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Let It Snow: A DAVIDsTea Review

Frightful weather? Try this festive green tea laced with cinnamon, clove and custard.

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$8.98/50g

Noggy by nature…

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(Candied pineapple, green tea, black currants, apple, cinnamon, white chocolate, cloves, stevia extract, natural flavouring.)

Whether you enjoy it served heated or chilled, thick or thin, boozed up or non-alcoholic, it is safe to say that eggnog has long since become as synonymous with Christmas time as gift giving. Although the name greatly implies an “eggy” flavour, in reality, the flavour profile is far more sweet and creamy, as opposed to savoury. DAVIDsTEA’s Tea of the Month for November is a blend directly inspired by this one of a kind holiday beverage called Let It Snow. In the loose leaf, you can see the white chocolate curls, cloves, black currants, pieces of apple, candied pineapple, and just barely see the green tea base (despite the fact that it’s listed as the second ingredient). The fragrance wafting off of this tea, in my opinion, really screams festive; not just from the clear notes of spice, that are comparable to a chai tea, but also from the custard-like notes as well. It’s really helping to bring this concept of eggnog around.

After three minutes of steeping, Let It Snow looks a lot like what you’d expect from a regular green tea, but with a slight oil film on top from the chocolate curls. And as for the scent, it still smells more or less like it did from the beginning, but with warm spice undertones. From the very first sip, a rich creaminess is present. The white chocolate has definitely done its job in that respect. But we can’t forget about the spices. The clove pairs perfectly with the cinnamon. But it should be noted that these same spices really dominant over the green tea base, so much so that I have to actually remind myself that I’m drinking a green tea. One thing you can 100% taste is the stevia extract. Suffice to say, it is the greatest fault of Let It Snow. It unfortunately ruins what is a truly excellent flavour profile otherwise. It’s sweet, it’s rich, it’s not heavily spiced. Pure eggnog vibes. Considering the nasty headache I developed after finishing this tea, I’m pretty heartbroken that I can’t enjoy it the way that I want. Especially because I know it would be an out of this world latte, but I don’t know if it’s worth the risk…

Double Walled Glass Latte Mug: A DAVIDsTea Review

A beautiful double-walled glass mug, in an extra big size for your favourite tea lattes.

$15.00

More to love…

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A tea latte is hands down a great way to relax and take a moment to indulge. Especially when the temperature outside starts to plummet. But I think that it goes without saying that the perfect latte deserves the perfect mug to accompany it… Here is where the Double Walled Glass Latte Mug from DAVIDsTea comes into play. About two years ago, I was lucky enough to snag one of these bad boys online, right before they were sadly discontinued. And I’ve treasured mine ever since. This is certainly not DAVIDsTea’s first rodeo in terms of latte mugs. In years past, they have sold them in various fun and festive designs. Below are a couple examples:

Image result for davidstea latte mugsImage result for davidstea latte mugs

Even though the glass latte mug holds 6 oz less than the original design, which holds a whopping 24 oz/710 mL, 18 oz/532 mL is still an ample amount to contain whatever latte you desire. It has room for your tea, your steamed milk, with just enough added space for your rich, frothy foam to be added right on top. Don’t let its overall appearance deceive you. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a handful to hold. But despite its size, the double walled glass latte mug is actually incredibly lightweight and has a comfortable handle to grip onto. Not only does this mug look simple and sleek, but it also does an awesome job of keeping your beverage warm and toasty on the inside, while keeping the outside cool enough to touch. And feel free to branch out of using this mug exclusively for tea/hot drinks. It can just as easily be used to enjoy soup, ice-cream, or even cereal.

When this product was first re-launched this past September (in correlation with the Chai Collection), it initially retailed at $20, before it eventually dropped down to $15 (the price I purchased it at a couple years back). DT’s Nordic mugs are typically priced at $23, so I would go as far as to say that $15 is a pretty suitable price point, all things considered. But at the end of the day, my very favourite aspect of this mug is the fact that it is 100% clear! As much as I would have loved to own one of the aforementioned mugs above, in terms of truly savouring a latte, I personally feel that drinking out of a see through mug is better… visually. Especially filled with a tea like Forever Nuts in all its bright pink glory, Cream of Earl Grey, or any kind of matcha to be honest. The possibilities are endless!lm2

Overall: It is easy to see why these kind of mugs have such a mass fan following and why they have been requested to make a comeback so feverishly. They’re decently priced, a great size, lightweight, and quite versatile. What more could you want? The Double Walled Glass Latte Mug is a definite must have for tea lovers alike!

