Davidstea’s S’mores Chai

S’mores Chai by DavidsTea
Pu’erh Tea / Flavoured
$8.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

When I first heard about DavidsTea putting out a S’mores Chai, all I could think was the fact that I really wanted to taste some marshmallows over an open campfire (huge fan of s’mores here!) so of course I had to get my hands on some of this tea. S’mores Chai smelled delicious in the store, the dry leaf honestly smells like a s’mores with the smell of chocolate and marshmallow. I don’t really smell graham crackers, but it’s forgiven because it does remind me of s’mores. The pu’erh base gives it a nice nutty aroma.

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S’mores Chai consists of: pu’erh tea, brittle pieces, cinnamon, sugar, marshamllow, chocolate chips, natural and artificial flavouring. The label suggests that the tea contains hazelnuts, but where? Perhaps in one of the flavourings.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping S’mores Chai in 194-203°F (90-95°C) for 4 to 7 minutes. I steeped it at 200°F (94°C) water for 5 minutes.

First Taste

S’mores Chai steeps to a cloudy reddish brown, with an oil slick on the top from the melted chocolate. The tea smells like s’mores, which is quite delightful. On first taste, there’s an oily mouthfeel (from the melted chocolate) and it tastes a bit chocolately with some nutty flavour. It’s a slightly watery version of hot chocolate, with the sweetness of marshmallows. I didn’t really enjoy the tea straight so I added it some sweetener, and milk to make it a latte. It’s delicious as a hot latte and would highly recommend it.

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If you’re interested in learning how to make tea lattes at home without the use of a fancy machine to froth the milk, check out my tutorial on how to make lattes at home using a glass jar (and a microwave).

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A Second Cup?

I steeped S’mores Chai a few times and found that the flavour wasn’t as rich as the initial steep. I would say that S’mores Chai is good for only one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s S’mores Chai. I loved how this tea smell, it smells just like s’mores! This tea is excellent as a hot latte, and would highly recommend it. However, this tea didn’t taste remarkably well as a straight tea and I didn’t enjoy it. The addition of milk helps temper the oily mouthfeel that was the result of the melted chocolate chips and make the tea more enjoyable. A s’mores-flavoured tea is okay in my books and I greatly enjoyed it as a treat. I think this makes a great dessert latte.

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Grand Tea’s Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh

Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh by Grand Tea
Pu-Erh Tea / Flavoured
$36.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I haven’t had the greatest of experiences with pu-erhs, and I’ve never had one that was aged inside of a tangerine, so I was a bit apprehensive about trying this Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh from Grand Tea. If you’re not familiar with how dried citrus peels smell like, you’ll get a good whiff of it from this tea when you open up the package. If I had to describe it, I would say it smells quite subtle compared to a fresh orange or tangerine. You can smell that it was a tangerine, once upon a time, but it’s aromas have become subdued with time.

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Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh is aged pu-erh that was kept inside of a hollowed out tangerine. Each unit of tea comes with some of the peel. The peel is still supple, and you can tear it into smaller pieces to steep with the tea leaves for added flavour.

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Preparation

Grand Tea recommends steeping in 90-100°C (194-212°F) water and to do two rinses with boiling water prior to steeping for 1 minute. The rinsing process is to remove any dirt or debris in the tea. I rinsed twice and steeped according to the instructions.

First Taste

Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh steeps to an incredibly dark amber colour, but in my tea pot it looked quite dark – nearly black – before I poured out a cup. The aroma of the tea is warming and inviting – there’s the soft aroma of the tangerine/citrus, and there’s an almost woody aroma to the tea as well, which I’ll attribute to the pu-erh base. There’s some great earthy notes to this tea, which go great with the woody aroma. It has a bit of musty flavours, something that reminds me a bit of meaty mushrooms (think portobello), which all get wrapped up with a warm citrus flavour. There’s no sweetness here, it’s a completely savoury tea and it’s quite enjoyable (yes, I’m saying that about a pu-erh tea).

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh a few times (four steeps in total), and found that the citrus/tangerine flavours were fading by the second resteep and almost completely gone by the third resteep. It still had a great warming quality to it, and it still had the rich earthy notes in the flavour.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Grand Tea’s Chenpi Loose Black Pu-erh. I’m still not a convert when it comes to pu-erhs, but I genuinely liked this one a lot better than the last time I tried (which was a raw pu-erh). I think the tangerine peel made a difference for me, the flavour just balanced out the earthiness of the pu-erh and led to a very well balanced cup of tea. I enjoyed the richness in this tea, it tastes quite good. I think it’d go really well with a heavy, savoury meal. There’s also this lovely warming quality about this tea that I quite enjoyed, it’s a characteristic that I find often with tea blends that have ginger or cardamom, but it was in this one as well and it was nice on the palate.

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DavidsTea’s Moonlight White

Moonlight White by DavidsTea
White and Pu-erh Tea / Straight
$24.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

This tea has me a bit confused. I initially purchased it because it was one of the new straight teas at DavidsTea and the salesperson at my local DavidsTea waxed poetic about it. When I bought it back in April, it was categorized as a white tea. At the time of writing this, it’s categorized as a pu-erh tea on the DavidsTea website. To be fair, the description of the tea has it as a “white pu’erh tea”. The combination of the two has me intrigued, and I nearly forgot that I had even bought this tea because it fell between a couple bags. (No jokes about how I have too much tea, please!) But for the tea enthusiasts out there, Yue Guang Bai is another name for Moonlight White (and another literal tea name translation) in case you wanted to source out other Moonlight White teas.

