Strawberry Lemonade: A DAVIDsTea Review

This citrus-y tea tastes just like a fresh glass of lemonade, with a strawberry twist.

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$8.98/50g

Berry contrary…

Strawberry Lemonade

(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.

 

3cups-2

 

Tea The North: A DAVIDsTea Review

Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with this juicy blend of white tea, watermelon, coconut and rhubarb. Sweet, tart and packed with red and white, it’s a fireworks-worthy infusion. Happy Canada Day!

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$10.98/50g

#Canada150…

Tea the North

(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.

 

1cup-2

Saigon Chai: A DAVIDsTea Review

Black tea with Saigon cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and peppercorns.

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$8.98/50g

It’s back!

Organic Saigon Chai

(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.

2cups-2

Cotton Candy: A DAVIDsTea Review

This sweet treat is deliciously nostalgic and ridiculously fun.

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$7.98/50g

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.

2cups-2

Frozen Raspberry: A DAVIDsTea Review

This sweet and tart raspberry-packed tisane tastes just like creamy frozen yogurt.

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$7.98/50g

Berry delicious…

Frozen Raspberry

(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!

 

2cups-2

Melon Cooler: A DAVIDsTea Review

Stay hydrated with this fresh and juicy melange of watermelon, citrus and hibiscus.

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$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…

 

2cups-2

Fruity Oasis: A DAVIDsTea Review

With mineral-rich aloe vera, this hydrating tropical rooibos is blissfully refreshing.

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$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.

 

1cup-2