Featured & New Tasting Notes
I must admit this right away: I do not like Jasmine as much as I once had…
I really like this tea. A LOT. Like, ever since I had some the other day when I was sick, I’ve not stopped drinking it since that time. It’ll probably be sipped down by Sunday for sure; which is why I’m reviewing it now while I have a spare moment to just rave about this tea.
Notes: Nice Jasmine & pine notes throughout the tea. I brewed this at 180 F, but had quickly learned that this tea can go for 195 F too. I actually prefer the 195 F temp moreso, due to the reasoning that more flavors burst forth at this temperature.
As Jim Carrey stated in Dumb and Dumber, “I like it a lot.” Which best describes my opinion on this tea.
Flavors: Jasmine, Pine
After a year of reading the Hojo articles and really wanting to try their stuff, I finally took my tax return money and made the purchase!
This tea was one that I read about for 2015 and 2016 as it is so unique and beautiful; how can one not? Really glad that I picked it up too because it’s a wonderful tea all around. It was pressed into cakes so the pieces are hard to get full leaf, but inside that material you do get them. The colors are wonderful: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSuHlIvgC4t/
The smell comes off quite strong and gives you an impression of warm juice. The taste is like a fruit with skin that had honey rubbed on it. This tea went a good 6 steeps before I ended it. A cake for this runs a bit high at $65/200g, but dang… something like this is quite unique and I have yet to see anyone else product wild white tea cakes. If YS does so with the purple moonlight then I’m in trouble : P
Really like this stuff all around though. Going to save the rest to brew with other people.
going to be a few of these samples today – trying to get through more of my samples so that i can focus on having a proper weigh of my cupboard this month sometime. this one is SUPER aromatic. Toffee explosion all over the house…making me want to go bake something haha. I probably overleafed this as my one complaint about the directions for this is 1-2 tsp, which isn’t very helpful when you’re dealing with BALLS of tea. Better would be something like 4 -6 balls or whatever per 8oz.
taste wise though, i’m a fan. the flavouring sort of stays in your mouth, so it’s not a tea i would drink a TON of, but for that indulgent dessert tea you need every now and then, this would be a good one. thanks Variatea!
If you love coconut, this tea might be your dream come true.
I have a frequent guest who loves coconut so I am very glad to have this, but a tea purist would be mortified by it. The oolong is pale and there is so much coconut in this that the oil floats on top of the cup, and not as little droplets, but as a thick layer.
So yesterday I had a dilemma. One guest was coming who was rather new to tea. The other was a sweet “Chawleston” lady who drinks lots of sweet tea but has never seen any good from the hot stuff.
I made this because I thought it was so different from Southern sweet tea that they would be able to judge it as a completely different drink. (They have both had and enjoyed unflavored, unsweetened teas here before.)
They loved it so much that I had to make a second pot. Then I was able to make a resteep that was plenty strong and had tons of coconut flavor still, such that a new guest later that day sniffed it and said, “What is this? Ooooh, coconut!”
29 teas to go and I caved hard. Currently now on a massive oolong buying spree from any place that carries oolong. Thank you, tax returns.
Anyways, this was yet another giant tin I excavated from the back of the cupboard. It’s probably one of the best rediscoveries, and definitely the only tea I own that I’m grateful to have an abundance of (over 4oz).
Even though I should know better by now, I’m still surprised how much complexity the first sip yields. Tiger Assam is like a particularly dynamic red wine (even when diluted in milk)- it’s also like red wine in that it tastes of grapes and stuff, and drinking it goes to my head in a way that is delightful to me and an annoyance for everyone else in the near vicinity. People don’t judge me as harshly for drinking it though, which is another perk.
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Oak wood, Raisins, Red Wine, Sweet Potatoes
I was really excited to get to try this tea in the Subscription box that I won; it’s the kind of flavour that had I not won the box I would have wanted to order for myself anyway. I like vanilla teas quite a bit, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had a really good straight vanilla tea.
The dry leaf for this one is intoxicating – very strongly scented of rich, silky vanilla. I can’t even imagine how tasty the tea is going to be if it’s anywhere near how yummy as the dry leaf comes across as. I’m happy to report, that the liquor does taste as amazing as the leaf smells! There are no tricks with this one; it’s just vanilla. I mean, good vanilla. Very rich, and silky with a smooth mouthfeel. It feels like it coats my whole mouth as I’m sipping away at it. I mean really, the only other flavour note worth mention is a slight cocoa taste coming from the base tea. This does such a good job at just being a great vanilla tea though! I’m REALLY impressed with it.
mmmmmmmm… pulled this one out since i was making a white tea anyway and i’m glad i did. OMGsrsly sent this one to me, though it was MissB who sent it along. I’d forgotten how much i like this particular tea – it’s a white tea without being “boring” as i often find many straight white teas to be. sweet notes.