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Moonlight White is actually a really beautiful dry leaf. There’s the white, feathery down on the leaves, and then there’s the darker part of the leaf that provides such a stark contrast. It is a fairly airy tea, so you wind up with a fairly bulky bag because the tea leaves take up so much room. The dry leaf has what I would describe as a honeyed smell, it smells light and sweet to me.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Moonlight White in near-boiling water for 4-7 minutes. The temperature range for this tea (as per their website) is 194-203°F (90-95°C). As my Breville IQ Kettle has a white tea setting (185°F/85°C), I opted to use that as I didn’t want to burn the leaves. My initial steep was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Moonlight White steeps to a pale yellow initially. It has a lovely honeyed smell to it, it smells sweet to me with a touch of vegetation. There’s an overall smoothness to this tea, no bitterness or astringency to note. I found it had a pleasant mouthfeel and it goes down easy. My water that I use is fairly tasteless, I live in an area with soft water. I found that this tea had a bit of a mineral water flavour to it, which was surprising (given that I live in an area with soft water…). It isn’t off-putting, it was just surprising. I greatly enjoyed the honeyed taste to this white/pu-erh tea, and I don’t think it needs additional sweetener as it’s sweet enough.

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A Second Cup?

As Moonlight White is a straight tea, I was eager to steep the leaves a few times. I ended up steeping the same leaves for seven times. I found that the tea leaves held up well. The colour of the liquor became a deeper and deeper golden yellow as I went through the steeps (becoming the darkest for resteep 3). The flavour of this tea didn’t really change, although the honey and mineral notes did become stronger, but remained at the same flavour balance as the initial steep. I found that the leaves did really well, and it took to the seventh overall steep to really find the flavour lacking.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Moonlight White. This tea is a curious combination for me – white and pu-erh. I found that the tea tasted great and the leaves held up incredibly well to resteeping. I think that tea is delicious and would probably pair well with some sweets or desserts. The one thing that I’m not completely in love with is the price tag. $25 for 50g is fairly steep and it makes me hesitant to really want to fall head-over-heels in love with this tea (because I just know that I’ll want a tin… or two). Overall, I think the tea is great and if you can afford this tasty tea, I would definitely recommend it. The nice thing is that the tea is of a good quality so it can be resteeped (better value!), and you don’t need a lot of the tea to steep a teapot (and then steep it again and again), so a little bit of this tea goes a long way. It’s definitely something that I really love, but don’t want to get into the habit of keeping in my tea stash because of the price. Hopefully there are cheaper Moonlight White alternatives out there, or else I’ll be getting into some trouble soon!

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Plum Deluxe: Tea Club Review

Plum Deluxe
Monthly Tea Club Subscription
$10-16 USD per month

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Plum Deluxe has provided me with their January Tea Club package for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Andy Hayes of Plum Deluxe contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a monthly club package for Plum Deluxe – of course I said yes! Plum Deluxe offers a monthly tea club subscription, an online shop for à la carte tea shopping, as well as an online community and blog full of tea resources. It was fun getting the January tea club shipment in the mail – I was sent the two teas option (two 1oz teas, with 1 tea sample), as well as the autumn/winter playbook for Plum Deluxe, which costs $16USD/month. There is also a single tea option (one 1oz tea with 1 tea sample) that is $10USD/month. Subscriptions are paid for quarterly (3 months), and at the time of writing they only ship within the United States and to Canada. For Canadian tea lovers, they offer the 1 tea option of their monthly tea club subscription for $17USD/month and the 2 tea option for $23USD/month – also charged for 3 months at a time.

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For my package, I did get to choose one of the tea choices. Whichever option you choose (1 tea or 2), you’ll always receive the special blend of the month. If you opt for the 2 tea option, you get the 1oz of the special blend of the month, 1oz of a surprise signature blend, and 1 tea sample. I had gone through the Plum Deluxe website and Vanilla Latte had appealed to me, so Andy was kind enough to make that the ‘surprise’ signature blend for me. In this package, the teas I received were A Dark Night Orange Spice Puerh (1oz), Vanilla Latte Tea (1oz), and Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea (sample). The special blend of the month is exclusive to tea club members.

I was quite pleased with the packaging that Plum Deluxe has opted for. They use clear, resealable bags. It’s nice because you can easily see what the tea blend looks like, as well as how much you have left. For storage purposes, I always recommend keeping teas in a dark place – light is one of the things that can speed up tea going a bit stale or losing flavour.

I’ll be keeping the order of each tea throughout the sections consistent – with the special January blend first (A Dark Night Orange Spice Puerh), followed by my pick (Vanilla Latte Tea), and the tea sample (Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea).

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A Dark Night Orange Spice Puerh has a very strong cinnamon, orange/citrus smell in the dry leaf. I like that I can make out the ginger and anise in the tea blend. This puerh blend is made up of: puerh tea, cinnamon bark, orange peel, ginger root, hibiscus, rose hips, anise, safflower, and orange essence.

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Vanilla Latte Tea’s dry leaf has a honeyed smell, I can also make out the vanilla and the cardamom. The smell of Vanilla Latte Tea reminds me a lot of a vanilla birthday cake, which is quite pleasant. Vanilla Tea Latte’s ingredients are: black tea, honeybush tea, ground cardamom, and vanilla essence.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea is a cute little sample, there’s really just enough for one cup and to get a taste for it. It smells like chocolate and hazelnut, which is a winning combination in my book! I love hedgehog chocolates (which have a hazelnut filling, if you don’t know the magic of hedgehogs), and the smell of this blend remind me of the hedgehogs so much! Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea is made up of: honeybush tea, cocoa nibs, hazelnut pieces, and hazelnut essence. Read More …

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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