Day 16: Japanese Sencha

Happy Wednesday, folks!

We hope your December has been filled with peaceful moments and clarity- something that today’s tea almost demands of you from your first sip. Remember to give yourself breaks this holiday season that are just for you. You’re worth it. And so are we- ready?

Tea: Japanese Sencha

Description: Japanese monks were writing about tea in the 9th century, but the world had to wait until 1740 for Sencha, when a tea merchant named Nagatani perfected a new process of steaming, rolling and heat-drying green tea. The result? An emerald-green tea that’s refreshing and smooth. No wonder it’s Japan’s most popular drink.

Ingredients: Steamed Japanese green tea from Mount Fuji, Japan.

The first time Stacey and I had this tea was two years back- it was a cold blistery day and as soon as we took our first sips we immediately craved sushi. So, we did what any sane people do when in the dead of winter in the capital- we bundled up with our hats, mittens, and scarves and hustled into the cold wind to the nearest sushi restaurant. With our maki on its way, we indulged in this simple and delicious, light and caring, perfect green tea (Read about it here).

Today, however, we’re at it again with busy schedules and barely enough time to spend a few minutes together over Skype.

Brooke: Mmm- this one is so zen! I wish I was somewhere more peaceful.
Stacey: I am so brought back to our sushi adventure two years ago in the Byward Market. This is the kind of green tea you want to have in your cupboard.
Brooke: I appreciate its simplicity- very unlike DAVIDsTEA on the whole, yet so exceptional.
Stacey: It’s refreshing, really. Not everyone likes the crazy flavours. Though, not everyone likes this flavour, apparently. My mom said it tasted like smelly socks.
Brooke: What?! Was she drinking the same tea?
Stacey: I have no idea. I thought she would have liked it, it’s a green tea. I love it.
Brooke: Me too. It’s so lightly steeped, and so few leaves are needed to get the flavours you want. Mmm. I would want to have this at Spa Nordik .
Stacey: Oh yes!! You would want to have this in a bathrobe and get a massage afterward. I really like this one.
Brooke: I love how easy going it is. Can teas be easy going?
Stacey: Fun fact- while the tea is the same from two years ago, it looks like it’s from a different part of Japan!
Brooke: They’ve always got to change something…

Final thoughts:

Stacey: This tea is seems good for productivity, it’s a simple green tea which all you really need.  While my family may not enjoy it, I give it a thumbs up. Now I really am craving sushi again…

Brooke: This tea hides nothing and ask nothing in return. It’s simple, delightful, and would go perfectly with a warm hot bubble bath (if you aren’t feeling a glass of merlot). Cheers, David!

Twitter seemed pleased, too:

 Organic sencha is delightfully bright green! Smooth and vegetal, maybe a little fruity?
Day 16! Only eight more days of tea, I’m so sad. Today is a great, light green tea.
Day 16 tea is organic Japanese sencha and it’s a wonderful green tea! ❤
Don’t forget to take a moment for yourself, readers!
Until next tea,
Brooke and Stacey

Ahhhh.

Day 10: Coffee Cake

Hi readers!

So, as I was putting on the kettle and prepping our teas this afternoon, Stacey called me on her way home from work wanting to know what tea it was today. Much to her dismay, I kept her in the dark as the teas were steeping. When she finally came in and smelled the apartment, she was thrilled! Then she was worried at how delicious the smell was… Would this tea be up to snuff with such anticipation?

Tea: Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake from DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description: Take the Cake

There’s nothing more nostalgic than a classic coffee cake. Just picture it. That dense, yellow cake, dotted with fruit and topped with crumbled brown sugar. And this sweet, fragrant black tea blend is every bit as satisfying. It has all the aroma of a fresh baked coffee cake, plus an energy boost from rich black tea and a fruity hint of cherry and pineapple. Now getting that fresh-from-the-bakery taste is so simple, it’s a piece of cake. Limited edition.

Tea Ingredients: Black tea, cherries, pineapple, natural and artificial cake flavouring

Tea Instructions: 1.25 tsp, 96°C, 4-5 min

Stacey: Ohh this smell is worrying, what if it’s too sweet?

Brooke: Well there’s no added sugar! Just cherries and pineapple!

Stacey: Isn’t that a bit odd? I don’t think fruit when I think coffee- I think maple or marble. Something that’s a dark cake, not a fruit cake. This combination isn’t what I pictured! Does this smell like something to you? Another tea we’ve had?

Brooke: Yes, it does remind me of one of them. Something with caramel.

