As I’ve mentioned previously – I have a coworker who is currently getting her Sommelier Certification & I’ve been helping her with the course work/tastings. This is the same coworker who was recently in BC and picked up a bunch of teas from Cultivate Tea to bring back for us all the taste.

She drinks Gongfu w/ me all the time in the lab when I’m brewing, but a couple of my coworkers and I were finally all free at the same time for us to give her a crash course on brewing Gongfu so that she could take her first crack at it! It took my two years+ to build up to brewing Gongfu, but she got there in less than six months! She picked this tea to make for us all, and with some gentle guidance she brewed it up like a pro!

We went light leaf and longer steep times, because we all agreed that was probably the best choice since strong leaf and small steeps seems like a recipe for burnt fingers and over brewed tea for a first time using a gaiwan. I certainly remember the burnt fingers…

She brewed for about five people and it was a small approx 80ml gaiwan so we basically all got a sip or two of each infusion – which was three in total. It was a short session, but they all came out nicely and it was a really great starting point in her Gongfu journey! I thought the Rou Gui she had purchased was nice enough; it was a little light for my tastes (a result of the leaf used I think, not a reflection on the tea) but had some mineral/rocky and toasty roasty notes that I love in Rou Gui along with a dry cinnamon/woody quality and a finish that was very cannabis heavy! The last infusion was beginning to break into that floral territory but we didn’t steep long enough to really get into the floral part of the tea.

It was just a really nice experience just getting to be a part of her first time brewing Gongfu!


So I have managed to avoid burnt fingers since my first session. My issue is timing. I do like 10 sec. and the tea is tasting weird.

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So I have managed to avoid burnt fingers since my first session. My issue is timing. I do like 10 sec. and the tea is tasting weird.

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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.


Montreal, QC, CA



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