Cinnamon Rooibos Chai: A DAVIDsTea Review

This breath-freshening tea combines rooibos, cinnamon and apple.

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$7.98/50g

Stay focused…

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(Rooibos, apple, cinnamon, natural cinnamon flavouring.)

Once upon a time, cinnamon was more valuable than gold, believe it or not. And even though nowadays, most people rather get their hands on 24 karats as opposed to… a brown stick, this spice has just as much as bite as it does bark. Pun intended. According to aromatherapy principles, it supposedly enhances your ability to focus/concentrate. Not only that, but it also possesses a clean and refreshing taste your breath will thank you for. If you ask me, cinnamon makes everything most things taste better. Here’s looking at you: apple pie, snickerdoodles, churros, and who could possibly forget about cinnamon rolls? Luckily, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai from DAVIDsTea is packed full of cinnamon! It’s a very simple and straightforward tea. One you can feel good about, because you know what to expect from it off the bat. It’s essentially a ton of cinnamon bark, mixed into a base of red rooibos, with some apple pieces to bulk it up a bit. The smell of the dry leaf is comparable to the tiny cinnamon heart candies available around Valentine’s Day.

Once steeped for 5 full minutes, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai brews to a reddish brown type of colour. It has retained its initial scent mostly, but it seems as though the earthiness of the rooibos has jumped to the forefront. In terms of overall flavour, here the rooibos base is definitely contributing a slightly woodsy, full-bodied flavour profile that is just a touch nutty. Then there’s the natural sweetness of the apple and spiciness of the cinnamon. But as a whole, it’s not overly sweet or spicy. It’s a good balance. From a “chai” standpoint, this is alright, but it would have been nice to see some of the other important components like cloves, peppercorns, ginger, or cardamom. There’s obviously too much cinnamon in here to be considered/recognized as a true chai tea, but if you are a fan of cinnamon (or drinking liquid cinnamon hearts), then you will enjoy this tea either way. Not only is this all-natural blend embody warmth and comfort, it is also free of caffeine and handles milk/cream perfectly. It really doesn’t get more cinnamon than DAVIDsTea’s Cinnamon Rooibos Chai.

Gingerbread Matcha: A DAVIDsTea Review

What’s sweet, spicy and heartwarming? This festive gingerbread matcha.

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$15.00

Sugar and spice…

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(Cane sugar, green tea, natural gingerbread flavouring.)

Try to think of a cookie more closely connected to the holiday season than gingerbread (men). Sugar cookies, maybe, but gingerbread is definitely up there on the list. This year alone, DAVIDsTea has released a record number of new limited edition matcha flavours. Seven, including Gingerbread Matcha, which was recently released a couple weeks back in correlation with the Winter Collection. The hallmark of a “true gingerbread” is the presence of various warming spices: cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and of course, ginger. I do believe that this matcha possesses the scent expected of baked gingerbread, especially the heavy handedness of the ginger. But at the same time, there is an underlying sweetness, which I can only hope is the molasses; the other hallmark of a “true gingerbread”. The appearance on the other hand, consists of a standard looking stone-ground matcha powder, emerald green in colour, with plenty of cane sugar crystals peeking through.

This vibrant shade of green is just as appealing even after the matcha has been whisked up. Admittedly, the gingerbread scent is no longer as potent as it initially was, which is a bit of a shame. And even though the overall flavour is nice and smooth, the gingerbread – although present – comes off subtlety, and unfortunately winds up getting lost in the grassiness of the green tea base. It is also quite sweet, but as is to be expected, when cane sugar is the very first ingredient. Moving forward, I will definitely make the effort to cut the sweetness of this matcha with some Ceremonial Matcha. I think I enjoyed Gingerbread Matcha most once milk was added and transformed into a latte. It goes without saying that it tasted that much more creamy and dessert-like. The arrival of this sweet and spicy flavoured matcha was definitely unexpected (at least to me), but 150% fitting considering the time of year. It does a decent job of capturing the coziness and nostalgic feeling brought on when enjoying gingerbread cookies. Here’s hoping there are more fun and creative seasonal flavours in the works!

