5553 Tasting Notes


We’re officially playing Christmas music at work now. We’re only two days in and I’m already prepared to end myself. By the end of a month and a half of this nonsense, I swear some other member of management is just gonna come in to work to switch off from morning to nighttime crew and I’ll just be hiding behind the counter, deliriously singing Jingle Bells to myself because I’ve suffered a mental break…

This tea was good though, and I do think actually pulling out some of my “Winter” themed teas is helping me to begrudgingly get a little more into the winter/festive spirit and accept some of the things like mall Christmas music. I added a little skim milk to this one to help cool it so I could drink it right away and I found that today it had a bit more of a ginger heavy profile, which paired with the milk gave it a little bit of a molasses-y gingerbread cookie kind of quality with cherry finishing notes. Pretty solid, and definitely also wintery which again only adds to that begrudging excitement/acceptance.

Flavors: Cherry, Cookie, Ginger, Molasses


Ugh, our radio at work seemed to switch to Christmas music as we were closing and leaving last night so I take it today will be our first day.

Evol Ving Ness

We’re only two days in and I’m already prepared to end myself.

Totally get that. My sympathies.

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Hot, straight.

Today this one was a little weird. It still had the sweet caramel/coconut kind of pairing that reads as almost syrupy to me or like the Cream of Coconut often used in cocktails? However the chocolate was VERY light/almost not present at all and the banana had the kind of green sharpness of an underripe banana. Just a little unlike how this one usually brews up…

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.

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From vacation haul.

Honestly, this was pretty expensive for the amount of tea in the tin BUT it’s very very unique and now that I’ve tried it I actually don’t mind the price at all for the quality of it. It’s just gonna get used up quickly is all, and that’ll be disappointing…

I grabbed this one because of the unique combination of ingredients. The company, Algonquin Tea Co, was partnered with Cornelia Bean which is where I saw this one. They actually had about six different offerings but a lot of them seemed super wellness and religion based and that’s not really why I drink tea so they didn’t really interest me a ton. There was also one that was supposedly supposed to help with lucid dreaming? I didn’t really want to fuck with that though. So I grabbed this one solely because I thought I’d like the taste.

It smells really good to me; very fresh and outdoorsy with a lot of pine characteristic and sage undertones. I didn’t personally get much from the aroma in terms of the sweet grass in the blend, but most of what I was after was that strong pine aroma anyway and just going off scent this seemed to be a blend that would have a lot of that.

I brewed this one up at work, and I started with my normal four minutes that I do for Western styled teas – BUT I realized quickly that would have produced a really weak/bland tasting brew so I doubled that and steeped for eight minutes. I still think I could have pushed it even longer though, and would have got a more potent flavour without any negative repercussions. So that’s something I’ll keep in mind going forward.

This one brewed up really smooth though! I think it had a pretty equal representation of all three ingredients in the blend too: pine, sage, and sweet grass. That was a little surprising to me ‘cause I didn’t get the sweet grass at all from dry aroma but I got A LOT of pine. Not a complaint though! In fact, I really like the sweet, sappy quality from the sweet grass and the pine combined. And I love sage in general; it’s such a pleasant, soft herbaceous quality that’s really peaceful/relaxing. Overall, it just tasted really natural (kind of obvious that it would based on the ingredients though) and fresh. Reminded me of taking a walk in the forest; and also of those “Douglas Fir” candles that come out around the holidays – but just more stripped down, mellow and realistic. It would be a good tea for quite reflection or just meditation in general, I think.

Very happy with this one.

Flavors: Herbaceous, Pine, Raisins, Sage, Sap, Sweet, warm grass

Evol Ving Ness

Good to know, good to know. If I am not mistaken, I have seen this one along my travels here in the city, though for the life of me, I can’t recall where.

Evol Ving Ness

Aha! Our tea festival lineup came out today and this is one of the featured blenders. I wonder whether they will bring this blend with them. I’d like to try it if it is available in small bits, but I am wary about the sage.

Roswell Strange

Embrace the sage! It’s just such a peaceful flavour.

Evol Ving Ness

Not so much the flavour, but the herb has negative effects on my various health issues. And THAT is a huge concern. Depends on the proportion of sage versus other ingredients in the blend though.

Roswell Strange

Ah, that’s completely understandable!

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Got this one in For Tea’s Sake’s “Festive Sampler” – to be perfectly honest, had it not been in the sample I 100% would NOT have bought it.

