(Lemongrass, pineapple, white chocolate, globe amaranth, cornflower petals, stevia extract, natural flavouring.)
Vanilla ice cream is a truly timeless, delicious dessert known ’round the world, but has its essence been captured in Vanilla Swirl? Not exactly. This tea should honestly get an award for Best False Advertising. I’m sorry DAVIDsTea, but you really missed the mark with this one. This tea is extremely confusing to me. Out of the entire Malt Shop Collection, Vanilla Swirl piqued my interest immediately. But the first ingredient in this herbal blend is lemongrass, oddly enough, while vanilla is not listed at all. Who knows, maybe it’s a part of the “natural flavouring”, but if that’s the case, I’m still perplexed by the branding of Vanilla Swirl. It promotes a creamy, vanilla sweetness, just like a soft serve ice cream cone, but with a swirl of lemon? The loose leaf consists mainly of lemongrass, as well as some candied fruit, white chocolate curls and pretty flower petals sprinkled throughout.
At first, when I initially smelled Vanilla Swirl, I did surprisingly pick up on vanilla, but it was gone almost instantly, before tangy lemon and sweet pineapple took over and dominated my nostrils. After four minutes, this tea steeped to a mellow yellow tone with a slight creaminess to it from the white chocolate. The white chocolate also contributes an oil film that sits at the top of your cup, which can be a tad unsettling for some, but is something that I’ve become accustomed to with certain teas. Unfortunately, it tastes exactly how it smells. Fruity, with a bit of vanilla in the background – way, way in the back. Oh, and it’s sweet. (Stevia strikes again!) It’s very in your face, making itself known, and then leaving you with that odd aftertaste. This could easily be renamed Lemon Swirl. It almost tastes like a caffeine-free version of Lemon Pound Cake. Overall, those would be the two major shortcomings of Vanilla Swirl: the way that the lemon flavour and stevia overshadow everything else in this blend. But I’m curious to know, if with some milk and vanilla agave added, if perhaps Vanilla Swirl could better reach its full potential…
Shake it off…
(Green tea, papaya, yogurt bits, candied strawberry, natural strawberry and yogurt flavouring.)
Rich, refreshing, and bursting with flavour. That’s the epitome of a great strawberry milkshake, if you ask me. Shout out to Ivar “Pop” Coulson, a Walgreens employee, who first invented this malt shop classic nearly a century ago (way, way back in 1922)! DAVIDsTea has just released their very own low-caffeine, no calorie version called Strawberry Shake. Out of the entire Malt Shop Collection, this is the tea that I anticipated the most, and this sweet blend smells exactly like one of my favourite dairy products… strawberry yogurt! The fragrance is absolutely heavenly, not at all subtle. I can smell it right through the tin. Everything is present in the loose leaf – big, full pieces of green tea, yogurt bits, and dried fruit pieces. Not just strawberry, but papaya too!
I must say that the green tea lends itself as a nice, light base for Strawberry Shake. Even after steeping it for three minutes, it is not overly strong or bitter in any way, and that’s such a relief, because green teas are typically known for that. It brews up this faint yellow-ish green colour, with the green tea coming through more so after steeping. Upon the first sip, my initial thought was: bland, weak, severely lacking in flavour. Couldn’t taste a whole lot of anything, unfortunately. Halfway through, rock sugar was added, in an attempt to bring those hidden notes forward. After finishing my cuppa, I came to the conclusion, that although Strawberry Shake doesn’t completely knock it out of the park, it is still worth trying. It’s an all-natural mix (no stevia here!), and once you make the proper modifications to it (adding milk and sugar), then it is able to reach its full potential. It just needs that extra push to be great. This is basically what I had hoped Berry Romantic would have been, but without the oolong.
Game, set, matcha…
(Cane sugar, green tea, natural peach flavouring.)
A “quirky” fact about yours truly is that if I manage to get my hands on anything peach flavoured, a good 9 times out of ten, not only will it end up in my mouth, but I will probably become obsessed with it. Such has been the case with Fuzzy Peach candies, Snapple iced tea, Peach Schnapps (cc: Peach Bellinis), and of course, peach cobbler. So, it was basically fate when Peach Matcha made its triumphant return from last summer, becoming a permanent fixture on DAVIDsTea’s glorious tea wall. In a way, it looks like typical matcha powder, but once you look closer, you can see the sugar practically shimmering through the green tea powder. (Cane sugar is the first ingredient listed, after all.) The aroma boasts notes of sweet, fruity peach, with a slight greenness from the matcha.