Well I ran out of my subpar Ito-en Matcha Love Usucha, so I picked this Kuma Tea up from Amazon. It was available on Prime (meaning I get my matcha fix quicker), had a fair price and good reviews, and it has an adorable bear on it and is named “bear” (kuma) tea in Japanese so, well, they’ve exploited all my weaknesses here! Fast, cheap, high-reviews and cute animals! How could I resist???
I’m absolutely willing to desecrate this ceremonial grade tea by making matcha lattes with it but first I will try it in its intended use. Some reviews said this tea is even good enough to make koicha (thick matcha, which uses twice as much powder and half as much water), and that can typically only be done with really high quality matcha. I am going to make it as usucha (light matcha) this time with just two chashaku of tea, 70ml of water, and a whisk.
Opening the can, the powder color is a nice medium green. Sifting 2 chashaku of the powder into my pre-heated chawan, the aroma is very sweet! I’m getting heavy notes of dates and berries, I’m thinking either blackberry or cherry. Off to a great start here!
After adding the water I’m greeted by a rich umami scent, reminding me of seaweed, then after whisking, this has mellowed out to a scent that reminds me of spiced roasted nuts, still very sweet.
The flavor is not at all what I expected. It starts with sweetness and vegetal flavors like cooked cabbage or brussels sprouts (sweeter than raw ones) . There is a lot of complexity to it with subtle notes of vanilla and coriander. The finish has a lingering tartness and a tiny sting of bitterness. The lingering taste in my mouth is tart and slightly floral, reminding me vaguely of salted sakura leaves (which are similar in taste to the sakura/cherry blossoms but more perfumy and fragrant).
I must say this matcha does not taste at all as I expected it would, and I’m rather pleased with it. The complexity was unexpected, and the balancing umami, vegetal, sour, and bitter notes were not expected. From its sweet scent I expected something more mild-mannered and overall creamy, nutty, and sweet. If I have anything negative to say about this tea it’s that I feel it would be even better with just a bit less of the tartness and bitterness.
So I guess if really mellow matcha is your cup of tea, this one may not be for you. If you like a tea that makes you smack your chops and think “What am I tasting?” because there are layers of nuance, you might like this. When I bought this it was $20/oz so where organic ceremonial grade matcha is concerned, that’s not gonna break the bank. Sure as heck cheaper than buying daily drinks from a coffee/tea shop.
I’ll add an edit to this when I try it as an iced matcha latte, so check back to my review later today if you’re interested!
Flavors: Berries, Bitter, Coriander, Dates, Nuts, Seaweed, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetables
It’s been awhile since I made myself a cup of Tibetan Yak Butter tea, and this Heicha is perfect for that! Of course, any black or shu will work as well, but heicha tends to have a bit of a sour rye taste (in my opinion) and that goes really well with the salt and ‘butter’.
Since I follow an Auto Immune Protocol (AIP), and am also allergic to animal milks of all kinds, my recipe used the milk of the coconut. Here it is:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 T of tea. Most recipes say to add the tea to the boiling water and let it simmer for a few minutes, but to be honest most of the time I just brew it in a teapot and let it sit for 4 or 5 minutes.
In your blender combine 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream, 1 T coconut oil (you can use MCT oil if you have it, but I just use the regular stuff), 1/8 tsp salt, and the strained tea. Blend on high for 2 – 3 minutes and enjoy. This makes 2 servings, but I usually drink it all myself.
If you don’t like the salty savory version, add some sweetener instead, or us both!
If you can have real milk, go for it! I’ve heard that canned condensed milk is especially awesome. Or use any of the alternative milks you like.
Warning: This might be habit forming, and it’s a really nice and easy snack if you’re following a ketogenic type way of life. There is something really satisfying about it, and it always provides me with a real energy boost!
This is an excellent tea. It has got a fruity note to it. It is a much lighter brew than the average black tea. It has no malty tones nor any astringency. I really can’t think of this as a black tea but it certainly does not taste like a green either. In my opinion first flush Darjeelings are a type of tea of their own.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 minutes.
Since my recent cocoa nib awakening, I have been obsessed and, in turn, delighted with the sweet, creamy, chocolate flavors I have found that they impart.
This tea falls right in line with all of this. A puerh that is also sweet and chocolate-y? Well, yes, I would like to drink that all morning. And I have! This tea really does combine the best of both ripe (smooth, creamy, dark, earthy) and cocoa nibs (creamy, sweet, chocolate).