So, those who’ve been around Steepster for a while know that while I don’t have any issues with mint I don’t generally drink straight peppermint. Aside from the fact that it’s kind of boring, I had a REALLY bad peppermint experience years ago where I found maggots in a specific tea company’s pure peppermint. I 100% will NOT touch that company’s straight peppermint anymore – but I don’t blame the company itself. I mean, tea is a botanical product and stuff like that is just bound to happen every now and then. Shit happens. Still, it’s left me in a spot where straight peppermint teass send me back to that experience and I get the stomach wibby wobblys.

In fact – before I brewed this one up I emptied out the sample tin of it and just looked through the leaf. Just in case…

Once I was assured this was good to go, it actually wasn’t bad though. I mean, there is the aforementioned thing where as a flavour it’s kind of boring – HOWEVER, I did think that this one in particular was pretty smooth and fresh, and thought it packed a pretty good minty punch while still having that relaxing quality a good peppermint tea should have. It’s because of that relaxing quality that this will probably be my last tea of the night ’cause boy am I tired now! And good thing too, I work really early in the morning tomorrow and I really ought to be getting to bed…

Lexie Aleah

That’s horrible, and If that happened to me I’d have a hard time not blaming the tea company.


Jesus, peppermint tea is something I always consider buying so I wonder which company you’re talking about…


I do not recall this maggot issue and I think I probably blocked it out because that is unsettling to say the least

Roswell Strange

The review is definitely still up on Steepster, so with enough digging you could 100% find it. But if anyone is really concerned, shoot me a PM and I’ll tell you privately which company it was.

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Loved my sample of this one so much that I had to go and buy one of the larger tins of it.

In fact, my desire to have more of this in my cupboard is the whole reason I went and placed an order with Silk Road in the first place. I just liked this one so much. It’s probably the best currant tea on a black base I’ve had to date and I think tied with Tea Desire’s Champagne Cassis for favourite currant tea overall.

This cup was really satisfying! I made a little bit of a mistake with my food pairing and I chose something that kind of overpowered the taste of the tea; a cheesy cauliflower curry. I mean, it was delicious but I would have preferred to get more of my tea’s flavour. I only really got to experience that delicious jammy currant flavour in the few sips I had before I started supper and the few sips afterwards. Oh well, at least I have lots of this one now! Hooray for stocking up.

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Early evening cuppa.

I was certainly feeling the caffeine from my earlier session with Camellia Sinensis’ Jin Die so I needed something caffeine free to kind of mellow out a little bit for a while. This was part of my vacation haul, and I’ve been pretty excited to dig into it so I figured why not give this one a whirl.

Is it just me or have a lot of companies been going for this “Pineapple Mimosa” flavour lately, though? I know I’ve seen a few companies here on Steepster but even just in general I know I’ve seen others that aren’t on Steepster just from cart building on different websites in the last year or so. I think the first time I heard of it as a flavour was when DT did it a few summer’s ago as part of their cocktail collection. I liked it a lot then, but it was really new to me as a concept. Is this is a thing now outside the tea world that the tea world has then set out to replicate or is it a thing that’s unique to the tea world!?

It’s good though! Very, very strongly pineapple flavoured without a lot much else going for it other than sweetness and apple undertones. I mean, I like pineapple A LOT – it’s my favourite fruit and definitely in my top five favourite foods of all time. So, you know, I’m down. I could see this being a little too cloying or “candied pineapple” tasting for some though, and if that was the case I could see people easily being turned off by it. Understandably, as well. It’s a touch weird as a hot tea though; I think I’d be much more into it either iced or cold brewed…

Also, even if I like the profile doesn’t mean I’m sold on this whole “pineapple mimosa” thing as a concept. I mean, a mimosa is champagne and orange juice – right? So even if we’re, in theory, replacing the orange entirely with pineapple shouldn’t there still be something in this to replicate the flavour of champagne? ‘Cause right now it’s essentially just a sweet but straight up pineapple flavour. I think if you, as a tea company, really were committed to the idea of a pineapple mimosa you’d do something to introduce another flavour here to actually give a proper nod to cocktail you’ve named your tisane after.

But that’s just my opinion.

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First eggnog latte of the year!

I’m doing it right too; we had a bunch of old bananas to use up so we made eggless chocolate chip banana muffins that I’m now snacking on while I enjoy this latte! The whole experience is just divine; both the latte and the muffin are SUPER indulgent and sweet with a lot of very dynamic flavours.

As far as the muffin goes; it’s a little denser than a typical muffin because it doesn’t have eggs in it and therefore didn’t rise as much as a typical muffin. It’s got really intense flavours though, and is nice and moist. Very good for dunking, too! Love, love, love dunking baking in tea!

