Buddha’s Blend: A DAVIDsTea Review

A zen melange of jasmine pearls, hibiscus blossoms and white and green tea.

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$11.98/50g

Heaven can’t wait…

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(White tea, green tea, jasmine pearls, white hibiscus blossoms, natural and artificial flavouring.)

Nirvana is not just an alt-rock band from the late 80s, by definition, it is also “a place of perfect peace and happiness”, like heaven for example. In Hinduism and Buddhism, nirvana is the highest state that someone can attain; a state of enlightenment, meaning a person’s individual desires and suffering disappear altogether. DAVIDsTea loosely claims that the key to achieving nirvana is easier than you might think. In fact it’s a cup away, and that cup is full of Buddha’s Blend. Buddha’s Blend is without a doubt a highly aromatic tea. It is evidently floral (jasmine, specifically), and slightly fruity. After smelling this one, you may do an animated double take at the ingredients list, because of the peach-like scent, but that’s just due to the presence of the white hibiscus blossoms in this blend. Speaking of the white hibiscus; without these massive blossoms, the loose leaf would lose a lot of its visual appeal. Otherwise, it is very dark and… green looking. With only four tangible ingredients, everything is easy to point out.

Even though DAVIDsTea recommends to steep Buddha’s Blend for 2 to 3 minutes, if you are trying this tea for the first time, it would be in your best interest to stick closer to one minute. Maybe even less than that, to be honest. Once steeped for about a minute (45 seconds), Buddha’s Blend has brewed up to an instantly golden looking cuppa, regardless of its super brief steep time. Its original inviting scent has toned down, and you can smell more of the white tea base at this point. If you don’t like floral teas, this blend may not be for you. But even with that being said, it’s not crazy floral tasting. It’s smooth, light, and soothing. Oh yeah, and it does just fine without any kind of added sweetener. Admittedly, this is hands down one of the most temperamental/finicky teas that I have come in contact with from DAVIDsTea. I feel like the combination of white and green tea has a lot to do with why Buddha’s Blend is so hit or miss at the end of the day. As enjoyable as the overall flavour is, if the preparation is not executed correctly, it’s almost not worth the effort. Basically the opposite of achieving nirvana…

Probiotea: A DAVIDsTea Review

This vanilla-mint rooibos is packed with probiotics – a great way to stay balanced.

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$14.98/50g

Digestive delight…

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(Rooibos, sarsaparilla root, cinnamon, peppermint, licorice root, organic inulin, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086 (GanedenBC30), vanilla bean, natural vanilla and caramel flavouring.)

Admittedly, the first word that comes to mind in association with probiotics is yogurt. By definition, probiotics are basically the good for you version of live bacteria, especially when it comes to the digestive system. They support proper digestion and immunity as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. DAVIDsTea’s newly released Probiotea (1/5 of the exclusive Wellness Collection) contains a strand of shelf-made probiotics that don’t need to be refrigerated. Meaning with a (16oz) sized serving of this tea, you can get a generous daily dose of those all essential probiotics, as simply as turning on your kettle. Probiotea’s loose leaf appearance is very minced looking overall. Honestly? It is comparable to a spice blend of some sort, thanks to the consistency and neutral colour scheme. You can certainly see the mint, and of course the rooibos, but the sarsaparilla root and cinnamon are also visible. As for the aroma, I am torn between whether I believe this tea smells more like root beer, or mouthwash. It’s truly peculiar.

Probiotea steeped for just over four minutes results in a cuppa that looks like a standard rooibos. Reddish brown, or like a burnt orange. As for the scent… under the overpowering mint, the rooibos base and a bit of the cinnamon are also detectable. Surprisingly, in the initial sips, Probiotea’s base is pretty hidden (to my delight), leaving the combination of cooling peppermint and sweet, creamy vanilla to truly shine. This tea is not very sweet at all, and doesn’t really need sugar either. The inclusion of the licorice root, which is where I would expect any sweetness to come from, thankfully is not strong nor cloying. For a rooibos based blend (especially of the red variety), I’m blown away by this tea as a whole. It really exceeded my low expectations for it. Conveniently (or not so much actually), while drinking this brew, I was dealing with a bout of bloating. And because this particular blend is advertised as being a great digestive aid, it feels good to confirm that it does exactly what it claims to. I just can’t justify spending $15 per 50g/2oz to stock up on this one.

