DavidsTea’s Oh Canada!

Oh Canada! by DavidsTea
Rooibos Tea / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

Happy 149th birthday, Canada!

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First Impressions

Oh Canada! smells amazing. It smells exactly as one would expect a Canadian-themed tea to smell – like maple syrup. Somewhere along the way, maple syrup just became the thing that is associated with Canada. Sadly, this tea does not also smell like poutine, but the cute maple leaf candies sprinkled throughout the tea more than make up for that. I really enjoy smelling this tea, it doesn’t smell like the maple syrup “products” that are more water than syrup, it smells like the maple syrup I’m used to.

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Oh Canada! is made up of: red and green rooibos, honeybush, caramel, toffee, candy leaves, natural and artificial flavouring. For those with allergies or sensitivities, Oh Canada! has milk, soy, and almond in it.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends near-boiling water for 4-7 minutes. Those temperatures, according to their website, are 90-95°C (194-203°F). I steeped mine in just boiled water for close to 6 minutes.

First Taste

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Oh Canada! smells like strongly of rooibos, with hints of maple syrup and caramel after it has steeped. This patriotic rooibos steeps to a lovely reddish brown that I’ve come to expect from rooibos based teas. There’s a very pleasannt taste to it, but it is primarily rooibos rather than maple syrup and caramel. Despite the added sources of sugar (maple syrup, maple leaf candies), it isn’t very sweet.

I added a little bit of sugar into my cup of Oh Canada! and I found that the maple flavours became more pronounced with the addition of a sweetener.

A Second Cup?

Based on the nature of this tea and the use of flavourings and candies, I did not resteep Oh Canada!

My Overall Impression

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I thought that DavidsTea’s Oh Canada! was just okay. I love the idea on a patriotic, maple syrup tea more than I actually liked drinking Oh Canada! I really wanted to love it for all the reasons that I love Canada, but the fact remains that the rooibos base overpowers the maple syrup flavouring without additives on my part. I think this tea does well with the addition of a sweetener, and if you want to taste more of the maple flavouring I would recommend using a little bit of sweetener.

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Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Chocolate Chai

Chocolate Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Rooibos / Flavoured
$8.99 USD for 36g (for the entire sampler)

This is a review of a tea that I received for my birthday in 2015. I won’t be doing too much digging into the costs of the gifts that I’ve received.

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First Impressions

Chocolate Chai, the fourth and final of the Chai blends in the Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Chai sampler. The dry rooibos sachets have an odd smell. There’s the spicy notes that I would expect in a Chai, but there’s an odd aroma that I can’t quite place. It reminds me a bit of cough syrup, which is probably one of the least appetizing ways to describe a drink.

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Chocolate Chai’s ingredients are: cocao powder, rooibos, cinnamon, chicory root roasted, ginger, chocolate flavouring, licorice root, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, shortbread flavouring, orange peel, and pepper. As with the other teas in this Chai sampler, Chocolate Chai’s ingredients are labeled as being certified organic.

Preparation

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea recommends steeping the sachet in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. I steeped my sachet of Chocolate Chai for about 5 minutes.

First Taste

Chocolate Chai steeps to an almost cloudy orange colour, it smells about the same after steeping as it does in dry sachet form. I can smell some spices, something that reminds me of cough syrup, and not much of anything that would scream chocolate at me. The lack of chocolate fragrance is disappointing, considering the tea consists of cacao powder and chocolate flavouring.

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The taste is lacking. Despite steeping to the directions, Chocolate Chai just tastes very watery to me. The spiciness of Chai that I know (and love!) is sorely lacking in my cup. There is no chocolate taste, and there is the flavouring that is reiminscent of cough syrup in the cup. I tried doctoring up the tea, in hopes that it would improve. Unfortunately, Chocolate Chai did not improve with any sweetener.

A Second Cup?

I did not resteep the sachet.

My Overall Impression

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I didn’t like Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Chocolate Chai. Since I love Chai, I really wanted to like this tea, but unfortunately it was lacking in aroma and taste. It was a watery disappointment that reminded me more of cough syrup than it did of anything remotely related to chocolate. That said, this is the fourth (and final!) Chai blend in this tea sampler, which I was pleased to have received as a birthday gift in 2015. It was enjoyable to try the different types of Chai, even if I didn’t like the last one I tried at all. I will not be seeking out Chocolate Chai to keep as a tea stash staple.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Caramel Chai

Caramel Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Rooibos Tea / Flavoured
$8.99 USD for 36g (for the entire sampler)

This is a review of a tea that I received for my birthday in 2015. I won’t be doing too much digging into the costs of the gifts that I’ve received.

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First Impressions

Caramel Chai smells very spicy and sweet. It’s part of the sampler that Hazelnut Chai came in (my thoughts on the weight per bag vs. total weight of tea in the sampler is proof that math is actually handy in real life) and is the second tea from the bottom. I love the container still, it’s quite handy. The tea bags are the same as for the Hazelnut Chai – nice round bags that don’t come with a string (which I don’t mind too much). Caramel Chai smells heavily of spices and not so much on the ‘caramel’ side of things. It does smell distinctly sweeter than Hazelnut Chai, if that’s any consolation.

