New Tasting Notes

Let this steep for a super long time because I was enjoying the aromatherapy of the mug so much. It made me think of walking into a Saje store with all the different essential oil diffusers. Very soothing, relaxing smell. In both taste and smell the sage was the strongest element. I recognize there’s maybe some kind of pun in the fact the aroma was making me think of Saje and the notes I was getting were sage. Anyway, very nice herbal and foresty cuppa.

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drank Rocky Road by 52teas
16077 tasting notes

I think after drinking the mug of Canmore Tea’s Wild Cherry I was subconciously in a bit of an ice cream kind of mood because this was the next tea I pulled out to steep up. Though the mug was exceptionally oily with so much of that resting on the surface of the liquor, I thought the taste was really great. Perfectly balance chocolate and roasted almond with a hint of white chocolate. I could have maybe gone for something a little creamier in both taste and texture, but I think that’s also a little bit that subconcious ice cream craving talking.

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Y’know the cherries in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia?? That’s what this mug of tea was reminding me of, but without all the sugar. Not the creamy ice cream part, mind you. Just those rich tasting cherry mix ins. Very scrumptious.

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Deep, jammy elderberries with the bright, tangy top notes of the hibiscus and a softly floral finish. Another extremely refreshing and hydrating blend, and one that I’ve been gravitating towards a lot this summer. In this case I made it iced to drink while working in the office – it was an awesome midafternoon option to cool down with. It just gets SO HOT in the office this time of year. Sometimes it feels like a sauna.

Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

Martin Bednář

Our new warehouse is a sauna. It’s made from corrugated steel and there is absolutely no ventilation. Crazy to work there…

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drank Lemon Meringue by DAVIDsTEA
16077 tasting notes

Iced!

The tin of this tea in the office lunch room has been inexplicably missing for the last few weeks, but I noticed it was finally back (and full) a few days ago when I was eating lunch so I decided to take advantage and make this as an iced tea. Super rich and creamy while also having a lot of brightness from the sweet lemon curd and maintaining a bit of a lighter overall body from the white tea base. Definitely not quite so airy feeling when you make it iced, though. Still delicious and such a refreshing way to cool down during some of the heatwaves we’ve been dealing with here in Montreal.

Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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Iced!

I need to go back and look at past tasting notes of this tea because I see I’ve marked it as recommended, but this last iced tea wasn’t very great tasting. I mean, the smell of the dry leaf is incredible. Such a perfect root beer float type of aroma. However, steeped up, the top notes and body of this brew were so sour and off tasting. The only reason I was able to finish my mug of tea was because after that funky acidity passed the rest of the brew was a nicely sweet, mouth-coating and accurate true rootbeer type of flavour with just a hint of woody rooibos in the undertones.

Fighting through that really rancid seeming initial sourness was awful though, and I want to read my old tasting notes to understand if that’s an aging thing with the tea leaf or potentially more to do with this type of brewing method. Regardless, I’m removing my recommended selection and leaving it neutral for now.

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Sipping a hot mug of this tea currently while I work on writing tasting notes. It’s bright and very fruity with raspberry and orange notes that sit somewhere between freshly macerated fruits and a more candy-like interpretation of those flavours. I like the backbone of brisk, malty black tea that anchors the mug as well. It’s not a super strong flavour, but it’s there and certainly contributing a lot of body.

I am, however, noticing that the more the tea cools the more the orange notes are starting to feel a little more chalky and like a Flintstone’s vitamin. So, trying to drink this up pretty quickly while it’s still quite warm.

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A little bit lighter in both body and taste than I remembered, but that might have been a steeping thing? I was pretty nervous about over brewing the green tea so I kept my steep time much shorter than I usually would make a Western mug of tea, but in the moment I did think it was pretty in line with what would be normal for a Japanese green tea based blend. Who knows. Otherwise, the flavours were very nice and true to name. Zesty yuzu, and a whole lot of pepper to sort of balance it out. Savory leaning, but not unpleasantly so.

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drank Tea & Lemon by Zamalek
16077 tasting notes

More RTD taste tests!

Zamalek is a Montreal brand that makes canned hibiscus drinks. I haven’t reviewed them here in the past because they don’t really position themselves as a tea beverage despite the fact hibiscus is so commonly associated with tea/tisanes. I mean, “hibiscus tea” is a whole thing.

