Day 7: English Breakfast

Goood morning!

We’re waking up to a beautiful day here in Ottawa and it’s time for some tasty tea to get things started. We popped open the door to Day #7 and were content with what we found: a classic that we had reviewed last year. Get your kettle going and join us for a cup!

Tea: English Breakfast

Description: There’s nothing better than waking up to a genuinely fabulous cup of English Breakfast tea. Which is why we took great care in choosing our signature blend. We were looking for the perfect balance. Something with body and a satisfyingly full flavour, without being overpowering. The winner? A flowery pekoe from Sri Lanka. You’ll find yourself drinking it all day long.

Tea Instructions: 1.25tsp, 4-7minutes, 96°C

Since our previous post just last year, DAVIDsTEA apparently changed the way they want us to experience the brew. Down from 1.5 tsp per cup, they now recommend 1.25tsp and rather than having it at a piping hot 98°C, they suggest a slight decrease to 96°C. Will this difference drastically change our opinion on this “coal-miner” tea? Let’s find out…

*sip*

Stacey: Hmph.
Brooke: Was that a hmph?
Stacey: Yeah. It’s nothing special.
Brooke: It doesn’t claim to be!
Stacey: I guess that’s a good thing?
Brooke: I dunno, at least this one doesn’t have any added flavours just for the heck of it. Sometimes DAVIDsTEA does get a little flavour happy.
Stacey: Yeah. It’s just that… it tastes like it’s from Tim Horton’s or Second Cup… it’s just an English Breakfast. I guess when you think DAVIDsTEA, you think of something you couldn’t get anywhere else. I don’t mean to harp on this one, it’s just not radically different.
Brooke: I’m thinking of the woman who runs her Take Charge Tea booth in the Farmer’s Market at Lansdowne Park. Her ingredients were added to provide health benefits for the drinker and were all completely natural.  DAVIDsTEA isn’t like that, they’re only really focused on the taste and aesthetics of their tea.
Stacey: Yeah, sometimes even with artificial flavours!
Brooke: English Breakfast is one of their only “pure” teas with no added flavours, so I at least appreciate that. *Sip*. Oh man, though, definitely still needs almond milk. That is bitter. [Brooke contemplates pouring some of her cereal milk into her tea, then bails and gets some from the fridge]. Ahh much better. What does this tea make you think of, Stace?
Stacey: Uh.. *sip*, going for tea with my colleagues at work before starting my day? Yeah, just a standard morning at work.
Brooke: *snore* Yep. Not doing much for me, either. Even with the strange change in brewing instructions!

Tea Vibes:

Using Stacey’s “voice-type” feature on her phone, we let it decide we said with fabulous results: 

Brooke: You didn’t impress me and I have many other English Breakfast that I prefer. Sorry, David. To Navan special: 700.

Stacey: Hard for me to give it a ride back and forth, so I give it a nice day. English Breakfast. Oh, I give it an Eon 10.

(We really hope you are enjoying these voice-type translations as much as we are.)

All in all, this tea sparked our thoughts about what really makes a good tea. Its simplicity? Natural ingredients? Health benefits? Caffeine? What do you think? To each their own cup, I suppose!

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

A tea you can ride back and forth.

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Green & Fruity

Tea lovers!

Welcome back to our regular programming. Stacey and I are sitting at our dining room table grinning at each other over our steaming mugs after a lovely evening together. Ohh it feels good. We’re back!

green and fruity.jpg

Tea: Green & Fruity

DAVIDsTEA description: Now that’s fresh.

When it comes to rooibos, some say green is the new red. Because while red rooibos tastes great, some say the new wave of unoxidized green rooibos is even better. What’s so special? The production process, which is similar to that of green tea, gives it a smooth, fresh taste. Here we’ve topped it up with the tropical flavours of papaya, apple, mango and peach.

Ingredients: South African green and red rooibos, apple, mango, papaya.

We steeped our mugs for 7 minutes at 98C with 1.25tsp of loose leaf per mug before taking out our infusers and BAM- what a smell and what a beautiful colour. We were dazzled!

Brooke: Ooooh it smells wonderful! Wait. I’m nervous.
Stacey: Why?
Brooke: It might be TOO fruity! It smells like fruit punch. I’m scared.
Stacey: Oooh but I love the colour, it’s a beautiful orange! Kind of like a sunset. Let’s go!

*sip*

Brooke: Oooh! Lovely!
Stacey: Hmm… It’s not sweet at all. It’s like a dull dirty tea.
Brooke: DULL DIRTY?
Stacey: NO, Brooke. FRUITY. Dull fruity! I said it tastes fruity but without the sweetness. I don’t know. It doesn’t punch you in the face with sweetness like Goji Pop.
Brooke: Oh, okay. Well, I love it. I really appreciate how soft the flavour is, it’s almost floral. No bitterness, no tartness. Yum.
Stacey: I agree! I like this one.
Brooke: Is there green tea in this or just green rooibos? I definitely TASTE green tea.
Stacey: Hopefully just rooibos, it’s 9PM and we know what caffeine does to me.
Brooke: Hehe, yes. Well wow, the green rooibos is definitely a neat addition- not your regular rooibos tisane! Whew!

