Another new tea from DT that quietly launched in select stores and that will also be online!

This is a tea that’s a bit tricky for me to talk about just because I’m not a green tea person at all and I’ve only had it once or twice – but it’s an absolute favourite of everyone else who works in the tea department, most of whom drink it basically daily. To be fair, I am the only tea department employee who dislikes green tea. Even still, I actually don’t mind this one but I find it more average than amazing. Which, on my own personal straight green tea scale does mean a great deal/put it higher than the majority of greens…

So, for people who might not have the straight tea familiarity to infer from the name, this is an Anji Bai Cha – which is a Chinese green tea that is kind of sometimes classed as a white tea?! But only in China, really. It’s a weird one for sure, and there’s a lot you could dig into to discuss that further – but the point is that this is a pretty traditional and established tea type.

I actually think this one is an AMAZING quality one as well – like, the leaf quality is OUTSTANDING and I say that as someone who is generally really skeptical of the straight/traditional teas that DT often selects. It’s very much a straight tea for straight tea drinkers, and something that deserves care, attention, and deep appreciation. I know a lot of the DT customer base (though certainly not all) doesn’t really do Gongfu style brewing, but this is the kind of tea that would just be amazing prepared that way and really well situated for it. Add to that the fact we got that awesome quality green tea and it’s organic!? Like, wow.

I genuinely mean it when I say that I think this is the highest quality green tea that DT has ever carried. Nicest in terms of flavour is definitely subjective because people’s tastes can be so different. However, this is good quality tea.

As for flavour!? Well, I actually really agree almost perfectly with the little tasting note blurb/description used for the tea’s web page:

“Fresh, buttery and invigorating, with vegetal notes of artichoke, asparagus and a hint of roasted corn.”

How often does that happen!? (Not often.)

Honestly, I mostly just wish that this tea was getting the fanfare and promotion that I think it warrants. Quietly releasing it is just kind of sad in my opinion. It’s also a bit nitpicky of me, but I wish we’d just called this “Anji Bai Cha” instead of Anji Green. It’s a really good quality, traditional/straight green tea and for the price tag associated with it I think that the primary purchaser for this is going to be the kind of person who already has the knowledge base to appreciate the traditional name. Why are we playing it down by simplifying the name!? We found something awesome that I think straight tea drinkers will love – so use language that speaks more strongly to them!

But that’s just my two cents. The tldr is that I don’t love this one myself but I recognize the quality and how amazing it is that DT is even carrying something of this quality at all…

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.

Togo

Interesting, I should check out if they have it here in KW :)
It would be useful for that time in winter when I’ll run out of most of my green tea, but it’s too close to next year’s harvest to commit to ordering large-ish amount of year old green tea online.

VariaTEA

I think you are on to something with the name tbh but I think DAVIDs prides themselves on being accessible to the masses and I guess that is their way of trying to entice non-green tea/non-straight tea drinkers?

Also, I feel like it would be cool for DAVIDs to release a gaiwan or something to facilitate gong fu brewing. I wonder if they ever did!? I know when I first started going there, they had a small glass tea pot but I can’t recall anything else. This coming from someone who is just getting into gong fu brewing and buys almost all my teaware from DAVIDs…

Roswell Strange

@Togo We have a selection of stores we call “Straight Tea Stores” that have more expanded straight tea selections so this tea is in that cluster of stores – but I’m honestly not sure exactly which of the stores are straight tea stores. It’s one of those instances where I’m both very in the loop information wise and also completely out of it.

@VariaTEA Usually I agree that DT’s straight teas and approach to naming/marketing them really puts emphasis on accesibility and I think that’s a REALLY important thing to have for straight tea drinkers, I’m more on the fence with this particular tea though because it was selected more with ‘serious’ (though I hate that word) straight tea drinkers in mind as a way of sort of saying “Hey, look! We can do REALLY exceptional straight teas!”. So I think this is one of the rare times where I wish we’d leaned into that a bit harder. I know in the past DT sold teaware for brewing Gongfu (teapots – I don’t think we’ve ever done Gaiwans) but it was like 7+ years ago back when the number of stores was much more limited and we were carrying more straight teas that are realllllyyy intended for Gongfu (like compressed pu’erh tuochas). I’d personally love to see more Gongfu teaware introduced, especially if we want to continue to carry more high end straight teas specifically marketed towards straight tea drinkers. A lot of the straight teas we carry year round are more approachable straight teas that, while meant to appeal to both straight and flavoured teas drinkers, lean more heavily to catering to flavoured tea drinkers IMO. However, I think that for our current average customer base it would take A LOT of work educating them on Gongfu/traditional brewing before that teaware could really take off today…

VariaTEA

I could see that. It would just be interesting if they introduced a gaiwan or something b/c I know when I started drinking tea I did not know there were other methods besides Western style and I feel like it could be an interesting experiment to see how it’s received. (Mostly I just want DAVIDs to sell gaiwans lol)

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Togo

Interesting, I should check out if they have it here in KW :)
It would be useful for that time in winter when I’ll run out of most of my green tea, but it’s too close to next year’s harvest to commit to ordering large-ish amount of year old green tea online.

VariaTEA

I think you are on to something with the name tbh but I think DAVIDs prides themselves on being accessible to the masses and I guess that is their way of trying to entice non-green tea/non-straight tea drinkers?

Also, I feel like it would be cool for DAVIDs to release a gaiwan or something to facilitate gong fu brewing. I wonder if they ever did!? I know when I first started going there, they had a small glass tea pot but I can’t recall anything else. This coming from someone who is just getting into gong fu brewing and buys almost all my teaware from DAVIDs…

Roswell Strange

@Togo We have a selection of stores we call “Straight Tea Stores” that have more expanded straight tea selections so this tea is in that cluster of stores – but I’m honestly not sure exactly which of the stores are straight tea stores. It’s one of those instances where I’m both very in the loop information wise and also completely out of it.

@VariaTEA Usually I agree that DT’s straight teas and approach to naming/marketing them really puts emphasis on accesibility and I think that’s a REALLY important thing to have for straight tea drinkers, I’m more on the fence with this particular tea though because it was selected more with ‘serious’ (though I hate that word) straight tea drinkers in mind as a way of sort of saying “Hey, look! We can do REALLY exceptional straight teas!”. So I think this is one of the rare times where I wish we’d leaned into that a bit harder. I know in the past DT sold teaware for brewing Gongfu (teapots – I don’t think we’ve ever done Gaiwans) but it was like 7+ years ago back when the number of stores was much more limited and we were carrying more straight teas that are realllllyyy intended for Gongfu (like compressed pu’erh tuochas). I’d personally love to see more Gongfu teaware introduced, especially if we want to continue to carry more high end straight teas specifically marketed towards straight tea drinkers. A lot of the straight teas we carry year round are more approachable straight teas that, while meant to appeal to both straight and flavoured teas drinkers, lean more heavily to catering to flavoured tea drinkers IMO. However, I think that for our current average customer base it would take A LOT of work educating them on Gongfu/traditional brewing before that teaware could really take off today…

VariaTEA

I could see that. It would just be interesting if they introduced a gaiwan or something b/c I know when I started drinking tea I did not know there were other methods besides Western style and I feel like it could be an interesting experiment to see how it’s received. (Mostly I just want DAVIDs to sell gaiwans lol)

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Bio

Hello;

My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gong Fu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – those only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “Exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gong Fu. 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, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, 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.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

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.

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