I am going to have to play around with my own cocoa nibs and other “plain” puerh and see what I can create. Thanks for the inspiration and great tea, Brenden!
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Earth, Sweet
This is a tasty and somewhat malty breakfast tea. It is not as strong as an Irish breakfast tea I think but somewhere around the strength of an English breakfast tea. I am fairly sure this is a blend of teas but the website doesn’t seem to say. It is very good and not so bold as to need milk.
I steeped this twice in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water. I steeped for 3 minutes and 5 minutes.
mmmmm this is really nice. Sample from VariaTEA and it’s a tasty one. the chocolate/vanilla combo makes it just the right sort of chocolatey taste. I’d say this is pretty damn close to the real thing, at least as close as you can get in terms of a liquid emulating that squishy bite in to yum.
speaking of yum….Americans…your girl scout cookies are evil…in a good way.
Drank this one last night with some almond milk;
What does it say that I had just gotten home from our staff meeting at DT where I drank a lot of tea (five cups in two hours) only to come home and immediately after turn on the kettle?
This was great through; the perfect silky, creamy and soft sweet tasting note to end the day on. Except I ended up having an unplanned final cup after this so it wasn’t really an end to the day. I love the natural balance of caramel and fresh, floral and green oolong as well. It doesn’t feel like it should work but it totally does. The almond milk added a hint of nuttyness that suited the overall sweetness as well.
April’s Tea of The Month!
Also, if anyone hasn’t seen it I have to say that I really enjoyed DT’s April Fool’s prank this year… https://www.instagram.com/p/BSV64kllW1k/ Is it sad to say that I’d happily try any and all of these, though?
Anyway, for the first time ever I tried this one hot! Last year, it was REALLY popular but when I tried it iced I was super unimpressed so I never really explored it any further. I didn’t want to do that this year, so I definitely intend to try some different things out with this now that it’s a core tea.
- Like a tropical fruit punch
- Has the sweetness of pineapple/cranberry in a distinct way
- Without tangyness/tartness
- I like this one BETTER than I did last year; I feel like I was too critical last year
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 regarding the teas, and not the company’s.
I reached for this as tea of the morning after a hectic day of running. Thankfully, my health has been accommodating the past few days for which I am so grateful. Hectic days are not usually within my capacity, so truly truly truly yay!
The first sip of this tea hits you with a kapow, followed up with the bready smoothness. Nice malty scent rises from my cup as I inhale the deliciousness. Delightful.
Thank you for the sample, Sil.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Currant, Malt
Here is another sample sipdown that I managed to squeeze in immediately after work today. I am normally not a huge chai fan, but given my overall faith in What-Cha’s range of offerings, figured this one would at least be worth a try. Naturally, it was.
I prepared this tea Western style. For this one, I went back to my trusty old one step infusion process. I steeped approximately 1.5-2 teaspoons of loose tea and spices in approximately 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, I did not attempt any additional infusions for this one.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf and spice blend emitted powerful aromas of ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and bay leaf backed by a hint of malt. After infusion, the spices evened out as typical Assam scents of wood, toast, malt, cream, and caramel emerged. In the mouth, there was an admirable balance of spices (ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and bay leaf) and malt, cream, toast, caramel, wood, and molasses notes from the tea. The finish maintained this balance, only leaving lingering touches of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and malt on the back of the throat.
While the description above details my experience consuming this tea neat, I prepared it with an addition of milk earlier in the day. The milk really brought out the Assam base’s natural creaminess and maltiness, greatly taming the intensity of the spices. I did not add sugar or any other sweetener, however, so I have no clue how this blend would perform with any additional additives. Overall, my experience with this chai was a pleasant one. It was a little mellower than I was expecting, but that should not be read as a knock against it. Even though chai is still not quite my thing, I could definitely see those who enjoy the stuff liking this one. Just be aware that it is probably necessary to use both cream and sugar to really get the full effect from it.
Flavors: Caramel, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Malt, Molasses, Spicy, Toast, Wood
This is delicious. That said, I prefer the third steep because the first two are far too much in your face, far too perfumed. Perhaps I am using too much leaf though I use just as much as I would for an oolong, way less than half of a DT’s spoon. I drink it black. Maybe that is the problem. Either way, my experimenting continues to find that immediate perfect cup. And the next and the next.
I am finally beginning to work my way through some of the What-Cha samples I have been holding on to for awhile (read that as I’m drinking a few teas I forgot I had). This unique green tea was today’s selection. I found it to be pleasant and intriguing, but it also was not quite what I expected it to be.
