636 Tasting Notes


1.25 tsp for 300mL water @95C, stepped 4 minutes.

I’ve been hoarding this one for at least four years now. I really should drink it up.

That said, it ages extremely well, getting more oaky and winey.

It’s a bit more smoky than one might expect, but that goes great with the oaky and butted-toast notes.

I love a good Keemun. This one, as I recall, was sensibly priced. I’ve had fancier Keemun, and I’ve had some disgraceful slop called Keemun, bit this one is just lovely.

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1.25 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Dry leaf: lots and lots of fruit pieces and oat straw. Not much actual tea. The label says “low caffeine.” Yeah, I bet. This looks much more like a tisane than anything. And tisanes are fine. It’s just one of my peeves with DavidsTea: the blends generally contain very little tea. No pu-ehr aroma, which is fine with me, as pu-ehr and I, despite repeated attempts, just don’t get along. Lots of peachy scent.

Wet leaf: reconstituted apple pieces, wet oat straw, and … wait, is that a tea leaf? Much more ginger aroma to the wet leaf.

Liquor: cloudy yellow, like my urine when I have a kidney stone. I’m sorry for that analogy, but this is a very ugly liquor. I use a clear glass mug in part so I can see all the colours of a tea. Yeah, this one is NOT visually appealing. I’ll have to keep this one in a travel mug. (Note: sediment settles quickly, though the liquor remains cloudy. Yuck.)

Flavour: tartness and ginger first, followed by a decent peach flavouring, maybe some tartness-peel taste form the apple pieces. The ginger has some serious kick and is quite pleasant, but it dominates. Peach is a distant second, and it tends to get lost.

I can’t taste any tea — white, pu-ehr, or otherwise — in this blend. If I hadn’t read the label, I would assume this is a ginger peach tisane.

I agree with Roswell Strange; this blend needs a bit more heft and mouthfeel, something a bit creamy perhaps. I dunno, LIKE SOME ACTUAL TEA?

I expect this blend is excellent for digestion, and I would turn to this if nauseated. But it should be called Ginger Clean, not Peachy Clean. I’d also suggest that DavidsTea ditch the tiny amount of actual tea that’s what, just waved over this, call it a tisane, and be done.

Or do a proper peach white tea. I’d pay a lot of money for a good peach white tea.

In and of itself, a decent ginger blend. I knock of several points for misleading labelling and the appearance of the liquor.

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1.25 tsp for 250mL water 100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

Dry leaf: lots of long and wiry brown leaves, small dark copper leaves, a few flecks of dull green. Aroma: toast , earth.

Wet leaf: brown, bright copper, dark green. Aroma: Ceylon copper.

Liquor: very dark reddish brown.

A four-minute steep yields a sweeter taste and stronger flowers-and-bread aroma than four minutes 30 seconds, though there’s still plenty of pucker and heft. This blend packs a good caffeine hit. It was first blended for an editors’ conference. I’m sipping while deep in revisions, and it’s plucking me out of the doldrums. I expect this would make a good studying tea, too.


Definitely making note here—my heavy-duty curriculum writing season is barreling toward me like a freight train! By dinnertime yesterday, I decided that I have NO more ideas. Ever.

Michelle Butler Hallett

EDITORS’ BLEND WILL SAVE YOU! (superhero SFX) ! So might Harney & Sons’ Russian Country, if you like smoky tea. Russian Country packs a punch, really good caffeine lift.


I have always wanted to like lapsang souchong, in theory. In practice, it’s always been just a hair too strong. Is the Russian Country version just a whiff or is it a middle-aged guy blowing his cigar my direction?

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1 sachet for 250mL water @90C, steeped four minutes.

Liquor: lightest gold.
Aroma: classic floran ti kuan yin notes with some appealing sharpness
Taste: the ti kuan yin of my dreams.

A dear friend brought me this from her recent trip to England. 1837 TWG Tea is new to me. The tea sahcets are cotton (!) and large enough to give the gorgeous leaves room to expand.

My entire office smells like orchids.

This is an excellent ti kuan yin. I look forward to re-steeping it.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Second steep is less floral but sweeter, with a creamier mouthfeel.

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1.25tsp for 275mL water at 85C, steeped two minutes.

Much sweeter with a shorter steep. I know, I know, what sort of barbarian am I, steeping white tea so long? (The first time reviewed this, I steeped the tea four minutes.) This shorter steep bypasses the briny and vegetal notes I’ve tasted before and instead gives something sweet and even a little sharp. Muscatel floats in and out like a ghost. Floral, with a slight vegetal and then mineral finish, almost like a light oolong.

Delicious. I’ve been hoarding this one.

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1,25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.

Dry leaf: tan and bright green. Lost of green. Scent of sunshine, wood, and a faint hint of bitter lemon.

Wet leaf: almost all bright green with some light tan. A few twigs. Scents of agreeable astringency, sunshine, and wood.

Liquor: golden, with some brass. Assertive muscatel in a first flush’s delicacy, if that makes any sense. It probably doesn’t. Strong finish for a first flush: lots of muscatel there, though not enough to pucker. Notes of lemon. if you normally add lemon to your black tea, I’d suggest trying this one without lemon first.

I won;t risk scalding this one at a higher temp. 90C steeps this leaf beautifully.

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4.25 tsp for 1L water @90C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds with gentle agitation from the rising and falling tea basket in a Breville Tea Maker.

Dry leaf: dark brown with some copper. Very little green leaf. The occasional twig. Muted muscatel scent.

Wet leaf: lighter browns, scent of faint muscatel and just-turned earth.

Liquor: more red than brown. Beautiful. a joy to watch steep as well.

A robust second flush blend, plenty of muscatel, some floral notes, a tiny bit of smoke, stone fruit, pepper, and oak. (I made it strong.) Bright mineral notes. Gorgeous second flush Darjeeling — nothing else like it.

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2.25 tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

Dry leaf: brown, amber, tan, and green, with a few twigs. Some muscatel in the aroma.

Wet leaf: gorgeous big leaf pieces, astringent scent.

Liqour: light copper-amber in colour.

I’ve not had good Darjeeling for a long time. This fblend is robust for a first flush, bright and sparkly, a bit astringent — I expect I used too much leaf — and loaded with muscatel flavour notes. Just gorgeous.

Tea Campaign Canada is part of the German Teekampagne, and this company treats tea growers and harvesters well. Prices are low because this cmpany sells only Darjeeling and only in bulk — smallest packets are 250 grams. Certified as Darjeeling by the Tea Board of India. Certified organic.

Highly recommend.


Darjeeling doesn’t get a lot of airplay at my house. Perhaps I should make amends!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Darjeelings make me swoon with joy, and it was my gateway to oolongs, to learning to pick out and start to appreciate all the nuances a tea
can have.


Here’s to swoon-worthy teas!

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I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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