However, the place where I buy them from recently just started stocking this flavour which, within the Zamalek product line, is specifically called out as being tea. That’s surely because the base is black tea and not hibiscus, even though there’s still hibiscus in the drink. I don’t actually think this is a new product in their assortment though – I think it’s just new to the grocery store I get them at.

Anyway, I’ve been really enjoying this! It’s brisk and refreshing with a light citrusy edge, a hint of cooling mint, and just a bit of that hibiscus tartness and berry-like undertones. It sort of feels like an elevated take on a Southern Sweet tea style beverage but not excessively sugary or too lemon forward. You really taste the black tea. Also, very restrained amount of hibiscus compared to their usual drinks so I fin that kind of interesting from a brand stance.

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Cold Brew!

I made this one last night and it just really wasn’t working for me. Though fruity with notes of both blueberry and oranges/citrus, I thought the taste was very reminiscent of dried/dehydrated fruit. That is to say, fairly flat/stale tasting. On top of that, there was a weird burnt sugar note. It was sort of nice because of that caramelized sugar element – especially with the orange notes, which gave off this almost citrusy brulee kind of vibe. However, it was also very bitter. Like, burnt sugar taken past the point of caramelizing into a more rough, unpleasant place. The whole thing just felt pretty unbalance to me, and unsure whether it wanted to commit to being a more decadent blend or a more bright and fruity one. It didn’t nail either.

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Gongfu!

Flow Inverse Tea was kind enough to gift me with some tea samples to try out, including this one. As most of y’all know, I don’t tend to drink a lot of straight green teas outside of anything that has been roasted, but this one intrigued me since it’s not all too typical to see a Chinese green that has been steamed instead of the more traditional pan-firing process. I enjoyed this session quite a lot but that was probably because it captured pretty much all of my favourite tasting notes in all my “exception to the rule” green teas: soybean, chestnut, nori, sweetgrass. The only thing it was missing was that cool, crisp cucumber pulp or sugar snap note I love. But even still, if these tasting notes were playing cards then I would have sworn I was playing with a loaded deck. Overall, smooth, buttery and medium bodied. A very solid first impression from this new-to-me tea company, and now I’m even more stoked to try the black tea they sent me!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C9fP7l1uci2/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylUcnX3-he0

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This is probably one of the most bold, full-bodied Earl Grey teas I’ve ever tried and that’s definitely from the fine Kenyan black tea that makes up the base. It’s rich and malty but also has very brisk citrusy undertones that compliment the fresh, aromatic bergamot. It would stand up exceptionally well to milk and sugar, I’m sure, but I think not trying it straight first would be a missed opportunity. IMO this tea is a masterclass in how what are usually perceived as “small changes,” like using a different origin of tea, can have big impacts on the final taste!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/C9iQQdUOEN4/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOiRShrANBo

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Gongfu Sipdown (2629)!

Started the morning yesterday by reaching for a comfort tea. Immediately, the deep, dark, and mineral rich notes of charcoal and roast in the first few steeps fill me with a sense of ease and make me feel just a little more anchored than I was before. It’s quite bold, but when it comes to yancha I often feel like the bolder the roast the more cozy and calm I feel. The rest of the session was filled with warming notes of cinnamon (to be expected in a Rougui), nutmeg, grilled corn, coffee, and soft undertones of dried apricots and heady, floral orchids. The aftertaste is particularly lingering as well – at first plain, unsalted popcorn but the longer I sit with the flavour the more it slowly warps from those toastier grains to more of a sweeter stonefruit note, like ripe peach. So wonderfully complex!!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C9k8Dkyh_dW/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t-DW8unM7w

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This smooth, dark tea is so aptly named because one of the first tasting notes to really spring to the forefront is a rich, heavy buckwheat honey flavour that envelops the whole palate. Overall this tea is medium to full bodied, with an overarching minerality and a bit of both a floral and burnt sugar-like edge to each sip. The leaf hoppers really blessed this tea with that perfect natural sweetness!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/C9m6TqauPv1/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6XckbPoz4c

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86

A sipdown! (M: 2 Y: 56)
It’s nice to be back home and sipping tea. Definitely better than in Germany for various reasons. Anyway, this is a German tea bought during my stay there; but sipdown is a home-thing for this tea.