Did you know that only brews made with the plant  Camellia sinensis are considered teas? Green, black, white, oolong- they’re all from the same plant, just prepared and processed differently. Any herbals like rooibos or chamomile are called tisanes and are made with different herbs. The more you drink…!

Stacey: You know what, I’m going to go back to my dull statement… I’m slightly bored now. It does have that hint of sweetness at the end but I’m kind of over it at this point. Now it seems to lack flavour.
Brooke: What?? YOU lack flavour! Don’t let the tea hear you. I like it!

Tea Vibes:

Stacey: Hm, I feel bad, but I think I’m kind of disappointed with this one. This tea started off exciting with the colour and smell, but it pittered off at the end. I wanted more out of this one. It’s a different kind of fruity, it lacks what the others had with tartness and sweetness. I think overall I could do without it. It’s not my kind of tea. Smelled good… but in the end, it didn’t hold my attention and I got bored. 6/10

Brooke: No no no, I disagree completely! It reminds me of peaches. More like the candy but without the sour sugar, Mmm. That’s what I smelled at the beginning, not fruit punch. I really like how subtle it is, I like how soft the flavour is and how with every sip you get a little wave of fruit while still being weighted with the taste of green rooibos. I like it. Stacey, YOU’RE dull dirty. This tea is fabulous. 8/10

Oh my. I think this may be the first time we’ve differed so much on our tea preferences. Have you tried this one yet? What did you think?

I think Stacey’s a nut. :- )

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

C. sinensis, lookin’ good.

Goji Pop

Hi readers!

It’s a beautiful snowy morning and Stacey and I are getting ready to sit down and watch Grey’s together. What to do while it loads? Grab another tea from the set, of course! Woohoo!

This time we got Goji pop… Taste buds, prepare yourselves for a sweet ride.

goji pop

Tea: Goji pop

Ingredients: Apple pieces, goji berries, hibiscus blossoms, rosehip peel, honeydew melon cubes, marigold petals.

DAVIDsTEA description: Spring eternal

Legend has it that Li Ching-Yun was born in China in 1677 and died 256 years later in New York. His secret? Goji berries. Your secret? This hot pink tea filled with sweet, sweet goji berries, vitamin-C-rich rosehip, citrusy lemon oil, apple, melon, marigold and hibiscus. It’s probably the most delicious longevity formula ever. Which is key, since you’ll be popping it for the next two centuries. Caffeine-free.

Note, this is the cover photo for the tea on their website. Take it as you will. We were mystified.

Goji Pop

We steeped our mugs with 1.5tsp of the loose leaf for 5 minutes with piping hot water then let them cool down. Whoa, the colour, guys. HOT PINK. HOT. PINK.  This made Stacey uneasy…

Stacey: It smells sweet. I’m worried. I tried their “Mamma Mia” and it was really sweet and tart and I didn’t like it…

*sip*

Stacey: Nah, not really sweet. Just.. a touch! It’s funny, I thought there’d be more apple flavour in there. I guess it tastes like goji. It gets a little sweeter as you go but it’s still not over powering. I’m okay drinking this.
Brooke: I…I…I don’t really like it! Whoa, I mean, I seriously dislike this one! …I think it would be better as an iced tea. Erm, ah! What does it make you think of?
Stacey: Stupid unicorn is in my head. Cotton candy, if that’s allowed. Pink and sugary!
Brooke: But it doesn’t TASTE like cotton candy.
Stacey: No, the taste reminds me of… a … like… berry pie, or something.
Brooke: I think of those kind of “real” fruitcicles you can get.
Stacey: Hmm, yeah, they don’t have them in goji. You could make them! DAVIDsTEA would pay you! Well, no, they’d just advertise you.

*sneeze*

Brooke: Don’t worry, Stace. You’re getting out of this dusty apartment soon enough!

–PAUSE—

Okay, so we didn’t really tell you this was coming… but Stacey and I are parting ways. But only for a month! Stacey just successfully defended her Master’s internship (yay!) and is heading home for Toronto to spend time with her family for the holidays. I jet off to Halifax for a couple of weeks in a few days, too. SO, we took a few teas, split them up, and promised to do some while we’re apart via skype/email/msn/icq/texting/snailmail/phone/shouting. We also agreed to have guest stars like our siblings, parents, and friends. Once we get back together in January we’ll finish off the box-set as a team.

