DavidsTea’s Butter Sencha

Butter Sencha by DavidsTea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$12.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

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Butter Sencha was a tea that when I first smelled it in the store, I was intrigued. I’ve really grown to love Japanese green teas, and sencha is no exception. I was curious about the butter flavouring, because green teas can be delicate at times that they don’t need extra flavouring to make an excellent cup of tea. The dry leaf of Butter Sencha is short, flat dark green pieces. The smell of this tea reminds me a lot of a mix of butter and brown sugar, there’s some of light molasses notes to this tea. I think that could be attributed to the roasting of the butter.

Butter Sencha is made up of green tea and natural roasted butter flavouring. Usually DavidsTea will mention if there are allergens involved with their teas (warnings about dairy/milk, soy, etc.) but there’s nothing mentioned for this tea. I’m not sure if the ‘flavouring’ that’s been added contains dairy products or not, but that would be something to ask in store or online if you have concerns about it.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Butter Sencha for 2-3 minutes in hot water, ‘hot water’ is defined as 75-80°C (167-176°F). I steeped Butter Sencha in my tea pot in 175°F water for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Butter Sencha steeps to a very pale yellow for the initial steep. There’s very light buttery smells to this tea as it steeps and I found it to be quite enticing once the two minutes mark is reached. On first sip, the first thing that I really notice is a buttery creamy quality to the tea. The tea itself is smooth, there’s no bitterness that I can taste and zero astringency. The butter flavours in this tea are rich and there’s a slight sweetness to the steeped tea as well. I wouldn’t say it’s overly sweet, but it’s just enough to be a hint of brown sugar on my tongue.

There was some fine particles of the tea that escaped from the stainless steel infuser that I use. If tiny bits of tea leaves bother you, I’d recommend using a filter bag to contain everything just a bit better.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Butter Sencha an extra four times, adding 30 seconds to each subsequent resteep. I found that the tea got darker as each steep went on (to a bright, golden yellow) and the buttery flavours got more pronounced for the first two resteeps, and began to get a bit weaker for the third and fourth resteeps. The brown sugar sweetness that I discovered in the initial steeped stayed relatively strong until the third resteep. The sweetness makes the tea quite enjoyable.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s Butter Sencha. There’s something really delicious about the flavour of buttery creaminess in my tea, and the brown sugar flavours are just the right touch to this green tea. I do wish that DavidsTea had a bit more information regarding the butter flavouring, since I know there are people out there that can’t have dairy products. That said, Butter Sencha resteeps well and it does get better after the initial steep and the flavours hold up. It makes for a tasty cup of tea and the buttery flavours are delicious (I almost feel like this is how Movie Night should have tasted).

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DavidsTea’s Happy Valley Darjeeling

Happy Valley Darjeeling by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Straight
$14.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

When I found out that DavidsTea was getting a new collection of straight teas in, I was curious. I’m a sucker for a good straight tea so when I walked into my local DavidsTea shop I asked to smell all of them (there are three) and then I went ahead and bought a small bag of each. The nice thing about living locally to a DavidsTea location is that I don’t have to purchase a full 50g of each tea (like I would if I was ordering online).

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Happy Valley Darjeeling is an organic black tea from Darjeeling, India. As per the product page, DavidsTea describes the tea as a second flush tea from Happy Valley, a tea estate in Darjeeling with a long, rich history of producing tea. First flush is tea harvested in mid-March while second flush is harvested in June. The tea leaves of Happy Valley Darjeeling have a very bright fruity smell to it, I mostly smell fruity tones that remind me of stone fruits (like plums).

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Preparation

DavidsTea’s packaging suggests steeping this in “near-boiling water” for 4 to 7 minutes. Their website suggests that near-boiling is 90-95°C (194-203°F). I did my initial steep at the recommended water temperature for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Happy Valley Darjeeling steeps to a beautiful golden orange, there’s a great aroma that wafts up from the tea that reminds me a lot of plums still. There’s a bit of sweetness to this steeped tea that can be smelled. On first sip, I note that the tea is a bit astringent. It’s not overpowering the overall flavour of the tea, so it’s still quite palatable. The plum notes are soft, with the natural fruity sweetness of this tea. The plum notes are delicious, and play well with the astringency in this steeped tea.

