4414 Tasting Notes


Trying to finish off some old bagged tea that I was given/bought before I discovered DavidsTea (and became all discriminating!)

I like tart teas, so I tend to enjoy the Celestial Seasonings ‘Zinger’ teas, although they don’t always all appeal to me. This one’s out of one of the sampler boxes. Steeped, the smell is fruity and tart, which I like (and haven’t been able to find in a DT so far). And, it actually tastes nice and tart too! A bit cardboardy as well, but that’s probably because it’s a bit on the old side… ok, a lot on the old side, and hasn’t been stored very well. My bad.

Anyways, this one is not too bad, other than the “old” flavour, which is unfair to judge it on. I probably won’t ever drink these bagged ones again though…

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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drank Glitter & Gold by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Oh wow. This is amazing. The dry tea smells good, sweet and cinnamony, but oh man is the tea ever so much better! First off, the tea does actually glitter! Bonus points for the cool factor, if nothing else, since I was soooo skeptical about it. The smell of the steeped tea mostly smells like sweet cinnamon. Definitely delicious, but nothing overly intriguing or different. But then you taste it…. and it’s like a gentle, sweet cup of cinnamon, backed by what tastes to me like a light black tea base. Oh, it’s so good. Why can’t all DT teas with cinnamon incorporate this delicious flavour?? I am really not tasting either cloves or orange peel – I did noticed one piece of peel in this cup, but no cloves. As long as either of these flavours is not too prominent in future cups, I think they will blend in nicely.

The only downside I can think of is that this tea is sweetened with sugar crystals/gold sugar balls. Yes, the quantity is small, and I’m sure their sweetness is critical to this great-tasting cup, but I prefer to go sugar-free. That said, I am still not adding additional sugar, so I can deal :)

ETA: Second cup, steeped for maybe 15 min (oops), is pretty good as well. Fewer sparklies (of course), and less flavour and smell, but worth it. I suspect a third would now taste like cardboard though, so will not attempt.

Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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drank Chocolate Chili Chai by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Beyond everything else, this tea just smells like CHOCOLATE. The dry tea maybe has a hint of chili to its aroma as well, and the steeped tea is a bit mellower and creamy-smelling, but it’s definitely predominantly delicious, delicious chocolate.

Taste-wise, however, I’m a bit disappointed. Yes, I can taste chocolate. One of the better teas I’ve had that contains chocolate, actually, so that is a good thing. However, I’m finding it to be very lacking in both “chili” and “chai”. Sure, there’s a tiny bit of chili coming across, but as I’m drinking hot tea, I’m finding it difficult to separate from the temperature heat. And chai?? I am getting no chai flavour whatsoever, whereas in the pumpkin chai it was quite apparent and delicious. I think a more appropriate name for this tea would be “Chocolate Hint-O-Chili” or something to that effect.

Anyhow, not a bad tea; I just find that it doesn’t live up to its name, and the chocolate flavour isn’t enough to keep me interested.

ETA: Second steep smells chocolatey… and tastes a bit chocolatey… but definitely not great. I’ve let it cool by accident and now it’s kind of gross. Might just dump this one out…

205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 15 sec

I know your pain : (

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Seriously, the smell of this tea is absolutely DIVINE. Dry or steeped, it’s light and flowery (jasmine comes to mind….), and the taste is very much the same. Of course, I only read the brewing instructions upon looking it up to add to the database (1 tbsp/cup, 3-4 30-35s steeps), so my tea is definitely weak today, as I only used ~1 tsp of leaves and steeped it at who knows what temperature for 45s and then 1min 15. Nevertheless, it is yummy and relaxing, and exactly what I wanted tonight.

0 min, 45 sec

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drank Mango Madness by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Very fruity. Smells like citrusy mango; tastes like citrusy mango. The mango is definitely more apparent in the smell, though. Great for a nice, light afternoon cup. Still can’t taste the white tea though.

200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more

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drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Felt like a cup of amazing today, so had some of this. First cup was good, but second steep very disappointing today. Oh well! I think I need to be sure to put extra tea (2 tsp?) in the teaball because I like this one best when I can really taste it. I can’t believe that the instructions call for only a 1 1/4 tsp. Anyways! Have a lovely 50g tin of this now, so have lots to play with :)

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

A friend gave a sample pack of this tea to me for my birthday, and I was of mixed opinions. Pumpkin pie is not my most favourite thing in the world. But I do like chai. Anyways, I have no choice now but to try it, which I’m always game for anyways!

I have to admit, the dry leaf smells pretty amazing. It absolutely SCREAMS holidays to me, and takes my mind to a fabulous Christmassy place (even though I associate pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving, which is not usually white and snowy). I can’t figure out what exactly the smell is, though – it’s not quite like the pumpkin pie my mom makes, it’s more like… pumpkin bread? Pumpkin muffins? Either way. Yum.

