107 Tasting Notes

I’m stupidly obsessed with this blend right now.

I’m not actually sure just how that happened. I was walking around the store sometime a few weeks ago adjusting things and I felt a bit thirsty for something cold so I snagged a sample cup to sip. I’ve had it many times before, of course, but that time something happened and now I’m seriously addicted to it. I fill my Timolino with it every night before I go home, and make it in the mornings before I go to work.

And it’s AT work. I’ve lost my MIND.

Also, I’m THIS many. holds up four fingers Everyone else in the store likes the chai/chai blend best or something, but me, no, give me the one that tastes like JOOS.

I had a mom in with her son in one of those packs on her back buying a pound. She admitted to also being obsessed with this blend, and says that her son loves it as well and that they go through big pitchers of it. He was SO cute – just old enough to be speaking a bit and he kept anxiously squawking, “Where my TEA? Where my tea?!” Not old enough to be patient through a five-minute steep, see…

Sorry that I’m not around, guys. One of our core staff developed some sort of family problems, and all his eight-hour shifts got cut, so we’re all pulling overtime right now to cover him.

Only two days left until I can officially review the new ones!

Autumn Hearth

Yeah… I would sometimes empty a cup at the end of the night to take home to the husband and toddler, or even chug a bit if I was thirsty just because it was cold, but not as cold as a beverage newly made with ice. My son would have some when he visited but he also drank the Monkey Picked.

I personally have an issue that they pick such a tart tea that requires so much sugar to offer as the cold caffeine free option. Picturing our old manager telling parents how good it was for their kids because you could control the amount of sugar they drink as opposed to juice, still makes me squirm.

And yes I have seen many an addict come in for their juice/kool-aid fix. But obviously we have differing opinions on sugar and that’s fine. I do look forward to your reviews of the new teas!

Daniel Scott

Oh, I tell parents it’s got a lot of sugar in it, and that kids might not like it without sugar. Thing is, it STILL has less sugar than a juice box! I tell parents to play “sugar ninja” and cut the amount of sugar in it verrrry slowly to get kids adjusted to the taste of it without sugar. (Or at least less sugar, if not none. I personally wouldn’t drink it with none, either! But I drank SO MUCH Kool-Aid as a kid, maybe my view is less militantly anti-sugar, LOL.)

Of course, that’s unlikely to work without also controlling the sugar in the REST of their diet, but I can’t control that.

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MY MATCHA IS HERE! MY MATCHA IS HERE!! My cats are staring at me doing a dance around the house like, “WTF IZ U DOIN’?”

I was sitting at my computer doing some training manual prep for work, and I heard the mailman drop something in the box. So I trudged upstairs to see what bills we have…I thought briefly of the cheesecake matcha I ordered from Red Leaf Teas eons ago at the end of August, but I dismissed the thought because I had basically given up on ever seeing it.

(I would like to note here that I do not blame Red Leaf at all for the lengthy shipping time. In my limited experience, the customer service at Red Leaf is great. I once emailed the company about Amaretto not being listed as a flavour on the 2-in-1 custom matcha page – I didn’t realize that it was a new flavour – and I had an email back about it being corrected within an hour. When I ordered this matcha, I got an email confirmation that it had shipped the same day I ordered it, and the USPS tracking number indicates that it was shipped to the border in speedy time indeed.

So, Canada Post, where exactly has my matcha been in the two weeks PLUS since it crossed the border, hmm? Were you guys checking it for BOMBS, or something?!)

But now it’s here! It’s even here on the day that my mom is taking me out for Indian for my birthday. Since it got here in time for the birthday celebration, let’s just count that as arriving in time for my birthday. And it’s in my favourite birthday cake flavour!

Here was my order:

Cheesecake Matcha (Which you can get yourself here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cheesecake-matcha.html)
Matcha Quality: Starter (Basic Grade)
Size : Small
Flavor: Robust

The small because I already have a ton of tea and just wanted to try it, and robust because I am so new to matcha and a little intimidated by how strong the flavour of it is. (Translation: I tried it straight once and nearly spat it out.)

I also separately ordered a little tin, because I had heard that the bag the matcha arrives in is not reseal-able. This is true, but, also true to what other reviewers have said, it poured from the bag with little trouble!

The scent of this tea is strong – the moment I snipped the packet open, I got a good whiff of delicious sweetness. Although to be honest, I’m not sure it actually smells like cheesecake – my first thought is more along the lines of buttercream.

The color of the matcha is not like the matcha I’ve had before (which is brilliant green) – there’s more yellow to it. I wonder if that is because of the flavouring changing the color?

I debated how to try this the first time, because I’ve not had matcha before without plenty of sugar and milk to tone down the flavour, but that doesn’t seem like a fair way to review it. I settled on a scant teaspoon of rock sugar and a splash of milk for this. At some point I will review it straight up, but I’m not brave enough to do that yet.