Stacey: Salted caramel, yes!

Brooke: Wonder how the tastes will compare…

*sip*

Stacey: Oh! *Sip* Oh! Mmm. *Sip* You can taste that fruity dense-ness. Like a fruity cake. I can taste it! It’s a heavier blend. Oh yum!

Brooke: Mmm- ooh yes. Very tolerable as a black tea- not too bitter at all.

Stacey: As I sip it I can smell the fruity taste and it’s not sweet… just… satisfying!

Brooke: Yeah, not pungent like the kiwi or rhubarb teas we’ve had. Just a soft subtle hint.

Stacey: Yeah, I really like this one!

Brooke: I think we should buy this.

Stacey: I agree.

Brooke: But it’s limited edition!

Stacey: Aw, only the best teas come out at Christmas!

Brooke: Seriously, I am gulping this down- it’s delicious!

Stacey: I think it’s the first time our hopes have been high and our expectations were met, if not exceeded.

Brooke: Though you were a little worried.

Stacey: That’s because my expectations are always so strong and then they get shattered.

Brooke: …Shattered?

Stacey: Well, okay, it’s just that the smell seems to ALWAYS be better than the taste. This, though, oh… Oh man.

Brooke: It’s that odd caramel taste that gets me. Yum!

Stacey: Maybe it’s the brown sugar they talk about…

Brooke: …That isn’t in the tea.

Stacey: Placebo effect? It does taste a LOT like salted caramel, though.

Brooke: I LOVE it! Pour me another cup!

Tea vibes:

Stacey: This is a great after-lunch tea. Not quite a breakfast tea, it seems like it would round your day out nicely instead. I really enjoy the heavy hints of fruit that don’t add any sweet or tartness to it. A definite favourite 5/5

Brooke: This is absolutely hands down my favourite tea we’ve tried since starting 24 Days of Tea last year. The fruits keep this tea light without overwhelming our sense with floral tones. The coffee flavour isn’t big like in mocha rooibos, either, it’s hardly there at all. This is a fantastic tea, and I would highly recommend! Mmm Mmm! 5/5

Well, there we are! Our first tea we both rated 5/5 since starting this blog in December 2012! Quite the compliment, DAVIDsTEA! Take note! No needed extra sugars or special smells to win us over- whew!

Until next tea (how can they top this?!),

Brooke and Stacey

Stacey…. we may need a bigger tea pot…

Day 2: Alpine Punch

After a late night of bouldering (indoor rock climbing without the ropes- we’re wild!), we settled in for Day #2 of DAVIDsTEA’s 24 Days of Tea. Are you excited?

Stacey: ALPINE PUNCH!

Cheers ALL around on this one. André made some kind of a Sherpa comment, which confused me until Stacey confirmed that something similar to Sherpas were in this tea’s description. Here we go!

Tea: Alpine Punch

Alpine Punch from DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:  High altitude taste

Have you heard of the barbegazi? According to Swiss lore, they are a group of furry little men that live high in the Alps. They are known for their long, icy beards and enormous feet, which they use to ski down hills and surf on avalanches. But how do they stay warm up in the frozen mountains all year round? We like to think it’s with a fortifying brew like this almond-scented rooibos, with apple, cinnamon, and ginger. If you see some very big footprints next time you’re out hiking, follow them to the barbegazi’s cave and see if they offer you a cup. Limited edition.

Tea Ingredients: Rooibos, coconut chips and rasps, apple pieces, cinnamon pieces, ginger bits, cardamom, black pepper, rose blossoms, almond flakes, artificial flavouring.

Tea Instructions: 1.5tsp, 98 degrees, 4-7 minutes. Perfection.

Stacey opted to shower as the tea boiled. Drinking tea with pjs on is a good way to go to bed, she said.

Stacey: Can I skimp out on the loose leaf?

Brooke: NO YOU MAY NOT.

Stacey:  GOSH DARNIT BROOKE WHY DO YOU MAKE IT COMPLICATED. Oooh! There’s a just little bit left!

Brooke: André, what you remember about your previous Alpine Punch experiences?

André: Well, considering I had some last night, I remember it being delicious, wonderful, and tasting like winter.  I remember it has the happiest smell.

The kettle blew its whistle and André ran off to pour the water in to the teapot.

Oh man, Stacey and I are excited to be doing these reviews again. We missed having late night teas together and we missed our lovely readers.

André brought out our mugs just as Stacey was coming out in her pjs.

Stacey: TEA! But… I want to go to bed.

