herbal · reviews

Frozen Raspberry: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$7.98/50g

Berry delicious…

fr

(Apple, sugar, raisins, hibiscus blossoms, carrot, yogurt pieces, beetroot, raspberry, natural and artificial raspberry and strawberry-cream flavouring.)

Also known as Rubus idaeus, the raspberry belongs to the same botanical family as the rose and the blackberry. But the fun facts don’t stop there – it turns out that there is far more to this brilliant berry than first meets the naked eye. And what’s not to love? Raspberries are a delicious fruit that pleases one’s taste buds and satisfies their nutritional needs all at once. With their slightly tangy flavour and bright, summer freshness, it makes sense that DAVIDsTea decided to showcase them in the newly released Frozen Raspberry. It smells super tart and creamy, sort of reminiscent of Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait, another herbal blend with some overlapping ingredients. Raisins, carrot, hibiscus, beetroot, apple, sugar crystals, yogurt pieces… You can see it all in the loose leaf. Not so much the raspberry though, it appears to have faded into the background among the hibiscus, beetroot, and other dark coloured items.

It is this tag team of hibiscus blossoms and beetroot that helps to deliver a deep, vibrant shade of red to Frozen Raspberry after just over five minutes of steeping. If you love raspberries in all of their fruity, slightly sour glory like me, then you will also be able to appreciate the flavour this tea manages to capture: fresh raspberry with just a touch of creaminess. It is a great balance between sweet and tart overall. Yes, there are actual pieces of sugar swimming throughout this tea already, but what with all the natural tang/tartness present in here, some added sweetener definitely helps tone it down and heighten the creamy factor. This tea seems to have a similar concept to Blackberry Blizzard, another berry based tisane that came out recently and also boasts a smooth, yogurt richness. Ideally, this supposed “creamy swirl of yogurt” is not nearly as strong as it could be. Which makes it that more frustrating, that you cannot add milk to Frozen Raspberry, nor can you transform it into a latte and bring forward its true “frozen yogurt” characteristics… because hibiscus would ruin it completely. Still a great iced tea overall!

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herbal · reviews

Melon Cooler: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$7.98/50g

Use your melon…

(Apple, pineapple, hibiscus, orange peel, carrot, fig, stevia extract, natural and artificial watermelon flavouring.)

Is anyone else starting to get a little too bogged down by all the melon/watermelon tea releases from DAVIDsTea? We’ve had Melon Drop, Cantaloupe Ice, Sour Watermelon, and now Melon Cooler. No offense whatsoever to DT; watermelon is easily my favourite fruit to enjoy once the weather starts to warm up, hands down. Watermelons are filled with water and electrolytes, making them the quintessential fruit to keep you refreshed and plenty hydrated whenever needed. Dried melon may not exactly be in the list of ingredients, but the loose leaf is actually full of carrot, moderate pieces of fig, hibiscus, apple, and pineapple. Melon Cooler has an interesting dry leaf scent. For the most part, it’s nice and fruity… Almost smells like artificial watermelon flavoured gummy candy. But the more that I think about it, I’m also getting a strong pickle vibe…

After just over seven minutes of steeping, Melon Cooler’s aroma changes once more; to something that is oddly reminiscent of boiled or steamed carrots. Any previous melon-like smell is basically gone at this point. A deep, dark red colour results thanks to the hibiscus in this mix. As is expected, it is the very first thing you taste, with its sharp tanginess. Thankfully, a slight sweetness follows with each sip. There is certainly an essence of watermelon present, but it’s honestly not strong enough to keep the hibiscus at bay or from outshining it. Especially since it is meant to be the star of this blend… It’s also a shame that the citrus aspect of Melon Cooler is basically undetectable. On the other hand, the inclusion of stevia doesn’t seem to be too bad here; it is contributing some sweetness alongside the natural sugars in the dried fruit. Additional sweetener does appear to tamper down the strength of the hibiscus somewhat, making this cuppa more bearable. Here’s hoping this is the melon-based to come out this year…

reviews · rooibos

Fruity Oasis: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$8.98/50g

Stay cool…

Fruity Oasis

(Hibiscus, rooibos, papaya, pineapple, aloe vera, stevia extract, natural and artificial prickly pear flavouring.)

What grows wild in tropical climates around the world, is found in various consumer products (including beverages, skin lotion, cosmetics & ointments), and is unofficially known as the “plant of immortality”? If you guessed aloe vera, you would be 100% correct! This desert succulent is abundant in rich nutrients, and is rightfully being showcased in DAVIDsTea’s Fruity Oasis; one-fifth of the newly released Oasis Collection. Does anyone remember Green & Fruity? It was retired not too long ago, but already seems to bare some close resemblance to this mix. Fruity Oasis is a very sweet, fruity smelling rooibos, with every single ingredient present in the loose leaf; the green rooibos base, the candied pineapple, the aloe vera, but especially the hibiscus and papaya. Two components of Fruity Oasis that provide a vibrant pop of colour to this tropical blend.

