9320 Tasting Notes

60
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
9320 tasting notes

When I was out today, it finally felt like fall! It was warm and lightly windy, you could see the colours of the tree leaves turning different shades of orange, and there were lots of crunchy leaves all along the sidewalk. So, it seems like a perfect night to enjoy a cup of this tea!

The dry leaf for this one smells so flavourful. When I opened it up tonight, Tre even remarked “I thought you didn’t buy any Pumpkin Pie?”. It’s also my mom’s favourite tea out of all the teas I have that she’s tried (which is basically all the teas I have from DAVIDsTEA). Whenever she’s over I ask what kind of tea she wants and she responds “surprise me!”, but less than a minute later she ALWAYS pipes up “Maybe that Pumpkin Chai one!”. At this point, I only make the offer out of courtesy: I’ve already started making her a cup of this one.

When I smell the dry leaf, the most prominent flavour notes for me are the pumpkin, of course, but also the cinnamon and cloves. The caramel comes through too, but to me it smells like “molasses candy” or “tar candy”. Maybe that’s why my mom likes this tea so much, tar candy was her favourite Halloween candy growing up. I also really love tar candies; every year on the day after Halloween I’d take my pillowcase full of candy to school so I could trade candy with friends. None of my friends liked tar candy so I always got theirs (usually without having to trade). So, while this tea is definitely a fall tea, it’s especially a “Halloween” tea for me!

The smell as it’s steeping is definitely spiced pumpkin: the cloves and cinnamon are really coming out to play! Really though, I can smell all of the ingredients including the black tea base with lemon peel being the exception. I think the lemon peel is just getting lost among all the other strong scents or is blending really well with the smell of the pumpkin.

I really enjoy this tea without anything added, but it also makes a great latte. I’ll admit, I’m not fond of it iced or cold brewed. Tonight, I added just a touch of honey and a small splash of milk. I personally feel like those additives really bring out the taste of the pumpkin, squash, and carrot while accentuating the natural creaminess of the tea. The pumpkin, carrot, and squash are the upfront taste at the beginning of the sip, and then you’re hit with the warm and welcoming cinnamon and clove flavour. Finally, the caramel/tar candy like taste is most prominent in the aftertaste.

This is really a great chai, and the best pumpkin flavoured tea I’ve ever had (although I have high hopes for Butiki’s Pumpkin Milkshake). It’s the kind of tea you WANT to gulp down, but really SHOULD savor each sip of. Mmm… Fall has arrived!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Cranberry Pear by DAVIDsTEA
9320 tasting notes

Back from my job interview! I think I did really well: I feel like I had strong answers for all the questions they asked. If I do get the job, it seems like the only thing I’m going to be displeased with would be the amount of hours I’d be getting. At the theatre, I’m used to having a work week with hours ranging between 25-35/weekly. Here, it looks like I’d be getting 15-20 hours/weekly… Blerg.

Anyway, I made this tea as my tea to go for the afternoon! It was pretty good; very creamy and rich. I shook the little silver baggy before steeping, and that unsettled some leaves from the bottom of the bag so this cup didn’t have quite as much fruit in it as it had last time.

Maybe it’s because there was less fruit than when I tried it before, but today this tea was a lot more tart (from the cranberries), or maybe that’s because it was iced and that just brought out the flavours in a different way. Regardless, it was still good! I liked being able to taste the black tea base more so than before.

I also stopped at DT’s today while I was at the mall! It took all my willpower, but I was able to go without purchasing more tea (even though there are a few on my shopping list to restock or buy sample sizes of). While I didn’t buy tea, I DID however purchase seven new shiny, coloured tins for my McQuarrie’s tea and Tea Desire tea. Now, the teas I plan on restocking regularly (Chocolate Banana Cream, Mint Mate, Champagne Cassis, and Chai Apricot) all have lovely homes, and the teas that came in brown paper bags can be stored in a way that’ll keep them fresh longer! Yay organization!

keychange

I’m glad the interview went well. And yay for more tea homes aka tins!

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72
drank Mate Mint by Tea Desire
9320 tasting notes

My ‘wake me up’ tea this morning as I get ready for my job interview!