 

Valerian Nights: A DAVIDsTea Review

Oozing with rich caramel and coconut, this is a seriously scrumptious nightcap.

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$9.98/50g

The sweetest snooze…

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(Apple, coconut, rooibos, chamomile, caramel pieces, sweet blackberry leaves, valerian root, natural flavouring.)

For someone who occasionally deals with sleeping issues, and anxiety on a daily basis, valerian root is a true godsend. Also unofficially known as “nature’s Valium”, valerian root is a particularly popular sleepy time ingredient and definitely not DAVIDsTea’s first time experimenting with this natural sleeping aid. In fact, two other herbal teas in their extensive catalog feature this medicinal ingredient: Mother’s Little Helper & The Big Chill. And as soothing as those teas are, Valerian Nights from the newly released Wellness Collection just may give them a run for their money, because of the indulgent route it’s taking. Despite having caramel (pieces) listed in the ingredients, it is really the coconut and chamomile that come out on top, in terms of the dry leaf and its potent scent. In the loose leaf appearance, you can see the apple chunks, chamomile flowers, rooibos, coconut, as well as the minced bits of blackberry leaf.

Once steeped for just over five minutes, and Valerian Nights has brewed to a rich, amber-like colour with a slight oil film right on top (“thanks” to the inclusion of coconut). At this point, the tea really smells a lot like a dessert. The chamomile is very strong, but the caramel and coconut is also present in the scent. There are a handful of ingredients that contribute to the natural sweetness of this caffeine free blend, so I’ve opted against adding any additional sugar. The tea performs just fine without it. The creaminess from the coconut paired with the overall decadent feel suggests that Valerian Nights could make an enjoyable latte, and a great drink to end one’s night with. But at the end of the day, I cannot see myself reaching for this tea ever again. It consists mainly of ingredients that aren’t particularly my favourite. And to be honest, I had a pretty strong inkling early-on that I would dislike Valerian Nights, but was worth at least trying. Thankfully, I have other options for sleepy teas (with valerian root) at my disposal.

Lemon Cayenne Cleanse: A DAVIDsTea Review

With tart lemon and a hint of cayenne, this is the master of all cleansing teas.

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$12.98/50g

Rock your detox…

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(Apple, white tea, lime pieces and peel, carrot, rosehip peel, lemon peel, chili peppers, sunflower blossoms, natural lemon flavouring.)

It is extremely commonplace that upon entering a brand new year to want to embrace a healthier lifestyle, and work towards becoming your best self. January (maybe even February) is certainly a peak month to witness the hoards of people filling up the local gyms. There’s a lot of talk about detoxing and dieting. Cleanse is another word that comes up quite frequently. A perfect segway to DAVIDsTea’s Lemon Cayenne Cleanse (yet another offering from their Wellness Collection release), if I do say so myself. I am not even a fan of spice, personally, but nonetheless, of the 5 new teas, this one piqued my interest the most. It has a very chunky loose leaf appearance. Varying sizes and colours. The pieces of lime are what really stand out and grab your eye, but carrot, rosehip, sunflower blossoms, citrus peel are all visible. As well as the base of white tea. The scent is 100% lemon in all its tart glory.

After steeping for just over four minutes, Lemon Cayenne Cleanse results in a lightly coloured liqueur. Looking like a very standard white tea blend. The strength of the citrus in the tea’s fragrance has only toned down slightly. The tartness/sourness is still alive and kicking. Don’t bother being intimidated by the chili peppers/cayenne pepper element. Honestly, it’s hardly noticeable, and even so, brings the slightest of heat to your palette. Totally bearable. The overall flavour of this tea delivers a bright, citrusy kick to my mouth. Definite pucker-worthy. Lemon Cayenne Cleanse is just as enjoyable iced, as it is hot. It bares some comparison to Live Wire Lemon, for obvious reasons, but at the same time, it makes me incredibly nostalgic for summers from my childhood, especially because it reminds me of what a melted lime popsicle would taste like. A great beverage to kick off your day with, first thing in the morning, considering how fresh and revitalizing it is. Detoxifying or not, LCC gets two thumbs up from this girl!