I got the rock sugar dissolving while I sifted a teaspoon of this into my bowl. I was surprised at how well it sifted…the matcha I’ve used before seemed somehow sticky, almost as though it was a bit wet, and tended to coat my strainer. This stuff all went right through into the bowl.

With water added, this matcha turns an amazing and hilarious swampy green. Why has no one mentioned this in other reviews?! It’s really quite a color; pretty cool if it doesn’t freak you out.

The flavour of this is so interesting…it’s definitely matcha, but also definitely cheesecake. It’s very creamy throughout the sip; you don’t get a nasty surprise at the back. It’s sweet with just the tiniest hint of a cheesecake tang to it…it may well be tangier with less sugar in it, it may be entirely my fault for overwhelming the flavour that the tangy note doesn’t come through as strongly as the sweet notes. So that gives me another reason to try it straight. The description mentions the matcha having a spiciness to it, which is absolutely accurate…there is indeed a spice to it which really lingers pleasantly on the tongue.

This is so good and warming, and probably just the kick in the butt I needed today, because I’ve been kind of sleepy after a long week. I will definitely be ordering more stuff from Red Leaf! (Especially since I noticed they sell my favourite Finum filters. Teaopia used to sell them, but now that Teaopia is no more – near me, anyway – I’ve been at a loss as to where to get them.) I also have told my coworkers and the girls at DAVIDs about Red Leaf – my tea came with a little brochure about the tea, so I will have to show that around.

Did I mention I got my key and a promotion to team lead? Oh yes, I did!

So: Promotion. Birthday celebration today. AND MY MATCHA CAME.

Life is good.


Congrats on your promotion!


My first Red Leaf order came super fast. My second was shipped but got held up somehow by the post office. Like you, I don’t blame them. Something was wonky with the post office. The my Teavivre orders got held for two weeks in China, showed that they were in New York, and the other in New Hampshire, and boom, one of them comes today. Weird.


Happy Birthday and Promotion all in one!


Sounds likes good news day :) really glad the matcha made it….especially this flavour…mmmmmmmm


Have a wonderful bday!!!


Congrats!! happ bday to! yay matcha :P

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Went in to work yesterday afternoon stressed because I’m not scheduled for Saturday, so I needed to be pulling $95/hr Friday and Sunday to make my week…no pressure. Got there only to find out that one of our keyholders is still sick with food poisoning. Unfortunately, he happened to be closing with me. Who is. You know. Not a keyholder.

As it so happens, I had assured our new manager with some confidence that I can close the till. This is because I badgered the AM into showing me how, and then badgered a keyholder into letting me do it by myself while she basically watched over my shoulder. I didn’t have much of any trouble, because I have a good memory (for certain things…) but that was like…at least a week ago. I never thought I’d be put in a position to close by myself without at least one more practice run.

Nope! GM and the GM from another store who came in to help today both left before close (long hours), the girl who is a keyholder had to leave (long hours plus school tomorrow), and the GM called in Hopeless Guy to help me. Uh, yay? So I had to close with no key, and pray I screwed nothing up (particularly not locking the gate, since I wouldn’t be able to unlock it).

I initially felt bad about calling Hopeless Guy that just because he is a slow learner, but he is back to being called that since I discovered today that a) he still basically doesn’t know how the scale works (he selects the tea first – which should be almost the last step – and then puts the bag/tin on the scale and struggles to fill it…which results in tea going absolutely everywhere, plus he never wipes it off the scale before printing the label (THE EXTRA LEAVES YOU SPILLED ALL OVER THE SCALE ADD WEIGHT, DUMBASS); b) he’s been there with me for a month, worked at two coffee shops before Teavana, and still doesn’t grasp that ICE IS WATER, so I had to hastily remake one of his iced teas before he poured 16oz of tea over 8oz of ice in a 16oz cup and we had a horrible mess everywhere; c) he denies stealing sales deliberately, but also claims he knows how to properly attribute sales, despite the fact that he is apparently making almost 50 dollars more per hour for two weeks running than the AM. We try to help each other out and give our sales to each other when someone is struggling, but that’s ridiculous.

Needless to say, I ended up running bar like a madman (latte with soy, latte with skim, latte with skim and a shot of chocolate – sorry, what was it you wanted? a latte? one minute, coming riiiight up) while he took a half-hour at a time to close a sale at the counter, and then he half-assed cleaning the FetCos and did a half-assed sweeping job before bombing out and leaving me to struggle with the till and re-do all his “work” before I left. At least he was THERE, which I thanked him for – we made almost 400 dollars in our last hour-and-a-half, and I think I may have broken the Top 40 again – but I kind of want to hurt this guy.