I LOVE the smell of the dry leaf: it’s all spearmint. Mmm, do I ever love mint. And, it’s nice to have more than one Mate tea in my cupboard at the moment. Options are always good.

One thing I really dislike about Tea Desire is that their brewing instructions are super generalized. However, I’d take generalized brewing instructions over no instructions at all… That’s right – they don’t have brewing instructions for any of their Mate teas. I checked the little generic brewing sheet printed on their bags, and then scoured their website. No brewing instructions. Blerg.

Also, fun fact or whatever, when I bought this one in store they printed out the wrong label for it. Instead of Mint Mate I got a label for “Summertime Rooibos”. Oops. I checked online though, and they both sell for the same price, so it’s not a big deal. It’s not like I could have been drastically overcharged or anything.

So, I’m using a slightly heaping tsp. and leaving it steep for about five minutes. The smell is primarily spearmint, but with a gentle earthiness to it from the Mate base. The taste is a very strong spearmint, with a mild earthy Mate taste in the background, however the spearmint pretty much masks this.

This cup is perfect for someone like me who LOVES mint, and I think it’d be perfect for someone who wants the stimulating effects of the Mate tea without the taste of Mate. Even though I’m frustrated with Tea Desire for not having a guide for their Mate teas, I AM happy with this purchase.

EDIT: I just checked Della Terra’s site, and my order is finally marked as shipped! Woot!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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82
drank Victoria Mint by Tea Desire
9320 tasting notes

Pardon the language, but I swear I’m gonna punch Tre in the dick. I just announced that I was going to my room for some quiet time before I go to bed (significantly earlier than I usually go to bed, I’ll admit). I need a good night’s sleep though as I have a job interview tomorrow and I’m already stressed enough as it is. I need this job. Still, I can still hear him laughing away at stupid vines or youtube videos or whichever it is tonight.

Seriously!? He has the LOUDEST laugh ever, and he KNOWS this. I’ve known Tre for years, and I swear his laugh never bugged me this much until we moved in together (even when I was seeing him on a regular basis). I know I can’t stop him from watching TV and stuff, but he knows how important this interview is… Ugh. I just wish he’d be quieter.

Regardless, lets talk about the tea…

One of my purchases today from Tea Desire. It’s mint. It’s caramel. So seriously, how could I resist? I swear the only reason I didn’t pick this up last time was because I didn’t realize they were selling it. It’s a rooibos tea, so it’s perfect tonight as I can drink some of my favourite flavours to help me relax without caffeine keeping me up and preventing me from getting a good sleep.

The dry leaf smells sort of like you’d expect: there’s an obvious amount of mint paired with a creamy caramel which, almost surprisingly, doesn’t seem masked by the nana mint – and then there’s the less noticeable (but still there) almost trademark “woody” smell of rooibos. Honestly, even though I don’t mind that quality about rooibos teas it’s not a flavour I love so I have way less rooibos tea in my cupboard than I should: I feel like the flavour possibilities with rooibos teas are less limited than herbals, which (at least what I have stocked) are more fruity.

I’m not loving how broad the steep times are for some of the different tea types that Tea Desire offers, like rooibos or herbals. Herbals have a recommended steep time of “four to ten minutes” and rooibos teas are “five to ten minutes”. Some teas types, like Mates, don’t even have a brewing guide. Regardless, I steeped a tsp. for I think 7 minutes. I lost track of time a little bit.

Liquor of this one is a really deep, red amber. Just like the Chocolate Banana Cream I had from Tea Desire earlier today, this one also has a really oily sheen to it. There’s a Scottish or Irish candy I bought at a pavillion during Mosaic in Regina (for people who don’t know, Mosaic is basically a cultural fair) that was primarily mint and caramel – and this smells and tastes just like that! I wish I could remember the name of it!

But really, that candy was SO caramel flavoured and SO mint flavoured, but the two just suited each other so well that it almost got hard to distinguish the mint flavour separately from the caramel or distinguish the flavour of the caramel separately from the mint. This tea is EXACTLY like that! I’m noticing both flavours, but not one more so than another. It’s SO very well balanced. I can taste the rooibos base pretty clearly too, but that taste is separate from the caramel/mint, even though it’s present in the body of the sip and lightly in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel of this tea is ever so slightly tingly on the roof of my mouth immediately following the sip, though quickly fading. My mouth is left feeling minty cool without tasting strongly of mint.