Forever Flawless: A DAVIDsTea Review

Stay flawless with this beautifying blend of sea buckthorn, ginger and blackberry leaves.

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$9.98/50g

Shine bright…

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(Green tea, pineapple, apple, ginger, apple pomace, sweet blackberry leaves, sea buckthorn, rose petals, citric acid, natural sea buckthorn and ginger flavouring.)

There is an especially magical and tart berry that exists and is thought to keep skin and hair absolutely radiant. What more could you want than an all-natural brew to integrate into your daily beauty routine? Especially upon entering a brand new year. What with Redberry Tonic long gone from their tea wall, DAVIDsTea’s Wellness Collection features a slightly reminiscent limited edition green tea blend appropriately titled Forever Flawless, which features the aforementioned orange berry, sea buckthorn. The dry leaf of this tea is strangely layered; it smells mostly fruity, but a little earthy, and a touch floral. I’m finding it hard to pinpoint one, or even two definitive ingredients that make up the aroma. The appearance of the loose leaf on the other hand does a good job of showing off what Forever Flawless has to offer. Chunks of apple, pieces of blackberry leaf, candied pineapple, ginger, bright bits of sea buckthorn, with rose petals sprinkled throughout for a nice pop of colour.

An opaque yellow-green colour is what results after three and a half minutes of steeping, an interesting scent also. It’s hard to describe cohesively, but still appears to be layered. Despite its more potent aroma, the actual flavour of Forever Flawless is pretty light. The base is a fruity green tea with pineapple, with notes of ginger. I would imagine with a full steep time of 5 minutes, the ginger would be a lot stronger. But as is, it is mild. And very smooth overall. As enjoyable as the tea is, its flavour profile is still quite perplexing to me. There is a very odd lingering aftertaste that is comparable to aloe hand lotion, and the more you drink Forever Flawless, the way it coats your mouth is reminiscent of drinking lotion as well. Or, maybe that’s just me. As it stands, sugar is not really necessary, but if the fruit and blackberry leaves weren’t there to supply sweetness, perhaps more of the natural tartness in the buckthorn berry would come through, alongside the citric acid. So far, this is one of the better offerings from the Wellness Collection. My skin is already thanking me.

Gaba Guava: A DAVIDsTea Review

This tropical treat is made with GABA, a next-level green tea thought to boost focus.

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$10.98/50g

Brainpower punch…

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(Guava, pineapple, apple, GABA green tea, green tea, papaya, coconut rasps, orange peel, orange blossoms, red currants, safflower blossoms, natural guava flavouring.)

Even though I am technically being introduced to it for the very first time, GABA green tea is anything but new. In fact, it has been around since the mid-80s! GABA, an abbreviation for gamma-Aminobutyric acid, has the task of reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. GABA tea is tea that has undergone a special oxygen-free fermentation process, which multiples the presence of GABA in the tea leaves. This technology, developed in Japan, means better brain function and focus for everyone that consumes it. GABA Guava from DAVIDsTea’s Wellness Collection features this next-level green tea, alongside ripe guava, pineapple, and much more. These aforementioned ingredients can all be spotted within the tea’s loose leaf, as well as the safflower blossoms, orange peel, red currants, and coconut rasps. It smells as tropical as it looks, to be honest. A real pleasant scent as a whole.

Once GABA Guava has steeped for just over four (out of five recommended) minutes, the resulting cup is bright and lively. A diluted yellow green colour, while its aroma is still as intriguing and tropical smelling as it was before brewing. Strong notes of guava, and somewhat reminiscent of Caribbean Crush, if that makes any sense. When it comes to what this tea tastes like, GABA Guava’s overall flavour is subtle and light, but with the slightest astringency to match. Perhaps three minutes was a more suitable steep time for this green tea. I really appreciate that the coconut aspect is tame and not too much in your face. Regardless of the faint taste, the handful of both dried and candied fruits lend an undeniable natural sweetness, but I would still add a touch more sugar, just so to really bring everything together. I don’t know that getting my mind on the right track ever tasted this good! On top of being of energizing and fruity, GABA Guava is quite a treat, before a study session or otherwise. Try it iced, you won’t regret a single sip!

Detox: A DAVIDsTea Review

A rejuvenating blend of rooibos sencha, ginger, ginkgo, lemongrass and juniper.

