11399 Tasting Notes

Tuesday evening was bad.

I left my office just after 5PM and walked down to the metro – this was probably the hottest day that it’s been in Montreal so far this year and while I was dressed pretty appropriately for the weather I was also hauling my laptop and a bunch of teaware in my backpack. Plus, I’ve still not gotten used to the “wet heat” here in Montreal that feels so much more different and unpleasant compared to the dry heat of the prairies.

When I got to the metro I learned that due to an incident at the stop just ahead in the line that service had been paused and would not be resumed until 6PM – I live verrryyyy far away from the metro stop I get on and had not brought a debit/credit card with me to the office that day so walking or taking a cab was not an option, and I don’t know the bus system at all so I didn’t feel confident trying to catch a bus. So I waited, and the station slowly became like a pack of sardines as people funneled in. Then 6PM rolls around and the announce the delay has been extended to 6:30PM… then 6:45PM… and finally 7PM…

Eventually I finally boarded at about 7:05PM, which meant I got home at around 8PM. I was sore, overheated and sweaty, and pissed at having lost so much of my evening. The last thing I wanted to do was cook, so I ordered in Thai Express. I noticed they had a new pandan iced tea, so I tossed that into my order too. It’s very sweet, very creamy – probably too much sugar for me under normal circumstances. However the flavour of the pandan was strong and cozy – like a big hug after a fucked up evening. The fact it was iced!? Heaven! I pretty much chugged this, and I loved it so much in that moment.

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Sipdown (1403)!

I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over with these Kenneth Ave fruit blends in that they’re all pretty catalog feeling and safe/unexciting to me, but ultimately not bad teas. It’s just a pretty average quality blend that relies a bit heavily on apple/hibiscus as the base of the blend with some flavouring additions to switch up the taste from blend to blend. This one works particularly well because that style of base is already apple-y and tart, so those are spot on the flavours that should be coming through here. I liked it – it would make for a bright and lively daily drinker type of fruit blend, and would probably ice well. Nothing innovative happening here, though.

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drank Sleep Well by Kenneth Ave
11399 tasting notes

Sipdown (1404)!

This one really just tasted like chamomile to me, even though I could see there were other ingredients in the blend aside from the chamomile. I guess it’s not a bad thing that it tasted like chamomile – a lot of people like chamomile and it obviously makes a ton of sense for a sleep blend. I do not like chamomile, so just wasn’t personally my jam. I did find it interesting that it was only the fine “bits” of chamomile (I’m totally blanking on the correct word right now) that you get when you crush a dried chamomile flower, and not the flower/bud itself – no “whole” chamomile in the blend, if you will.

Thank you VariaTEA for sharing – even if I didn’t love the tea I did love trying something new to me!

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Sipped Western style on Monday morning and I really should have taken better notes but I did enjoy the mug quite a lot. The leaf quality has deteriorated with age but only slightly, as this still brews up a very smooth and enjoyable cuppa with earthy sweet notes of dark cocoa. The main thing is that it’s lost some nuance and some definition of flavour.

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This tea came up in a conversation with Marika earlier this week and that prompted me to steep it up and give it another taste. I remember my main thing with the last cup was that the flavours were all excellent and the tea felt very balanced/well crafted for the average consumer but I personally wanted more rose…

Well, with this cup I felt like it actually struck the perfect level of rose in the taste. It was sweet and fresh and brought a lightness and delicate/elevated nature to the more ginger and fennel forward mix of spices. Rose and ginger is not something that I’d have really thought of together, but I liked the weird mix of the two – with the sweetness of the fennel acting as the bridge flavour!

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drank Rujac by Boba Boba
11399 tasting notes

Another new flavour from the summer menu!

I wanted this to be better than it was, and it kills me a little bit that the thing that I felt needed tweaking was the ratio of pineapple because I fucking love pineapple. It’s my favourite food!! This is a pineapple, tamarind, coconut water and palm sugar boba mix but it comes off mostly as pineapple – the type of sweet but tart and tangy pineapple that you’d get from the juice in a can of crushed pineapple or pineapple rings. Very concentrated and strong.