What-Cha described this tea as possessing a “vegetal taste with sheng qualities.” I found that to be sort of true in the sense that the tea demonstrated a consistent underlying saltiness and sour funk. I would emphasize, however, that there was much more to this tea than that.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a short rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, aromas of carrot, sweet corn, cream, grass, hay, elderflower, millet, and sorghum expressed themselves on the nose. After the rinse, traces of wood, briny funk, smoke, and sea salt began to emerge. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet with slightly more salt and funk. In the mouth, I experienced a rush of carrot, millet, sorghum, sweet corn, wood, malt, cream, grass, hay, and elderflower notes underscored by brine, smoke, sea salt, and a hint of nuttiness. Subsequent infusions grew more intense, offering up forceful impressions of beech nut, chestnut, lemon, and at various points, kumquat and/or bergamot. The later infusions saw a mellow and comparatively restrained mineral presence merge with lingering impressions of sweet corn, hay, grass, wood, brine, smoke, and sea salt, while hints of vegetables, nuts, sorghum, and a touch of tart citrus remained in the background. The way the sweet corn, wood, brine, and smoke notes lingered on my palate reminded me a bit of a sour mash.
This was an extremely complex, deep, and interesting tea. Fortunately, it was not so busy as to be overwhelming or cumbersome. Like quite a few Vietnamese green teas, it displayed a pungency and astringency that some people may find off-putting, but to be honest, it did not bother me all that much. Those qualities could probably be mitigated by using slightly less leaf anyway. Definitely check this one out if and when What-Cha manages to bring it back, but just be aware that it is more likely to remind you of a high quality Yunnan green rather than a young sheng.
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Carrot, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Malt, Marine, Mineral, Salt, Smoke, Wood
Drinking this one again. I guess the question now is how is it doing in my storage. I don’t feel the teat has degraded in what is fairly low humidity. I don’t know exactly what it is but it cannot be higher than 50% or so if that much. It seems to me that shou is not as susceptible to low humidity as sheng. This one tastes really good with a bittersweet note at the start and a fair amount of fermentation flavor. Neither of these notes lasted too long and were replaced by a sweet note. Sort of a dry fruit note. I am noticing a little bit of astringency, just a very small amount. This is good tea and for the price I paid it had better be.
I brewed this twelve times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. I could have gotten a few more steeps out of these leaves.
A friend of mine came over to teach me calligraphy. I was never that interested in this Coffee Cake tea, but she saw it and showed immediate interest. which is also interesting because she doesn’t really like coffee.
And the experience of drinking it together and having her enjoy it so much, gave me a very positive opinion of this tea as well.
it always smelled good to me, and my favorite teas are always the cookie and cake types (vanilla, brioche, chocolate, french toast, etc), so my liking it wasn’t a big leap.
now, a few weeks later, i find myself coveting the last oz i have. i might have to place an order. (and maybe buy one of those new tea cups.)
Guess what! I’m back again. It has been way too long. I was forced to spend the majority of last week in a caffeine-free funk due to a work-related training in Louisville. This is the first opportunity I have had to try a new tea since before I left. I, of course, had to pick an oolong.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced lovely aromas of honey, apricot, red osmanthus, raisins, dates, and prunes. After the rinse, I picked up stronger honey, raisin, and date scents accompanied by emerging impressions of fig and wood. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet. In the mouth, I detected slight notes of dates, fig, raisins, prunes, apricot, nectarine, honey, and red osmanthus with an underlying complex of malt, toast, and wood. I should have gotten thicker, more expressive flavors, so this steep was clearly too short. The second infusion offered some improvement in the flavor department, but nothing new. The tea did not really hit its stride until the third or fourth infusion in the series. At that point, I was picking up everything previously mentioned plus hints of hay, butter, cream, and eucalyptus. The following infusions grew ever gentler, milder, and more savory as malt, toast, butter, eucalyptus, cream, hay, and wood began to increasingly define the tea’s aroma and flavor profiles. Later infusions were mostly a wash of wood, hay, cream, and butter underpinned by minerals and hints of dried fruit, red osmanthus, and honey.
Let’s ignore the fact that I botched the start of this session for a moment and concede that this came across as a very smooth, pleasant, approachable tea. Unfortunately, it also struck me as being all of these things in a fleeting and superficial sort of way. Its most appealing aromas and flavors faded fast, and while they never entirely disappeared, I did not find enough to hold my interest later on in this session. Indeed, I could have probably squeezed at least one more infusion out of this tea, but I did not see much of a point in attempting it. The tea had already said all it had to say. Overall, this was a decent, likable oolong, but it was not really my kind of tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cream, Dates, Eucalyptus, Fig, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Osmanthus, Raisins, Toast, Wood