Available in prepack format only.

White Cranberry Bark: A DAVIDsTea Review

Get your holiday fix with this infusion of white chocolate and tart cranberries.

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$8.98/50g

The bark side…

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(Apple, papaya, raisins, cranberries, elderberries, hibiscus blossoms, white chocolate, stevia extract, natural cranberry and chocolate flavouring.)

Cranberries and the holidays – they just seem to go hand-in-hand, don’t they? This tiny super fruit is oh so versatile; it can be used in every single aspect of your table spread this holiday season. From appetizers to beverages to desserts, you name it! That includes a rich and decadent white chocolate bark served up with tart cranberries right on top. DAVIDsTEA’s newly released Winter Collection features a caffeine-free blend called White Cranberry Bark, which has a rather pleasant aroma that wafts off of the cup. It is sweet, juicy, and super fruity. Kind of like candy. On the other hand, its loose leaf appearance is a mixed bag of various dried fruits; candied papaya, bits of apple, dark raisins, elderberries, and cranberries. There are also hibiscus blossoms and pieces of white chocolate shaped like stars, which almost makes this tea feel that much more festive. Even though we’re still about a week away from the start of November, it’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit…

Somehow after five full minutes of steeping, White Cranberry Bark has maintained its original fruity scent, but it’s no longer as pronounced. I can now pick up on the sourness of the star ingredient: cranberry. And considering that there’s hibiscus in this tea as well, it’s kind of surprising that it didn’t brew up as red as one may expect. From the first sip, you can just barely taste the creaminess of the white chocolate, but it’s not very strong at all, despite the addition of chocolate flavouring. Because of the hibiscus and the fact that cranberries have a reputation for being quite tart, it’s nice that the stevia extract is present to sweeten this fruit infusion up a bit. Here it’s not as overpowering or cloying as it can be at times. Although, I personally find that it could still use a touch more sugar to round out its overall tang. (Vanilla agave is optional.) Honestly, I can really see myself enjoying White Cranberry Bark a lot more as a cold drink. At the moment, it’s giving me strong hot (cranberry) juice vibes; slightly sweet but sharp in taste just the same. Impressive.

Walnut Orange Scone: A DAVIDsTea Review

This dainty white tea balances the warmth of walnut with the brightness of orange rind.

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$10.98/50g

Go your scone way…

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(Papaya, white tea, apple, rosehip peel, walnuts, orange peel, orange blossoms, natural and artificial walnut and orange flavouring.)

Commonly found in traditional afternoon tea spreads, the scone (with clotted cream, jam, or otherwise) is truly the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon cup of tea. They’re honestly a match made in heaven… But because the holidays are upon us, it only makes sense that the standard scone get a festive makeover complete with nuts and citrus. Walnut Orange Scone from DAVIDsTea is yet another offering from their newly released Winter Collection. The loose leaf appearance is quite pleasing to the eye. Every single ingredient (apart from the flavourings) is visible – the white tea leaves, rosehip shells, candied papaya, bits of orange peel, bright orange blossoms, and especially the sizable chunks of walnut. In the scent of the dry leaf, the nuttiness of the walnut reminds me a bit of Toasted Walnut, but it also balances well with the aroma of the sweet citrus. As I suspected, there isn’t much of a scone element present here.

To avoid possible bitterness in this white tea, I chose to sidestep DT’s steeping recommendation of 4-7 minutes and opted for closer to three. At this point, Walnut Orange Scone has brewed to a pale yellow colour. The aroma after brewing is still nutty, but more of the orange has pushed itself to the forefront. The white tea flavour is really delicate and light; it actually compliments this tea blend quite nicely. No one ingredient is dominating/fighting to be tasted over another, although unquestionably the walnut could be a touch stronger to match up to the orange. As for the scone aspect, there is just the faintest note of butter in the finish, but to be honest, I don’t particularly mind the lack of “scone”, because the flavour overall is still so delicious. (I can imagine this being pretty amazing as an iced tea also.) This is probably my top choice from the new collection, and not just because it’s one of the only options without stevia in the ingredients… But that fact definitely warrants it “brownie points”.