I really like this tea, and tonight it’s hitting all the right spots. Truthfully, though, I have tasted better caramel mint teas, though.

Dexter

Good luck on the job interview tomorrow. i took a look at Tea Desire’s website. Looks like they have some interesting flavors.

Roswell Strange

So far my favourites are Chai Apricot (Flavoured green), Banana Tea “Chocolate Cream” (Fruit infusion), and Champagne Cassis (Flavoured white). Since I have a local store I buy there instead of through the website, but the website it definitely part of how I’ve been deciding what teas to try. They have great customer service in person but my biggest pet peeve, you could say, is the lack of information they post about their teas! Thanks for the well wishes!

Dexter

I wish I had more local stores. Davids and Teavana aren’t really that exciting to me. I have one other that sells interesting teas, but too expensive compared to what I can get online. I would rather support a local store, but they have to be competitive.

Sil

Dex – totally agree. There are more than a few here in toronto but they either have the stupidest operating hours or they’re overpriced or i have to buy 50-100g. There are exceptions to that of course, but overall, it generally seems so much easier to just purchase from online stores, usually in the US.

GOod luck with the interview Roswell! I hope you knock it out of the park!

keychange

dex and sil—I’m with you. I too only have access toa teavana and a dt, neither of which are terribly exciting to me at the moment save for teaware and sugar/agave. There was a teahouse in Ottawa where I used to live, and I kick myself now because I just wasn’t into loose leaf tea then and so didn’t really visit it much.

keychange

Also, good luck today, roswell! and tell the boy to keep it down ;)

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96

Since I was in the area today, I went and stopped by Tea Desire to pick up more Chai Apricot and check out some other teas while I was there. I’ve really been dying to get my hands on Teavana’s Chocolate Banana Foster but since it’s the only thing from Teavana that I’m currently interested in getting I’m not going to make an online order for just one tea (I don’t have a local Teavana store to go buy from), so I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement.

This tea looked worth a shot! Even though there were no Steepster reviews (I had to add the tea to the database!) there were lots of reviews on the Tea Desire website, so I thought I’d give it a taste.

Technically, I guess, this isn’t really a tea – it’s a fruit infusion but I’m ok with that because it just means another dessert tea I can drink before bedtime! Honestly, this tea looks and smells like dessert heaven. Everything in the mix is GIANT. Seriously, massive hunks of chocolate (not chips, HUNKS), bananas, mango, and WHOLE banana chips. Sadly, because of all the big pieces this one is REALLY heavy, so 50g doesn’t buy a lot (the sales lady joked that this is her “favourite trail mix”).

I just have to comment that I’m really impressed with Tea Desire’s guest service as well! Other than today, I’d only been in the store one other time but the sales lady recognized me right away! She even remembered what my purchase was, and asked if I’d enjoyed all the teas I had tried (and I gushed about Champagne Cassis, which is now probably my favourite white tea). It was a really welcoming environment and there care and attention for sure makes me want to come back again and again.

I steeped a cup of this for myself and a cup for Tre. I’ll be honest, most of Tre’s cup was chocolate and Mango since I seemed to get a lot of those bits and wanted to save the giant banana chips for myself. I guess I don’t share too well with others. In my cup, however, I made sure I got at least one piece of everything in the blend.

The liquor for this one is very murky and cloudy brown, with a little bit of an oily sheen that reminds me of some teas from DAVIDsTEA. Not a problem for me, but I know other people have issues with that oily kind of sheen or with teas that aren’t “clean”.

I steeped this for 10 min., although admittedly I was only aiming for 7. I got distracted by the sub delivery guy. It was alright though, because the steep time for this tea is incredibly broad: 4 to 10 minutes. At ten minutes, my tea tastes great. It’s very much banana – and not an artificial banana taste but the taste of ripe, real bananas. The chocolate taste of this tea is very creamy and strong too, and holy butts does it compliment the banana. The other ingredients in this blend sort of take a backseat, but that’s alright: with a tea called “Chocolate Banana Cream” or whatever, you’re not really DYING to taste the papaya are you? I don’t think so. With that said, I can taste the mango but it’s very subtle.

