DavidsTea’s English Breakfast

English Breakfast by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Straight
$4.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

I am always a sucker for a good straight tea, and I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to try DavidsTea’s English Breakfast. Maybe it’s because they have so many other teas to try, or because I was on an oolong kick for the longest time (because, let’s face it, oolong is one of my favourites), but I do love drinking black teas, and I do love trying straight black teas so lets get to it! English Breakfast is a straight black tea, consisting of black tea leaves from Sri Lanka.

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The dry leaf has nice floral notes to it, and a natural sweet smell that reminds me a bit of the smell of honey. The leaves themselves don’t appear to be very large, so I can’t say much about that.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping English Breakfast for 4-7 minutes in ‘near-boiling water’ (90-95°C/194-203°F). I did my first initial steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

English Breakfast steeps to a nice deep golden orange, it has a great honeyed smell to it. The overall aroma I get from this black tea is one of floral mixed with a bit of maltiness. I found that the tea had no bitterness or astringency when steeped for 5 minutes – always nice. The honeyed taste to this black tea just adds a little touch of sweetness to each sip, which makes it quite enjoyable.

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I added a tiny bit of honey and evaporated milk to this tea. The honey helps accentuate the honeyed flavour in the tea, and the floral notes were a bit tempered by the milk, but still tasty.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped English Breakfast three times, adding an additional 30 seconds per subsequent resteep. I found it held its flavour well, and still made for a peppy cup of tea. The overall flavour of honeyed and floral notes stays pretty much the same for two of the three steeps, the third resteep was a bit weak and required a bit more honey to make it palatable. If you’re not one to add anything to your cup of tea, I would keep it to a total of two resteeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s English Breakfast. I generally do like straight black teas, and English Breakfast did not disappoint. I love the natural floral and honeyed notes in this tea – both dry and when steeped. The fact that it resteeps to a decent number of times is an added bonus, considering how small the leaves are. While it’s perfectly fine straight, I did enjoy it better with a bit of honey and evaporated milk (personal preference!). The ability of this tea to be resteeped adds to the value in the tea, and it isn’t terribly expensive as far as straight black teas go, which is a nice added bonus.

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Tazo’s Awake English Breakfast

Awake English Breakfast by Tazo Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$2.50 for 61g (24 sachets)

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First Impressions

Just a note on the price, I bought two boxes of Tazo Tea while they were on sale for 2 boxes for $5.00. Regular price is usually higher ($4.99-6.99/box, depending on retailer). The box itself is cardboard, I like recyclable packaging. The tea bags come individually packaged in paper and the tea bags themselves feel like they’re biodegradable.

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Awake English Breakfast is made up of “a blend of black teas”. There’s a malty aroma to the black tea that reminds me a lot of Assam tea, so it wouldn’t surprise me of one of the black teas in this blend is Assam. I did rip open the tea bag to see what it looked like inside, I was not surprised that the tea leaves inside of the tea bag were tiny, definitely not the whole leaf tea that I’ve been getting used to. I mostly bought the bagged tea for the convenience factor that tea bags have when it comes to having tea on the go (where I work, I don’t have a desk and I can’t have open mugs).

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Preparation

Tazo Tea recommends steeping Awake English Breakfast in 100°C (212°F) water for 5 minutes. I followed the steeping directions.

First Taste

Awake English Breakfast steeps to a deep orange, it’s got a great smell to it that reminds me of other breakfast teas. I think 5 minutes are far too long. I ended up trying again (and again) with other tea bags and found that 3 minutes was a good amount of time. 5 minutes – I wound up with a very astringent and bitter cup of tea. Less than 3 minutes and it was just very weak. 3 minutes was a good length of steeping time because I wound up with a strong cup of tea with a very strong malty flavour, but minimal astringency and no bitterness. 5 minutes is definitely far too long for this tea (perhaps if it was whole leaf tea, it would be a different story).

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Awake English Breakfast was good on its own, but also good with some honey and evaporated milk. It helped tone down what little astringency there was with the 3 minute steep.

A Second Cup?