Whether you decide to whisk it up in a bowl or shake it up via the matcha maker, the result is the same: a bright, opaque emerald coloured cuppa that is undeniably peachy. The peach flavour is prominent and quite rich, balancing well with the vegetal qualities of the green tea. Best of all, there’s no bitterness to be found at all. But it’s sweet. Almost a little too sweet at times. There’s no need to add any more to this, in fact, you may feel inclined to mix in some plain matcha (Grand Cru, for example) to help bring down the sugar content to your liking. Overall, Peach Matcha is definitely not at all bad tasting when prepared plain and hot, but I’m honestly so accustomed to drinking matcha lattes, so that is definitely how I would prefer to enjoy this tea. Milk just increases the creaminess, and adds that much more to the sipping experience. Fingers crossed for even more fruity options in the near future!
Keep it sweet…
(Cane sugar, green tea, natural maple flavouring.)
What’s more Canadian than maple syrup, eh? This sticky sweet substance has long been part of Canada’s cultural fabric. Maple products alike are considered symbolic of Canada, and are frequently sold in tourist shops & airports as souvenirs from our homeland. The sugar maple’s leaf has come to symbolize this great country, and is even depicted on the national flag. Although maple syrup is something I quite enjoy (especially on a stack of waffles), maple as a general flavour isn’t something I typically gravitate towards, so needless to say I was kind of hesitant about the release of Maple Matcha. It basically looks like a standard matcha powder and if you look closer, you can even see the crystals of cane sugar. Maple is definitely present in the scent, it’s sweet smelling but slightly subdued.
After it is prepared, you are left with a nice, emerald green colour. The maple flavour is not too strong or too sweet, and best of all, it tastes super natural. Creamy, as well. You would definitely expect it to be especially sweet, since maple/maple syrup typically is, but it does balance well with the matcha at the end of the day. It’s honestly the perfect amount of matcha versus maple flavour. It certainly doesn’t need any sweetener, but you may want to add some straight matcha (like Ceremonial, Matcha Matsu, or Grand Cru) to help tone down on the sugar. I definitely like the maple in this matcha more so than I do in any of the other “maple” teas (Oh Canada!, Maple Sugar). There’s just something really comforting about this tea. And it goes to show how some things can surprise you, because for the longest time, I was under the impression that no matcha flavour could come close to Blueberry, but I think Maple just did.
Kale me maybe…
(Green tea and kale powder.)
Of all the super healthy leafy greens out there, kale definitely reigns supreme. Although it has a bit of a reputation for tasting bitter at times, it is among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. (Low in calories too!) We’re talking vitamins A, C, K, calcium, iron, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and a lot more. This member of the cabbage family has been around for longer than any of us (more than 2,000 years actually), and now it’s being sold as a matcha option at DAVIDsTea. Up close, it looks just like your typical straight, stone-ground matcha powder. Maybe slightly darker in colour. The kale is really undeniable in this blend, and honestly? …Not as bad as you may think. I was a skeptic myself.
When preparing this tea, I think it’s important to note that the kale powder in this matcha mix settles rather quickly, and can result in a sludge-like substance at the bottom of your mug/drinkware. So, no matter if you shake it up or whisk it up, you’re going to have the same end product. A vibrant, emerald green brew with a fresh, bold vegetal scent. Unfortunately, this does not have as smooth or creamy of a taste as Ceremonial Matcha. You instantly know that you’re drinking something healthy and good for you, if that makes any sense. I can’t really see myself going forward drinking this without some kind of sweetener added. Milk even. My mouth feels incredibly dry after finishing my cup, like I haven’t consumed liquids all day. The kale is so grainy, and it has a weird mouth feel to it. This characteristic is the main reason why Kale Matcha is probably better suited for a green juice or smoothie. And because it’s such a great source of both caffeine and nutrients, I would imagine this would make an awesome matcha shot as well.
Steep positive change…
(Apple, pineapple, hibiscus, fig, pink peppercorns, cranberry, cornflower, stevia extract, natural raspberry, cherry, and passion fruit flavouring.)
ME To WE is a fruit infusion blend (free of caffeine) that was released exactly a year ago today, in partnership with the company of the same name. In the past year, we have had a rocky relationship. At first, I was sure that I would not like it at all, because the fig and the pink peppercorns listed in the ingredients really threw me off. But once I saw the amount of hype it was getting online, there was no way I couldn’t go out and try it for myself. From there, it really didn’t take much longer to become completely obsessed and run to my nearest store and stock up. When looking at ME To WE, you can see almost every single ingredient present in the loose leaf. Both large and tiny chunks of dried fruit, alongside cornflower petals and more.