By the time I got home I was so tired and stressed. I did so well that I technically only have to make $26/hr on Sunday (haha!), so that’s not a worry, but the whole day was tiresome. I worked an hour and a half worth of overtime closing the store and still didn’t manage to do all the dishes or clean to my standards, and too many people were kind of rude today in a way that really sticks in your mind. I decided that I wanted a peaches ‘n’ cream latte – I considered the very last of Birthday Cake (which I actually didn’t drink yesterday), but I didn’t think I had enough for a latte and I couldn’t handle a disappointment at that point so I decided on this combo.

Then I almost couldn’t find my Peach Tranquility! I don’t cry easily, yet I was literally almost at the point of bursting into tears, like All I want is this peach and cream latte, and now I can’t find my peachy tea, WAAAH, but I managed to hold it together and did find where I stuck the damn bag on my bookshelf.

And then, because it was so late by the time I did find it, I heated the milk on the stove instead of in the microwave. WHAT AN AWESOME CHOICE. This was the most amazing latte I’ve had in ages. Not too sweet, not too creamy…basically just perfect. Made me so happy! You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy tea… So I had peaches and cream tea, and curled up with my peaches and cream cat, and we went to sleep.

I’m waiting to hear now if they’re going to call me in today, but it’s already nine and no call, so hopefully not. If not, I’m going back to bed.

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Oh honey <3 for your sake I hope you get to spend today in bed!

Yogini Undefined

Aww sorry! But still, be proud that you did such a great job even when facing all of this other crap. Hope you have a restful day! :)


breath much? ack! hope your sunday goes better :)


Thank you so much for this insight into Teavana’s culture. Hopefully it will at least make us more sympathetic to those who work there. What a stressful working environment they seem to have created with their business model!

Daniel Scott

@Janefan – Haha, oh yeah, it’s a stressful working environment…for tea, anyway. In the world of sales though, it’s kind of small potatoes. Other Job that I’ve mentioned sold products that were no more expensive than the tea I sell at Teavana, but with ten times the sales goals. (Granted, Other Job was a bigger household name, so we did get more traffic as well.) What we make in a day at Teavana is generally what we were expected to make in an hour at Other Job. I was cash desk supervisor there, so I was responsible for training cashiers to be able to pump people through our 8 tills at a fast enough rate to hit those numbers. …LOL, I could go on and on about that place. The semi-transparent shopping bags we gave people so that we could see what they were buying/not buying while we stalked them through the store. The fact that we gave out a billion coupons to bring people in (to the point of literally standing outside the door and handing people coupons as they walked by so they’d come in), yet were still expected to get people to buy enough to make up for the coupon and hit a 30 dollar minimum purchase. The fact that we were expected to get every last penny out of even people who were there multiple times a week and clearly had a spending problem. (I had people tell me stories at the till like, “I climb up a tree outside my house and feed my shopping bags in through the bathroom window and then go in the front door and go hide them so my family doesn’t know I bought more stuff.”) The whole atmosphere of the store was homey and family-friendly layered atop corporate greed at the utmost. We got told at one point that the company had exceeded its sales goals for the years by 3 million dollars. I never got paid much more than 10 bucks an hour the whole time I worked there, never got a bonus, never got the promotion I was due because management kept hiring their friends, and in the meantime I memorized literally thousands of products and all their prices while keeping their shit POS machines running. I got nothing for it, basically.

Teavana now…Teavana is this chill little Mom ‘n’ Pop shop. They only WISH they were a sales giant like the above. LOL. But I’m getting better pay there now in a month of work than I did in 2 years at Other Job, I have a commissions-based chance at a monthly bonus, and most importantly I’ve had my smarts recognized with a promotion. So they’ve already done what the current managers at Other Job never had the brains to do.

I agree with some things Teavana does, and disagree with others. I actually agree with pushing the tins (the longer I drink tea, the more obvious it is that tea really does lose scent and flavour fast in a bag), I just wish they weren’t the size of my HEAD. I wish we had either small re-seal-able bags like DAVIDs or at least smaller, cheaper tins that it would be easier to actually sell people. I don’t mind being required to show the cast iron – it’s the big ticket stuff, every sales job wants you to at least show the pricey stuff off. I REALLY hate the sampling, but I guess that’s because it just doesn’t seem to work at all in Canada (don’t know if it works in America)…if people see you standing in the hall with a smile and a tray, they literally cross the hallway to avoid you. Don’t see how that’s supposed to bring in sales…

Anyway. Yeah. I know even before I hit “post” that this is going to be long. Sorry. The corporate attitude of Teavana is…interesting…and if it were up to me, I would break down and revamp their ENTIRE business model. But it’s not up to me, oh well! Being required to account for certain sales goals is kind of stressful, but I am used to it. And in the meantime, I get to actually talk to people about tea, which I love, versus a product I don’t care about. I had a guy in the other day curious about matcha, and I made him a ceremonial cup on the house just to show him step-by-step how to make it himself at home. He bought it and thanked me over and over and seemed really happy when he left…stuff like that, I never got at Other Job. So there’s a balance!