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A Second Cup?

As Happy Valley Darjeeling is a straight tea, I couldn’t help myself when it came to resteeping this tea. I steeped the leaves again at the same temperature of water, just adding an additional 30 seconds per each subsequent steep. I did a total of three resteeps (four steeps overall) before the flavour started to really be a ghost of what the initial steep resembled. The astringency doesn’t mellow with additional resteeps, and the sweet plum notes held up well until the last steep that I did. I would suggest doing a maximum of two resteeps for this straight black tea.

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My Overall Impression

3cups-2

I liked DavidsTea’s Happy Valley Darjeeling. I think as a straight tea, the flavours are nice. The sweet plum flavours mix very well with the astringency in this black tea, and the tea leaves hold up well for a few resteeps to get more flavour and value out of the leaves. I’m a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to get more steeps out of these leaves, but I found that the steeped leaves were quite broken up once they had opened up and I could see that they weren’t whole leaves. For the price, I would have expected a few more steeps, but the tea itself is quite good for the steeps that I did do with it. I think the plum sweetness is a delight for the taste buds, and this tea doesn’t need additional sweetener (although that may help to temper the astringency if that isn’t your cup of tea).

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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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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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DavidsTea’s Berry Romantic

Berry Romantic by DavidsTea
Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$9.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

A bit late, but Berry Romantic was one of DavidsTea’s special Valentine’s themed teas this year (The Earl’s Valentine was back again, I didn’t try to find it again in stores because it was such a struggle last year). Berry Romantic has a pun-tastic name, and is a flavoured oolong. It smelled amazing in stores and I really wanted to try it. The description of this tea describes as ‘strawberries and cream’ and I really do have to agree – the first thing I smelled when opening the bag was strawberries.

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Berry Romantic consists of: apple, oolong tea, cane sugar, blackberry leaf, gomphrena petals, jasmine buds, strawberries, rose buds, natural strawberry flavouring, and artificial cream flavouring.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Berry Romantic in 75-80°C (167-176°F) water for 4-7 minutes (as per their website); on the packaging it’s “hot water” for 4-7 minutes. I miss when they had the temperature of water printed on the labels instead.

First Taste

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Berry Romantic steeps to a light golden orange and it really does smell like strawberries and cream! The strawberries/berries aroma is much lighter than I expected from the dry leaf – but at the same time, it’s to be expected with added flavouring. I cannot make out the aroma of the oolong at all, which is a bit disappointing. For an oolong blend, the flavour of the oolong is lost on me when I taste it. The strawberries and berries flavour is strongest when sipped, with mild dairy notes with the cream. There’s not much of a floral flavouring to it, which is surprising considering the amount of flowers in the ingredients list. Berry Romantic has a subtle sweetness to it, mostly due to the cane sugar and berries I presume.

I added some additional honey to my cup of Berry Romantic – the added sweetness helps brighten up the strawberry flavouring, and makes it more delicious.

A Second Cup?

Berry Romantic doesn’t steep well – the strawberries flavour doesn’t come out as strongly, and it’s more floral the second steep around. The oolong doesn’t really come through the second time around either.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that DavidsTea’s Berry Romantic was just okay. While I really like the way that Berry Romantic smells and tastes (for the first steep), the berry flavour is delicious but I was left wanting a bit more because the oolong flavour wasn’t really there at all throughout the entire steeping experience. The first steep was definitely the best and I think best evoked the strawberries & cream flavour that DavidsTea spoke about in their description of Berry Romantic, but it is a one steep wonder. It would be a great tea to serve at an afternoon tea with desserts and sweets, but not one to resteep repeatedly throughout a morning.

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