. At all. Period.

They wound up getting in the hands of my manager; she’s dating one of the highschooler’s father and he (the highschooler) was sent the pictures. When he asked her to stop and she didn’t he threatened to tell our manager and she threatened to get him beaten up if he did. Regardless, he told her – and she fired the girl’s ass.



Holy cow. That is some drama. Wow. Sorry you have to go thru all that.


16!? and she uploaded them to facebook…what the heck??!!

Maddy Barone

That’s crazy.

carol who

It really makes you wonder about so peoples decision making skills! Crazy!

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I did 4/7 of this weeks cuppings for class this afternoon. I have such a bad caffeine buzz going on right now; I feel like I should be doing something super productive like running a marathon or filing taxes or something. At the same time, I feel like I could keel over any minute and have a heart attack…

I don’t want to post the whole cupping sheets from the ones I reviewed today, like I did with last week’s teas so I guess I’ll just summarize key stuff.

I did the same Silver Needle and Ti Kuan Yin as last week – the purpose of which was to go back and see what new things we could notice, especially now that we’ve done more readings. This week’s reading was basically a super big glossary of descriptive terms used for cupping/professional tastings – many were already familiar to me through reviewing here on Steepster but there were some new ones, mostly in regard to how to describe the dry leaf appearance of tea. I still really liked the silver needle, though something about the oolong tasted different; it was almost sweeter and more fruity trying it this time.

The big thing from this week was the green tea; in addition to learning about tea tasting terminology we learned more about the process of making each type of tea from picking it until the finished process. Part of this was doing a side by side comparison of a Chinese pan fried green and a Japanese steamed green (a sencha).

I really didn’t like the Chinese one, but I did feel like I made leaps in my understanding of nomenclature for green teas. I’ve always had a harder time describing green tea. Comparatively, I found the Japanese one much, much more enjoyable and it caused me to have an epiphany of sorts. It’s always been obvious to me that green tea is my least favourite type of tea but I know there are some exceptions to that; matcha, Genmaicha, Hojicha primarily. Well, all of those are kinds of Japanese green tea which is something I’d never noticed before. Steamed > Pan Fried, I guess. It’s neat knowing that maybe I just need to put more effort into exploring that class of green tea though, instead of somewhat writing off the type all together.

Gotta do the last three cuppings on Tuesday; two different black teas and a Pu’Erh.

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Sipdown (122)!

So this is my 900th tea rated! That’s a pretty cool milestone; here’s to nine hundred more! In reality, I probably hit 900 a while ago – but because there are different teas grouped under the same entry (I’m thinking the “Random Steepings” entry specifically) it only counts as one thing rated. Even still, it makes me feel proud and accomplished to have tasted so many different things!

I grabbed this blend on the day it was released; I was stocking up on the summer blends and actually had no intention of grabbing this one but the lack of reviews (negative or positive) at this point combined with the smell of the dry leaf – which was strongly raspberry and strikingly familiar made me curious enough to grab an 8g sample – just enough for a cold brew!

In addition to the dry leaf smelling very familiar and strongly of raspberries it’s also very apple-y, with punchy lime notes too. I get very little from the mint itself. Which on one hand I’m ok with because the idea of a raspberry mint tea actually have very little appeal to me, but at the same time it defeats the purpose of this being a mojito inspired tisane.

I really like how this one tastes; it’s predominantly sweet, plump raspberries with just a sliver of tartness. It still tastes incredibly familiar to me and it makes me feel a little nostalgic but I still can’t figure out why. I tried going through DT’s former raspberry blends in my head, but I couldn’t think of any that compare to this blend. Then I thought maybe it was similar to RiverTea’s Infinite Good Feeling tisane (which is my favourite raspberry tisane; I’m still mourning the loss) but that’s not it either.

Regardless, the wonderful raspberry taste is only strengthened with sweeter notes of apple and ripe, fresh lime. It reminds me of a really good fruit salad but also of a sticky sweet Slush Puppy; the line between candy and realistic fruit is very closely tread with this blend. The mint doesn’t play into this blend that much to me; maybe I just didn’t get a lot with my small sample but I barely pick up on the taste. So, this one definitely doesn’t remind me of a mojito – but I did really enjoy it.

Flavors: Apple, Fruit Punch, Lime, Raspberry


Holy shit, congrats! It’s going to take a lot longer for me to get that far.




Awesome! Congrats!


That’s great! Congrats!

carol who

900! Wow!


900!! I can barely make it out of the 200s! Congrats!

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Sipdown (123)!

Finished this one off hot in plain water yesterday at work; I worked a 3-11 shift – the first I’ve done in weeks. I actually love working evenings/late nights – but because I’ve got a very open availability I get scheduled all over the place and lately I’ve been doing 9-5 shifts; definitely not my favorite thing.

I think this was marginally better hot/in water – while it still tasted very floral, especially given this is cranberry matcha, it was also much less artificial/perfumey tasting. I definitely continued to get an “unsweetened cranberry juice” vibe from this one. I’d totally drink it again; but I can’t see myself actually ordering more. There are so many other flavors that appeal to me more.


I always preferred evening shifts when I worked in retail too. NOT a morning person!

And good to know that this isn’t as artificial. I’ve kind of gotten scared away by their fruit flavours after trying a few and finding them to be way too artificial.


Interesting- as much as I am not a morning person, I personally prefer the early shifts because then I have the rest of the day to myself. But then again when I was in high school and early college I always preferred afternoon/ evening shifts because back then I would stay in bed until I had 10 minutes until I had to leave (I’m bad, I know). To each their own, I guess!