THEN Stacey nearly flashed us with a hole in her pjs. “Oh no, don’t write that! But seriously, do you see it? Is it okay if I still wear them right now? Cause… okay. Good.”

Brooke: Ooooh this tea smells delicious! Cinnamon, coconut, almond oh my!

Stace: I really need to get another container of this. We had TWO containers of this last year and we finished it.

André: Me too!

Stacey: Hands down…

André: …Best tea ever.

Stacey: Really sad it’s just a winter tea.

Brooke: Why are we even reviewing this tea if we all agree that we totally love it?

André: It’s like you said- it’s a gulper. Wait for it to cool down and gulp it.

Stacey: I’m trying to remember the first time I ever had this tea- honestly the description got me. It’s one of the only rooibos teas I enjoy. It’s jam packed full of amazing  flavours that just go so well together. The almond is delicious.

André: You know, the thing is,  I forget what I was gonna say.

Stacey: Welcome to our tea blog, André. 

André: It IS a very winter tea, couldn’t have it in warm weather, though it would make a very nice iced tea. But I really associate this tea with snow.

Stacey: It’s reminiscent of our last tea blog experience. Put in a thermos on any winter day and it would be golden.

André: I agree- it actually DOES make me want to be a Sherpa.

Tea vibes:

André: Put it in your mouth and enjoy.

Stacey: Buy this tea. What’s our rating system? 5/5, done.

André: Boom.

Stacey: Bow to the tea.

André: Touch down.

Stacey: I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

And there you have it! Alpine Punch- it’s a keeper! Those subtle hints of ginger and cardamom keep this tea from being too sweet while the coconut and almond rounds it out perfectly. Wait, there was apple in there? Ack! Get the Benadryl!

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey (and André)

Give me an S! Give me a Tea!

Toasted Walnut

Hi everyone!

Oh wow, is it ever March. Can we plleeease finally finish winter and hurry up with spring? The snow keeps falling and the cold keeps holding on to the bitter end. What else to do but drink a tea and cozy up with some Netflix? After throwing together a cabbage casserole and tossing it in the oven, Stacey and I popped open door # 20 and out came one of her favourites: Toasted Walnut. To the kettle!

Tea: Toasted Walnut

DAVIDsTEA description: Drink it fireside

Traditional Chinese medicine says walnuts are a warming food. Which makes sense, because this is the kind of tea you spontaneously want to cozy up to on a cold winter afternoon. The comforting, lightly bitter taste of toasted walnuts is sweetened and deepened with dried pineapple, coconut, almond and organic green tea. Sip it in front of an open fire and chase away the cold.

Ingredients: Chinese sencha green tea, nut brittle, candied pineapple, coconut rasps, almond flakes, walnut bits.

We grabbed two mugs, filled them with 1.5tsp each and steeped them with 84°C water for 4 minutes while our cabbage casserole roasted in the oven.

Stacey: Oh, I haven’t had this one in a while. I forgot how good it smelled!
Brooke: All I get is the green sencha smell- whew!
Stacey: Really? All I smell is the walnut! Hauumm…

*sip*

Stacey: This makes me think of my internship because it’s all I drank in the summer. Yummy!

Brooke: It tastes like it smells… I don’t really taste the walnut yet.

Stacey:  I’m totally getting the opposite! I’m like, yeah, walnut! But there’s a hint of sweetness in it.

Brooke: It really just reminds me of a different version of the one we had with sushi- no major flavours coming through.

Stacey: Mm. There’s more of a woody feel to this one, though.

Brooke: Hehe, woody. Hmm. there’s this flavour I can quite grasp, it’s almost butterscotch-y. Really light tones of that. I could be going in the same direction as those olives in Detox, though.

Stacey: I just think of summer- it has a comforting feel to it. Almost like a warm sun.

Brooke: Are you on a beach?

Stacey: Yeah, I’m on a beach. I don’t know why I’d be drinking tea on a beach but when I think of comfort I think of lying on the beach with the sun warming my face.

Brooke: At least it’s not the default wooden cabin in the snowy forest that we go for.

Stacey: Comfort means familiarity, too… But I’ve really only ever been to five beaches and never one that was warm or tropical.

Brooke: You know, I’m really not enjoying this. My mug has Snoopy and Linus on it and I think I like the mug more than the tea.

Stacey: That’s too bad, I wanted to make this a staple. It’s probably one of my favourites, actually. Mmm Mm!