Awake English Breakfast is a one steep wonder, I found that a second steep resulted in a very watery cup of tea.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that Tazo Tea’s Awake English Breakfast was just okay. As far as breakfast teas go, Awake English Breakfast is okay. I don’t recommend their recommended steep time (5 minutes is just far too long!) and I wouldn’t buy at full retail price ($0.30/sachet vs. $0.10/sachet). It’s very convenient to have tea prepackaged into tea bags, which is what I typically have when I’m at work (each to steep and easy to discard). If you can find it on sale, I would recommend snagging some Awake English Breakfast for some black tea on the go. For the love of tea, don’t over steep this one and pull the tea bag out at the 3 minute mark – life is too short for a bad cup of tea.

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DavidsTea’s Love Tea #7

Love Tea #7 by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

I initially purchased Love Tea #7 because it was one of their teas that were made a part of their Valentine’s Day collection (but not exclusively so, like The Earl’s Valentine). It’s always been a tea that I was curious about because people in store always spoke highly of it and I’m nothing if not an equal opportunist when it comes to tea.

The first thing I note when opening up the bag is the very strong smell of strawberries and chocolate. I mostly attribute that to the combination of the natural and artificial ingredients. However, it is nice to be able to pick out the different ingredients in this black tea blend because I can see the black tea, the chocolate, the rose petals, and the strawberries.

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Love Tea #7 consists of: black tea, chocolate chips, rose petals, strawberries, artificial chocolate, strawberry, vanillla, and red fruit flavouring. This black tea blend also consists of soy (in the chocolate chips). The chocolate chips do not consist of dairy products, so if you’re a hard core vegan you could still try this tea out! (I’m not 100% sure what “red fruit flavouring” is, sorry.)

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Love Tea #7 in 96°C (205°F) water for 4 to 7 minutes. If you look on the DavidsTea’s website, it’ll say “near-boiling” for the temperature but if you click on the words “near-boiling”, the temperatures will pop up on your screen with a range (90-95C°/194-203°F).

The different temperature recommendations are a bit of a pain. Because it is a black tea, I opted to follow the Tea Association of Canada’s steeping recommendation of 100°C/212°F (more about steeping times here).

First Taste

Love Tea #7 steeps to a lovely reddish orange, I find that the first thing I can smell wafting up from the tea cup is the smell of strawberries and chocolate. If I concentrate a little bit more, I can make out the very faint smell of vanilla. It’s not a very strong smell of vanilla though, I think it would have been stronger if they had opted to use pure vanilla flavouring versus the artificial vanilla.

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When drinking Love Tea #7, the first thing I taste is the black tea base. There’s a mild nuttiness to it, and reminds me of a robust breakfast tea in terms of flavour. The strawberries and chocolate play second fiddle to the base, which is disappointing since the strawberries and chocolate were so in the forefront for the dry leaf and even when smelling the steeped tea. The chocolate chips do leave an oily film resting on the top of my tea, and I found that it does add to a bit an oily mouthfeel to the tea but it isn’t so thick that it’s off-putting. I think it helps that the chocolate pieces were fairly small in size.

Adding a touch of honey helped to bring out the strawberries in the tea, but the chocolate was still quite minimal in terms of being present in the flavour profile.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Love Tea #7 and found that the flavour was primarily the black tea base with very minimal contributions from the chocolate or strawberry. No vanilla was to be found.

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My Overall Impression

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I didn’t like DavidsTea’s Love Tea #7. I really wanted to like this one, mostly because it smelled so good. Unfortunately, how it smelled in dry leaf compared to the actual taste of the tea did not match up at all. The tea did okay with the addition of a sweetener (honey), but the chocolate was still lost. This is definitely a tea that is not good for one more steep because it does so poorly with being resteeped in terms of flavour. The black tea base of Love Tea #7 is a good strong base though, but I would very much hesitate to recommend it due to the fact that a breakfast tea would be far less expensive than this black tea blend.