It has managed to hold onto and retain its pleasantly fruity aroma, even after steeping for five minutes. The colour that ensues is very reminiscent of blood almost. Just this really rich, dark red. This is of course, brought on by the heavy handedness of the hibiscus, which is also the very first ingredient included here. It’s pretty hard to avoid. Upon sipping, you are hit with a powerful tartness off the bat, before any of the other flavours kick in. But it’s sadly just hibiscus and the over-sweetness of stevia in the mouthfeel. Fruity Oasis, in my mind, had a lot of promise and potential for such a unique sounding tea. (I mean, prickly pear AND aloe vera? Sign me up!) I was honestly beyond intrigued initially, but at the end of the day, was left feeling pretty underwhelmed. The overall hydrating properties of this refreshing tea are excellent for trying to beat the heat, so if anything, that’s at least one reason why you should go out and at least try Fruity Oasis for yourself.

black · reviews

Peachy Lychee: A DAVIDsTea Review

low

$9.98/50g

It’s a real peach…

pl

(Black tea, apple, candied pineapple, orange peel, sweet blackberry leaves, white hibiscus blossoms, peach, lychee, natural peach flavouring.)

Sweet and exotic, lychee fruit is a tropical delight that often goes underappreciated, mainly because a lot of people are unfamiliar with these white berries. Which is really a shame, because they are packed with nutrients, are super flavourful, and satisfyingly juicy… whether they are consumed fresh or otherwise. Otherwise could apply to being added to teas like Peachy Lychee, from DAVIDsTea’s Oasis Collection. (A first for the company!) Off the bat, the dry leaf scent of this tea is truly intoxicating. You can smell both fruits distinctly, it’s even a little comparable to Buddha’s Blend, if anything. The appearance of the loose leaf on the other hand is on the chunkier side, with a variety of dried fruit pieces of varied sizes, amongst the black tea and larger pieces of orange peel. The base comes through more so in the scent after being steeped for close to four minutes, and therefore results in a reddish brown coloured cuppa. There’s an impressive flavour progression, where you get mainly peachy, followed by a light lychee, and then a smooth black tea.

Any additional sugar isn’t particularly necessary in Peachy Lychee, because it already possesses a pleasant, natural sweetness to it (see: candied pineapple, sweet blackberry leaves, as well as the other fruits featured). Although the slightly bitter fruitiness from the white hibiscus lingers into the aftertaste, so perhaps a shorter steep time might be better. All in all, the peach and the lychee marry so well in this tea blend. It’s a great balance of flavours. The first fruit is one of my very favourites, while the latter really brought me back to my childhood (and eating lychee jelly). Here, neither the peach nor the lychee dominate over the other. You can pick out both easily, as well as the black tea base, which rounds everything out and contributes a decent boost of caffeine. The aroma has translated right into the flavour. What you see, or what you smell rather, is exactly what you get. It’s sweet, slightly floral, and bold all at the same time. This is the tea that appealed to me the most from this new collection, and it is without a doubt the epitome of a perfect peach tea, if you ask me.

mate · reviews

Main Squeeze: A DAVIDsTea Review

st

$7.98/50g

Greet the day…

ms

(Green yerba mate, candied papaya, pineapple, safflower petals, natural flavouring.)

What’s your beverage of choice when it comes time to start a brand new day, and head downstairs for breakfast? Is it milk, is it a green smoothie, is it coffee, or is it good ol’ orange juice? What if I told you that there is a tea that combines the best parts of a cup of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed OJ, into a fruity blend with a nice (and probably much needed) boost of energy? It’s called Main Squeeze, and it may just become a new addition to your morning routine. The dry leaf smells sweet and citrus-y. Even though the orange is most likely hidden in the “natural flavouring”, it is still prominent in the nose of this tea. With slight tropical notes from the pineapple and papaya too.

