6 Tasting Notes
I tried this as both an iced sample and a hot cup to go at my local David’s. Cold it had that tart cranberry bite I love, but with some sweet to balance it out. An average experience overall, but I don’t do iced tea much and generally don’t care for my tea being cold, so I needed to try it hot to fully render my judgment.
Unfortunately, that judgment is…well. There is a reason they sample this tea iced. Hot, any sweetness in this tea disappears, overtaken by the intense harshness that is the dark side of the cranberry. I ask you, friends: have you ever tried cranberry juice? Pure cranberry juice, with no clever blending with the juice of sweeter fruits like grapes and apples like most “cranberry juice” you’ll find in your local supermarket? If you haven’t, let me tell you, it’s not fun. It has gone to tart country and decided that this place is not hardcore enough, and it is going to liven it the hell up. The tartness is seriously dialed up into a very screwy kind of bitter. Any sugar in the berry has fled deep into hiding in fear for dear life. You’re left with an astringency of the kind that makes the juice very difficult to swallow. And hot, this tea tastes very much like cranberry juice, diluted in water in a desperate attempt to make it bearable. The attempt is, largely, not very successful. I can just barely taste the other flavors, desperately trying to get out and smooth things over, but they’re drowned out by the overwhelming force of the cran.
It’s a pity, because I actually have a deep and abiding love for cranberry. But cranberry needs to be carefully managed and subdued to really shine, and everything else in this blend just doesn’t seem up to the job. I ended up having to just give up and toss out the tea mostly undrunk, and that makes me very sad because it feels like such a waste.
So when I got David’s Chai Collection this was the first of the trio that I tested out. After making a few pots full and drinking them down, I went ahead and got a full tin of the stuff. I couldn’t even wait for the sample I had to run out, I just needed to have plenty of it on hand immediately. It’s that good.
Things I love in my chai: spice, heat, comfort. This chai definitely meets those marks. Steeped in warm milk, water, and just a touch of raw sugar, it’s got lovely flavor while tasting a bit lighter and less decadent than chai usually does to me when prepared stovetop-style. (Once I tried chai that way, back when I was still just discovering tea beyond cheap bags, I just couldn’t go back to steeping it in plain water and then adding whatever else – the most time/effort-crunch compromise I’ll make is quick-heating the milk and water, combining them & the sugar, and then steeping the tea in the mixture.)
Overall it’s not the best in the world, but it’s pretty perfect as an everyday blend for me – and as a humble but delicious addition to my daily life rather than a special occasion type of tea, I adore it entirely. If you want a lighter chai that still has quite a bit of spice, you can’t go wrong with this one.
I was in the mood for something fruit-heavy tonight, so I decided to go ahead and finish off my last sample from David’s. The sour, tart sort of smell of the sour cherries was what hit me on opening the package. Used the whole package, brewed it for five minutes hot, added a little honey.
It’s tart and refreshing, but I just can’t get past the taste of the cherries. A confession: with the sole exception of rainier cherries, I cannot staaaaand cherries at all. Something about the flavor just really does not play nice with my taste buds, and I will take basically any fruit flavor over it. Why drink a blend called Cherry Snowcone at all then, you ask? Because the tea was free and I live in the hope that I’ll be pleasantly surprised. As it is, this has enough besides the cherries going on in its taste that I’m not going to throw the rest of the cup down the drain; but definitely, definitely won’t be ordering more in the short time David’s summer collection has left on the shelves.
In conclusion, about as expected; not my thing, but I’m not the intended audience. Not going to put a number rating on this one because I don’t feel like that would be fair when I’m already biased against it.
DavidsTea emailed me to let me know the fall collection had officially dropped, so I went in to see the shiny new teas. I ordered a cup of this to go, since I’d been particularly looking forward to it – I absolutely love apple cider.
This tea definitely lives up to the “sweet” part of its name – the apples give it a nice homey sugary taste. I also picked up on some floral notes in my cup. Unfortunately, evaluating it as a cider tea, I was left kind of disappointed. Everything about fall, to me, begs for spice, spice and more spice, and cider especially benefits from it; but there’s a complete absence of any of the spice or kick that I love in my ciders in this tea. It’s delicious, but it’s not what I was picturing when I heard there would be a cider tea, and I think the blend suffers as a result of that expectation in comparison to what it actually is.
Tl;dr – it’s good, it’s just not cider-y enough. I liked it, but that disappointment means I probably won’t be picking up more than a cup’s worth.
DavidsTea was kind enough to send me a sample of this with my little spending spree on their summer clearance sale. Tried it a few days ago and thought it was good but not great; today I’m finishing off the sample.
Smells like maple syrup, of course; I couldn’t help leaning over to take a good breath of it before I got it brewing. Sweet and comforting in that distinct way maple has. Brewed, the apple and cinnamon shines out a bit more. It smells a bit like a bowl of (proper, not instant) oatmeal, which smells great to me but ymmv on that.
Added a little honey to accent the sweetness because that’s how I roll. I can taste the maple, apple and cinnamon without feeling like they’re overwhelming, it’s a nice cup and it goes down smooth. At the same time, I don’t feel like there’s much of anything that makes me want to go back for more once it’s gone. It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s delicious enough, but even if I’m enjoying the cup it just doesn’t feel like it’s scratching any particular itch I have. Nothing much stands out about it.
I guess that’s it for the Maple Sugar experiment. That was the last of my sample and though I did enjoy it and I’m glad I got to try it, I didn’t like it enough to want to go out and get more. Then again, I’m not overly fond of maple syrup or sugar itself past a certain point, so that probably has something to do with it; I’m sure someone who likes those flavors more would get a kick out of this tea. But hey, I still have the apple cider and cranberry blends to look forward to!