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

2cups-2

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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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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