9093 Tasting Notes

82

I decided to organize my tea collection today in anticipation of my Della Terra order (which I’m gonna have to wait an extra week for since one of the teas I ordered was out of stock; no biggy though! Gives me more time to try out all the samples Lala sent me)! Pre organization, all of my teas were just sitting out in the open on top of our dishwasher. To clarify, I live in a basement suite, so the teas weren’t being exposed to direct sunlight or a lot of heat or anything – we have next to no natural light in the suite and it’s always pretty cool. However, post organization I now have all the small sample sizes and anything that was packaged in a clear bag or in a brown paper bag (I’m looking at you, McQuarries – 50g in a brown paper bag does not a happy customer make!), along with some tools like strainers or tea balls or measuring spoons, tucked away in a fairly sizeable drawer right next to this dishwasher! My tea is still within reasonable reach from the station it’s prepared at, but now there’s so much less clutter! The only things left out on the counter space/dishwasher are now my Tea Desires bags, which are large resealable bags with foil lining, and my tins of tea (along with the electric kettle)!

And trust me, in this case, out of sight is NOT going to equal out of mind ;)

And what goes best with tea organizing? Well, tea of course! I settled on this oolong tea because I was definitely in the mood for something fruity after eating a dinner of primarily savoury foods, and because I’m definitely going to want something I can resteep at least once tonight.

At the moment, this is my favourite oolong from DAVIDsTEA; the dry leaf reminds me of peaches and cream which is my favourite breakfast oatmeal. There’s also a floral quality to the dry leaf which melds with the sweet peach and apricot flavours at work. There are so many large slivers of almonds too which add a nuttiness to the overall smell and flavour (and, if like me, you can’t resist picking them out and eating them – each almond sliver has absorbed a sweet fruitiness to it and tastes like peaches and apricots too). Growing up, I always thought that the pure almond extract my mom would use in her baking kind of smell fruity – sort of like subtly sweet, nutty cherries. So, it’s probably not surprising that to me I can very faintly smell something resembling cherries in the dry leaf.

Steeped for four minutes and thirty seconds. The liquor is basically the colour of apple juice. The smell is a much more muted peach, but it still reminds me of peaches and cream oatmeal.

This tea has a lot of flavour contributors, but it works out really nicely and comes off, to me at least, quite well balanced. There’s a floral contributor at work here, but I can’t quite name what exactly I’m tasting that seems floral. The peach flavour is pretty strong, with a more subdued apricot. The real nuttiness of the almonds seems to be most present in the aftertaste as the peach flavour fades away. I have to say, overall, I can’t really pick out the flavour that the orange peel is contributing.

If I didn’t eat peaches and cream oatmeal practically every morning (well, realistically, every afternoon since I sleep on a reversed schedule – get up at 2:30ish PM go to sleep at around 3 AM) for breakfast this would be a really good early morning breakfast type tea. With that in mind, I think this is a perfectly good tea for the odd day out when I have cereal or waffles or something instead of oatmeal or for travelling with for days when I don’t have access to oatmeal.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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84

A gift from Lala! I’ve never tried a Teavivre tea before, nor have I tried dragon pearls so this is a really new experience for me! Out of the Teavivre samples Lala sent me, I picked this one to start off with because it’s not REALLY a straight green tea – there’s jasmine in it. So, that seems like a pretty decent middle ground when it comes to trying out new green teas and straight teas.

I’ll admit, I haven’t had a lot of exposure to jasmine flavoured teas. That’s not because I dislike jasmine though (I actually quite like jasmine), more so it’s because there are just so many flavours I like more. Dry leaf for this one DOES smell like jasmine, in almost a perfumy sort of way but still more natural than perfumy. In fact, all I CAN smell is jasmine – no green tea. Hmm, that’s pretty appealing to me. I’ll be honest though, I think I’m secretly hoping that I’ll hate this tea since, based on the different stores and websites I’ve been to, dragon pearls are NOT a cheap tea. It’d just be so much easier on me if I turned out to have a taste for the really cheap stuff!