–RESUME–

Stacey: I don’t mind this tea! It’s nice. To me, it’s not too sweet. I’m completely happy with this one.  Though I probably wouldn’t drink it every day. I will not be like that 2000 year old guy.
Brooke: 200.
Stacey: Right.
Brooke: Neither will I. I don’t know if I’m even going to finish this cup. Urp!
Stacey: Whoa, that’s a first! You really don’t like it, eh? Well, for the sweet teas, there has to be a specific balance. DAVIDsTEA usually does a good job with this. This one’s okay, for me.

Tea Vibes:

Brooke: Yep, it’s a first for tea time, but I do not like this one. It’s much too sweet and bitter for me. The berry flavour has never been a favourite of mine for a hot drink. It reminds me of candy… and warm candy is weird. I would be interested in trying this as an iced tea in the summer;  I can see myself enjoying the sweetness with a fresh chill to the glass… but I’m not going to live to be 200 drinking this brew. Whew! 4.5/10

Stacey:  First, I really like the loose leaf and fruit pieces in the tea–you could probably just munch on those. Second, I surprisingly like the flavour! I know I had a Tetley goji berry tea that I really didn’t like… but this is great! If I want something sweet and am in the mood, I’d go for this one. You don’t get the sweetness the whole time… just at the very end, and it’s just a hint. This gets 6.5/10; it’s nice, but it’s not like “whoa, this tea!” it’s more like “okay, this tea”. [what?]

Ah, and so ends our last Tea Time together for 2012. We watched our show, said our farewells, and Stacey was off to catch her train. As for the tea, if you’ve always dreamed of a sweet unicorn ride covered in rainbows and sunshine, this one’s for you. Unless you’re me. Then don’t drink it.

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

 

Crème Brûlée

Hi readers,

Brooke here. It’s late and Stacey and I are winding down in our cozy apartment. It’s been a long day for both of us. Stacey was taking minutes at a six hour physical literacy meeting and then attended night class for another three. I had various lab meetings, UPLC-Q-TOF metabolite data analysis, project discussions, and proposals. What could make two exhausted Master students feel satisfied? A nice warm caffeine-free tea. To the box-set!

The 24 Days of Tea pack has all kinds of teas in it: black, rooibos, mate, green, oolong, etc. We hoped that we could open a door at random and find one that would suit our needs.

Tea door number five…Black tea. Erm… We can’t be up all night and we know how Stacey got with the last one. Let’s skip it.
Tea door number six …No! That’s black too… One more try?
Tea door number seven… Oooh, Organic Crème Brûlée, a rooibos! Kettle on, mugs ready. Let’s do this.

Creme Brulee tea

Tea: Organic Crème Brûlée

Ingredients: Green and red rooibos, safflowers, calendula marigold.

DAVIDsTEA Description:  Sweet seduction

No one can resist this organic green rooibos tea. Seriously. The aroma is just too outrageously tempting. Creamy, caramel, decadent, rich. And the taste! How can something so sweet be so light and fresh? Plus, some experts are saying that the special antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids in green rooibos will fight aging and improve your health. Could life be more wonderful?

Rooibos tea, you know the drill. Poured our hot 98°C water over 1.5tsp of the loose leaf, let them steep for 5 minutes and then cool to a sip-able temperature. The colour was a warm orange after removing our infusers and, again, the odour was heavenly.

Stacey: It smells sweet, if that’s even a thing.
Brooke: I taste it.

*sip*

Stacey: It’s definitely sweet. I’m trying to taste the crème brûlée we had at the Fish Market the other night, but I’m struggling.

[Yeah, so? Two roomies can go on three course meal dates now and then!]

Brooke: That’s because ours was burnt. Now that cheesecake, Mmm…
Stacey:  What do you think of the tea so far?
Brooke: It’s good. Simplistic. Simple ingredient list and that works. Sometimes simple is better. DAVIDsTEA didn’t need to pump it up with lavish language. It’s a simple, nice, sweet, soft tea.
Stacey: You don’t need to pump up crème brûlée. Everybody loves crème brûlée. It’s crème brûlée.
Brooke: Nice French.
Stacey: I don’t get the creamy. It’s just. Sweet. But not too sweet. Just a nice “hm, there it is!” The picture on their site is perfect. THAT is what you think of when you take a sip.

Ta Da:

Organic Crème Brulée

Tea Vibes:

Stacey: Well, after a really long day, it’s really nice to have this cup of tea. I agree, it would be a nice dessert tea. I know I’ve said that before, but this one is a dessert. You don’t really get a lot of the rooibos, it’s more of a herbal feel. It’s nice. I feel satisfied. I give a 7/10. [Brooke: Why only a 7, then?] It’s not blowing me a way, it’s just comforting and giving me a little something. The taste isn’t in my face. I guess I could bump it to 8/10. A little bit of a different experience than the salted caramel. I feel like I’m winding down instead of being wound up.

