herbal · reviews

Strawberry Lemonade: A DAVIDsTea Review



Berry contrary…


(Apple, hibiscus blossoms, blackberry leaves, candied papaya, lemongrass, beetroot, strawberries, marigold blossoms, natural strawberry and lemon flavouring.)

When life gives you lemons, you obviously have to make lemonade. Sweet or tart, pink or yellow, a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade is the perfect beverage to have on hand on a warm, sunny afternoon. A nostalgic symbol of both summertime and childhood, this simple drink (literally lemon juice, water, and sugar) has been enjoyed all over the world for at least ten decades, and it clearly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But what do you do when life hands you a pitcher of lemonade? Why not amp it up and add some juicy strawberries into the mix? Strawberry Lemonade is a brand new herbal blend from the Freshly Squeezed Collection by DAVIDsTea that released today, and from the scent alone, I’m already getting strong lemonade vibes. The lemongrass is what stands out the most in the dry nose. The sharp citrus kind of towers over the sweet strawberry, but still manages to hold its own.

There’s yellow via the marigold petals, green via the blackberry leaves and lemongrass, and of course, plenty of red via the hibiscus blossoms, beetroot, strawberries, and more. These are all visible in the loose leaf appearance of this tisane. Once steeped for just over six minutes, Strawberry Lemonade quickly transforms into a dark, crimson red colour that now smells a lot more like berries than it did previously. Upon sipping, you get hit directly with a bit of a pucker from the tart lemon (as well as the hibiscus!), finishing with a sweet berry note to round it all out. Sugar is definitely required in this tea to remove a lot of the tang. Hot, it’s not too impressive, but iced, it reigns supreme. Suffice to say, it is both delicious and refreshing. This tea really hits the nail on the head, capturing the idea of Strawberry Lemonade perfectly. It has the bright tartness that you expect from lemonade, with a sweet hint of strawberry. If you like Electric Lemonade, this tea is pretty similar in flavour, but without the mate base/caffeine aspect.


herbal · reviews

Orange Passionfruit: A DAVIDsTea Review



Orange you glad…

Organic Orange Passionfruit

(Apple, raisins, carrot, beetroot, orange peel, citric acid, organic orange and natural passion fruit flavouring.)

Rise and shine, tea lover! Looking to start your day off on the right foot? DAVIDsTea’s brand spanking new Freshly Squeezed Collection features three juicy, citrus-based herbal blends, including Orange Passionfruit, which is supposed to be a doppelganger of a glass of orange juice, but with a “twist”. Cue the passionfruit. Let’s talk about the loose leaf appearance, shall we? Besides the added flavourings, this all natural (and organic) tisane is comprised simply of five ingredients: dried apple chunks, carrot, bits of orange peel, with pieces of beetroot and raisins to keep the loose leaf from looking completely one noted and monotone in colour. As for the scent of the dry leaf, both the orange and the passion fruit respectively have strong, distinct scents to them; but here, the orange definitely comes out on top, contributing a potent citrus aroma, with a slight tropical essence from the tangy passion fruit.

After six minutes of steeping, Orange Passionfruit has brewed to a vibrant cherry red colour, due to in part to the beetroot, as well as the abundance of carrot. The aroma is now a lot more tropical, but also smells somewhat like orange juice pulp, if that makes any sense. Without the addition of sugar, Orange Passionfruit has a pretty strong tang, and the carrot comes through significantly above any other ingredient. The passionfruit component comes off somewhat muddled, settling more so into the aftertaste. As I sip this tea, I can’t help but think about how exotic it feels, yet familiar all at once. Five Alive is definitely something that frequented through my house as a child, especially the tropical variety, which features mango, guava, apricot, and you guessed it… orange and passionfruit. And that’s why it seems so familiar, because of its similarities to Fiva Alive. So I can definitely appreciate the nostalgic quality of this tea, and how truly refreshing it is when prepared over ice. But I had higher hopes for Orange Passionfruit that just weren’t met, unfortunately.


herbal · reviews

Grapefruit Squeeze: A DAVIDsTea Review



Get squeezed…

Grapefruit Squeeze

(Apple pomace, lemongrass, rosehip shells, sweet blackberry leaves, roasted chicory root, lemon peel, hibiscus, rose petals, artificial grapefruit and black currant flavouring.)

