reviews · rooibos

Probiotea: A DAVIDsTea Review



Digestive delight…


(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.


reviews · rooibos

Alpine Punch: A DAVIDsTea Review



Mountain hospitality…


(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.


reviews · rooibos

Cinnamon Rooibos Chai: A DAVIDsTea Review



Stay focused…


(Rooibos, apple, cinnamon, natural cinnamon flavouring.)

Once upon a time, cinnamon was more valuable than gold, believe it or not. And even though nowadays, most people rather get their hands on 24 karats as opposed to… a brown stick, this spice has just as much as bite as it does bark. Pun intended. According to aromatherapy principles, it supposedly enhances your ability to focus/concentrate. Not only that, but it also possesses a clean and refreshing taste your breath will thank you for. If you ask me, cinnamon makes everything most things taste better. Here’s looking at you: apple pie, snickerdoodles, churros, and who could possibly forget about cinnamon rolls? Luckily, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai from DAVIDsTea is packed full of cinnamon! It’s a very simple and straightforward tea. One you can feel good about, because you know what to expect from it off the bat. It’s essentially a ton of cinnamon bark, mixed into a base of red rooibos, with some apple pieces to bulk it up a bit. The smell of the dry leaf is comparable to the tiny cinnamon heart candies available around Valentine’s Day.

Once steeped for 5 full minutes, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai brews to a reddish brown type of colour. It has retained its initial scent mostly, but it seems as though the earthiness of the rooibos has jumped to the forefront. In terms of overall flavour, here the rooibos base is definitely contributing a slightly woodsy, full-bodied flavour profile that is just a touch nutty. Then there’s the natural sweetness of the apple and spiciness of the cinnamon. But as a whole, it’s not overly sweet or spicy. It’s a good balance. From a “chai” standpoint, this is alright, but it would have been nice to see some of the other important components like cloves, peppercorns, ginger, or cardamom. There’s obviously too much cinnamon in here to be considered/recognized as a true chai tea, but if you are a fan of cinnamon (or drinking liquid cinnamon hearts), then you will enjoy this tea either way. Not only is this all-natural blend embody warmth and comfort, it is also free of caffeine and handles milk/cream perfectly. It really doesn’t get more cinnamon than DAVIDsTea’s Cinnamon Rooibos Chai.

reviews · rooibos

Swampwater: A DAVIDsTea Review



Eerily delicious…


(Green rooibos, strawberry granules, calendula petals, black and orange candies, orange, pineapple and both natural and artificial flavourings.)

What do zombies, ghosts, and Swampwater from DAVIDsTea have in common? They are all things that have come back from the dead one way or another! The latter just so happens to be a fruity limited edition blend that has been brought back from the tea graveyard time and time again, so why not rise from the grave once more? Halloween is in three weeks after all. In terms of the loose leaf appearance, nearly every ingredient is visible, apart from the natural and artificial flavourings of course. There’s the calendula petals, strawberry granules, green rooibos base, bright orange sprinkles, and we can’t forget the sprinkles shaped just like black cats to spook things up that much more. It’s a great mix of colour, with all the colours indicative of Halloween accounted for: black, orange, and “green” as well. For a tea blend with a name as unsettling as Swampwater, its initial scent is very much the opposite of that. In fact, it smells sweet and promisingly fruity.

Thankfully because Swampwater is rooibos-based, it is incapable of becoming bitter. That being said, it honestly deserves an extra long steep, something I learned even after steeping it for just over eight minutes. Swampwater still smells very much fruity, but it has layers to its scent. It also has a slight creaminess. Call me crazy, but it almost smells just like a piece of cake (frosting and all!). At this point, it has brewed to a super murky green colour (with an oil film sitting on top), akin to that of actual “swamp water”. Although unappealing to some, I find the resulting green hue to be quite entertaining, and fitting in terms of the season. The colour is distracting enough that it is easy to then get caught off guard by the flavour of the tea. The green rooibos is an excellent base for this caffeine-free blend, because it has a natural sweetness with notes of fruit, which are two major aspects of Swampwater. It is equipped with a super fruity flavour; the strawberries are coming through, as well as a tropical essence. It tastes a lot like its scent. As a whole, this “sinister” brew is an amusingly sweet treat and an undeniable conversation starter.


reviews · rooibos

Carrot Cupcake: A DAVIDsTea Review



It takes the cake…


(Carrot, rooibos, cocoa shells, cinnamon, apple, ginger, licorice root, natural whipped cream and apple flavouring.)