Honestly, I think I like this better than Chocolate Banana Foster! The only thing it’s missing is the caramel flavour, although for the last quarter or so of my mug I did add about a teaspoon of butterscotch pudding, and that worked quite nicely.

Overall, a very much banana and chocolate flavoured dessert tea that’s SUPER sweet (no need for extra sweetener, unless like me you want to add in that caramel sort of flavour – although it tasted divine without it as well). I’m thinking that a longer steep time is really important, with how huge the chocolate pieces are you’d definitely need a significant amount of time for them to melt. Also, use boiling or very near boily water – trust me, this tea can take it.

Definitely a tea that’ll now have a permanent spot in my cupboard! Tea Desire, I’m really quite impressed!

PS. The best part of this tea was totally eating all of the pieces afterwards!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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84

Mmmm! This is, without doubt, my favourite bagged tea (and one of my favourite black teas, just in general). Sadly, it’s also one of Tre’s favourite teas so I’ve actually got a small stash of bags (about 5) hidden in my apartment so that should he finish off the supply in the kitchen I’ll still have a small ration.

I’ve only seen this sold one place: the art museum in my old town, but I’m keeping a fierce eye out here in Saskatoon! It’s odd, my observation of Saskatoon so far has been that Saskatoon doesn’t really stock any food with Saskatoon berries in it, which you would think would be the opposite case.

The smell of this one steeping fills the whole house (so if I ever do have to rely on my secret stockpile of this tea, I’ll have to drink it when Tre’s not here). The dry leaf reminds me of Saskatoon berry pie, and the smell of it steeping is freshly picked Saskatoon berries. As dry leaf, you can’t smell the black base at all, but it’s a more present smell as it’s steeping.

The taste of this one is very sweet – there’s no need to add sweetner of any kind. The first taste when you take a sip is the black tea base, but then you get the very sweet Saskatoon berry which lingers heavily in the aftertaste. This tea is pretty straight forward, there aren’t a lot of contributing flavours other than “black tea” and “Saskatoon berry”. The only downside to this tea is that it gets very bitter very quickly, so you want to go with a short steep time. I never exceed four minutes for this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

There used to be a little kiosk in the centre of the Midtown that sold this, I believe. It was beside the coffee place that is directly in the middle of the first floor.

Roswell Strange

Thanks! I’m headed there tomorrow, so I’ll take a look! My friend Robyn said she saw Riverbend Plantation products being sold in the University Library, but she said she didn’t see any tea – so I’m gonna try and look there too.

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70

Teavivre Sample #3:

Ughh! I had a longer more detailed review for this one written, but Steepster ate it and it’s late and I don’t so much feel like rewriting it from scratch so mostly I’m just going to summarize…

Anyway, last tea of the night which leaves one Teavivre sample left (a straight white tea) and one Butiki sample left that I’m going to try as my reward for finishing all the straight tea samples that Lala sent me.

I wanted to read the steepster reviews of this one, but there are only two tasting notes. Since there was no info. in the tea description or on the sample packet about how much leaf to use for my cup I basically just guessed 1 tsp. since that seems to be a pretty safe amount for green teas.

The dry leaf smells very fresh and lightly vegetal which is usually unappealing but not so much in this case. I keep going back to the sample packet to take another whiff. There’s something REALLY familiar smelling about the dry leaf for this one, and it’s bothering me – however I’m certain I’ve never tried this specific tea before.

I steeped 1 tsp. for 1 minute, and the colour is a pale yellow/green. The scent is mildly vegetal, but in a way that I don’t find off putting (probably because of how light it is). The taste of this tea is very light and the only notes I can get are vegetal ones reminding me primarily of very lightly creamy spinach. It’s very refreshing, and there’s absolutely no bitterness or astringency to be detected. I’m wondering if I did underleaf this or whether that’s how this tea is supposed to taste. I’m definitely going to need to try this again with more leaf and a longer steep time to be sure.

I keep going back to the words “light”, “refreshing”, and “smooth” in my head. Conservatively, I’m going to rate this tea a ‘75’ for now, but I reserve the right to increase the rating if I taste this a second time and am able to duplicate the taste or can get it to taste better (because I really like it) or decrease it if it tastes really different and unappealing because right now I’m in a bit of disbelief about whether this is really how the tea SHOULD taste.