I don’t have much to add, unless I have used 6 grams for less water — 300 ml, and it was still fine. A bit stronger, indeed, but I needed a caffeine boosst and I didn’t wanted to leave an awkward amount left, so I added all that I had. Yes, 10 grams pouch was exactly 10 grams… 4 grams back then, now 6 grams used. A little sad — as this tea is indeed tasty, not artificial and tastes so good and real caramel cubes are just nice.

The base of Assam and Chinese black tea works just well. Strong, but not bitter or astringent; just a little tannic (this time). Maybe I will buy more once I am back in Dresden. When? Who knows…

Preparation
6 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
ashmanra

Are you home for good now or going back to Germany?

Martin Bednář

Home for good now. I am about to write you an email this weekend.

ashmanra

I look forward to reading it!

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82

The strongest flavor is coconut. Combined with the black tea, it tastes really high quality and comforting. There’s a hint of spices as well. It especially shines cold with milk and sugar.

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drank Prunus Dulcis Gaudium by Adagio
3316 tasting notes

This tea came as a sample sent by Nicole in a vast set of Adagio Communi-tea packets. Many thanks, Nicole!

When I made this tea I was not aware that the name translates to “Almond Joy”, but I must say the flavor is pretty spot on. I saw the ingredient list of coconut, chocolate, and almond, and knowing that Ashman doesn’t care for chocolate flavoring (he does like chocolate and cacao nibs in tea, though) decided it would be a good sample sipdown for my solitary breakfast today.

It went well with my meal. I steeped it twice and combined the two steeps to get a good-sized little pot of tea out of it that had plenty of flavor, so it is an economical steeper. It went well with food, and now that it is cooling and I am drinking the last of it sans food, the Almond Joy flavor becomes really apparent.

If you like the candy bar, you would probably enjoy this tea very much! Cassidy Macomber did a good job on the blend, and 5% of the sales goes to the Animal Welfare Institute, according to info page on this tea.

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100
drank Lao Chuan Hong by white2tea
3 tasting notes

Western brewed this 3 times now. Really impressed with it, wish I could buy more. I get no astringency at 3 minutes brewing time.

Flavors: Fig, Honey, Malt

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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74

Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – July 2024 Tea #6 – A fruity tea

Time to say goodbye to this one!  It was decent enough, unique enough.  And old enough to finally let go of.  I liked its balance of fruitiness and herbalness.
2024 sipdowns:  52

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76
drank Wonderland Cake by The Ivy Tearoom
2387 tasting notes

This is pleasantly desserty! I wouldn’t call it carrot cake, but I definitely taste the spices. After eating something super sweet in our dessert course, my partner and I turned to each other and at the same time said that now we could taste the carrot cake! It just needed something to bring it out. I’ve had much tastier carrot cake teas, so I wouldn’t prioritize this one. It was nice, but it didn’t stand out.

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95

This one is CLEAN. No better way to describe it. So fresh and clear and elegant. Only the second kabusecha I’ve had.

Tomizawa has been making tea in the Kumamoto area as a family-owned business for 85 years now. They have produced an organic tea that was shaded for 2 weeks and processed as a chumushi and a tamaryokucha (or guricha).

No bitterness, and only mild astringency on the fourth and final steep at 190 F. Incredibly clear liquor with almost no defects. High sweetness and umami levels. I do not perceive any floral notes as some of the reviewers on Yunomi’s website mention.

Harvest: Early May, 2024
Cultivar: Okumidori
Location: Mashiki, Kamimashiki-gun, Kumamoto

Dry Leaf: Vegetal, nutty
Wet leaf: Vegetal, umami
Flavor: Seaweed, umami, sweetness, astringency, vegetal

Flavors: Astringent, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet, Vegetal

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85

Was very excited to get this tea. The tea was very fresh and had a pleasing floral aroma. As far as the taste it was light with a touch of fruit, flowers, and sweetness. I would definitely reccomend this tea.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Light, Sweet

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85

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78

A 3-gram sachet of rooibos and herbs

I was in a mood for something relaxing, as the days at work are very tense recently and I am doing big decisions, while I have no experience of management at all. Yes, theory is great, but reality is…

So, the tea. II brewed it without checking the ingredients first, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but honestly it’s very nice! Rooibos was nicely woody, but not overpowering, herbals were fine — spearmint nicely refreshing, orange peel giving me refreshing vibes and a hint of cinnamon in the aroma added a touch of coziness. Definitely not medicinal and there are no other unpleasant notes; giving this type of teas a high raiting.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

You will do just fine!

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