Surprise, surprise, the steeped tea smells even MORE like pumpkin bread/muffins. It now has a kind of “baked goods” scent about it, and the spicing has been turned down a bit, but it still smells delicious. Please, Pumpkin Chai, be one of those teas whose flavour is faithful to its smell…

Holy crap. It’s like I’m drinking a piece of pumpkin bread! Real pumpkin is the first flavour I can taste, followed by the delicious spicing appearing at the end of the sip. Ahhhhhhh, why didn’t this taste so good the first time I tried it, so I could have gone and bought a big tin of it? Maybe there’s still some left… somewhere. (Intermission while I check the DavidsTea site… and yep, they still have it. Whew!)

Seriously. I am quite impressed. Definitely tasting the cinnamon as the dominant spice, but it’s mellow and delicious. Why oh why do I already have so many chais to get through??

ETA: Second steep smells considerably weaker, and tastes much the same. A bit disappointing, but I will live. Perhaps 5 minutes of steeping wasn’t long enough!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Jessie's Tea by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

I picked this one up to compare it to some other rooibos (Alpine Punch, Rooibos de Provence, Creme Caramel Rooibos) before making a decision about what to purchase – Rooibos de Provence enchanted me with its lavender, so naturally a lavender-coconut blend might be something I like, right?

The dry tea smells quite sweet and the lavender is there, but perhaps not the most prominent smell of the bunch. Reminds me of what I thought Creme Caramel would be like (while instead it smells absolutely sickeningly sweet).

While I didn’t smell a ton of lavender from the dry tea, once steeped… that’s ALL I can smell! I’m not sure how I feel about this – this was one of my concerns with trying lavender in tea, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to drink a flavour I more commonly associate with bath products. Here’s hoping it’s just the smell, and not the taste too.

Ok, first sip… tastes like lavender. And minty – maybe that’s a bit of the lavender too? I actually am not minding this flavour in my mouth like I was worried I would. Along with the lavender, I’m definitely tasting creaminess (coconut), and a bit of a caramelly sweetness, both of which show up late-sip. Interesting combination. I’m feeling a bit of scratchiness as it goes down my throat – not sure what causes this, but I get it from many teas, particularly if they’re steeped to be on the strong side (extra leaf), or oversteeped. It’s somewhat annoying and detracts from my enjoyment of the tea, but I usually just deal with it.

Aside from the scratchiness, I’m finding this to be a nice, relaxing tea. Nothing super special, but I think it would be a good drink to accompany bedtime reading. I don’t think it will be one I keep stocked, but I’m glad to have tried it! And now I know for certain that lavender does not, in fact, taste like soap in a beverage!

ETA: Second steep is pretty good. Seems that rooibos tend to have at least two flavourful steeps in them, which is excellent.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Forbidden Fruit by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Trying this today as I realized it has been discontinued, but it appears that my store still has some left (so since I bought it, I had better try it now so that I can buy more if I like it!)

The steeped tea has a dark, fruity fragrance which is probably the figs. The first flavour I taste is melon, perhaps honeydew, which is followed by the rich sweetness of the figs, and I think it’s the oolong tea that leaves a bit of a creamy aftertaste. I almost taste a bit of chocolate in this tea, which is odd. The more I drink it, the more I’m liking the late-sip creaminess (definitely thinking it’s oolong now), and I’m liking the melon less (even though ever since I tried Goji Pop I’ve been super excited to try any tea with melon in it!)

ETA: Not too enchanted by the second steep. Yes, it accidently sat overnight, and I thought it tasted so-so before reheating it, but now that it’s heated all I can taste is weak cardboard?? Strange.

Not too disappointed to know that this one’s gone forever, but I won’t have any trouble finishing my little bag of it.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec

I had a big bag of this, and for some reason it disappeared!! only ever got two cups. Over a year later and it still hasn’t been found shrugs


You’re not missing out…


I hated it at first, then I kinda liked it?! I dunno, one of those love/hate things

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drank Coco Chai Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Another tea from advent calendar leftovers. Unfortunately, I steeped this one rather long and have not had the chance to drink it, so now it’s cold. As a result, I don’t believe that this will necessarily be a fair assessment of the tea, but I’ll talk about it anyways!

To begin with, it smells just like chai. Yum. Although spicy, it seems to be warmed and tamed a bit by something – perhaps the rooibos? Taste-wise, it’s a bit chocolatey, and has excellent chai spicing. I did skimp on the leaves a bit though, so as to leave enough for my roommate to have a last cup as well, so although it isn’t as strong as I would like, that very well may be because I just didn’t use enough tea.

I think this would be great for evening caffeine-free chai lattes! Might be worthwhile to keep a small bag of in the cupboard, but I really need to use up the ~500g of Tea Desire chai I received for Christmas first.

ETA: Second steep (for 8+ min, ~95C water) is quite nice! The spicing is still there, but it is quite mellowed by a sweet chocolatey flavour… a really nice twist on a chai. I don’t taste any rooibos whatsoever (and didn’t during the first sips either). I think I like this a fair bit more than Chocolate Chili Chai (although I think that name would far better suit this rooibos!)

Boiling 8 min or more

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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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