If I could ask one thing of customers everywhere (at ANY job I work at), it’s to not get mad at me for the upsell. I’m never personally very pushy, and I appreciate people who just politely say no and recognize I get paid to upsell, instead of yelling at me because they don’t like it.

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drank Birthday Cake by DAVIDsTEA
107 tasting notes

It’s my birthday today! Actually, the time I was born at was about an hour ago…so I’ve been 28 for an hour now, heh.

So I thought I’d dip into this one. I think I have two cups left; may as well drink them today.

I originally was not interested in this one out of DAVIDs’ “cake” teas. Mainly because I was informed that it tasted a bit like Oh Canada, and I truly did not like Oh Canada at all. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I just plain don’t like maple teas at all. Despite the fact that I like maple syrup (what kind of Canadian would I be if I didn’t like maple syrup?), maple flavoured teas make me feel pretty ill.

Then I heard some conflicting reports about how it tastes. Maybe not so maple after all…? I ended up picked up 10g to decide for myself.

I’m a bit stuffed up, so I cannot comment on the smell of anything much, but it does smell a bit like Oh Canada. It has sprinkles rather than the little maple candies though, which is an improvement.

And…I genuinely don’t know what in sam hell this actually tastes like. I can totally see where people are getting “gentler version of Oh Canada” from, but it doesn’t truly taste like maple. It doesn’t taste like vanilla, either…not really. It’s like the love child of vanilla and maple, really. Kind of creamy, but mostly just sweet. Not overbearingly sweet though (which I think is actually my biggest problem with most maple teas).

It’s really a comfort tea…not one that will blow your mind, but nice to have when you’re down or need something a bit celebratory that also isn’t too fancy or over-the-top.

So happy birthday to me! And to anyone else who has a birthday on the 13th of the most awesome month of the year.

P.S. Although it’s not a good birthday present to find out that your Red Leaf matcha order was apparently “delivered” to MINNEAPOLIS. (It normally takes about 10 business days to deliver here, and it’s been 11, so I finally checked the tracking number. Apparently it was “delivered” last week.) YOO-HOO, USPS, Canada is UP HERE!

Is there nothing I can do, guys? I haven’t had this ever happen before. :( At least it was cheap…

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Happy Birthday!!!

On the topic of redleaf, I didn’t think the tracking numbers worked once the package was across the border because it’s dropped into canada posts’s system, who don’t do anything but let it go through the usual route. If nothing else, reach out to red leaf – they’re great about responding to messages.

Daniel Scott

So “delivered” might not mean it’s actually been delivered? Oh, good thought, MN is right on the border, right? Yay, I will hold out hope it’s still coming, then.


Happy birthday!! Hope you tea order eventually makes it to you!!!!

Yogini Undefined

Happy Birthday Dan!! And yes, I was going to say the same thing as Sil – USPS doesn’t track on our side of the border. Here’s to hoping you get your matcha today! :)


Happy birthday!
About Oh Canada and maple tea.. I didn’t like Oh Canada by itself, way too much maple, so I blended it with black tea in a 16 oz mug with 1 teaspoon maple, and 1 teaspoon black tea. it was great you should try it!


Happy Birthday!


Happy birthday! I hope your yea package arrives!


Happy birthday! I hope you get your Red Leaf :)




Happy birthday!


I’ve had things read as “Delivered” before (only it was within my city) and they never showed up. They were either delivered to someone else, or left in the lobby of my building and stolen. Canada post always said their hands were tied, because “the item has been delivered” “Yes, but not to me” “Well ma’am, from our records here, it was delivered” “Yes…but I don’t have it” “I’m sorry ma’am, it was delivered, so you should have it” “But I don’t” “Well the tracking says it was delivered, and thats what we have to go by” etc. I contacted the retailer (luckily it was a larger company and not some very small business) to see if they could go through Canada Post and they couldn’t either and resent the package at their own expense. SO not fair to them either.

But yes, since MN is near the border, give your package another week. It might show up yet.

Also, happy birthday! Have a great day!


Happy Birthday! Hope your matcha comes soon!


Happy birthday tea bud! hope you get your matcha soon.


Hmm, I think if I ever get a maple-ish tea I’ll keep in mind the extra sweetness, hrmm, I wonder how it would taste with a Earl Grey? lol. I often find EG’s to be a bit too blunt.

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Sure, I actually have a “peaches and cream” tea. Possibly two… But that’s no fun.

Yogini Undefined

I haven’t tried to blend any teas yet, though I’d like to try. Is there any particular formula you use, or do you just wing it and hope for the best?

Daniel Scott

Wing it! I’ve had a few combos turn out horrifying, but often it works out great. Just think what might logically go together. Another thing that can help is to put the two teas side-by-side and smell them both quickly together. If they smell good together, there’s a good chance the tastes will blend well.

Of course, something basic like Honeybush Vanilla (it’s literally just vanilla-flavoured honeybush) will blend with practically anything.