So, I’m using 1 tsp for about 6 oz of water, steeped for a minute. The liquor barely changed colour at all during the steeping time, but finally settled on a very pale (almost peachy) yellow colour. The smell is still purely jasmine, but a much more toned down jasmine.

First few sips and… Ugh! I’ve made a mess! I totally forgot I was wearing BRIGHT metallic red lipstick, and now it’s all over my cup and all smudged. On the plus side, the tea itself tastes great! The tea is very lightly jasmine flavoured but still has enough flavour you don’t have to search for the jasmine. I CAN actually taste the green tea, but it’s not really all that vegetal so I’m not minding it too much.

Well darn, I was really hoping I wouldn’t like such an expensive tea. Maybe I can make it work by getting relatives to buy me it for holidays and such, so I don’t have to sell out the money myself. I’m probably gonna have to look, now, for a cheaper jasmine alternative since, now that I really think about it, I don’t actually own any tea with jasmine in it. I think jasmine definitely needs a spot amongst the teas I permanently stock. My friend Robyn has DT’s Buddha’s Blend and I think that has a large amount of jasmine in it – I’ll have to see if I can steal a sample from her.

EDIT: Got a really good resteep out of this one. I doubled the steep time, but otherwise everything was left unchanged. Tastes practically identical to the cup I enjoyed earlier today.

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec
tigress_al

Teavivre sells a cheaper version of these pearls that is excellent as well!

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98

From the package Lala sent me! This is one of two teas I specifically asked for. I’ve been practically drooling over quite a few Butiki teas and have built up quite a list of things I’d like to order and try, but the smart thing to do is definitely to try a few sample sizes of things if I can before I go a blow like $80 on tea from a company I’ve never tried before.

I love watermelon so much, so I’m hoping for a very refreshing melon taste – it doesn’t so much matter if it’s crazy flavourful melon or a more subtle melon taste: I just want to taste it! In the past I’ve really liked white teas with a silver needle base, so the fact this tea uses silver needle as a base is quite promising for me.

The dry leaf smells like watermelon juices and, I don’t know if I can explain it properly but, it smells “cool” and sort of mellow while still being REALLY fragrant. Just going by the smell, I bet this would be a very good tea in the summer time, and maybe as an iced tea. I don’t think I’ve seen any reviews about people having this iced. Is that a thing people have tried out with this tea?

Lala wrote out brewing instructions for me on the little baggy, and there are also brewing instructions on the page for this one. They match up, except for the amount of leaf to use. Hmm. I think I’m gonna make this Lala’s way (with 1 tsp) because if I do like it that way then I’ll have more leaf left to enjoy more cups! Yeah, that seems logical.

At first while it was steeping I didn’t smell anything, but now halfway through the steep time the tea smells VERY watermelony. It’s sweet smelling, but a much more natural smelling sweetness as opposed to some of my other dessert tea. Not sickly sweet. But real honest to goodness “fresh fruit” sweet. The liquor in this is so pale it’s almost unchanged, but there is a very faint greenness to it.

Oh. OH! This tastes AMAZING. Like real watermelon. It’s so fresh and delicate but still full bodied. There’s something divine and holy about this tea. I’m so glad I’ve been branching out of my safe zone with flavored blacks and trying more whites because this tea is AMAZING. Yeah, I need to own it. SO badly. I’ve been sharing the samples I’ve gotten from Dala with Tre, just splitting cups of tea with him – but he’s not getting any of this! I am going to be so greedy and stingy with this tea in regard to sharing it. MINE MINE MINE. It’s so natural and smooth, but without being “creamy” smooth.

One of my favourite flavours is watermelon with peppermint, and if I had more of this I’d totally be adding just a touch of peppermint tea. I’m sure that would be crazy refreshing.

Yeah, there’s NO way I’m going to be able to put off a Butiki order now. Just NO way… Lala also sent me Cantaloupe and Cream, and now I’m just DYING to dig into the sample for that one.

