396 Tasting Notes

drank Snow Day by DAVIDsTEA
396 tasting notes

I’ve been playing around with steep-times for this, and I think I’ve found a sweet spot at about three minutes or slightly under. The peppermint is still peppery, and damn strong, but it’s much more drinkable, and not quite so overbearing. I get a bit more sweetness coming through, tasting a bit like white chocolate. Not much more than that coming through.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This was the only tea out of the three new christmas ones they were advertising that DIDN’T have a sampler jug out, and it was the only one I was interested in. Since Murchie’s switched to a minimum of 50g last year (after they moved one street over downtown—I don’t know about the other locations), I decided to take a chance on it despite it containing almonds. Nothing against almonds, it just felt like they were trying to focus too much on the ‘nut’ in ‘chestnut’.

Dry, though, this smells strong and sweet. It actually smells like pancake syrup. That almost-but-not-quite-maple-generic-cornstarch-sweetness-for-your-eggos. Which, while delicious, was disappointing. Brewed, it smells a lot more subdued, and the actual smell of the tea mellows it out and makes it… MORE chestnut-like? It brews a nice, dark red-brown.

Taste-wise, it’s definitely sweet but not quite candy-sweet, with a touch of nuttyness that gives it an almost roasted character. Not maple-syrup. It didn’t quite come off as chestnut to me, but when I drank it the other night (new cup in front of me now) I noticed a more sweet-potato note as it cooled, which is pretty much how I describe chestnuts.

I feel like in order to really pin this tea down, I’d have to buy myself a bag of roasted chestnuts from downtown (or roast my own; I’ve done it before, though with limited success; though you can also get pre-peeled canned/bagged chestnuts) and nibble on them alongside a cuppa. I’m getting something of the taste of chestnut, but not quite the FEEL of chestnut.

All in all though, I do quite like it. Rolling it around a bit, I can tell it’s got a ceylon or nepal-like base, maybe blended with a china region. I wonder how this would taste with a really nice all-china base. There’s a few nutty and sweet/sweet potato teas that would do well with chestnut.

I’m marking this gamble a success.

Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Nutty, Pancake Syrup, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Cardamom French Toast by DAVIDsTEA
396 tasting notes

Y’know what this smells like to me? Shahi tukra. Sugary sweet french toast with spicy cardamom. I made it one time from an allrecipes entry, while looking for deserts with cardamom. It turned out delicious (though probably not at all accurate) and definitely smelt like this.

I had a cup of this yesterday as well while playing videogames. A good amount of cardamom, that’s really nicely smoothed out by the sweetness. Tastes almost syrupy, and caramelized.

Vancouver tea festival’s coming up.

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drank Snow Day by DAVIDsTEA
396 tasting notes

I tried some of this in-store, but they didn’t make it very strong so when I only tasted mint, I figured that was the reason and bout some anyways (because c’mon, lookit those snowflakes; and chocolate!).

I never really think about the different types of mint ‘peppermint, spearmint’, but goodness this puts the pepper in peppermint. I’m not tasting much else. Did five minutes, might need less than that. Not getting any chocolate, but kinda getting weak sweetness probably from the snowflakes.

I was hoping for a new caffeine free tea. It’s funny, I’m fine with mint in tea, but dislike mint-flavoured things (because they tend to overdo it and it gives me a headache). This might be too minty for me, though. We’ll see, I’ll probably play with the steeping a bit. I think I’m getting some of the white chocolate as it cools…

Really looking forward to the Honey Black tea for December, that looks interesting.

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drank Mount Kenya by Justea
396 tasting notes

Malty, with strong notes of ripe berries. Used to astringency in Kenyan teas, but the almost juicy fruitiness actually really reminds me of Sun-Moon Lake Taiwan assam teas (the most recent one I’ve got on-hand to compare is Oollo’s Red Jade; might do a comparison…). It’s really quite nice to try a full-leaf Kenyan black tea; really makes a difference. Was sipping this during work today, so it’s not fresh in my mind, and I’m a bit sleepy now.

Was actually hoping to pick up Justea’s hand-crafted black (I’ve got the oolong), but it’s a limited release as I understand it and not really easy to find in the grocery shops.

Flavors: Berry, Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Clipper
396 tasting notes

This was unexpectedly bitter. First time I made it I steeped it at four minutes, this time around, three minutes and it’s still rather strong. Don’t know if the bitterness comes from the bergamot flavouring oils or just the tea itself.

I picked it up because I like supporting local/Canadian companies, and as a bonus it was also being sold at a local independent home/kitchen accessories store.

I might just have to play around with steeping a bit more.

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drank Pu'erh Raw 2013 by Cultivate Tea
396 tasting notes

I wasn’t sure on this one in-store, but I got to try a little sample of it and ended up going for it.

Discarded the first rinse, then steeped for twenty seconds. It’s sweet and green, with a bit of citrus, maybe apple, rather than grass or spinach. It’s very smooth.

Second steep for 25 seconds was a little sharper, slightly vegetal, still mainly citrus. Still thinking of warm apple.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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Life Jack: Buy a samovar and use it as a daily hot-water dispenser for when you’re drinking tea that you’re not picky about water over. Or at least that’s my life plan. I’ll let you know how practical that ends up actually being.

Aroma: Honey with a touch of something vegetal.

Bright, almost brisk but very smooth. Mellows into honey-like sweetness, maybe darker. Raisin? I usually just say drop fruit. Each sip starts brisk, bright, followed by drop fruits and honey.

I’ve been drinking this for a while, but haven’t really gotten around to a proper review. Out of the Russian teas in the sample set I got, this one is definitely my favourite. I plan to reorder if I can, although What-Cha didn’t have the Russian teas separate last I checked (understandable, since they’re probably a bitch to get… damnit Russia).

Also back to the Tea Books again; been reading an independent published university study from the 60s on Tea Production, so expect there’ll be a post up on teatra.de about that. …Eventually.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Dark Chocolate Delight by DAVIDsTEA
396 tasting notes

Smells like Brookside chocolates. Specifically the blueberry ones.

Sort of a thick dark chocolate texture, vaguely reminiscent of chocolate chili chai, although there’s a touch of tartness under it from the blueberries. Not as strong as CCC, but that’s because of the chilis I figure. I was hoping you’d get a bit of that brownie-like taste that I like so much about it, but it’s not quite there. Similar, and I am surprised, actually, that something of the fruit makes it through.

Dusty dark chocolate with an after-tang of blueberries. Ceylon tea base, I think.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Sri Lankan Pumpkin Chai by 52teas
396 tasting notes

Actually smells like it contains pumpkin! I know a lot of these blends just use the spices associated with pumpkin, but I’m sure I’m getting a bit of that creamy squash.

Disappears a bit in the brewed version; more spice coming through. Subtle but still there in the first sip. Just sort’ve a creamyness that isn’t from the spices. Dominant nutmeg, cardamom. Cinnamon isn’t overpowering, luckily.

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A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, currently in the third year of university, majoring in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot or with the full gongfu set. It’s the highlight of a good day if I have time for a pot.

My notes and reviews will often sound dis-jointed, repetitive and confused, as I tend not to work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

I take my tea straight, with the exception of chais (or matcha); very rarely, I’ll sweeten things the Russian way. I also have a soft spot for earl greys.

I keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

And I’m a Doctor Who fanatic (Jon Pertwee, if you were wondering).

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann


BC, Canada



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