Tart and tangy with an underlying sweetness, grapefruits have a juiciness that without a doubt, rivals that of the ever popular orange, and sparkles with many of the same health promoting benefits. The newly released Freshly Squeezed Collection from DAVIDsTEA, features three prominent members of the citrus family, but for this review, we’re focusing on Grapefruit Squeeze (a seemingly re-packaged version of Ruby Red from their very extensive tea graveyard). Brace yourself for the highly aromatic scent coming off this bad boy! It consists mostly of grapefruit (obviously), while the other citrus component, lemon, rightfully plays second fiddle here, blending with the grapefruit nicely. Considering how lemongrass can be quite assertive alongside other ingredients, here it’s no match at all for the grapefruit. The rose petals, hibiscus, and aforementioned lemongrass help to liven up the otherwise really bland loose leaf appearance of this tea.

The colour after steeping (for a full six minutes) is pretty spot on to what a glass of pink grapefruit juice looks like. Or red, depending on if you let the colour seep out from the hibiscus past 7 minutes. The aroma is no longer as potent as it once was, but has retained a bit of its original kick. I am happy to report that Grapefruit Squeeze has a very true to form grapefruit essence, with the roasted chicory root supplying a bitterness at the end of each and every sip. There’s a strong tang present, that is borderline pucker worthy. There’s also a high citrus aspect happening here, so it’s kind of expected. Sugar is definitely recommended if you’re not the biggest fan of sour/bitter teas. At this current moment, it is still unclear of where exactly the “blackcurrant flavouring” comes into play, but that’s a listed ingredient here… At the end of the day, this herbal blend is definitely for all the grapefruit lovers out there, the once “forbidden fruit”. If you were at all disappointed with Grapefruit Granita from this year’s summer collection, have no fear! You don’t have to worry about there being any ginger mixed into this tangy tisane, just 100% grapefruit-y goodness!

reviews · white

Tea The North: A DAVIDsTea Review





(Melon, pineapple, coconut, white tea, hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, apple, rose petals, rhubarb, safflower blossoms, natural watermelon, rhubarb and coconut flavouring.)

What happens when you throw three incredibly overdone flavours together? Well, in this case, you get Tea The North, a cheesy play on words of We The North… in true DAVIDsTea fashion. Here, melon and coconut come together in a limited edition blend, created in honour of Canada Day and its upcoming 150th birthday. It is packed full of ingredients that are meant to represent the colours of our nation’s flag: red and white. Red? Hibiscus, rose petals, rhubarb, safflower blossoms. White? Coconut, apple, melon, and of course the white tea. The loose leaf contains shavings of coconut, plenty of dried fruit and flower petals, with the white tea base laying amongst everything else. It doesn’t look completely red and white per se, but I suppose it’s close enough. The dry note is strong and powerful; it really tickles the nose if you get close enough. It’s mostly the coconut and watermelon that you pick up, but there is also a slight floral hint from the rose petals.

After four minutes, it steeps to this reddish orange colour, that kind of looks like diluted watermelon juice. Thankfully the aforementioned potent aroma has toned down significantly. The white tea isn’t really present, and there’s no bitterness at all, which is certainly a plus. The other flavours here clearly dominate and camouflage the base. In sipping, the following tasting notes come through: sweet, creamy, and tangy. It’s admittedly a nice mix. As excepted, the coconut definitely stands out alongside the other ingredients, but the fruitier aspects help to keep this blend in check. I appreciate that there isn’t a heavy tartness or need for additional sugar. But even with that being said, if you don’t enjoy coconut, Tea The North is probably not the tea for you. Yes, it is the summer time, but overall, this tisane comes off as a half-assed attempt at being patriotic. Tea The North definitely had a ton of potential to be great, decent even. But it was like a bunch of red and white looking ingredients were just thrown together blindly and forced to co-exist.

black · reviews

Saigon Chai: A DAVIDsTea Review



It’s back!