Once steeped for close to five minutes, Main Squeeze takes on a golden green liquor with just the slightest cloudiness to it, almost as if it were a green tea. The earthy yerba maté base comes through more so in the scent, with a lingering of fresh citrus. I cannot fully commit and say that it tastes outright like orange juice, but it is somewhat similar. Kind of reminds me of a popular powdered drink from my childhood, Tang. The fruit flavour is not super overwhelming, but it’s strong enough to dampen the earthiness that mate possesses and any possible bitterness. It also has a natural sweetness generating from the candied fruit, so it’s really not necessary to add any additional sugar. I feel like overall this is a great way to ease your way into mate teas, if you’re new to them. Yerba mate is a naturally caffeinated drink from South America, so there’s no need to worry about crashing or getting the jitters.

herbal · reviews

Serenity Now: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$8.98/50g

Zen and sensibility…

sn

(Currants, rosehips, apple, lavender, spearmint, hibiscus, blueberries, rose petals, strawberries, quince, natural rose water and strawberry flavouring.)

Nothing evokes feelings of  calm and pure relaxation, quite like lavender. The aroma alone can put you at ease. It is one of the most fragrant and highly versatile herbs that you can grow. Not only is it used in aromatherapy as an essential oil, it is utilized in traditional herbal medicine, in the kitchen as a culinary herbal, as well as in tea blends like Serenity Now from DAVIDsTea. This pretty purple flower acts as the base to this herbal infusion that also features strawberries, hibiscus, and spearmint (which happens to be in the same family as lavender, interestingly enough). The floral aspect is not as potent as I originally expected, it actually smells quite soothing. Somehow you can pick on several different components here and there, but it’s mostly the sweet strawberry and floral lavender that come through the most in the dry leaf nose.

After four minutes, Serenity Now steeps to a really diluted, red colour that is also transparent looking. Its initial fruity/floral scent remains in tact, but it is subdued. Did you know? Lavender comes from the Latin verb, “lavare”, which means to wash. And a little definitely goes a long way. Otherwise you may end up with a taste in your mouth, very similar to that of a fancy soap, your grandmother’s signature perfume, or even potpourri. I feel like there’s something sophisticated about mixing lavender, mint, and strawberry. But it’s also a very hit or miss tea. Serenity Now, admittedly, has a lot going on and a very complex flavour profile. Sweetener (may that be agave, cane sugar, honey, or otherwise), is what is going to bring out the fruitiness and tone down the intense floral and tart hibiscus notes present here. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of lavender or teas that are too perfume-y, this is still a worth try, especially iced, when it transforms from soothing to incredibly refreshing.

 

 

herbal · reviews

Sparkling Sangria: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$7.98/50g

Patio not included…

ss

(Apple, papaya, mango, pineapple, hibiscus, cornflower petals, rose petals, artificial passionfruit flavouring.)

If you ask me, Sangria is very representative of the summer months, having fun, and enjoying the company of friends. This popular Spanish beverage is like an adult version of “punch”: wine is typically mixed together with a number of different fruits, a hard liquor of some kind, and at times soda water to make it nice and fizzy. The great thing about Sangria is that the selection of fruit used is entirely up to you! In Sparkling Sangria, a cocktail inspired infusion, DAVIDsTea revamps their classic Sangria tea by opting for a sweet, more tropical flavour. Candied pineapple, papaya, mango are all accounted for in this tea. But there’s also the usual culprits as well: apple pieces, hibiscus, and flower petals for a bit of decoration. Its light champagne fragrance reminds me a lot of Pineapple Mimosa from last year.

The dark, red wine-like colour that produces after just over six minutes, looks just like actual sangria. It doesn’t smell as much like alcohol anymore, though the fruity notes are now stepping forward. I am wholeheartedly digging the exotic spin on this version of Sangria compared to last year (with its more traditional take), and that aspect of the tea comes through very strong and clearly. Some of the blends that have been released as of late, that have claimed to have a tropical essence, have failed to hit the nail on the head with that like Sparkling Sangria does. You can very much taste the sweet fruitiness of the pineapple, passionfruit, and mango (papaya too!), with the hibiscus contributing a nice tang to round things out. It’s both undeniable and addictive. Sparkling Sangria has a full, robust flavour profile that doesn’t require any additional sweetener. But with some wine added, or even made into a tea pop, it would be absolute perfection – because sangria is nothing if not versatile.

herbal · reviews

Sour Appletini: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$7.98/50g

An apple a day…

Sour Appletini

(Apple, beetroot, blackberry leaves, artificial apple flavouring.)

Shaken, not stirred… That’s how James Bond preferred to have his martinis made, but this well-known cocktail is traditionally dry gin and vermouth stirred together, with an olive garnish (or even a twist of lemon). In comparison, the “appletini” is a fun variation on a classic, featuring a bright, eye pleasing green colour and a flavour that leaves the taste buds absolutely zinging. DAVIDsTea’s latest collection includes Sour Appletini, a fruit infusion that captures this unique sour apple flavour, which can be hard to do without coming off too artificial tasting. But added flavouring is inevitable, because this tea is simply bits and pieces of what looks to be Granny Smith apple, blackberry leaves, and beetroot. That’s it. Straightforward and to the point.