Caramel Shortbread: A DAVIDsTea Review

Shortbread fans will love this buttery blend of willow bark, almond and cherry.

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$8.98/50g

A caramelized classic…

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(Apple, raisins, brown sugar, elderberries, willow bark, almonds, hazelnuts, sour cherries, raspberries, stevia extract, natural and artificial almond and hazelnut flavouring.)

One part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. These are the main components that make up a traditional melt in your mouth shortbread cookie. Let’s be honest, shortbread is easily accessible all year around, but there’s just something about transforming this classic dessert during the holidays and bringing ooey gooey caramel into the mix. The brand new winter collection from DAVIDsTea features Caramel Shortbread, a tea that claims to mimic the rich, buttery goodness of a piece of shortbread. Its scent definitely does a good job of luring you in. It’s absolutely intoxicating, and very much reminiscent of another caffeine free blend with caramel influences… Caramel Corn. Both smell sweet, but nutty. Which is also a fairly accurate description of what’s in this fruit infusion. Dried fruit, an assortment of nuts, willow bark, crystallized brown sugar, and more.

The colour of the brew is somewhat hard to describe, it’s like a diluted amber tone (equipped with a slight oil film) after just over six minutes of steeping. Fun fact: willow bark was commonly used during the time of Hippocrates, when people were advised to chew on it to relieve pain and fever, because it apparently acts a lot like aspirin. Apart from that piece of knowledge, I don’t really know much else about this ingredient, and what exactly it contributes to Caramel Shortbread at the end of the day. For a tea that is attempting to portray a caramel cookie, it is kind of all over the place. The cherries make it acidic, while the combination of both stevia extract and brown sugar make it extra sweet (total overkill in my opinion), while still possessing a very slight buttery note. I’m happy to report that it is just as fragrant after steeping. But at the end of the day, CS smells better than it tastes. Not to say that it’s not enjoyable, but it’s nothing really special, and could have better delivered on a liquid shortbread cookie. It was a little too fruity to convince me otherwise.

Candy Cane Crush: A DAVIDsTea Review

This creamy mint black tea is strewn with candy cane bits and snowflake sprinkles.

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$7.98/50g

Your winter crush…

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(Black tea, white chocolate, peppermint candy, snowflake candies, cane sugar, peppermint, natural peppermint and vanilla flavouring.)

When it comes to DAVIDsTea’s Candy Cane Crush, you are either obsessed with it, or you think that it is completely overrated. When it was initially released last December as the tea of the month, there was a ton of hype behind it, which lead to it selling out almost instantly… way before the month was even up. And to the disappointment of many, no more stock became available afterwards. But ten months later, it has made its triumphant return to stores (and online) once again for a limited time, as a part of this year’s winter collection. Candy Cane Crush’s loose leaf appearance is without a doubt as festive as can be, delivering all three “representative” colours of the holidays. Red, white, even green. There are plenty of white chocolate chips, crushed candy cane pieces, peppermint leaves, and cute snowflake candies… all on a bed of black tea (that is also sprinkled with some additional cane sugar). As for the scent? Well, it is quite potent. But at the same time, sweet and minty. Candy cane heaven essentially.

Once steeped for just past four minutes, Candy Cane Crush brews up to a very interesting colour. First of all, the red colouring in the candy cane leeches into the tea and the chocolate not only gives it an oily sheen on top, but an overall milkiness. Naturally, all the candy has dissolved into the resulting cup of tea. Admittedly, the black tea base has been overpowered here. It ultimately gets lost amidst the intensity of the mint, and of course, all of the pure sugar involved. If you don’t possess a particularly large sweet tooth, CCC may not be the tea for you. But in all honesty, it’s actually what I had hoped cult favourite Santa’s Secret would have tasted like. Sure, the latter has a stronger black tea (with vanilla) presence, but it still lacks in the mint department. I’m a fan of the white chocolate and how it ultimately makes this tea so smooth and creamy. Candy Cane Crush is not something that I foresee myself reaching for on a regular basis, but it is a definite treat to be enjoyed this winter. Especially when prepared in latte form. This is one of the most all-around festive blends I’ve encountered from DAVIDsTea.

