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.

Checkmate

Hello again readers,

Well, after a delicious meal of maple salmon and roasted potatoes (we promise we’re not a couple… even though technically we *are* common-law), Stacey and I were feeling like a tasty tea to finish off our day. We popped open tea #16 and after retrieving it from the floor (they’re slippery!), we were both thrilled with what we picked up. Checkmate! Stacey had been eyeing this once since we bought the set over two months ago, so she was pretty excited. Oh boy.

Checkmate from DAVIDsTEA

Tea: Checkmate

DAVIDsTEA Tea Description: Game on!

This tea isn’t like a chess game of black versus white, it’s black and white working together. When you mix white Bai Mu Dan with black tea, coconut and chamomile flowers, it creates a rich, satisfying, chocolate flavour. You’ll swear you’re drinking a cup of hot cocoa, even though there’s no chocolate in the blend. It’s so delicious it’ll hold any king or queen in check – now that’s a winning move any way you look at it.

Ingredients: White tea, black tea, coconut, Roman chamomile flowers.

This tea… smelled delicious. We steeped 1.25tsp for 4 minutes in 98°C water and then let our teas cool. By the time they were drinkable, though, I realized I was going to be late for my improvised comedy practice so we improvised (HAH!) and poured our brews into our trusty thermoses for later.

When I got back, it was after 10PM and Stacey was a little hesitant to do the review.

Stacey: No we can’t, the caffeine!

Brooke: *Sip*. Oooh. Oh but it’s SOO good, Stacey.

Stacey: I.. I just.. *sip*

She seemed confused.

Brooke: No? You disagree? You don’t like it?

Stacey: I don’t know, I’ve just never had a tea like this before. I’m trying to figure out what it is.

Brooke: Ah but it’s got such a light nice coconut vibe. I’m digging it.

Stacey: Are there figgs in this? It just reminds me of DAVIDsTEA Apres Ski.

Brooke: I always wondered why white teas were way more expensive than blacks and greens…

Stacey: They do something different with the leaf!

Educational break! White teas are actually made with the bud of Camellia sinensis along with the leaves. The plant withers in natural light, then gets plucked and lightly processed. This stops any further oxidation of the plants tissues. Since there’s such a small amount of processing, white tea contains many more nutrients than its black or green counterparts. It’s all very special. Hence the price.

Stacey: You know, I wouldn’t say there is a hot chocolate taste, nor even a cocoa taste, but there’s a hint of SOMETHING chocolatey. Hmm.. I like it!

Brooke: I just get the balmy feeling of coconut and I love it.

Stacey: I just don’t GET it!

At this point it was late and Stacey was nervous to continue for fear of sleeplessness in the night [Stacey: Hey, it’s a thing, Brooke!]. Unfortunately, our busy lives prevented us from enjoying our brews together the following day  so instead, following a trip to Toronto for me and a weekend of skating on the canal for Stacey, we sat down to have one last cup each to finish it all up. We always make time for tea. And each other. Aw.

Tea Vibes:

Stacey: You know, I would describe this tea as yin yang:  two completely opposite flavours that work well together. On Friday, I brought my thermos to work and was very sad when it was empty. I’m happy we got to have another. : ) I totally get the image of a chess board too. That’s what they were going for with the black and white tea, I bet. I really like it- what a neat mix! I want to buy this one next. 9/10

Brooke: You seem to have really taken liken for it, haven’t you? The coconut flavour is delicious but it’s the only aspect that I really do taste. It’s not too wild- I get how you could fall in love with it. The flavour of chocolate is very faint but the chamomile flowers are an excellent touch. This is most definitely a nice dessert tea to have after a big meal. Yum! 7.5/10

We’ll have to see if this winds up in our cabinet, especially with all our new Nourish Tea loot we recently aquired. In any case, it was well received all around. Maybe you should try it?

[Stacey: my vote is yes! MmmMmm]

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

Knight to E5, baby Ron.

Cream of Earl Grey

Hello fellow tea drinkers!

After a weekend of dancing and formal events we’re back for another tea time. Let’s jump right in!

Since we skipped two black teas (see our: Crème Brûlée post) and we both had a long day of master’s work ahead of us, we decided to go back for a caffeine-induced black tea.

Brooke: So you push from the bottom and I’ll pull it out from the top. *Pop* Well that was eas– [mid sentence, the tea container flies out of her hand and rolls under the radiator]-y.
Stacey: Ohh…
Brooke: Well… it’s a feisty one, at least…oooh, Organic Cream of Earl Grey!

Cream of Earl Grey
Tea: Organic Cream of Earl Grey

Ingredients:  Black tea, cornflowers, natural vanilla and bergamot flavouring.

DAVIDsTEA Description: “A creamy twist Lovers of Earl Grey adore this creamy alternative to the original blend. You’ll recognize the same high-quality black tea, the same citrus burst of bergamot oil, the same beautiful grey-blue petals. However this version adds a touch of vanilla, and the result is an unexpectedly rich, creamy taste experience.”

This tea was listed as a medium-caffeine black tea, so given our last experience with Salted Caramel, we opted to have one cup each instead of a pot. We steeped 1.5tsp of tea in 98 degree water for approximately 4 minutes.  Then we just let the aroma take over…

Stacey: Oh, it smells like a London Fog.
Brooke: I’m going to love this.

*sip*

 Stacey: You know for smelling like London Fog, I’m not really getting the London Fog taste. But that’s not a bad thing; I was thinking it would be much like the London Fog you get at a Second Cup. I like this better, because it doesn’t have the extra sugar.
Brooke: Makes me think of my aunt Tracey! : ) She often offers me tea when I come for a visit and it’s always a type of Earl Grey (Lady Grey, I think?). This one is DEVINE. No need to throw any milk or sugar into this baby!

[We paused to watch a video of Brooke’s baby niece talking to a star, a moon, and a sheep. Aaaadorable.]

Brooke: The vanilla is wonderful; it really softens the blow of such a strong tea. Also, babies.
Stacey: I am really enjoying this brew; this is definitely a sip-able, drinkable tea.  Yes, babies.
Brooke: Hopefully the caffeine doesn’t make you go too crazy. We can’t have that again.

Tea Vibes

Stacey: This is certainly not your typical cup of Earl Grey but it’s not too wacky either. DAVIDsTEA doesn’t throw intense flavours at you; just subtle hints of vanilla; that changes it up a bit. If you’re a fan of London Fogs, this is the tea for you (with less of a sugary base, of course). Mmm! A solid tea and a good staple to have in our cupboards. I give it 8/10 because it’s the best Earl Grey I think I’ve ever tasted.

Brooke:  This is a good morning tea; it starts you off on the right foot, creamy and smooth. No milk needed, no sugar needed. Reminds me of my Aunt-tea (get it?). Yep, I’m okay with us buying a batch of this for the cupboard [Stacey: I’m okay with that too, we need some regulars in here]. I know I keep giving this out, but another solid 8.5/10.

What’s a better way to start a morning than babies and tea? Hmm? Exactly.

Well, a bit of a shorter post today, but honestly this tea needs no lavish description to promote itself; it’s a solid brew. Definitely a must-try for Earl Grey lovers everywhere.

Until next tea,
Stacey and Brooke


Here, have this baby in a teacup. 

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.