The aroma is quite potent, and definitely delivers on a green apple scent. Oddly enough, once steeped for 7 minutes, Sour Appletini loses a lot of its apple smell, and takes on more of a citrus-y smell, but that could just be the citric acid coming through. And it steeps to this appealing candy apple red colour. I’m glad there isn’t anything else in this tea to distract from the fact that it is an apple based/inspired blend. That being said, if you are a lover of sour things like myself, Sour Appletini succeeds in being mouthpuckeringly satisfying, with a taste just like a green apple Jolly Rancher. It’s plenty tart as is, so you may feel inclined to add some sugar. But the longer the steep, the greater the pucker! If you enjoyed Sour Watermelon from the recent summer collection, there’s a chance you’ll enjoy this one too. Although, I kind of wish this tangy tisane could have turned green somehow… #enoughwiththeredteas!

herbal · reviews

Rosé All Day: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$7.98/50g

Make me blush…

rad

(Apple, sultanas, hibiscus, elderberries, red currant, blue mallow flower, blueberries, black currants, artificial wine flavouring.)

Not red… not white… but pink! Rosé is a type of French wine that incorporates some of the colour from the skin of red grapes, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. This year’s cocktail collection features nearly a handful of new teas, including Rosé All Day, a fruit infusion that possesses all of the components that make this vino so darn yummy, but without that pesky morning-after headache. There are an assortment of berries, both black and red currants, apple pieces, hibiscus, flower petals, as well as sultanas. Fun fact: Raisins, sultanas, and currants are all sweet dried fruits that stem from different varieties of vine-grown grapes, are used in similar ways, but ultimately they have their own unique traits. 2/3 of these make up the all important grape aspect of Rosé All Day. And you know what? It smells just like wine too! Mind blown.

More than five minutes later and you have a gorgeous blush rose colour filling your cup, all thanks to the hibiscus. Smell-wise? That slightly alcoholic hint is still very much there. The fruit notes are on the milder side, but pair nicely alongside the more refreshing, tart notes. There’s definitely a “bite” to this tisane, but it’s not at all unpleasant, and the wine flavour profile lingers right into the aftertaste. For someone who is not particularly a big fan of wine, I was quite surprised by not only how much it actually tastes like its namesake, but how much I enjoyed it, especially when prepared iced with a touch of sweetener. Only then, do you get the full effect of what Rosé All Day is trying to capture. Who knew that “artificial wine flavouring” was a thing? I sure didn’t, but it seems to have helped get the job done. How you manage to get a tea to taste exactly like wine, but still be non-alcoholic is beyond me, but I can definitely picture myself indulging in this tea all summer long!

herbal · reviews

Raspberry Mojito: A DAVIDsTea Review

zero

$8.98/50g

Gimme some mo’…

(Apple, raisins, hibiscus blossoms, carrot, beetroot, peppermint, lime, raspberries, rose petals, natural and artificial strawberry flavouring.)

We can all thank the city of Havana, Cuba for the creation of the mojito, one of the oldest mixed drinks still consumed today. The mojito is a classic cocktail that brings mint and lime together with a splash of white rum. And for a fun, summery twist, why not add in a handful of sweet raspberries? Resulting in a fruity, minty, and oh so refreshing mix! Just like Raspberry Mojito, a DAVIDsTea returning favourite that is officially the “new” featured tea of the month for May! There is something seemingly different about this fruit infusion compared to last year’s release, that is just so much more bright and lively… from the appearance to the aroma right to the flavour. You can see every single ingredient in the loose leaf. The whole raspberries, the rose petals, the bits of carrot, the raisins, the peppermint leaves, as well as huge pieces of lime.

This blend has a very strong, robust scent. It’s obviously very fruity, due to the raspberries, but also citrus-y and pleasantly minty. After five minutes, it steeps to a beautiful, deep pink colour, that is actually closer to red, to be honest. When Raspberry Mojito is prepared hot, the combination of raspberries and the hibiscus blossoms produce a not-so-surprising tart taste. Sugar is definitely needed to help smooth out the intense tang of this tisane. Both of the aforementioned ingredients are very much at the forefront, delivering a one-two punch to your taste buds. While the peppermint settles into the aftertaste adding a fresh, cooling effect. The lime is unfortunately not as prominent as I’d personally like it to be, it seems like it gets lost amongst the other flavour components. For me, Raspberry Mojito doesn’t completely live up to its namesake, mostly because there is not enough mint or lime for my liking, but this still remains one of my very favourite iced teas!