As for the aroma? SUPER DUPER fruity! The smell of the tea while it was steeping was absolutely intoxicating. So pleasantly rich, like cherries and cranberries. 4-7 minutes is the recommended time for steeping, and I went for the maximum amount of time, since herbal/fruit infusions do not burn or get bitter. I ended up with a deep, deep red colour (imagine a glass of red wine), due to the hibiscus. The hibiscus is almost undeniable in the first sip, because of the tartness that hit me in the face right away. Once you get past that, the rest of the flavours begin to come through. Honestly, it bares great resemblance to “red” Kool-Aid, fruit punch even. Believe it or not, this is my first time (ever) having this tea prepared hot, but I can 10000000000000% confirm that it is better enjoyed iced, because at the end of the day, who really likes hot juice? Not me! And you know what else? With its nice, refreshing taste, Me To We is something you can feel extra good about buying, because with every purchase of 50g that is made, a developing community in Kenya receives two whole weeks of clean water. What an awesome way to make a difference in the world!
Fall in love…
(Peppermint leaves from Oregon and Washington State.)
You really can’t go wrong with a piping hot cup of plain ol’ mint tea. It is without a doubt, a timely classic that very rarely disappoint. It is native to Europe and the Middle East, but has long since taken the globe by storm. Not only does it help to enhance dreams and stimulate creativity, it aids in digestion, relieves headaches, and calms one’s nerves. But let’s be real, the list of benefits could go on forever! You may or may not already know, but peppermint is actually a hybrid of “watermint” and (its equally as popular counterpart) spearmint. DAVIDsTea’s Peppermint Amour is an organic mix of mint leaves from Oregon and Washington State. It is also both straightforward and super low maintenance. What you see, is exactly what you get. Its loose leaf has a minced appearance to it, and a lot of green going on. The dry leaf on the other hand smells fresh, and of course, super minty. The aroma alone is super relaxing. It’s very reminiscent of gum and/or toothpaste.
It does not take very long at all for this tisane to brew. A minute tops. That way, you have the option to re-steep it as many additional times as you’d like. But feel free to exceed that for a stronger cuppa. With greater steep times, Peppermint Amour takes on a bolder intensity. The same can be said of the liquor once steeped. The colour of green that exudes from this herbal blend really deepens as time passes. It has a really smooth mouth feel overall, that is very easy going down. Peppermint Amour is a simple tea, but there’s still so much to be said about it. It has a really full-bodied flavour profile with a cooling, minty aftertaste. Sugar isn’t really necessary whatsoever, there’s already a natural sweetness present here. The flavour is especially refreshing when prepared iced. Although I personally prefer Spearmint, both teas are delicious and of great value. Because a tea like Peppermint Amour is made up of basically one ingredient, that also happens to be incredibly light; it means that you end up getting a lot of bang for your buck, which is never a bad thing.
Cream of the crop…
(Green rooibos, cane sugar, white chocolate chips, pink sugar mix, blackberries, raspberries, gomphrena petals, hibiscus, strawberry leaves, natural and artificial raspberry, blackberry, and vanilla cream flavouring.)
Flaky crust… rich, creamy filling… with juicy raspberries delicately dotting the top. Does it really get any better than (a slice of) Raspberry Cream Pie? I don’t just mean the dessert, but the equally as decadent tea blend. Raspberry Cream Pie, a smash hit from last year’s spring collection made its mighty return today as tea of the month for February, to the delight of many, including yours truly. The loose leaf is honestly a pink lover’s dream! You can spot the various white chocolate chips, the rooibos base, both the raspberries and blackberries, hibiscus, and then everything is covered in sugar crystals. It’s kind of hard to describe how RCP smells, but the word ‘heavenly’ is most definitely applicable.
I really appreciate that green rooibos was used here instead of red. I don’t see myself enjoying this tea nearly as much, if the roles had been reversed, because this is actually one of the few rooibos based teas I like, for this exact reason. Unfortunately, there’s a film at the top from the oils in the white chocolate, but the chocolate is what really makes Raspberry Cream Pie taste so rich and creamy. It balances well with the fruity notes, and it is also what contributes to the cloudy appearance of this dessert tea. Additional sugar is not at all necessary. This blend is already plenty sweet. But not even the sugar can hide the fact that there’s still a bit of a tartness going on here. It still throws me off that hibiscus is a component of Raspberry Cream Pie, because all it really does is prevent you from making a successful latte (aka the best way to enjoy this tea!), and it’s bad enough that the pie aspect of this tea is completely MIA…