Magic Potion: A DAVIDsTea Review

This magical blend of berries and butterfly pea flowers changes colour with lemon juice.

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$9.98/50g

Razzle dazzle…

Magic Potion

(Currants, apples, rosehips, butterfly pea flowers, raspberries, blackberries, stevia extract, natural kiwi, blackberry and bilberry flavouring.)

Are you bored of your current tea selection at home or just looking to try something new and exciting? Well, look no further than Magic Potion, a brand new herbal tea offering, that features an ingredient that is not so common in the tea world. Although it goes by a handful of different names, butterfly pea is the most common, and it is a unique flower/plant that is native to Southeast Asia, where it is regularly used as a natural food colouring. Magic Potion’s loose leaf appearance consists of azure petals (complimented by a pop of yellow) from the aforementioned flower, which are transferring some of their colour to a lot of the other components. There are bits of apple, rosehip shells, as well as currants and an assortment of dried berries. The aroma is familiar, but difficult to put my finger on. It’s quite potent, with lingering notes of mixed berries and a candy-like essence.

After just over six minutes, Magic Potion smells like it did initially, but a watered down version, if that makes sense, and possesses a deep, enticing shade of blue, that is almost too pretty to consume. At this point it is literally a blue, blue raspberry flavoured brew that has a juicy, nostalgic blue raspberry flavour. There are very soft floral undertones present, but it’s a shame the kiwi flavouring gets lost amongst everything else here. Overall, it definitely doesn’t taste all that natural, and it’s quite sweet due to the addition of stevia extract. My teeth are already protesting against it. Now, you can continue on enjoying this tea as is, but if you do that, you miss out on finding out how Magic Potion got its name. The so called “magic” happens when you squeeze some fresh lemon juice into your cup, and get to watch your tea turn from a rich indigo to a vibrant purple right before your eyes! Once the citrus is added, the flavour gets a pop of acidity and takes on more of a lemonade vibe. Good hot or cold, with or without lemon, and despite the sweetness, is at least worth trying for its fun colour changing abilities. 

Carrot Cupcake: A DAVIDsTea Review

This sweet, creamy blend of carrot and spices tastes just like the real deal. Did we mention it’s got a hint of whipped cream? Yeah, we knew you couldn’t resist…

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$7.98/50g

It takes the cake…

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(Carrot, rooibos, cocoa shells, cinnamon, apple, ginger, licorice root, natural whipped cream and apple flavouring.)

The beginning of a new month marks the arrival of a new “Tea of the Month” at DAVIDsTea, and this month’s “honoree” is a rooibos blend called Carrot Cupcake. In the past, the idea of consuming a vegetable like carrots in my dessert was daunting, that is until carrot cake (especially with a thick layer of cream cheese icing on top!) became one of my very favourite treats. It’ll be interesting to see how well Carrot Cupcake actually delivers on the concept of a carrot cupcake, in liquid form. First off, it has a slightly minced, yet slightly uniform appearance to it. The red rooibos base is still apparent amongst the other elements of this tea. The bright carrot really helps the loose leaf pop. Every ingredient (apart from the added flavourings) is visible; you can see the cocoa shells, apple bits, cinnamon bark, and more. The aroma of the dry leaf smells as earthy and autumnal as it looks. Both the ginger and licorice root are detectable, but I’m finding it difficult to hone in on a definite carrot cake scent.

Because of the licorice in this blend, I opted for a lower steeping time of three minutes, as opposed to the four to seven minutes that is recommended. Carrot Cupcake at this point steeps up to a pumpkin-like orange colour. The initial aroma has toned down quite a bit. I suppose it smells like a carrot cupcake now, but that could also just be my mind willing it to do so. There’s a spice (the ginger for the most part) present throughout each sip, paired with the natural sweetness of the rooibos, licorice, and carrot. There’s enough sweetness from the aforementioned ingredients that no additional sugar is really needed. It may be new to some, but I’m quite familiar with Carrot Cupcake from last year’s fall collection. Sadly, even a year later, no matter how many times I prepare this tea, I just cannot get myself to enjoy it without eventually dumping more than half of my cup down the drain. Even though I’m neither a fan of rooibos (red, in particular) nor licorice root, I have an idea that the inclusion of cocoa shells is the main reason why this tea doesn’t do anything whatsoever for me.