DavidsTea’s Honey Ginseng Defence

Honey Ginseng Defence by DavidsTea
Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$12.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Honey Ginseng Defence is actually a tea that I picked up in January of this year when it first came out. I got to try a little bit in store and decided it was interesting enough to buy a little bit to steep at home. As always, DavidsTea’s loose leaf tea comes in silver foil bags that are resealable. If you buy the tea online, they come in heat-sealed, resealable bags but if you buy it in store, the bags aren’t heat sealed. Makes for easier opening, in my opinion.

The aroma of Honey Ginseng Defence is primarily that of a berry fragrance, with some floral and honey notes. Honey Ginseng Defence consists of oolong tea, goji berries, ginger, marigold blossoms, ginseng, natural honey and goji berry flavouring.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Honey Ginseng Defence in 90°C (195°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions and my initial steep of Honey Ginseng Defence was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Honey Ginseng Defence steeps to a light yellow (honey yellow…?). There’s some sweet floral fragrance notes, and a hint of fruitiness. The flavour is primarily floral and honey sweetness, although I can taste a bit of the ginseng, a hint of ginger, and the creamy oolong base. While I do know what goji berries smell and taste like, I don’t really get a goji berry flavour from the tea – the fruitiness that I do find reminds me more of mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc.).

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Honey Ginseng Defence twice, adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found by the second resteep, the flavour of the tea was primarily that of the oolong base – which has some great buttery and creamy qualities to it. If you love oolong, you’ll probably enjoy resteeping this blend. If you were more of a fan of the tea as a blend, you may find it to be a bit more ‘meh’ to your liking.

My Overall Impression

I liked DavidsTea’s Honey Ginseng Defence. I thought that the blend was really pleasant and was quite tasty. I’m a bit disappointed that the tea as a blend didn’t resteep that well, but I’m glad that the oolong had some nice quality to it and it allowed for a tasty steep. I wish that the tea had more of a goji berry flavour to it, despite having both goji berries and the flavouring of goji berries, I found it to be on the lacking side. That said, the ginseng was noticeable, as was the honey, so it still made for a nice cup of tea.

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DavidsTea’s Grand Cru Matcha

Grand Cru Matcha by DavidsTea
Green Tea (Matcha) / Straight
$24.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Sometimes I like to pat myself on the back for actually remembering to post about matcha on a Monday for #matchamonday – although I am aware that I may be the only one who cares about this. Grand Cru Matcha from DavidsTea is one of the pricier matcha options from this Canadian tea company, I actually got mine through the Frequent Steeper program ($100 in purchases → 100 points → 50g of any one tea, with some exceptions).

Grand Cru Matcha comes in a sealed, resealable foil bag. Because it came with an online order, instead of me going out to the closest local retail location, it came with a coloured printed label. Grand Cru Matcha is a lovely bright green powder, it has a strong grassy aroma to it. This straight matcha consists only of matcha green tea from Nishio, Japan. A little internet search tells me that Nishio is the largest producer of matcha in Japan.

Preparation

The packaging for Grand Cru Matcha recommends steeping tin hot water, and preparing with a whisk. On the product page of DavidsTea’s website, the recommendation is to whisk the matcha with 75°C (170°F) water. The lowest temperature my Breville IQ Kettle goes to is 175ºF, so I allowed the water to cool for approximately 5 minutes before whisking.

First Taste

How I typically prepare matcha is to sift the powder, and then whisk with a small amount of water. After it’s well whisked with a frothy top, I add water to thin it out since I don’t like my matcha too thick tasting. When photographing for this review, I forgot to take a photo of the matcha when it still had to froth, so instead I have a photo of after adding water to thin it out.

Grand Cru Matcha is a darker green once whisked. The aroma from the matcha is mostly grass with some vegetal notes. The flavour of Grand Cru Matcha is a mix of salty, grassy, vegetal flavours (reminds of me spinach, to be honest!), with some umami notes. There’s a pleasant smoothness to this matcha that makes it goes down easy.

If you’re not a fan of the umami/salty notes, you can always add a bit of sweetener when turning this into a matcha latte. I’ve also seen some posts online about mixing Grand Cru Matcha with some lemonade for a bit of a summery drink!

A Second Cup?

Grand Cru Matcha, like other matcha, is a suspension, so there are no repeat steeps!

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Grand Cru Matcha. There was something zen-like about the process of me preparing this matcha, and then drinking it was a little adventure in itself. I love the act of sifting and whisking matcha, it’s just a lot more involved than simply steeping a cup of tea – although there’s nothing wrong with that either. Grand Cru Matcha has a lovely flavour balance of grassy, umami, and vegetal notes that I think a lot of people who enjoy matcha would like. It is on the pricier end of DavidsTea’s tea selection, so it may be a good idea to get to a store to get a smaller amount or use a redemption reward on it!

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DavidsTea’s Organic Vanilla Chai

Organic Vanilla Chai by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.50 for 50g

First Impressions

Organic Vanilla Chai came up as listed on the DavidsTea website as an online exclusive, which of course meant that it somehow wound up in my shopping cart when I was putting in an order. Described as “warm vanilla comfort”, I was intrigued about the Organic Vanilla Chai because I really like vanilla and I also really like chai. There is something warming about a good cup of spiced chai and I really did have high hopes for it when I picked it.

Like most of the online tea offerings from DavidsTea, Organic Vanilla Chai came to me in a sealed (resealable) foil bag with a printed label that had all the information needed on it. If you’re familiar with some of the older label styles, you’ll notice some slight changes to it. The tea itself smells sweet, I can smell the cinnamon with licorice root with some mild vanilla undertones. I really do wish that the vanilla was stronger, especially given the name of the tea. I cannot smell the ginger, which is a bit of shame since that’s usually such a strong flavour.

Organic Vanilla Chai consists of cinnamon, black tea, licorice root, ginger, vanilla with natural vanilla and cream flavouring.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Organic Vanilla Chai in 95°C (200°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions for the initial steep and steeped Organic Vanilla Chai for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Organic Vanilla Chai steeps to a reddish orange. The aroma of the spices in this chai blend become much more obvious once the tea is steeped. I found that the fragrance of the vanilla to be soft compared to the spices, which is to be expected. On first taste, I do notice that tea is just not as sweet as I was expecting. The dry leaf had a very sweet smell, while the steeped tea wasn’t very sweet. I can taste the spices – the cinnamon, licorice root and ginger are very obvious. I like that there’s the noticeable warming qualities from the cinnamon and the ginger, and the vanilla is a bit of an aftertaste since the spices are quite strong. I found that the tea overall had a pleasant creaminess to it that makes me think that it needs added cream.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Organic Vanilla Chai twice, adding an extra 30 seconds per subsequent steep. I found the first resteep to be fairly close to the initial steep, while the second resteep barely had any spice flavour at all. I would say that Organic Vanilla Chai is good for just one more steep.

My Overall Impression

I liked DavidsTea’s Organic Vanilla Chai. I think this black tea blend is a great candidate for a tea latte, and could really benefit from a touch of sweetener and cream to really accentuate the cream flavouring in the tea and to also boost the flavour of the vanilla. I found the flavour balance to be quite good, the initial steep was enjoyable for me. The one thing that I do wish is that the vanilla flavouring was a bit heavier handed, it’d be nice if the creamy notes from the vanilla was stronger and I think it would have definitely played off of the cinnamon or ginger really nicely to balance with the warming spices.

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