Preparation
1 min, 30 sec
TeaVivre

Thanks for your honest review,and for the recommend brewing guide will come soon.

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76

Teavivre Sample #2:

Green tea…

This one is supposed to smell/taste like chestnuts, I guess. Being totally honest, I know very little about Dragon Well teas. The leaves themselves look very similar to DAVIDsTEA’s green tea base used in Hot Lips, which is a flavoured green tea that I actually like a fair bit. However, I think Hot Lips has a sencha bae like most of their flavoured green teas – anyone know for sure? Maybe that’s a stupid question – I don’t know.

I don’t smell chestnuts in the dry leaf. I do smell grass. Still, this is less vegetal smelling than most straight green teas I’ve smelled.

I steeped 1 tsp. in about 80 degree water for a minute. There isn’t really a strong smell coming from the liquor of this one, that’s good because it’s not too seaweedy or grassy and bad because I have no idea what I’m going to taste.

Actually, I really like this one! With the exception of the Butiki Teas that Lala sent me, this is probably tied as my favourite alongside the Jasmine Pearls – so far anyway. It tastes light and buttery, with almost some nuttiness to it. In a lot of ways it’s reminding me of the Genmaicha I bought at McQuarries.

I think I could drink this on a regular basis – and I’d be open to trying different varieties of Dragon Well too.

I think I need to retreat to my room though, and come back to the rest of the samples in an hour or so – Tre’s watching Vines or Youtube videos or something like that, and every ten seconds or so he breaks out into really obnoxious laughter. It’s kinda disrupting my “restful Sunday” and the calm tea drinking atmosphere I’ve got going on…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Lala

HOORAY! Glad you found one that you like!

Roswell Strange

As am I! My job interview is on Tuesday, and it’ll put me in the same mall as one of the two DAVIDsTEA’s in Saskatoon so I might go pick up 10g of DT’s Dragonwell as a comparison. If I can find a Dragon Well tea more conveniently located that I like to drink then I’ll be a happy person.

Roswell Strange

Geez, if I get hired so close to a DT that could be a dangerous thing…

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77

Teavivre Sample #1:

Dry leaf smells sweet and floral. I definitely like the smell of this one, but I’m not surprised – I’ve been trying more white teas lately and have been really liking them.

Steeped 2 tsp. for 1 minute and about 15 seconds.

Hmm… It’s a little bitter. Not a lot, but just enough that it’s sort of off putting. I’m sure that’s likely a user error though, and not the tea itself. However, the cooler my cup got the less noticeable the bitterness seemed. Aftertaste is very lightly floral, and sweet.

Not a huge fan, but I’m going to hold off on a rating until I’ve tried it again because one of the things I’m finding so hard to get over is the bitterness, and that was probably my fault.

Preparation
1 min, 15 sec
Lala

If you find its bitter, try decreased water temp and less steep time. That might help.

Roswell Strange

That’s the plan! I’m gonna table that for another day, though – I want to get through as many of the samples you sent as possible. I have three Teavivre samples left, and one Butiki. I’ve decided the Butiki tea sample will be my reward for getting through all the straight teas.

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72
drank Asia Cocktail by Tea Desire
9320 tasting notes

Transition tea! Today I’m going to be trying as many of Teavivre straight tea samples from Lala as possible in between doing laundry and trying to finish season four of Supernatural. Since my breakfast cup of tea didn’t quite hit the spot I decided to drink something I am familiar with before venturing into other teas that I might not enjoy as much.

I can’t help but think that this tea tastes like chocolate covered mangoes – but that’s because I just ate a large spoonful of Nutella. I steeped this cup in a lower water temperature than when I had it last time, and for a slightly shorter amount of time. The green tea base tastes a little bit weaker than I remember it being last time.

This morning, I’m really reminded of the syrup you get at the bottom of a bowl or can of fruit cocktail – an amalgamation of sweet fruit juices (the primary one being mango). Yum.

Preparation
2 min, 30 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, Gongfu…

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 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, 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
Brass Mouse: Stilton

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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