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Caramel Chai is made up of: organic, fair-trade certified rooibos, cinnamon, ginger root, licorice root, natural flavouring, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, organic vanilla bean. All of the ingredients listed have little asterisk next to it (aside from the “natural flavoring”) to indicate that the ingredients are certified organic. Pretty neat! But that’s an awful lot of ingredients to make it taste like caramel. I’m not a big of fan of licorice candy, so I’m crossing my fingers that the licorice taste doesn’t come out too much (or, if it does, that it mingles well with the other ingredients!).

Preparation

Zhena’s Gypsy Teas recommends steeping the tea bag in water that’s been brought to a rolling boil and to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. I steeped for about 4 minutes.

First Taste

Caramel Chai is pleasant, very spicy – the Chai really overpowers most aspects of this rooibos tea. The sweetness of the caramel isn’t very bold or inviting. The tea itself is a lovely red colour, and it really benefits from having just a little bit of sweetener added to it. I used white sugar, and that helped to brighten up the flavour and it does help to coax out those caramel notes, which are still quite weak in comparison to the spices of the Chai itself. I quite like it though, it’s a very pleasant cup of tea.

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A Second Cup?

Resteeping Caramel Chai doesn’t do much in terms of coaxing out more flavour or doing well for a second cup of tea. I don’t think Caramel Chai does well with more than one steeping.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s Caramel Chai. It hits all the right spice notes as a Chai should, and while the caramel flavour was a little lost for me, a small amount of sweetener helps to coax out the flavour a bit and having a sweetener helps to brighten up the flavour a lot. I think this tea definitely benefits from having sugar (or a sweetener of your choice) added to it. It has a pleasant aroma and is easy on the palate. I think it’s a lovely Chai and the added bonus of being caffeine free (as it is a rooibos base) makes it nice for having any time of day.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

DavidsTea’s Pure Vanilla

Pure Vanilla by DavidsTea
Rooibos Tea / Flavoured
$7.90 for 50g

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First Impressions

The primary reason why I bought this tea while I was in the DavidsTea shop (for browsing purposes, honest) was because of the way it smells. I don’t drink roobios teas often (I make an exception for Birthday Cake though), but it just smelled so good. It has a very rich vanilla fragrance that mingles well with the aroma of the rooibos base and it just smells really, really good. I’m a big fan of vanilla (I love using vanilla extract when baking!), so having a vanilla tea is kind of perfect.

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Pure Vanilla is made up of: red rooibos, vanilla beans, marigold flowers, and flavouring. For those curious, the DavidsTea website states that it is natural flavouring (my guess would be vanilla flavouring, given the rich and heavy vanilla scent to the tea). It is an organic tea, if that matters to you.

Preparation

The recommendation is to steep in 96°C (204°F) water for 4-7 minutes. I went right for the middle and steeped for about ~5-6 minutes. For rooibos teas, I like to use tea filters over metal infusers. I find that the rooibos itself is very fine and can get out of infusers, they stay in place better with the tea filters as long as you cinch it up tight.

First Taste

After steeping for about 5 minutes, the aroma is really inviting. It has a nice warm vanilla fragrance to the tea, Pure Vanilla steeps to a rich reddish brown that reminds me of the colour of chestnuts. It smells more heavily of vanilla than of the rooibos. The taste is pleasant. It has a nice light vanilla flavour that mingles well with the rooibos. There is a bit of an oily mouthfeel to this tea, which is I found to be off-putting near the end of the first cup, and there is a bit of an astringent taste to the end of each sip. Just a slight pucker, but it’s there.

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A Second Cup?

Pure Vanilla does well for a second steeping – the flavour is very close to the first cup! On the third try, it was more of a vaguely vanilla-tasting water.

My Overall Impression

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I thought that DavidsTea’s Pure Vanilla was just okay. While the smell and the taste of the tea itself is lovely and quite enjoyable, but the end of the first cup the oily mouthfeel was just not welcome. If you have one cup, and perhaps don’t finish the entire cup, you may not get put of by the texture. It’s an alright tea and I can see why DavidsTea wound up using Pure Vanilla as one of the teas to make tea-infused body products with because it smells amazing. I just wouldn’t want to finish a cup of it, which doesn’t really make it worth it to me to stock in my tea stash. It’s good enough for a cup perhaps here and there, but I wouldn’t continually go back to it.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

DavidsTea’s Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake by DavidsTea
Rooibos Tea / Flavoured
$7.75 for 50g

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First Impressions

This is another tea that I purchased from DavidsTea in one of their ‘rainbow’ tins. It is 85g of Birthday Cake tea in a red tin, which worked out to be $15 per tin or 3 tins for $30. I find that this lid is a bit tougher to remove than the tin for my Cream of Earl Grey, also by DavidsTea. I had a lot of high hopes for this tea because of it’s name and I had read reviews about it before online. The tea comes in a sealed plastic bag that is resealable. There is a very in-your-face vanilla cake smell that reminds me of boxed cakes or grocery store sheet cakes. The smell almost has a bit of a pancake syrup or artificial maple syrup quality to it. The sprinkles are very pretty addition to the vanilla cake-scented tea.

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Birthday Cake has a lot of ingredients. It contains: red and green rooibos, honeybush, sprinkles, ice cream bits, natural and artificial flavouring. If you’re allergic to any colouring additives, this tea contains: Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Red 3, Blue 1, Red 40.

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