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Finished off the 25g bag of this from VariaTEA yesterday as a cold brew; now I’m just down to the tin I filled up with it. Still not sick of it yet; and I’ve gone through a lot of it. However, probably going to set it aside for a while – I’ve got lots of other stuff to explore and sipdown in the meantime.

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Sipdown (124)!

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”
- Harvey Dent

It’s a shame I’ve gone through so much of this tea that I’m saying goodbye to it at a point where I genuinely don’t care about it at all anymore. It’s lost its luster, and if I never see it again I wont mind. However, I think I’m going to leave my high rating for this one up because I’ve just grown tired of it – I don’t think the tea itself has changed at all. If that makes sense…

carol who

Love Hitchhiker’s Guide.

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Sipdown (125)!

Well, this wasn’t as bad as the penultimate brew. It was more peach than ginger; and a lot less ‘dirty’ tasting. Without getting more soapy, that is. I’m happy to be done with it!

Today’s word of the day is… Qualm!

Qualm means: “an uneasy feeling or pang of conscience as to conduct”.

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I’ve never really thought of cranberry as a flavour that I needed to experience as matcha; however when I saw it as one of the options for the sampler I knew I had to try it out. Cranberry is a consistent favourite flavour of mine in teas. Opening up the sample packet, it definitely smells pretty strongly of cranberry – like an unsweetened cranberry juice.

I prepared 1/2 tsp. of the matcha in my chawan, but with cold cashew milk instead of regular milk or water. The cashew milk doesn’t froth very well, but it gets very thick and it takes a long time for the matcha to resettle and separate.

This definitely nails cranberry right on the head, but with a very floral and perfume like component. I think this is in part from the matcha itself, but also from the flavoring used. Sometimes Red Leaf Tea’s fruit blends have a tendency to taste somewhat chemical or artificial and I think that’s happening a little bit here. While I don’t mind the floral notes, the “perfume” is very fake tasting and detracts just a little from the overall flavor. I would absolutely be nervous trying this one as a flavor level like “Robust”. I can’t even imagine what it would be like at the “There’s matcha in there!?” level – probably bad.

It is weird experiencing the flavor cold and paired with the light flavor of cashew (from the milk) but in a pleasant way. Harney & Sons has a blend called Boston which is the pairing of cranberry and almond, and the pairing of flavors here reminds me of that tea. This aspect of the matcha works well for me; though obviously not everyone is going to have access to cashew milk to try it this way.

I think I’ll have fun tinkering around with this blend; there’s room for improvement for sure, but if you like the taste of cranberry it’s absolutely worth giving this one a shot!

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This review is for the Blueberry Jam infused Chocolate Bar currently being sold.

There wasn’t an entry for the chocolate bar so I’m just going to group it here instead of making a new entry; I couldn’t find it listed on the DT site and I don’t have the packaging from my bar anymore to make an accurate listing anyway.

Blueberry Jam is one of, if not, my favourite blends from DT so I was absolutely excited to see that they’d featured it as one of the chocolate bars: although I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate so that did hinder the excitement some.

It was pretty good though; the dark chocolate (I THINK this is my first DT Chocolate Bar that used the dark chocolate) was actually much less bitter/strong than I expected so for someone who leans away from dark chocolate normally that definitely suited my tastes. Sadly, the blueberry flavour was also pretty mild: my experience with other DT chocolate bars has been that the infused tea is pretty in your face and this was absolutely subtle. It was just a soft blueberry undercurrent present with each bite.

Amazingly, however, there were not hard “chunks” or “bits” like I experienced with the Sunny Citrus or Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait bars – there were a few more ground up bit of leaf or dried out blueberries, but no where near the hazard that was present with the possibility of biting into a straight hibiscus petal like the other blends. Not sure if that’s because DT listened to criticism about the large chunks of tougher ingredients, or because this blend has fewer of those to become hazards.

Overall I did enjoy this a lot – but I wouldn’t repurchase it. It just wasn’t that mind blowing to justify the cost of a $5 chocolate bar…

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer living in Saskatchewan, Canada. I started drinking loose leaf fairly casually three(ish) years ago, and at some point between then and now that ‘fun little hobby’ turned into a serious obsession.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC trained Tea Sommelier!

Typically I drink flavoured blends more that straight but one of my mini goals is to get that ratio to a more 50/50 level. I do a daily cold brew, and have at least (but usually a lot more) two hot cups of tea every day. Naturally I lean towards black or white blends and as of late oolongs but I WILL drink everything; the last half year or so I’ve been challenging myself by further exploring Oolong and Pu’Erh which are the tea types I know the least about overall.

My Goal for The New Year (2017) is to make time for at least one long, proper Gong Fu session every week because it’s something I deeply enjoy doing but struggle to make time for…

My default for preparation is Western Style with zero additive. The exception to this is matcha which I drink in straight milk with no additives. So unless I mention otherwise you can assume that I’ve prepared my tea Western style without added ingredients/sweeteners.

Favourite flavours/ingredients: Pear, Lychee, Cranberry, Cream, Melon, Pineapple, Malt, Roasty, Petrichor

Least favourite flavours/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger/“Chai” in general, overly vegetal or marine, chamomile, sometimes mango or peach

I also have a severe allergy to mushrooms; as such I do not drink Kombucha teas (just to be on the safe side)!

Currently exploring/looking to try: Straight Pu’Erh or Dark/Roasted Oolong, Sweet Potato flavoured blends or straight teas with strong sweet potato notes, and anything with Goji berries

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot

If you see me writing about sharing tea with any of them that’s what I’m talking about ;)

I also have two real life pets:

A skinny pig hairless guinea pig named Eilert, after Henrik Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler, and a fancy rat named Wasabi.

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.

The URL to my tumblr blog is: guyfierithirdandfinalantichrist


Regina, SK, Canada



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