Brooke: You know you’re at a wine tasting [Stacey: uh, sure] and to smell the wine, you have to dip the entirety of your nose into the glass? You give it a swirl and immediately throw your face into the drink in order to soak up the smell? Well… I’ve been doing that this whole time to this tea. It smells… wonderful. I do smell the cream, I do smell the rooibos, I do smell the dessert. Wow, just. And the taste? Mm. I drank it to the very last, lukewarm drop and it was delicious. 8.5/10

Ahh, lovely. Lights out, teeth brushed, and ready for bed. These two grad students are satisfied. Highly suggested tea for anyone who wants a nice topper to a busy day. Parfait.

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

Stacey’s dog Titan doesn’t need a tea to sleep easy…

Salted Caramel

(New to our blog? Check out our first post- 24 Days of Tea)

One brisk fall morning, after the capital’s first snow fall, two roommates sit down for a relaxing cup of tea. Or so they thought…

 Brooke: Oh it’s a black tea, “medium caffeine” it says.
Stacey: I bet you it’s Chocolate Rocket.
Brooke: But we already had Chocolate Rocket.
Stacey:  I meant Checkmate.
Brooke: *struggle struggle* Stupid…box….!
Stacey: I can help you if you want.
Brooke: No, I got it. *struggle struggle* Oh! Salted Caramel… YOU WERE WRONG.
Stacey: What, I…
Brooke: You need to stop making bets without consequences, Stacey! You can’t say “bet you this is a thing” and then just brush it off when you’re wrong!  You keep doing that and it’s not FAIR!
Stacey: …I’ll go start the kettle.

Tea: Salted Caramel

Ingredients: Black tea, coconut, caramel bits, English toffee bits, sea salt

DAVIDsTEA Description: There’s no better treat than a salted caramel. You won’t find this in your history books, but we’ve heard that Romeo seduced Juliet with a salt-sprinkled toffee. Rich, buttery and sweet with a kiss of salt – who can resist? So it goes without saying that it makes for a seriously delicious tea. This is a rich black tea blend, strewn with pieces of English toffee, coconut, caramel and a touch of French sea salt. It’s guaranteed to seduce your taste buds.

Since we pulled out another black tea, we steeped our leaves for 5 min at a hot 98°C (Brooke wanted me to put in a picture of the boy band 98 degrees, but I said no). We also opted to use the entire 10g tin to make a pot (more on that later).

*Sip*

Stacey: Oh… it has a nice buttery-ness to it.
Brooke: I just taste sugar.
Stacey: I don’t think it’s too sweet at all. I usually don’t like sweet teas. I definitely taste the caramel…Mmm.
Brooke: I get the smell of chocolate. It’s not too bitter…it’s not too heavy…yes; I can see how they are trying to seduce me with this. STILL no coconut, though. This is nice, but I just see it as a sweet black tea.

Keeping on our theme of music (Bieber, Spice Girls, 98 degrees…what?), we decided to consider musical themes that we felt matched up with Salted Caramel tea.

Brooke: I have no idea why, but I think of A Christmas Carol. You know, Scrooge? It’s not even a musical!
Stacey: Well the Muppet’s Christmas Carol has music, is that what you were thinking of?
Brooke: Nope, I was thinking of the stage production. No music at all. Oops!
Stacey: Well, it reminds me of caramel popcorn, so I have a mash-up of carnival music and some sort of classical music in my head. Or maybe it’s just a monkey playing piano….

 

Tea Vibes

Brooke: You know, what often happens with DAVIDsTEA is they throw a lot of flavours at you. We have guests who ask for regular tea and we never have anything simple to offer them from our stash. I think this tea would be nice to have in our cupboards just for that. It’s a regular black tea with just a hint of caramel. I recommend this tea for someone who is used to drinking the regular Red Rose and is a little intimidated by all the flavours DAVIDsTEA offers.  I give it a 7.5/10 because you don’t always need a flavourful tea to make your morning.

Stacey: I really like this one. Like many other of the DAVIDsTEA we’ve had, I’m finding the flavours coming out more in the second half of the cup (why do they do that?). It’s definitely a dessert tea, one to enjoy after a big fancy meal. The smell really does it for me too. The caramel lingers in my mouth after I swallow. Wait…is this what they meant when they said seduced? I am seduced? I give it an 8/10.

*One hour later*

Uuuuh oh. Ok, so, remember how I said we made a whole pot of tea? Remember how I’ve said caffeine and Stacey don’t mix? Remember how I had two cups of BLACK TEA? [Brooke: Hoard the energy, Stace! Use it to focus on your work! Come on, now!]

 I’M ON THE VERGE OF EITHER WANTING TO RUN AROUND OR FREAK OUT RIGHT NOW. AAAAARGH!

 UNTIL NEXT T–

Brooke twisted my arm.