I guess what I expected was more emphasis on this light and refreshing coconut water, to be more summery and fresh feeling. Instead it gave me tiki vibes and more sweet cocktails on the beach – not unpleasant at all but just a shift from my expectations based on the visual of the drink. I barely tasted the coconut water, and the tamarind just seemed to play into the sour tang of the profile.

I feel like I’d need to try this again with my now adjusted expectations to get a better sense of if I’d enjoy this or not – and there are a lot of other summer teas on the menu to taste through still so I don’t know if I’ll end up getting to a retaste.

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Sipdown (1405)!

The look of this matcha was a bit of a duller green and it didn’t froth well so I got the impressed it was probably not super fresh, but it did taste pretty good. Smooth/no grit to the texture with a slight sweetness to it and a fresh and floral body flavour. Reminded me a little bit of lilacs and snow peas, and I was a little impressed and taken aback by how pleasant the taste was despite the off appearance.

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drank Fantasy Island by DAVIDsTEA
11399 tasting notes

Plus side of owning so many teas is that when you randomly find yourself craving a coconut and berry blend you get to then answer that craving with “ok, which one should I make?”. I chose this one because it was the quickest in my stash to find, though I did add a little bit of coconut agave both to boost the coconut and sweetness level to match where my cravings were. The raspberry was such perfection – soft and sweet with the tenderness of flaky raspberry turnovers or other types of pastries. The buttery coconut notes contributed to that for sure, and the black base here is so full bodied and malty with a nice mild astringency. Good texture.

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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drank Green Spiral by DAVIDsTEA
11399 tasting notes

This was at the tail end of the little “green tea blip” I went through last week where I was just spontaneously craving greens. Because it was at the end, I feel like I was less excited for this cup than others I had in the same time frame – but it’s still a really nice green tea with clean and fresh notes of crisp lettuce and a little bit of that playful fennel to the undertones. It’s flatter than it used to be, but still solid.

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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Cold Brew!

Drank this one this afternoon because I wanted something robustly juicy but caffeinated and it ticked all the boxes. This might be a weird comparison, but as I was finishing the brew I thought to myself that it sort of reminded me of a very good peanut butter & jam sandwich, but without the peanut butter or the sandwich.

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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Hello! My name is Kelly, though many people in the tea community call me Ros or Roswell.

I am a twenty five year old proudly queer tea addict, blogger, and all around tea geek. I grew up in the Prairies, but a few years ago I relocated to Quebec to pursue a career with DAVIDsTEA in the tea industry! I’m still working on getting my French language skills down…

My first introduction to tea, in any form outside of instant and bottled iced tea, was about seven years ago when I happened to stumble upon DAVIDsTEA while looking for a birthday present for a friend! I tried their Birthday Cake rooibos blend, and I’ve been hooked on tea ever since! In those seven years; I was introduced to the online tea community, expanded my interest in flavoured teas to include a deep love and appreciation for straight teas and traditional brewing methods, got a tea themed tattoo, started reviewing teas, amassed a sizable tea and teaware collection, became a TAC certified Tea Sommelier, & even came full circle by beginning a career in the tea industry with DAVIDsTEA!

I consider myself a Jack of all Teas, and strive to have a knowledge and appreciation of all tea types, formats, and styles of drinking. I don’t like to feel boxed in to just being a “flavoured tea” or “straight tea” drinker – my expectations may vary depending on the type of tea or how it’s been processed/prepared but if it’s good tea, it’s good tea no matter how it’s been made!

You name it, I probably drink it- and I’ll absolutely try anything at least once.

My default method of preperation is hot, Western style, and straight – but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea or use a different method of preparation I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gongfu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, hazelnut or walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strongly spiced profiles (and most Chai in general), mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, stevia, saltiness or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Please contact me at the instagram account listed below if you would like me to review your teas.

Currently I’m employed in the tea department of the DAVIDsTEA head office. While I’m still sharing my own personal thoughts on new & existing DAVIDsTEA blends, I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any comments expressed are a reflection of my own thoughts and opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company. Any DAVIDsTEA blends you currently see with a numeric score were reviewed prior to my being hired there and have not been adjusted since becoming a DAVIDsTEA employee.


Montreal, QC, CA



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