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$9.98/50g

Restart and restore…

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(Rooibos, sencha green tea, lemongrass, ginger, juniper berries, ginkgo, and natural lemon flavouring.)

Are you in need of a complete system reboot? Desperate for a way to quickly bounce back from an especially wild night out bringing in the new year? Well, as long as you can safely make it from the comfy sanctuary that is your bed to your kettle without losing the contents of your stomach, Detox from DAVIDsTea has got you covered! Whether you’re sick and under the weather, or just want to feel better about yourself overall, how could you possibly go wrong with this blend of detoxifying ingredients? The loose leaf is based off of a mix of red rooibos and green tea. But this organic blend also features lemongrass, ginger, and dark juniper berries – ingredients that manage to stand out amongst everything else. The scent is on the strong side, and the way all the ingredients mingle together appears to produce a definite medicinal quality. The citrus is somewhat detectable, but otherwise, there’s still a lot going on.

The resulting colour after steeping for close to four (out of five recommended) minutes  is dark and amber looking, which is without a doubt due to the inclusion of the rooibos. This is the colour that typically comes from a pure green tea. Once brewed, Detox’s aroma is still very similar to what it was originally. In so many words, it smells good for you. But when it comes down to the actual taste, admittedly it’s not half bad at all. But that’s just my opinion. I can’t see this being a favourite for everyone, especially because just like its scent, it also has a healthy taste to it. You don’t really have to worry about any kind of heat or bite from the ginger. The overall flavour of Detox is pretty mild. And because of its “healthy” vibe and of course its namesake, adding sugar is obviously optional, but not really necessary at the same time. I go in and out of love spurts with this tea, but I vouch for its ability to sooth you in the roughest of times. Even if you don’t reach for it daily, or weekly, it’s still good to have on hand in your tea arsenal.

Best of DAVIDsTea: A 2017 Recap

As good as it gets…

David has his sacred top twelve… a collection of the 12 most popular teas sold at DAVIDsTea all packed up in a beautiful teal box. Last year, he even released what he believed to be the “Best of 2016”. But with more than 50 new and delicious tea blends having been released in the past year, it only seemed right to look back on all the great releases in what I would consider to be my “Best (12) of 2017” from DAVIDsTea.

In descending order…

#12 – Berries and Cream Matcha

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I love how much it reminded me of my beloved Blueberry Matcha!

#11 – Vanilla Bergamot

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This was an excellent Earl Grey-esque offering! Just add milk for an instant London Fog!

#10 – Let It Snow

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If it wasn’t for the stevia in this green tea blend, Let It Snow would have ranked much higher on this list. I can still appreciate its eggnog-like flavour though.

#9 – Pear Blossom

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One of the better pear-based teas I’ve tried from DT. The added peach flavouring was an especially nice touch.

#8 – Sour Appletini

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This was one of two teas this year that promoted a sour flavour profile, and because I’m a huge fan of sour candy, Sour Appletini was a definite hit in my books.

#7 – Strawberry Shake

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I love strawberries and strawberry yogurt, and this is exactly what it tasted like to me. Super bummed that it was limited edition…

#6 –Walnut Orange Scone

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This white tea is a perfect balance between nutty and citrus! Reminds me a lot of Toasted Walnut.

#5 – Peachy Lychee

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Try this black tea as an iced latte, you won’t regret it! I love how the lychee pairs perfectly with my favourite fruit, peaches.

#4 – Sparkling Sangria

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Sparkling Sangria is such a mind trip to me, because it tastes like it could have alcohol in it, even though it doesn’t. As a tea pop, it’s extra refreshing.

#3 – Sticky Rice Oolong

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I never would have imagined liking a tea like this, but the savoury aspect was highly enjoyable.

#2 – Jasmine Creme Brulee

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What a treat this tea is, and it gets better the longer you let it steep.

#1 – Maple Matcha

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DT came out with a number of new matcha flavours in 2017, but this was by far my favourite! And I’m not typically a fan of maple…

Feel free to leave your favourites below in the comments section! Maybe we disagree, or just maybe we share a lot of tea favourites. Here’s wishing all of you a Happy New Year, I can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer for all my fellow tea lovers 🙂

Cardamom French Toast: A DAVIDsTea Review

A rich, sweet blend of black tea, cardamom, cane sugar and cinnamon.