(Black tea from India, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pink peppercorns, cardamom, organic vanilla cream, natural ginger and cinnamon flavouring.)

In the 50’s, the Vietnam War disrupted the production of one of the finest spices on the market, Saigon cinnamon, but since the beginning of the early 21st century, Vietnam has since resumed export of the spice, including to the United States, where it was unavailable for nearly two decades! This type of cinnamon is used primarily for its aromatic bark, which has a taste quite similar to that of Chinese cinnamon, but with a more pronounced and complex aroma. In Saigon Chai, it is showcased in this “spicy” blend alongside a lot of the usual chai culprits (cardamom, ginger, cloves, etc.). Without the pops of colour delivered in the form of the cardamom pods and pink peppercorns, everything in this tea just blends into each other, but otherwise, every single ingredient is visible here. Before steeping, the dry nose is a lot stronger – a tiny bit sweet, full of spice, with the pepper nearly making me sneeze.

It brews to a nice, malty, reddish-brown colour, typical of a black tea (like Orange Pekoe or English Breakfast), once steeped for just under four minutes. The scent has since mellowed out, but you can certainly still smell the spices, especially the ginger and the cinnamon. It’s a real warm and comforting cuppa, you can taste the cloves amongst the strong cinnamon presence. The amount of cinnamon here actually reminds me somewhat of Cinnamon Rooibos Chai, while the Assam black tea base is not at all bitter; I would even consider letting this sit for a bit longer, closer to five minutes and up. Unfortunately, Saigon Chai comes off slightly bland straight up. Adding a vanilla sweetener and/or a splash of cream/milk to enhance the supposed vanilla cream flavouring is something I would definitely recommend doing. Overall, there are a lot of strong flavours featured in Saigon Chai, but at the end of the day, they all manage to blend well into this decent chai offering. Nothing particularly unique, but worth a shot just the same!

reviews · rooibos

Cotton Candy: A DAVIDsTea Review



Fluff love…

Cotton Candy

(Green rooibos, sprinkles, mango, brittle, natural and artificial flavouring.)

Cotton candy is a popular treat that has been around for many years. It is basically a fairground/carnival staple and is known to bring about very nostalgic feelings. What child doesn’t beg their parent at one point for a bag of sweet fairy floss or for a stick the size of their head? Any way you put it, cotton candy is a true classic, and you almost wouldn’t believe just how many cotton candy flavoured items exist! There’s cake, gum, ice-cream, candy, etc. And to think, it’s simply “spun sugar”, with the addition of food colouring and flavouring. DAVIDsTea’s Cotton Candy has returned from the tea graveyard as June’s Tea of the Month, and if you have a sweet tooth, this tea is certainly right up your alley. Its green rooibos base already has some natural sweetness to it, but there’s also candied mango, sprinkles, and nut brittle to bump up the sugar factor.

The sprinkles are colourful, and look exactly like little bits of dehydrated blue, purple, and pink cotton candy. For one, it definitely has a sweet and sugary aroma, but there is also a bit of a creaminess too. Oddly enough. Once brewed for about five minutes, this tea steeps to a somewhat cloudy orange colour with a more toned down scent than from before. All of the cotton candy sprinkles have dissolved straight into the tea, and that’s exactly what hits your tongue. It is an authentic cotton candy taste; really delivering on the flavour it is mimicking. The green rooibos acts as a great base for this tea, balancing well with all the sweetness going on and providing a nice, smooth mouthfeel. You really don’t need to add any more sugar, there is already plenty! It is almost borderline too sweet. And as good as it is hot, Cotton Candy is even better iced, especially as an iced latte. This tea is perfect for kids and adults alike that are a fan of this sweet treat.