4414 Tasting Notes

95
drank Mulberry Magic by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Definitely not what I was expecting! “Mulberry Magic” makes me think of fruity, mulled wine far more than it does a nutty-smelling leafy blend. But its similarity in appearance to Toasted Walnut (yum!) and the fact that it’s caffeine-free (!!) compelled me to buy it anyways.

Similar to Toasted Walnut, the dry leaf as well as the steeped tea smell sweet and nutty. I also find the taste similar (if I recall correctly), although of course the distinct flavour of green tea is missing, so it just tastes like sweet nutty leaves. Which I like! I’m not getting “cake batter” or “vanilla cupcake” any of the other comparisons that have been made, but given that I don’t hugely care for either, I’m not disappointed. Looking forward to doing a direct comparison between the two teas just for curiousity’s sake :)

ETA: Steeped a second cup today, and accidently left the teaball in for waaaay too long (8+ min for sure). Was worried that it might have oversteeped… but I tasted it and it’s still amazing, just a bit weaker than yesterday (surprise surprise). Upping the rating because this is one downside of toasted walnut – too long of a steep results in icky bitterness! Perhaps they will both find a home in my cupboard…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Another cup of this one to solidify some purchasing decisions. Extra almondy today (I think there was a large piece in the mix), but still sweet and delicious. I really wish this was permanent in place of, say, Creme Caramel Rooibos, so I could pick up 50g now and decide later whether to buy a larger quantity, but I don’t want it to disappear before I make such a decision… bah!

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Nom nom nom. I’m still enjoying this tea, but not as much as the first cup. I can really taste the black tea today, but the aftertaste is still rich, creamy, chocolately, and perhaps malty? Still a treat to have (and I always think that if you’re craving a tea, it was obviously good!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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75
drank Mango Madness by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

I had high hopes for this one as I do all fruity teas with their light flavours and natural sweetness. The dry tea smells very fruity with overtones of citrus, making me think of a tropical juice blend… which is great, because I quite like to drink tropical juice blends! :D

Once steeped, I find the tea to be a bit less than I was hoping. Although pleasantly sweet, with mango and citrus the dominant flavours, it is weaker than I’d like, and I can’t detect the white tea at all. However, its very tropical flavour and ample sweetness make me want to keep a small bit of it in the cupboard…. and to try it iced, as I noticed that the flavour improved as it cooled.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 15 sec

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Sooooo… I think some of this tea’s yumminess was definitely attributable to the large piece of coconut I had last time. :( This cup had neither a chamomile flower nor a large piece of coconut (although there are smaller pieces), and it’s not quite as good. Still good enough for me to likely purchase again, but decreasing the rating a tad because my first cup was far better. The first cup paired the creaminess of the coconut quite well with the richer coffee/chocolate flavours, while this cup lacks enough creaminess for me to really feel like it’s a decadent treat.

Also, a resteeping of the first set of leaves yielded a much less satisfying cup. Tasted ok, but given the cost of 1.5tsp of tea leaves, I’d probably rather just grab a fresh bunch.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

This is simply a smelling note, as yet, since I’ll have to abandon my too-hot-to-drink tea to get back to the lab… but my goodness does this ever smell delicious!! I’m not sure cocoa is quite how I’d describe it, but the scent is amazingly rich and complex. I should note that the dry tea, although it smells good, does not live up to the actual flavour of the tea.

I wasn’t even planning to try this tea as it contains chamomile (YUCK), but the DavidsTea girl assured me that she hates chamomile too but still likes this tea, so I figured it was worth the $3 or so to give it a shot. Excited!

(Ok, just tried a small sip of the very hot tea and I am VERY excited as it is creamy and dark and rich and yummy. But need to leave now sooooooo…)

So back to it, and trying the cold tea… and WOW. Just wow. This is everything I could have wanted for an afternoon treat without the calories. I taste no chamomile whatsoever (or it’s blending beautifully with the other flavours), it is simply all rich, dark, chocolatey/coffee goodness. I am genuinely impressed. I’m also hoping that the giant piece of coconut that this cup got is not the sole creator of this yumminess, otherwise I will be sorely disappointed for future cups when they have about 1/5 or less of the coconut. Assuming that this is not the case, it looks like I may have just found my afternoon-in-the-lab treat tea :D

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Creme Caramel Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

I had high hopes for this one. After recently falling in love with Alpine Punch (and knowing that it’s seasonal), I wanted to try and find something that could replace it. Unfortunately, Creme Caramel Rooibos isn’t the answer.

Although I sometimes like sickly sweet things (and know that the smell of a tea does not necessary correlate to anything about it once steeped), I find the smell of the dry leaf a tad difficult to stomach. It’s just SO sweet and strongly scented of caramel. But as with Cranberry Pear, I am capable of ignoring such things. However, I can’t ignore the odd smell combination that I get from the steeped tea. The strong caramel notes are still there, but now I can smell the woody rooibos, and there’s some sort of smell going on that I just don’t like. Speaking to my roommate, I called it ‘old people’, but I’m really not sure. To be honest, I can’t remember what the tea tasted like at this point; I just remember being unimpressed and not being sure I even wanted to finish it.

Since the tea has cooled, it seems to have lost the strange smell and simply smells strongly of sweet caramel and rooibos, which is ok and expected. I’m actually liking it much better cool (probably 5-10 degrees above room temperature?), as it now tastes more as I would expect.

Definitely a sweet, smooth, creamy, caramelly dessert tea, but probably won’t make it back into the cupboard once it’s gone (unless a comparison to DT’s Creme Brulee produces unexpected results). Just not quite the right combination of flavours for me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Honey Bee by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Had some of this for my morning meeting as I wanted something light and apparently don’t have a lot of options left at work! Although it was good, and smelled deliciously pollen-y and sweet, tasting much the same, I think it won’t end up being one that I restock, mainly because I have fallen in love with Alpine Punch and other sweet rooibos that I prefer as they have a creaminess to them as well. Oh well, about 1 cup’s worth of leaves left for another day.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Fantasy Island by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Another disappointing cup. Just not my sort of tea, I suppose. Further tasting notes to come (they’re on a sticky somewhere).

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

Oh banana oolong. You are so amazing. So slightly sweet and banana-y and creamy and calming and delicious. Where have you been all my life?

On cup three and I think that’s all it will give me. The smell is still creamy banana and oolong but the taste is very weak, even after nearly 10 minutes of steeping. NOOOOOOOOOOO – I’m still planning to sit here doing statistics for another couple hours! :’(

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Bio

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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