The eggnog latte is also great! I had no doubt that the chocolate component of this tea would work well with the eggnog, and I was completely correct. Chocolate and eggnog are just great; very sweet and creamy. Kind of like a really thick, smooth chocolate custard or mousse flavour. The ‘chili’ element was what I was a little unsure of. It works though; eggnog already has some spice elements to it (cinnamon/nutmeg?) so this just adds to that. The extra layer of flavour is important too; I think if this was JUST chocolate and eggnog it wouldn’t feel as balanced as it does with that soft spiced undertone.

Man, and these two things (the muffin and the latte) just work so well together! The chocolate in the muffins is a good connecting ingredient that forms a bridge for some of the different flavours going on. Yum!

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.

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Gong Fu!

So recently I decided to treat myself a get a few new Gaiwans from Camellia Sinensis, as well as some other teaware from both Bitterleaf and Teaware House. I’ve bought a lot of Western style teaware this year from DAVIDsTEA but not a lot of traditional stuff for Gong Fu, and I think getting some shiny new pieces could really help me get back into Gong Fu brewing on a more regular basis…

Along with my two Gaiwans, CS also sent along a sample of this tea! Jin Die is completely new to me altogether, so I thought it’d be something nice to explore today. Besides, it’s almost as if CS is going “New Gaiwan? Break it in with this tea”. I can’t argue with that, right? So here are my stream of consciousness notes from the session:

Dry aroma of the leave is very sweet; coming off as notes of caramel/cocoa and lots of fruity undertones. Stonefruit in particular, but orange/fresh citrus too. Really inviting and aromatic! Leaf if visually stunning as well; very golden, and delightfully pretty little curls.

Steep 1/Five Seconds:
- Really sweet right off the bat!
- Top notes of caramel/malt/sweet potato
- Body and finish are fruitier: strong orange notes, hints of stonefruit in a generic way
- Actually almost a candied orange peel kind of flavour?
- Orange zest/candied orange lingers well after the swallow

Steep 2/Seven Seconds:
- Aroma of the dry leaf is INSANE! Very sweet, fragrant with tons of citrus/orange
- Top notes still largely malt dominated
- Also notes of sweet rolls, honey, caramel, sweet potato
- Body is SUPER fruit heavy: a mix of full bodied orange, raisin, dates
- Also Grand Marnier liquor (which I know is orange too, but still…)

Steep 3/Ten Seconds
- I’ve started snacking on plain, unsalted/flavoured pecans in between infusions
- This adds a different sort of sweetness to the top of the sips; pleasantly nutty addition
- And almost a “maple” quality
- LOTS of malt to the top of this infusion, sort of ‘spilling’ out into the body too
- Less of the honey/caramel sweetness of the first two infusions
- Body of the sip is equal parts malt/raisin/stonefruit
- And then TONS of orange that coats the whole surface of my mouth
- And lingers for such a beautifully long time

Steep 4/Fifteen Seconds
- A little bit tannic at the start of the sip
- This small degree of bite/astringency is the first I’ve experienced thus far
- Otherwise the flavour profile remains the same from last infusion
- Though perhaps a hint more raisin-like taste in the finish

Steep 5/Fifteen Seconds
- Less tannic/astringent, and less malt notes as well
- In fact, this is pretty much only the fruitier notes I’ve experienced
- In the same proportions as the last infusion, though
- And then a hint of complimentary nuttiness from the pecans I’m snacking on

Steep 6/Eighteen Seconds
- Steeped leaf smells like orange, honey, sweet potato, bread, and cinnamon
- In that order
- Infusion is less pleasant; very astringent/bitter which is disappointing
- And feels like it’s coming out of nowhere?
- Almost has a finish that tastes like the pithy part of an orange – bitter!
- Also a little peppery in the body and finish

Steep 7/Twenty Seconds
- Even more bitter/pithy tasting than the last infusion!
- Literally took a sip for my cup and did that kind of choking/gagging thing
- The one people in sitcoms do when they eat/drink something gross
- Only nice thing is that the finish is a little sweeter with floral orange notes
- The rest is TRASH
- Dumped it…

Steep 8/Twenty Seconds
- Still a little bitter/peppery but better; didn’t feel the need to dump this one
- Otherwise the same as last

Steep 9/Twenty-Five Seconds
- It’s not bad, but it’s kind of boring now?
- Not really bitter/astringent though but the present flavours are dull/flat
- Orange, malt, cinnamon, black pepper, raisin
- Yeah, calling this one as my last steep even though it’s not totally brewed out yet

Honestly, I’m probably never going to be a twenty steep kind of person. I just hit a point during my session where I either don’t like enough of the infusions back to back that I don’t want to continue brewing or I simply get bored. Today, it’s a little bit of both?