EDIT: I continue to be impressed with this! Just resteeped a ridiculously still good second cup of this. It’s definitely not as flavourful as before, but still packs quite a punch! Mmm! Yummy.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Lala

Glad that you liked this one.

keychange

Oh gosh, I can’t wait to hear what you think of cantaloupe and cream. it’s divine. Completely divine. Butiki is one company where placing an eighty dollar order is just fine by me (and i’m not wealthy by any means LOL).

Roswell Strange

The only thing that’s been keeping me from placing an order is the fact that, currently, I’m unemployed. I sadly haven’t yet been able to find a job in my new city, so I’ve been slowly eating through my savings (thankfully I saved a pretty significant amount before moving since I knew this might happen). As soon as I’ve found work and know I’ll be getting regular paychecks the first thing I’ll do is likely make a Butiki order!

keychange

Oh yeah, gotta love the unemployment situation. I hope you can place your mass butiki order soon. In the meantime, hit up those of us who have stashes and i’m sure we can tearfully part with some if only to spread the word of their awesomeness!

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70

Bit of a backlog from earlier this morning.

Woke up with a serious craving for this tea. Don’t really know why, since I wasn’t in love with this the first time I drank it. Maybe I just needed a stronger black tea with a little vanilla creaminess to it.

Steeped for around four minutes I think? First few sips, and sort of what I was craving? There’s the strong black tea base which is soothing right now, but there’s not really much creaminess to it. I think I actually noted that the first time I drank it, so what’s up tastebuds? I don’t really know what I was thinking exactly – I’m definitely craving something with a strong black tea base but MUCH more cream. I think I have to break my own rules and add milk and sugar to this.

Added about a tablespoon of milk and half a teaspoon of sugar. Still a very strong black tea flavour, but now the creaminess I wanted is there along with a more obvious vanilla.

I think I’m in a weird tea drinking mood today.

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70
drank Birthday Cake by DAVIDsTEA
9093 tasting notes

Midnight tea? I think yes! Wanted something without caffeine because I’m actually hoping to fall asleep soon… Fingers crossed. Wasn’t really digging any of the herbal teas I have right now, so Birthday Cake it is! Honestly, this is the only rooibos tea I have on hand – I should really try out some more or restock on ones I’ve tried in the past and liked (last time I was at DAVIDsTEA, the salesman was telling me about October’s tea of the month – a rooibos blend called Currant Affair; I absolutely love anything with currants, so maybe I can hold out until then).

Ah Birthday Cake, the tea that started it all! This was the very first loose leaf tea I ever tried, the tea that introduced me to DAVIDsTEA and, evidently, the tea that introduced me to my borderline addiction of loose leaf teas and the Steepster community! I hold a special place in my heart for Birthday Cake.

The dry leaf smells divine – like sickly sweet vanilla cake with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream! Now that I’m more familiar with loose leaf teas and rooibos tea specifically I can faintly smell the “woodiness” of the base tea that apparently turns some people off from rooibos teas. The sprinkles in the loose leaf are so flipping cute and I remember it totally blew my mind the first time I bought this (for my friend Skylar’s birthday – she too has a great love of tea and this seemed cute and quirky to me) seeing that tea could have things like sprinkles in it.

Steeped, there’s a very oily sheen on the top of the cup – likely from the artificial flavourings and the sprinkles. I know that bugs some people, but it doesn’t really bug me.

I don’t think I love this tea as much as I did when I first tried it and was (even more) inexperienced in the way of loose leaf. The flavour seems ‘lighter’ to me now that I’ve tried much more flavorful teas. Still, this tea is still good. There’s a very present vanilla taste which is more than satisfying the sugary sweet vanilla flavour I was craving.

I get more of an impression of vanilla cake batter or vanilla icing than baked cake itself (although the smell is very much like the smell of a cake baking in the over), however this might be more of a psychological thing since cake is a solid but cake batter or icing are liquid. I don’t know – does that make sense? There’s a pleasantly “eggy” quality to the tea, and a creaminess that I associate with the vanilla, but also with milk (even though I haven’t added any). I’m thinking that’s from the dehydrated ice cream bits which would actually contain milk.