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$7.98/50g

Toastess with the mostess…

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(Black tea, cinnamon, lemon peel, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, coconut sugar, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavouring.)

One way to literally spice up your daily breakfast routine is to add some cardamom to your french toast recipe. Green cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices by weight; these bright green, football shaped pods boast a strong, perfume-y, resinous aroma and a sweet flavour. The perfect pairing (with toast), considering the buttery, cardamom-scented breads popular in Sweden and Finland. Especially around this time of year. DAVIDsTea’s Cardamom French Toast was first introduced two years ago in correlation with the Winter Collection, then last year as tea of the month for October, and now it’s available year-round on David’s tea wall. In terms of its loose leaf appearance, Cardamom French Toast leaves nothing to the imagination, as every ingredient is visible (apart from the flavourings). The lemon peel, the coriander seeds, the black tea base, you name it. The tea has a very dessert-like scent to it; it’s sweet, but that spice is still present.

After being steeped for shy of four minutes, Cardamom French Toast brews up to a deep orange liqueur. The maltiness of the black tea comes through a lot more in the aroma post steeping. Whether or not you decide to add sugar to this pre-sweetened black tea all depends on your sweet tooth. It’s not as sweet as you would expect it to be, but for the most part, I still like to incorporate just a touch of vanilla agave. But because CFT contains both coconut and cane sugar, additional sweetener isn’t always necessary; it’s perfect fine without. This tea has a very smooth taste to it, baked bread with a pronounced flavour of both cardamom and cinnamon, as well as brown sugar and a slight touch of citrus. The two aforementioned spices are enough to make this feel somewhat comparable to a chai, it’s lightly spiced and comforting in that way. All in all, an excellent treat/dessert tea option, whether you choose to enjoy it at breakfast, brunch, or after lunch. And especially decadent whipped up into a tea latte. How could you possibly go wrong with a cup of Cardamom French Toast?

Alpine Punch: A DAVIDsTea Review

An almond-scented rooibos with apples, cinnamon, ginger and nuts.

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$7.98/50g

Mountain hospitality…

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(Rooibos, coconut chips, coconut rasps, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom pods, black pepper, rose blossoms, almonds, natural and artificial almond cream flavouring.)

Imagine that you’ve gone on a family vacation to the Swiss Alps, and you’ve spent all morning and a good part of the afternoon out in the snow… skiing, snowboarding, and partaking in various snowball fights to your heart’s desire. When you finally decide to come back inside the chalet from the blistering cold, you’re craving a piping hot cup of tea to warm you up from head to toe. And Alpine Punch from DAVIDsTea is a perfect option for sipping on and sitting in front of the fire. The loose leaf appearance of Alpine Punch evidently has a whole lot going on. On top of a base of earthy red rooibos, there are a handful of spices typically associated with chai tea visible, like cardamom pods, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon. Rose blossoms provide a pop of colour, while the pieces of coconut and almonds stand out, size-wise. The almonds in this blend definitely dominate the fragrant nature of this tea. It’s sweet, followed by a hint of coconut and spices.

After about four and a half minutes, Alpine Punch brews up to a amber-ish like color. Despite it having a base of red rooibos, it surprisingly is not as dark in colour as expected. Compared to Birthday Cake or Cinnamon Rooibos Chai that is. There is also an oil film sitting right on top due to the presence of the coconut (chips AND rasps). At this point, the tea no longer smells so strongly of almond. Every ingredient has blended together nicely to create a comforting, dessert-like scent, with more of the rooibos becoming noticeable. Speaking of desserts, if you enjoy marzipan, I think that Alpine Punch would be right up your alley. The almond still reigns supreme, while the coconut contributes a buttery, creamy quality to the overall mouthfeel. (Or maybe that’s just the almond cream flavouring I’m picking up on.) Basically this blend more or less tastes how it smells. It’s decent as is, doesn’t really any added sweetener, but still takes well to sugar. Admittedly, I have tried this tea several times before in the past, and have honestly never been able to fully enjoy it, but adding a splash of almond milk has miraculously helped to temper the overall flavour and make Alpine Punch a much more bearable drinking experience… at least for me anyways.