24 Days of Tea: Santa’s Secret

Santa’s Secret by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

It is Christmas Eve, the first day of Hanukkah, and day 24 of the 24 Days of Tea advent calendar and the last tea is: Santa’s Secret. Santa’s Secret is one of the first teas that I tried at DavidsTea and one of the first teas that I bought from them. In a word, I would describe this tea as being “cute”. I really like the little candy cane sprinkles in it. The ingredients are fairly easy to see with the black tea leaves and the dried peppermint leaves mixed in.

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When smelling the dry leaf, the tea smells like mint and vanilla, the black tea base is fragrant as well, and tends to linger in the background a little bit but is very much present in the mix. The ingredients in Santa’s Secret are: black tea, peppermint, sprinkles, natural and artificial vanilla flavouring.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Santa’s Secret in near-boiling water (90-95°C/194-203°F) for 4 to 7 minutes. I opted to steep my first pot for 4 minutes.

First Taste

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While Santa’s Secret is steeping, there’s a noticeable minty and vanilla smell that comes from the tea. The vanilla reminds me a lot of Christmas baking because I like to use vanilla in my cookies. This tea definitely touches on all the holiday smells that are familiar to me! Santa’s Secret steeps to a golden orange. I find that the mint and vanilla flavours are less in-your-face when drinking the tea, as the black tea base is well balanced with the flavours. There’s a smoothness to the tea that is nice, no astringency or bitterness noted.

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I find that a little touch of sweetener helps brighten up the mint and vanilla flavours in the tea, and I also make this one into a tea latte fairly frequently because it makes for a nice treat.

A Second Cup?

The candy cane sprinkles don’t fully dissolve for me with the first steep. After a second steep (for 5 minutes), I find that the flavours are comparable to the first steep and the little candy canes are completely melted away. Santa’s Secret is good for one more steep. I find subsequent steeps to be lack in the vanilla flavour.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Santa’s Secret. It’s a nice change to a straight black tea, and it has a great mint and vanilla flavour combination to add to an otherwise plain tea. Santa’s Secret is delightful, and the fragrances really make m think of the holidays which I think is great in a holiday themed tea. This is a tea that I already have a big stash of in my tea collection/stash for year-round Christmas cheer and I may need to get more after the 25th…

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24 Days of Tea: Organic Kashmiri Chai

Organic Kashmiri Chai by DavidsTea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$8.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

Getting near the end and day 23 is Kashmiri Chai! One of my first tea loves from my undergrad was indulging in Chai lattes from one of numerous Starbucks on campus. The sweet and spicy scent profile from DavidsTea’s Kashmiri Chai reminds me a lot of the Starbucks Chai latte, just with a stronger punch of spice fragrance to it. The cardamom, clove, and cinnamon are the most obvious, with slight hints of the green tea base lingering in the background.

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Organic Kashmiri Chai is a mix of: green tea, cinnamon, cardamom seeds, ginger, cardamom husk, clove buds, and marigold flowers. The mix (according to the packaging) is kosher.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Organic Kashmiri Chai in hot water (75-80°C/167-176°F) for 3 to 5 minutes. I steeped my first cup for 3 minutes.

First Taste

While I was steeping the Organic Kashmiri Chai, I couldn’t help but notice that there were a lot of fine dusty tea particles that didn’t get caught by the stainless steel infuser that I was using. I’m not sure if that’s just because of what I got in my little calendar tin, but I would consider using a filter bag in the future to avoid that.

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The level of spicy flavour in this Kashmiri Chai are divine. I love the heavy taste of cinnamon, cardamon and cloves. The green tea just acts as a base and I can just barely taste it – but that’s really okay with me because the warming spices are just a delight in my cup. There is a level of sweetness to this tea that is nice, I think it could benefit a lot from having the addition of a sweetener.

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Because I’m a fan of Chai lattes, I opted to make it into a latte as well (my tutorial on making lattes at home here!) and it is delicious! I think I want to try steeping this particular tea in milk in the future, like how traditional Chais are done, to see how it holds up flavour wise.

A Second Cup?

Organic Kashmiri Chai does well with one more steep. The heat from the ginger is more prevalent in the second steep, with the cinnamon and cardamom taking a back seat. Overall, I think a maximum of two steeps is good for this tea.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Organic Kashmiri Chai. From the warming sensation of the spices to the way the tea works deliciously well as a latte, I really enjoyed the Kashmiri Chai. I think that the level of sweetness and spiciness works well, and it translates into a great cup of tea that I would buy to have some in my tea stash.

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24 Days of Tea: English Toffee

English Toffee by DavidsTea
Pu-erh / Flavoured
$9.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

It is day 22 of the 24 Days of Tea advent calendar and I’m going to be so sad when this calendar is done! It’s been so much fun trying all sorts of teas (and discovering new ones that I want to keep a stock of in my tea stash!). Luckily, I have a (huge) backlog of teas to try and review after December 24th that I’m very much looking forward to. English toffee is not a candy that I’m too familiar with, but I’ve had toffee before so I’m assuming it’s fairly similar (please don’t send pitchforks after me if it’s not…). English Toffee smells like sweet toffee candy, and has these lovely earthy notes from the pu-erh base.

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English Toffee is made up of: pu’erh tea, cocoa beans, cocoa husk, caramel, natural flavouring. For those looking out for allergens, this one contains milk (in the caramel).