The beginning of a new month marks the arrival of a new “Tea of the Month” at DAVIDsTea, and this month’s “honoree” is a rooibos blend called Carrot Cupcake. In the past, the idea of consuming a vegetable like carrots in my dessert was daunting, that is until carrot cake (especially with a thick layer of cream cheese icing on top!) became one of my very favourite treats. It’ll be interesting to see how well Carrot Cupcake actually delivers on the concept of a carrot cupcake, in liquid form. First off, it has a slightly minced, yet slightly uniform appearance to it. The red rooibos base is still apparent amongst the other elements of this tea. The bright carrot really helps the loose leaf pop. Every ingredient (apart from the added flavourings) is visible; you can see the cocoa shells, apple bits, cinnamon bark, and more. The aroma of the dry leaf smells as earthy and autumnal as it looks. Both the ginger and licorice root are detectable, but I’m finding it difficult to hone in on a definite carrot cake scent.

Because of the licorice in this blend, I opted for a lower steeping time of three minutes, as opposed to the four to seven minutes that is recommended. Carrot Cupcake at this point steeps up to a pumpkin-like orange colour. The initial aroma has toned down quite a bit. I suppose it smells like a carrot cupcake now, but that could also just be my mind willing it to do so. There’s a spice (the ginger for the most part) present throughout each sip, paired with the natural sweetness of the rooibos, licorice, and carrot. There’s enough sweetness from the aforementioned ingredients that no additional sugar is really needed. It may be new to some, but I’m quite familiar with Carrot Cupcake from last year’s fall collection. Sadly, even a year later, no matter how many times I prepare this tea, I just cannot get myself to enjoy it without eventually dumping more than half of my cup down the drain. Even though I’m neither a fan of rooibos (red, in particular) nor licorice root, I have an idea that the inclusion of cocoa shells is the main reason why this tea doesn’t do anything whatsoever for me.

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.

reviews · rooibos

Fruity Oasis: A DAVIDsTea Review



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.

reviews · rooibos

Raspberry Cream Pie: A DAVIDsTea Review



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…

reviews · rooibos

Buchu Superfruit: A DAVIDsTea Review



Merci buchu!


(Black currants, blackberry leaves, green rooibos, goji berries, strawberries, buchu, blueberries, acai, stevia extract, natural acai and raspberry flavouring.)

The name says it all… Super fruit. Goji berries, acai, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry… leaves. You name it, it is all featured in Buchu Superfruit. Buchu, on the other hand, is a completely brand new concept to me. Apparently it is a smooth drinking herb native to South Africa that is traditionally used for renewal and detoxing purposes, and has a black currant-esque flavour to it. Off the bat, the loose leaf has a nondescript mixed berries aroma (obviously), but is also very reminiscent of grape candy (Jolly Ranchers, for example). Green rooibos is used as the base here, providing a lighter taste, that’s also fresh and mildly sweet. I have always personally preferred green over the typical red rooibos, which I find to be much stronger in flavour.

After close to 5 minutes of steeping, Buchu Superfruit results in a nice, “burnt orange” type of colour, but the brew itself seems to lose a lot of its original fruity/berry-like scent AND taste, unfortunately. The black currant is very much at the forefront, along with the blackberry leaves, when you take your initial sips, but as time passes, it just tastes more and more watered down to me. Medicinal too, kind of like cough syrup. The good news is, that no sugar/sweetener is technically needed. That’s what the stevia extract is there for… BUT I find it ruins this tea for me. There are times when it’s not as noticeable, but here, it leaves a strange aftertaste that just coats your tongue. For an all-natural, organic tea, this tastes a little too artificial for my liking. Preparing it iced certainly helps, and I will be doing so in order to finish what I have left of Buchu Superfruit, but because it still leaves a lot to be desired from it, I will not be purchasing anymore of this juicy, caffeine-free blend…