Yogini Undefined

Great, thank you Daniel, I will have to give it a try and see how it goes :)

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So. Funny story about this tea:

At a staff party a while back, I asked my manager about the fact that there is a huge stash of tea stuck behind the water dispensers – some that appear to be those resealable bags from the gift sets, and a huge school-bus-yellorange Teaopia bag marked, “Blackberry Mojito.” She told me that it was all tea that the staff had been forced to damage out for some reason (the Blackberry Mojito having been dumped into the wrong tin, nothing else wrong with it), and that if I wanted some to take home to go hard. “TAKE IT! Get rid of it!” Well! Sweet.

So a few nights ago, the keyholder I was closing with and I went though them (there was at least two sets worth – what on earth happened to those gift sets? dropped in puddles of tea?) and took some bags, as well as measuring out bits of the Blackberry Mojito into smaller bags. We left the rest for others to ransack.

You know. Because I needed more tea.

Then we had a big staff meeting this week in which our regional manager asked us if any of us had taken damaged goods home, because that’s utterly Against Company Policy. (This wasn’t prompted by the water dispenser stash, incidentally – I don’t think she even knows it’s there.) Our AM jumped in to assure her that such a thing never, ever happens! No one has ever been allowed! Absolutely not!

…And we all kept up our best poker face. I’d be really, really surprised if there was someone there who didn’t have a chipped/scratched/slightly busted mug or pot at home that they got for free… But I guess we won’t be doing that anymore.

(And yes, “don’t take damaged stuff home,” has been the policy at every job I’ve ever had, but I also probably ended up at least a hundred bucks worth of free stuff from every job regardless, all okay-ed by management. I mean, waste not, right? And no, I’d NEVER sell it for a profit; I’m not that much of a dick.)

Hopefully she doesn’t find out about this tea, because I don’t want to get in any trouble for taking it. I was told it was okay to take…

Anyway! Tea! The brewing instructions are…baffling. Seventy-nine degrees, okay. One-and-a-half teaspoons per eight ounces, okay. Four to five minutes steeping time – HOLY BALLS WHAT. WHAT.

Who steeps a white tea for five minutes?! And of course it’s one of the tea types which is “highlighted,” meaning it will get bitter if steeped too long. Um.

Then again, “The Tea Companion” (a book we sell) which I just consulted says that Yin Zhen should steeped for 15 minutes(!). Hmm.

So I’m kind of experimenting with this one, eight ounces at a time. I’m starting off first with 1.5 teaspoons of leaf, steeped at two minutes, which I will try two infusions of. Then I will compare that to an infusion of new leaves steeped the recommended time.

The leaves smell very earthy, with a sweetness riding on top. I brewed my first spoonful in my TeaMaster to give the pearls lots of room to unfurl. They look super-cool unfurling…like little snails coming out of their shells at first, and by the end of the steep there’s a little garden growing on the bottom of my TeaMaster! …Although floating on top, there is a…I can’t even legitimately call it a “twig,” it’s like a damn tree branch. Admittedly, I didn’t even catch it in my spoon. How on this green earth did I miss that sitting in the spoon?!

First infusion: [Two minute steep.] Um. Well. First impression: tastes like water. Second impression as it cools as bit: tastes like liquid hay. (Hallo, China!) The second impression never fades. I feel like a horse. CHOMP. CHOMP. CHOMP.

Second infusion: [Two minute steep] …Okay, this is better. Gosh, maybe it should be infused longer! It’s a bit bitter, especially when hot, but that’s my fault. I was kind of lazy about waiting for the water to cool a bit, and I’m pretty certain it was too hot when I poured it over the leaves, so they took a beating. Slap my hand! (Oh variable temp kettle, wherefore art thou?) There’s more body. It’s still earthy and hay-like, but a bit sweeter. Admittedly I added two rock sugar crystals to try to bring out any sweetness, so it might just be that. (I know, I know, I’m such a lazy poop, I should have kept the variables the same, but I can’t be arsed to drink more than 3 cups of the same damn tea in one day!) The bitterness isn’t as bad when it cools.

Five minute steep: I was relatively precise (it’s not an oxymoron, shush) with this one, so I can’t be accused of mucking it up. I used a thermometer to get the temperature to 82 degrees (because I didn’t think to hot my TeaMaster before spooning the leaves in, so hopefully that evens out to around 79) and hit my timer at the moment the water touched the pearls. No sugar.

I spent the whole time watching the pearls unfurl. Some of them sort of swam around like ships in space, which was fun. One sank, and then immediately bobbed back to the top and unfurled at the surface. The physics of that baffles me; but then, I’m working full time in retail right now because I flunked physics, so…

The smell of the liquor is really strong, very earthy. I’ve honestly not run across a white tea yet that smells like this. It’s a little odd to me. Is this odd? Is this just me being a newb?