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping English Toffee in near-boiling water (90-95°C/194-203°F) for 4 to 7 minutes. I did my first cup for 4 minutes (and the second steep for 5 minutes).

First Taste

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English Toffee steeps to a beautiful deep amber colour and has a very sweet toffee smell to it. There’s a thin oil of film on the top (from the oils in the caramel), but it isn’t a very thick layer so it’s paletable. On first sip, I do notice that it has an oily mouthfeel to it, but because it’s not a thick heavy layer of oil, it isn’t unpleasant. The tea itself tastes like chocolate and caramel, so it reminds me a lot of Rolo candies. There’s a slight creaminess to this tea that is quite good, I think the flavour profile of this tea brings to mind ‘hot chocolate’ more than ‘toffee candy’ to me. English Toffee reminds me a lot of instant hot chocolate mixes (which I love and frequently enjoy at this time of the year), it’s just missing a heavier milk component to really make it tastes like hot chocolate, and maybe a handful of marshmallows.

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A Second Cup?

One resteep of English Toffee yielded a very similar cup of tea in terms of flavour, but by the second resteep it was very watery and barely resembled the first two cups of tea. I would say that English Toffee is only good for one more steep.

My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s English Toffee. There’s just something delightful about a cup of tea that reminds me of hot chocolate (unlike the actual tea named Hot Chocolate, which incidentally also a pu-erh tea and from DavidsTea!). This is an excellent dessert tea that has a nice balance of chocolate flavour with the sweetness, I don’t even mind that the toffee flavour isn’t at the forefront.

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24 Days of Tea: Spiced Apple

Spiced Apple by DavidsTea
Fruit Infusion / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

I’m getting quite sad as I realized that after today there’s only 3 more days left to the 24 Days of Tea advent calendar! It’s day 21 and the tea today is Spiced Apple, which is another fruit infusion. The first thing that I noticed when I opened the tin was the smell of cinnamon and star anise. I couldn’t really make out the apple, even though I could see visible pieces of dried apple in there.

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Spiced Apple consists of: apple pieces, figs, cinnamon, star anise, chicory, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, natural apple and spice flavouring.

Preparation

For this fruit infusion, DavidsTea recommends steeping Spiced Apple in near-boiling water (90-95°C/194-203°F) for 4 to 7 minutes. I did my cup (and I wound up using the whole tin) for about 5 minutes.

First Taste

While Spiced Apple was steeping, I could smell cinnamon and star anise on the forefront, with apple playing second fiddle. It steeps to a beautiful golden brown though, it’s very inviting. I found that the spices to overwhelm the apple flavour a lot. I was expecting it to be a touch sweeter, given that there is fruit in it and fruit infusions tend towards the sweet side. I find Spiced Apple to be rather sour, and I wound up adding some sugar to it and it helped immensely with tempering the sourness of the tea. This one has the spices that I was looking for in Apple Cider, but Apple Cider had more of a punch when it came to the apple flavour.

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A Second Cup?

I don’t resteep fruit or herbal infusions.

My Overall Impression

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I thought that DavidsTea’s Spiced Apple was just okay. With a name like Spiced Apple, I really did expect the apple and the spices to balance well together, but sadly I was left a little lacking with my cup of mostly spices and minimal apple flavour. I think this tea would benefit from more apple flavouring (perhaps steeping it with a mix of water and apple juice to add a punch of apple flavour in there?), but as it stands as a straight tea, it is a bit disappointing. The spices, oh the delicious spices, are very much present and very much appreciated. I think perhaps a mix of Spiced Apple and Apple Cider would probably taste quite good as each one brings something to the table that the other lacks. Unfortunately, I used my entire little tin of Spiced Apple for this cup, so I’m unable to try the two together.

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24 Days of Tea: Cardamom French Toast

Cardamom French Toast by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

Day 20 of the 24 Days of Tea is Cardamom French Toast! This black tea blend has been reviewed before on One More Steep, back in November 2015 (how is that for a throwback Tuesday?). It smells familiar because it is familiar – still heavy with the cinnamon, coriander, and cardamom. The blend is nicely balanced, you can see a little bit of everything, which is nice. I still haven’t tried actual French toast with cardamom yet, I should get on that!

Cardamom French Toast is made up of: black tea, cinnamon, lemon peel, coriander seeds, cardamom, coconut sugar, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavouring.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Cardamom French Toast in near-boiling water (90-95°C/194-203°F) for 4 to 7 minutes. I steeped my cup for about 4 minutes.

First Taste

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Cardamom French Toast steeps to a nice deep red, and has the heavy spice aroma to it. The cinnamon, coriander, and cardamom all play nicely together. This is a sweet black tea blend – the coconut sugar and cane sugar do their job well!

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I played with the tea a bit more this time around, and added some evaporated milk. It’s delicious! The milk helps temper some of the heavier spice notes, while added some creaminess to the flavour profile. I think Cardamom French Toast would make a wonderful tea latte. If you don’t have a milk frother, check out my tutorial on how to make lattes at home.

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A Second Cup?

Cardamom French Toast does very poorly when resteeped.

My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Cardamom French Toast. I definitely think this is a tea that I enjoy better doctored up than I do straight. A little squirt of honey, a couple spoonfuls of evaporated milk – it makes for a very pleasant and enjoyable cup of tea!

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