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The Key of Tea’s ImmuniTea

ImmuniTea by The Key of Tea
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$8.00USD for 2oz

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The Key of Tea has provided me with ImmuniTea for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

ImmuniTea has an excellent punny name and the Key of Tea’s website states that this blend is of immune-boosting herbs. ImmunitTea consists of: elderberry, rosehips, peppermint, lavender, sage, hibiscus, ginger root, and echinacea. The ingredient that really stands out the most to me when smell the dry herbal blend is the ginger. Ginger in general can be a pretty strong ingredient, so I’m not surprised that it overpowers the other ingredients before it’s been steeped. It’s a very pretty blend though, I love how I can see the individual ingredients in the blend.

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A word of advice, some herbs can interact with prescription medications so it’s always a good idea to talk to your physicians/pharmacists and let them know that you’ll be taking any herbal supplements. Here is an image of the retail packaging, provided by The of Key of Tea:

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Preparation

The Key of Tea’s website didn’t have any preparation recommendations for ImmuniTea, I used boiling water (100°C/212°F) and steeped it for 5 minutes.

First Taste

ImmuniTea steeps to a very pretty reddish-orange. I love the smell of it as I poured it into my tea cup – the smell of ginger, lavender, and peppermint wafts up to me and it just puts me into a really good mood! There’s just something about it that smell delicious and inviting. On first sip, I note that ImmuniTea has a light sweetness. There’s a strong ginger flavour, with a freshness at the end of each sip. I found that the combination of ingredients makes for a nice warming sensation.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped ImmuniTea twice with an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found the first resteep was a bit milder than the first, and the second resteep wasn’t as good. I think that ImmuniTea is good for a total of two steeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved The Key of Tea’s ImmuniTea. The warming sensation was a delight, thanks to the ginger. I loved the freshness at the end of each sip, that I attribute to the peppermint. The sweetness of this herbal blend adds a little extra something to it, and makes it a tasty delight. It’s a good blend of herbal ingredients and I do enjoy a good herbal tea from time to time because the lack of caffeine means I can drink it at 9pm and not feel energized all night long. The ginger is the strongest ingredient in the dry leaf and steeped tea, and it’s just so good and works well as a pick-me-up.

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Grand Tea’s Premium Bi Luo Chun

Premium Bi Luo Chun by Grand Tea
Green Tea / Straight
$45.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Premium Bi Luo Chun for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Bi Luo Chun is known as green spring snail, and it’s a green tea. I ripped open the sample packet and was surprised and how small the tea appeared. I learned from Grand Tea‘s website that the tea is hand picked in early spring, so when the leaves are small. The tea leaves are amazingly soft, completely covered with soft downy feathers on the leaves.

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Premium Bi Luo Chun has a very light, sweet floral fragrance. It’s a straight green tea from the Suzhou Province in China.

Preparation

Grand Tea recommends steeping Premium Bi Luo Chun in 75-80°C (167-176°F) water for 1-3 minutes. I steeped my teapot of Premium Bi Luo Chun in 175°F water for 90 seconds.

First Taste

Premium Bi Luo Chun steeps to a pale yellow. On first taste, the tea has a light floral sweetness throughout the whole sip. There is a hint of astringency at the end of each sip, and the floral flavours linger on as an aftertaste. I find the astringency isn’t overwhelming, so the tea is quite palatable.

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A Second Cup?

The tea leaves resteep well, I did a total of five resteeps with an additional 30 seconds per steep. The floral flavours are more pronounced in the first resteep. I find that the astringency mellows out and the floral notes grow stronger. It’s quite a pleasant flavour profile in the whelm of green teas, I like that it isn’t savoury or vegetal in taste.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Grand Tea’s Premium Bi Luo Chun. I quite liked this green tea in the complexity of the floral and astringency, it’s delicious and it tastes well. I found the astringency isn’t very strong, and the floral flavour is good. I think the sweet floral notes make it a delight on the tongue. I drank this tea while having cookies and can certainly say with great authority that this straight green tea goes well with sweets and desserts. I think it would also pair well with savouries because the light sweetness would mingle well with a savoury dish as long as it isn’t too heavy because the tea is so light and refreshing.

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