The taste, again, is earthy and hay-like. There is definitely some sweetness to it, but I have to concentrate fully on the taste to find it. This isn’t one I’d drink while distracted, that’s for sure. To be honest, there’s startling little difference between this and the second infusion of the last set of leaves. It’s drinkable. I’m finding it better as it cools, actually, and although the liquor is earthy when it’s in my mouth, there is an aftertaste which is light and sweet that I’m actually getting to really like.

Unfortunately, I don’t see most of the bottled Arizona green tea lovers who come in to the store for the first time liking this one at all, and I’m distressed that I’m meant to push it hard. If I push any straight white, why the hell not the Silver Needle? I’m sure it would go over better. Teavana, why do you hate repeat customers?

Regarding that staff meeting, we are getting a bunch of new stuff soon. New stuff going on the wall, some of which I think will really take off… I don’t think I can get away with saying more than that (nothing’s on the web site yet), but we’re genuinely excited. We get to taste-test this week. And new merch soon, some of which looks really good. Mom already wants some, ha! We also discussed more about how the hierarchy of Teavana works, because it is different from Teaopia and we are getting new management. Then we had a fun time cleaning the store in preparation for rearranging the merch and hanging out.

We did, towards the end, role-play the selling process some more, and a bit of a fight broke out between the associates and the RM. We tried to explain that the selling process feels too American and aggressive to us, not in keeping with Canadian culture. We ended up having a long, loooong talk about how to meet the standards of the selling process without ever accidentally confusing or deceiving the customer. She told us that if anyone ever gets to the till and reels in shock when we announce the price, then, “You have not done your job communicating the price of what they’re buying to the customer in the first place. That’s completely your fault.” Which seems like a fair criticism to me. I don’t entirely know how to feel about what we discussed – the RM sells like she does it in her sleep, and never by confusing or pushing the customer, but she’s also one of the most persuasive people I’ve ever met. I think we all feel like we – as individuals – don’t have the skill or talent to pull it off the same way, but I guess I will try to copy her and see what happens.

Also, I told her I am looking to apply for Operations lead (e.g. keeping track of supplies) – she originally asked me to be Merch lead, but I don’t want that job so much. She seemed excited that she has someone outright asking for the more “boring” job, heh. I haven’t got the position yet, but I think I will start an Operations notebook to keep track of supplies, and maybe rearrange our (messy) storage after my shift tomorrow night. I think that will look good.

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One of the heavy ironies of my new job is that I seem to be drinking less tea. Sure, I’m surrounded by it; but I don’t drink more than the 1-3 cups I’ve long had at work, because there’s no bathroom in the back and I hate public washrooms. (Plus, I’m working!) And my hours are so much longer now…which is good, but it means less time to drink tea at home!

I like this one, yet I don’t. I don’t know. It’s chocolate-y, but not too much. It’s got a nice strong cinnamon overlay, but it’s not overwhelming. The flavours blend fairly well. It won’t exactly bowl you over, but I’ve had it as a latte, and it was really good as a latte.

And that’s really about all I have to say about it. I don’t know. I guess I’m tired today. And somewhat tired of sweet/chocolate/“cake” teas today, for reasons I can’t identify. I’m feeling the tea equivalent of blue balls at the moment. Nothing is satisfying me at the moment, and I don’t know why.

Maybe I’m just wiped out. One of our new staff has been a bit of a no-show lately, and I’ve had to pull overtime hours on top of full time. So yeah, maybe just too tired to really absorb the stuff I’m drinking lately.

Not that I’m complaining! Work has mostly been fantastic. Although yesterday was so slow that I don’t know if we even made enough to cover staffing costs. It’s not even like we could really sample much, because the mall was so dead that pretty much only FedEx and UPS guys were walking by in the hall! I’m scared we could get into trouble for that, but I don’t know what else we could have done. We only got a shipment of one box, and ran out of things to clean. So I just worked on my training manual, my coworker read some Sherlock Holmes, and I said to him at one point, “You realize we’re getting paid to sit and drink tea? What a great job.”

Then the most awesome customers came in! A white guy and his [presumably] Chinese wife who told us that they’d been living in China for 10 years before coming back to Canada. They were curious about Japanese tea – especially matcha – and looking for a variable temp kettle. I tried hard to sell them on either the Breville One-Touch or the Zojirushi. They seriously considered both, but agreed that neither worked because they need something with a longer spout for the Chinese tea ceremony they do, which I’m afraid I didn’t recognise.

Then they spent an age talking to us about tea! They told us horror stories from other tea shops they’d tried farther north in the city, then we talked about matcha. I was blunt about the quality of mall tea, and the fact that our matcha is not exactly top grade – which they didn’t seem surprised by, haha – but they wanted to try it anyway. So we did them up a couple of matchas on the house to show them how it works. I made the husband a ceremonial bowl (and I was super stoked to get really pro foam when I was explaining it!) and my mix master co-worker whipped up some flavoured combo of oolong and matcha. They thanked us and told us we were doing really good for people so new to tea and working in a tea store, way more professional than other tea shops in the city, that they appreciated “all you do,” and that they’d be back with some Chinese greens for us to try. YAY!

