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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DavidsTea’s Candy Cane Crush

Candy Cane Crush by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Candy Cane Crush is one of those teas that DavidsTea fans always seem to pit against Santa’s Secret – which, to be fair, they’re both kind of similar. Black tea blends, heavy peppermint influence, fun shaped sprinkles. While it may seem like it’s CCC vs. SS every December, I am solidly a fan of both – although I fell in love with Santa’s Secret first. Candy Cane Crush was purchased at a local retail location, and it came in a resealable foil pouch. The aroma of this tea is primarily that of peppermint and chocolate – basically everything I love about the holidays in a tea (especially the peppermint!).

Candy Cane Crush consists of: black tea, white chocolate chips, peppermint candy, snowflake candies, cane sugar, peppermint, natural flavouring. For those who need to know, this black tea blend consists of milk and soy – likely found in the white chocolate chips, and possibly the candies as well.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Candy Cane Crush in 95C (200F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. I followed the water temperature suggestion, but steeped this tea for 7 minutes (which is when the white chocolate and peppermint pieces had fully dissolved, this may vary for you).

First Taste

Candy Cane Crush does not steep to an attractive colour, there is really no sugar coating it. The tea is a cloudy light brown, with visible droplets of oil floating on the surface. This is due to the oils in the white chocolate and candies – which is perfectly harmless, but it doesn’t make for a very pretty cup of tea unfortunately. The aroma is pretty much all peppermint, which shouldn’t be a surprise given the ingredients. The flavour is a nice balanced mix of white chocolate creaminess and the peppermint. It reminds me a lot of having a brownie with some crushed candy canes on top.

Candy Cane Crush is very pleasant (and sweet!) when had on its own, but I do make this tea into a tea latte but adding some frothed milk (via my jar frothing method). I find that Candy Cane Crush on its own is almost too sweet for me, so adding some milk to it helps to add a level of creaminess to the tea while also tempering the sweetness. I’ve seen this tea offered in-store as a blend with hot chocolate (which is delicious, by the way), and I think it would pair well with egg nog for an egg nog latte (just sub milk for egg nog) for an extra bit of festive kick!

A Second Cup?

Candy Cane Crush does not resteep well. If you steeped the tea fully the first time (meaning that the white chocolate, sprinkles, candy all dissolved), it really lacks in peppermint and sweetness if you attempt a resteep and it’s a weak reminder of what it could be like. I would say that Candy Cane Crush is good for just one steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Candy Cane Crush. It’s one of my holiday go-to black teas when I’m in the mood for some holiday cheer. I like this tea best as a tea latte, because I find it a bit too sweet plain (coming from someone with a huge sweet tooth, I think that’s saying something!). It really does well as a latte, and you can really play around with different dairy products and adding some sprinkles on top. This is an incredibly festive tea, and It really helps you get into the mood for the holidays.

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DavidsTea’s Phoenix Oolong

Phoenix Oolong by DavidsTea
Oolong Tea / Straight
$24.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Tiny disclaimer, I did get Phoenix Oolong for free via the DavidsTea Frequent Steeper program as one of my redemptions for the quarter (who else is happy that they removed the price cap on the redemption teas?!). Phoenix Oolong is a limited edition, online exclusive – which means that the tea is available online only and isn’t available at their retail locations, which is really unfortunate for anyone who just wants to try to tea because it means buying the full 50g or using a redemption on a tea that they might not like.

Phoenix Oolong came in a sealed, resealable foil bag with a printed label on it that gives some details about the tea. Phoenix Oolong is described by DavidsTea as having “fragrant lychee & plum” notes. When I opened the bag, I noted that the leaves are a dark, almost purpley-brown colour. The aroma of the dry leaf does remind me of a stone fruits, and it has a nice sweet floral fragrance that reminds me of lychee. Phoenix Oolong is a straight oolong tea from Phoenix Mountain in Guangdong Province, China. Phoenix Mountain is also known as Fenghuangshan (fenghuang is phoenix and shan is mountain).

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Phoenix Oolong in 90°C (195°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Phoenix Oolong steeps to a bright golden yellow with the initial steep. The aroma is a mix of fruity and floral, I find that the aroma of stone fruits (plum, apricots, peaches) is more prominent than the floral notes that I found in the dry leaf, although it is still present. The flavour is both fruity and floral in this straight oolong, I found that I can initial taste the plum notes, although part of it also reminds me of apricots. The floral sweetness is mostly at the end of each sip, and it mixes well with the fruity flavour to remind me of lychee. With a four minute steep, I found there to be zero bitterness or astringency. The tea has a bit of a thickened mouthfeel to it, which I found pleasant overall.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Phoenix Oolong eight times (nine steeps total), adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the colour was darker for the first two resteeps and gradually became lighter and lighter. The floral notes got stronger as the colour deepened. By the third resteep, it was very well balanced between the floral and fruity notes, and it was delicious.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Phoenix Oolong. I’m pleasantly surprised and very happy that I did use one of my Frequent Steeper rewards on this. The oolong tastes great, I found the flavour to be fairly consistent throughout and really matched well with what DavidsTea had as the description. The leaves resteep remarkably well, and I think it’s definitely a must for resteeping over and over again. Yes, I do think that the tea is expensive for what it is, but given the quality (resteeping is a MUST for these leaves), it’s delicious and is just a very pleasant oolong. I think it’s definitely worth a try if you have the money in your tea budget or if you have a reward to use and you’re going to put in an online order anyways!

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