So even though I’m not as in love with this tea as I used to be, I do still deeply enjoy it (and obviously still crave it from time to time) and it holds a very special significance for me. Tonight, this was the perfect bedtime tea!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
keychange

Haha this was my “gateway” tea also, and I only wish I still had a fond place for it like you do. I’m currently looking to pawn my tin off onto some unsuspecting soul. It’s true though, it did all start with birthday cake.

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55

Figured I’d best give the other matcha that Lala sent me a fair try before I rule it out as a tea type that I don’t like, and since I spent a fairly busy day grocery shopping with Tre and am WAY too sore (recently started an “at home” exercise routine type thing – basically 10 minutes when I wake up, consistently whenever my electric kettle is boiling something, which is often, and 10 minutes before I go to bed; I am SO out of shape it’s not even funny) to actually cook or to go through a more elaborate process of making tea tonight this seemed like a good idea.

I’ve read on a few reviews that I good, and easy, way to make matcha cold is to put some into a water bottle with a smaller amount of water, shake the ever living crap out of it, and then fill the rest of the bottle and shake that all up – so that’s the method I tried. The water bottle I have isn’t really specifically for tea, and I’m not totally sure how many ounces is holds. I want to guess somewhere between 10 and 14 ounces? I used about half the sample that Lala sent me to mix up.

Taste wise, this is A LOT better than the MATCHAccino. I’m able to drink this without gagging or feeling like I’m going to throw up – which I think is a plus for any tea drinker (or at least I’m hoping that’s something many of you consider a plus). I believe that what Lala sent me was “Robust” flavouring (I quickly browsed the RLT’s website to see how matcha is sold and the naming/grading/whatever word I’m looking for system they used, and then checked the ratings for this one here on Steepster – I think I recall Lala saying it was robust).

Honestly? I don’t taste any green tea which is a HUGE plus. In fact, if the drink wasn’t green itself I don’t think I’d have remembered it was green tea. Taste wise, it’s reminding me of Nibs with sort of a cough syrupy aftertaste. That might just be the portions I used, though. It’s not the tastiest thing I’ve ever drank – and even though Tre LOVED the MATCHAccino he wont even try this one because he hates cherries. However, even though I don’t LOVE this it’s palatable for sure, and it gives me enough hope to try a few different kinds of matcha from RLT in flavours I like a bit more. I here the Caramel matcha is really good and since caramel is one of my favourite flavours I might give that a go.

Hope is not lost! And I definitely will be finishing off this sample.

Thanks Lala!

Sil

I’m a fan of drinking matcha as lattes or smoothies only. I rarely drink it with just water – the exception being “cola” flavour since that + milk is weird heh

Lala

Yes it was robust. The French vanilla and cheesecake are also good flavours, and seem to be popular.

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98

Drinking this with some spicy vegetable rice for lunch! I’m trying to taste the tea, but perhaps this was a lousy choice to go with my meal – mostly I’m just tasting the rice. Sorry Blueberry Jam, it’s not your fault I’m an idiot.

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15

Holy tea! The lovely and incredibly generous Lala sent me a package of teas to try out (mostly straight green and whites, among a few others) and now I just have so much to try out! I wasn’t really sure where exactly to start, so I let my roommate make the first pick…

So, starting out with some unflavoured MATCHAccino. I had to look up how I’m supposed to make this – so fingers crossed I’m doing this the correct way. I guess I have enough that I can try another cup in different proportions if I need to.

I’m making some in “iced cap” format for Tre and I.

On it’s own, the dry MATCHAccino mix doesn’t smell so bad – very sweet, but definitely green tea. I want to like green tea, though! So of course I’m excited to try this.

All mixed/blended up now. It looks… Well, lets just say that typically I’d be pretty cautious about drinking something so green. Unless we’re talking vegetables, there’s some sort of instinct that I feel most people posses that talks them out of eating suspicious green foods.