I also skimmed CS’s website description of this one and I found it very interesting they described it as vegetal ’cause at no point during this session did I really associate the flavour profile with those sort of notes. The closest I think you could get would be the peppery quality I experienced late into the session, but for me I was definitely thinking something more inline with like black pepper…

I don’t know where I want to rate this one overall; I greatly enjoyed the start of the session but the end of it wasn’t so great. I think that probably averages out to a just sort of mediocre session? I’m gonna hold off on rating though until I get a chance to revisit this one either Gong Fu again or just Western style. This session was a pretty nice way to kill a few hours of the afternoon though! Just very relaxing overall.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cinnamon, Dates, Floral, Honey, Malt, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pepper, Peppercorn, Raisins, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

Sakura Sushi

Thanks for this! I still haven’t opened mine up yet, so I’ll be referring to your review when I do!

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drank Power Berry by DAVIDsTEA
5553 tasting notes

Cold Brew Sipdown (407)!

I was looking for something to cold brew last night and I came across this one that, if I’m being honest about, I’d forgotten was still in my cupboard. I used to really, really like this one for a fruity/berry option that was highly caffeinated but as of late I’ve replaced it with DT’s Just Beet It blend so there’s really no reason for me to hold onto it anymore…

It is very sweet and fruity though; I’m getting lots of notes of mixed berry with an almost maple like undertone and a bit of grassiness from the base. It reminds me a little bit of Saskatoon Berry, or even just raspberry or blueberry, syrup. The kind that, as a kid, I used to just LOAD my pancakes and waffles with. It doesn’t really have any tartness from the hibiscus/any sort of “bite” to it either, just a smooth mixed berry flavour. I bet if I’d let this cold brew for much longer it would have been a little too sickly sweet, but as it currently stands it’s pretty perfectly smooth. A mix between juice-like and syrupy, but still with tea/yerba mate elements.

Song Pairing: https://youtu.be/apvtTQ6BjXA

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.

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I’m a bit behind on How To Get Away With Murder, so I made myself up an extra special tea treat/dessert to both sip on and eat while I watch the three episodes I need to get through to catch up…

What is that treat, you ask? A cold brewed Nutty Granola Crunch “float”! So, basically, I took my 25 oz. mason jar and cold brewed some of this one just like I normally would. However, then after I had strained it I added in two and a half scoops of vanilla ice cream, a cocoa dusting on top for aesthetic and a hint of flavour, and some candied cherries! So pretty looking, so decadent, and so much yum!

This was really delicious! The tea itself is quite creamy already with notes of smooth, creamy peanut butter and coconut undertones. The vanilla ice cream doesn’t at all change that but instead amplifies it so that it’s creamy and rich to an extreme level. Plus, it’s got that super thick creamy “melted icecream” mouthfeel too now, which is just the bomb. Literally, it’s just the sweetest creamy peanut butter flavour! Plus, the bites/sips with the cocoa powder dust on them almost have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup vibe going on.

Ahhhh! Dessert tea overload, in the best way!

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.

Lexie Aleah

I just got caught up yesterday.


Did you make it a Tea of the day pic because that seems like it would be a pretty pic :)

Evol Ving Ness

^ Good call there, VariaTEA.

Ms. Strange, I can totally see you opening up an indulgent lovely tea shop in your future.

Roswell Strange

I did indeed take a picture of it :)

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer living in Saskatchewan, Canada. I started drinking loose leaf fairly casually about five years ago, and at some point between then and now that ‘fun little hobby’ turned into a serious obsession.

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

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

Typically I drink flavoured blends more than straight but one of my mini goals is to get that ratio to a more 50/50 level. I do a daily cold brew, and have at least (but usually a lot more) two hot cups of tea every day. Naturally I lean towards black or white blends and as of late oolongs but I WILL drink everything; the last half year or so I’ve been challenging myself by further exploring Oolong and Pu’Erh which are the tea types I know the least about overall.

A personal goal of mine has been to do a proper Gong Fu session every week because it’s something I deeply enjoy doing but struggle to make time for. I can’t say I’ve been doing great staying on track with this goal, but I haven’t forgotten about it!

My default for preparation is Western Style with zero additives. The exception to this is matcha which I drink in straight milk with no additives. So unless I mention otherwise you can assume that I’ve prepared my tea Western style without added ingredients/sweeteners.

Favourite flavours/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, and honey, but only in moderation.

Least favourite flavours/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, often Chai spices in general, mushrooms, overly vegetal or marine/seaweed, chamomile, sometimes mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/looking to try: Shou Pu’Erh or Dark/Roasted Oolong, Sweet Potato flavoured blends or straight teas with strong sweet potato notes, and anything with Goji berries. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas!

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket

I also have two real life pets:

A skinny pig hairless guinea pig named Eilert, after Henrik Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler, and a fancy rat named Wasabi.

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.


SK, Canada

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