They didn’t buy anything, but you can tell the difference between a customer who truly wasted an hour of your time with no intention to ever buy, and a customer who will definitely be back. They’ll be back, and I look forward to seeing them again.

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That is an awesome work story.


Where do you work? Teavana?

Daniel Scott

@MegWesley – I know, right? It’s definitely people like that that make you happy to go to work.

@Rachel – Yep, Teavana.

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1) I just had an old tasting note jump to the top of my feed. What?
2) My stomach is giving me crap for the pizza I ate tonight, and so I am having this. And it just does not work as well as New Delhi Delight, which makes me sad. I will have to pick up the other soon.
3) No other comments because I had booze at a party tonight and I don’t want to have to erase shit in the morning.


If someone edits, corrects a typo, anything, it jumps back to the top!

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So there’s a wee bit of a smokey note to this tea. I say “a wee bit” because I noticed it but it didn’t set off my asthma. My mother may disagree though, because she said she came downstairs from her bedroom afraid that something in the house was burning. The ingredients just say “black tea” though, not “lapsang souchong” so I think it’s just the flavouring. It does certainly catch a hint of smoke in the smell though, as well as something else which reminded me strongly of some sort of hard booze. Unfortunately, I can’t place what. Rum, maybe?

I was perturbed by the sheer number of twigs that appeared to be in this blend until I noticed the ingredients also listed “kukicha.” OH. Well, then. Of course, thinking it was solely a black tea at that point, I had already poured just-boiled water over it, but it seemed to hold up well regardless. I am totally unfamiliar with kukicha green tea by itself, unfortunately, so I have no idea what it is contributing to the taste.

The tea itself is surprisingly laid-back and mellow. I really expected more punch to it, but it’s not there. That’s okay; it’s quite nice regardless, with a mild sweet spice to it and a creaminess at the back. I felt it was a little weak though, even at a 4 minute steep. So I naturally did what you’d do to any weak black tea – right? – and poured milk into it. I mean, why not?

It’s great with some milk, warm and comforting. But…overall, it’s just a wee bit bland, oddly enough. I’d take either Pumpkin Chai or Glitter & Gold over this one, yet I also feel like this is maybe one that could grow on me. I don’t normally review on the first cup – I like to let the impressions of several cups come together – so I may come back to this one and re-review anything about this tea I may have missed.

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Aweee bummer I was hoping this was sooooo good I HAD to place a DT order. Just saved me some money though! :)


I have seen so many reviews for this tea recently, even the mediocre ones make me want to try it just to see what the fuss is about haha

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No tasting notes yet? Not even from DAVIDs? …Odd. I’m the first!

And this is my last $1 summer tea before Labour Day, so time to retire that rather leaky but money-saving mug. I’m pretty sure I got my money’s worth out of that mug, so I’m satisfied.

As my new manager would say…HOLY BALLS GUYS, this is amazing! It’s an herbal, and I’m trying to mostly stick to actual camellia sinensis for the most part these days…but what a winner of an herbal! If you don’t like this one, you are wrong. Yes, you are wrong!

Strawberry and rhubarb are maybe not two flavours I would think to put together, but that’s just more evidence that I shouldn’t be a tea blender, because they go perfectly together!

This tea is tart, naturally, because it contains both rhubarb and hibby. Actually, hibiscus is the second listed ingredient…which would have scared me if I had seen that before I bought it. But no, this is not a tartness which is badly blended and out of control. This is a perfectly balanced tartness! I am, as you know if you’ve read maybe two of my reviews, a freak for sugar, but I drank the unsweetened sample in the store and practically chugged it down! It was nice and refreshing and not too tart even without DT’s agave, so if you drink your tea without sweetener and are cringing at the listed ingredients – have no fear! It is perfectly drinkable without sweetener.

With agave though, I had a hard time rationing my mug on the way home (don’t want to run out of fluid when it’s still pretty hot out). Agave brought out the sweetness of the strawberry just that little bit more. Although I should note that it seems like a very natural strawberry flavour to me – sweet and tiny bit tart in and of itself. Any of you guys remember the cloying artificial flavour of the strawberries in Strawberry Shortcake? Well, it’s not here.

I’ve only had this iced so far, but I bet it would be amazing hot! Like strawberry rhubarb pie, or something.

The best herbal from DAVIDs since Tropicalia! Color me very impressed.

On another note (and this is a vent about my job, so skip it if you haven’t been reading that)…my local DT is finally, finally hiring.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW CHOKED I AM RIGHT NOW. Seriously, only a few weeks after I got a job at a different tea store? The universe hates me!