It smells really, really sweet. Fingers crossed?

First few sips… ICK. YUCK. NOPE. It tastes like horribly sweet grass. NO. NO. NO. I do not want to drink more of this. Seriously, I LOVE the smell of actual sweet grass – you know, the type used in First Nations ceremonies. It smells so good, and that’s why the dry powder form of this smells like. But, ewwww. It’s too sweet and too grassy. I’m sure it’s not the tea or sample’s fault – but I just DON’T like it.

On the plus side? Tre does. He can drink the rest of my cup for me.

Dala also sent some Black Cherry flavoured Matcha for me to try, and it smells REALLY good too. It was going to be the next one I tried, but now I’m not so sure. I want to like it, but I’m not sure. Maybe it’ll be like other green teas – much more palatable flavoured as opposed to straight.

I’m gonna try and use up the last of Lala’s sample of this one though – in a hot format. Maybe it’ll be better that way? She sent lots of green teas, so I’m really hoping I find at least one type that I like. If nothing else, her generosity will lead into a great learning experience & further proof that green tea just isn’t my thing.

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70

Had an amazing cup of this and then promptly resteeped it to have some more. Not really gonna comment on the initial cup because it was pretty much the same as the cup I noted last night.

The resteep was decently good. Dominant tastes were lemon and white and green tea. Basically no notes of bergamot, which is a shame.

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82
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
9093 tasting notes

This was my summer treat to myself! I absolutely love pineapple, in almost any form, and I also really enjoy coconut too – so it’s no surprise that Pina Colada is a favourite flavour of mine.

The dry leaf smells exactly like it should: a pina colada! The smell of the pineapple and coconut is really quite strong, and you can’t really smell any of the other ingredients. The little sugar hearts are a cute touch as well, and it’s hard for me to resist picking both them and the pineapple bits out of the tin for eating.

I drank a lot of this iced over the summer – it’s just delicious and really flavourful, and SO refreshing. I really should make the effort to go to my local DAVIDsTEA to refill my tin before they run out of this one! The leaf in my tin is pretty sparse and although I probably won’t be drinking this one as much now that it’s getting to be fall, I still want to have the OPTION of drinking it.

This is actually my first time drinking it hot, and I’m not totally sure what to expect – this tea is delicious cold brewed but I somehow just can’t picture drinking a Pina Colada hot. It just seems so… Contradictory.

Steeping, it’s a very sweet and aromatic pina colada smell with some creaminess to it that can probably be attributed to the coconut. I think I can very lightly smell the apple, but it’s not a strong smell and it’s mostly buried under the very dominating pineapple and coconut.

I gave this a long steep time: the full seven minutes. There’s a lot of flavour in my first few sips (well, more gulps really). Pineapple is the first flavour – very sweet and slightly tart. The pineapple then develops into a very full bodied coconut with a HIGH level of creaminess. This is leaving my mouth watering, but I still feel very refreshed. It’s a very smooth tea with light floral notes from the rose, safflower, and marigold.

Even though I prefer not to add anything to my tea, I bet with a bit of rum or a splash of cream this would be heavenly – maybe worthy of a perfect ‘100’. To my list of things to try out, I’m adding both of those additions to this tea! I’d also love to try adding some leaves from DT’s Buttered Rum. Has anyone else done that yet?

As a hot tea, I honestly like this as much (if not more) than I do as a cold tea. Probably an unpopular opinion, I know. I think I’m going to attribute that to the fact that I prefer hot tea in general. I really, REALLY need to buy more of this.

EDIT: Got a really good second steep of this one! I’m not really sure how long it was steeping – I lost track of time. It was definitely longer than 10 minutes though. This steep tastes nearly identical to the previous cup, but with a very sharp note of tart and sour apple on the end of the sip.

Preparation
7 min, 0 sec

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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 – the 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 Stringray: Irwin
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired 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.

Location

Montreal, QC, CA

Website

https://www.instagram.com/ros...

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