Part of me wants to up and quit Teavana on the spot and apply to DT, but…I won’t do it. I discussed this with one of the girls there (cute and very friendly and chatty with me, I was her first “big sale” if I remember correctly) and she told me that because the job is SO great (rub it in, right?) no one ever quits…which has the downside of actually meaning that so many people work there that no one ever gets really good hours, and full time is out of the question. I really need the money I can pull doing full time right now, so I guess it’s for the best. (And I was just getting the matcha smoothies down!)

Plus, now I know for coming years that the “tiny blip” of time when they hire is at the start of September. Did my paperwork from Teavana mention a grace period before working for a competitor? I think it did, so I’ll have to double-check.

My last day at Other Job was yesterday. They didn’t even try to keep me – practically kicked me out the door, in fact – even though, a) I have the highest seniority of any associate, am the most knowledgeable and competent person currently working there, know our complex POS machines like the back of my hand, and constantly bail out the management when they don’t know how to handle a situation, so I’m a horrible person to lose for the coming Christmas season, and b) they’ve begged every other recent quitter – including high school students – to stay. Now they don’t even have a cash desk supervisor (because, you know, that was me) and the one girl who could maybe do it is quitting.

An old friend who transferred away from Other Job’s location when we got new management warned me months ago to bail on Other Job because the new management is very politically conservative, and he felt that both he and I, as queer employees, were being used for our competence but otherwise treated like dirt out of their homophobia. I wasn’t sure then, but now I really have to wonder, because they are the only management of that store that has ever seemed to dislike me or think I was anything other than awesome.

Oh well. I’m angry, but it’s their loss and it’s done. Now I live in Tealand (as the staff calls it), for the time being and for better or worse!


Ugh, that’s frustrating. Have a cup of tea and relax :)


yes all problems can be solved by tea :D All the people I’ve met at a David’s Tea store are happy helpful people. Just think with your full time pay you can afford…. you guessed it more tea! :D


We have strawberry rhubarb pie here in Kansas at all the local farmers markets so yes that is a “thing” and it is VERY good if you like Rhubarb!
Hang in there on the job front. Its SO hard to get work at all these days and office politics seems to be taking a forefront more than ever these days!

Daniel Scott

@Michelle – the number of times I’ve been to the washroom today testify that I am very relaxed, LOL.

@Helena – Believe me, I know! I plan to buy a One-Touch with my staff discount when I have a bit more saved up.

@Azzrian – Yeah, bad managers can get away with so much more these days because people cannot afford to quit. I was watching a news special on “dealing with bad bosses” recently and it basically sounded like how you’d tip-toe around your batterer if you were in an abusive relationship… Hard to explain, because surely your boss is not going to hit you, but it was really creepy to imagine people everywhere putting up with abuse at work. “Record it and report them” isn’t even the advice anymore because you will still need a job and might not get another one. Chilling.


Oh, Daniel, I hope it all works out, and more wonderfully than you can imagine right now! Look for good things ahead.


OMG, am just catching up on this sage and left you a “Good for you!” message about quitting the Other Place to work for Teavana. Now I’m hoping more opportunities open up for you soon and that you’ll land where you will be happy AND adequately paid.

Autumn Hearth

Ohh I totally feel your pain on the DAVIDs front. As for the old job f*** homophobia! I hope that wherever you go or stay you are happy and appreciated for your talents.


this sounds delicious… it’s one of the few DT’s i’ve wanted to try..


So it is good hot as well as iced? I’ve only had it iced, thus far, and considering the hibby is listed second, I can actually tolerate it. I’m not sure if that’s just iced or not, since I handle hibby better iced.

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I’ve always been a tea drinker – I grew up drinking Tetley’s Orange Pekoe and their Chai, and considered myself to really like tea.

I’ve been working various retail jobs to put myself through higher education. One day at my store, a customer left a newly purchased bag of loose-leaf behind. We waited for three days for said customer to return, but they (likely not realizing where they had left their bag) did not return to claim the would-be brew. Too bad for them; lucky for me! I claimed the bag, took it home, and awkwardly made my first cup of loose-leaf tea with the only strainer we owned which was small enough.

I haven’t bothered with Tetley since. For the most part (and due to convenience), my patronage is limited to David’s Tea and Teavana. I also order from 52teas and Verdant Tea.

My rating system – hah, I don’t have a rating system. I rate teas a lot like Ebert rates movies. Everything’s relative.

I may often forget to mention it, but you can safely assume everything I drink is sweetened in one way or another – most rock sugar, or honey for green and white teas. I have not yet achieved drinking most tea clear. The few teas I drink unsweetened include milk oolong and genmaicha so far.

The guy in my avatar can be bought at Teaopia or here: http://www.jas-etea.com/products/Jingdezhen-%22Easy%22-Gaiwan-%22Blue-on-White-Phoenix%22-100ml.html

I currently work for Teavana. But I just work there, and my opinions about any of their teas are entirely my own and not meant to be reflective of the views of the company.

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