Tea vibes:

Stacey: The woody flavouring is subtle in this green tea. You can tell it’s toasted walnut, for sure, but the flavour doesn’t punch you. It’s not a sweet tea either, which I really like. This is just a solid green tea that you can really make a regular like I did in the summer. Is there any pineapple? Yeah? I love it. This is one of my favourite greens, I suggest that everyone try it. 9.5/10 [I pushed her to say 10/10 but “nothing’s perfect”]

Brooke:  If you like greens, this one is worth giving a try. Its nutty undertones will really give a nice boost to your favourite blend. I personally wasn’t feeling it this afternoon, but sometimes days are like that. I will have another plate of that casserole, though… 7/10

Final thoughts:

Stacey: I’m… still getting this for our collection.

4 more to go!!

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey

“This is really going to take off, I can feel it!”

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.

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…

Buttered Rum

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

It has begun!

With a poke through the cardboard and a twist of the cap, we’re off! The first tea we pulled out is the Organic Buttered Rum. The two main ingredients are coconut and vanilla and from the first whiff, we were drunk. Well, Stacey said she smelled “alcohol” but I think she was just excited.

Tea: DAVIDsTEA Organic Buttered Rum

Ingredients: Black tea, coconut flakes, vanilla beans, cornflower petals. Organic and natural flavouring.

DAVIDsTEA’s Description: Hot buttered rum is so delicious we want it all day long. Unfortunately, most employers frown on workplace drunkenness, so we came up with this rich and creamy alternative. Toasted coconut and vanilla beans mingle with black tea in a caramelized caress of flavours. Decadent hot or iced, it also blends perfectly with dark rum, brown sugar and a dash of milk – so go ahead and indulge your inner pirate, off the clock.

Since this is a black tea, we used 1.5 tsp of the loose leaf per cup of water (98°C) and left our cups sit for 5 minutes before taking out our infusers. After steeping time was up, our teas were a rich brown and smelled delicious. 

*sip*

Stacey: I.. I’m trying to taste… anything. (Don’t write that!) It reminds me of their Jolly Jellybean. The smell had hyped me up but now I’m not sure if I can grasp it…
Brooke:  It tastes…like caramel. Buttery, yes. Rum? Not so sure.

Stacey: It tastes better with little sips… The taste comes out more that way… Mmm, yes, that was nice.

Brooke: It’s like diluted syrup!
Stacey: Yes! Yeah, that’s it.

Brooke: But in a good way.

We were feeling the thick and buttery part but couldn’t quite get the coconut/rum sense so we re-steeped our cups for about two more minutes. We both agreed that it seemed a little weak and wanted the full effect.

Stacey: Oh, that’s MUCH better. Yes, stronger.
Brooke: What does it make you think of? Close your eyes.
Stacey: I think of outdoors. Fall or winter, out on a country landscape… there’s a fence… it’s… well, it’s not rotten or anything, but the wood is old… Rustic! That’s it. A rustic country landscape.
Brooke: Mm. Like a tea for a blacksmith on a cold morning.
Stacey: Still don’t taste the rum, though. Man, this is hard. I didn’t think it would be so difficult to just describe a tea.
Brooke: Oh my God. I just deleted everything we said. What was that? What were we saying?
.

Tea Vibes:.

Stacey: The taste isn’t as strong as the smell; I think the coconut gets lost in the black tea mix. The flavour they were going for, the buttered rum, is strongest after your sip- it sits on your tongue and sticks to your mouth. It’s a smooth tea, which is probably the vanilla coming through. It’s not a drink I would have every day but it’s a good specialty tea to sip after a brisk evening walk. 6/10.
.
Brooke: Agreed, what a treat! Overall, this tea has a heavy base with smooth savoury flavour. Though I don’t taste the coconut, the ingredients mixed well together to create a soft blend that reminded me of chocolate without the cocoa. It’s a very sweet tea; no sugar needed. Maybe add a drop of milk but we both drank it black. I usually like my teas a little lighter but overall it was a lovely brew. 7/10
.
In the end, we both agreed that the tea should be steeped for 6 or 7 minute to get the full essence of buttery goodness. If rum’s the flavour you’re going for, we suggest tossing in a teaspoon of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. Now THAT’s a tea worth having after an evening “walk”.
 
Final considerations:

Brooke: Do you feel like a pirate, Stace?
Stacey: Pfft. *pause*. Yeah. Wait.. yeah. Okay. I do.

So, there you have it. A tea for those with a sweet tooth that like to go “Arrr”.

Until next tea,

Brooke and Stacey
Orwell Corner Historic Village
“It’s tea time, John!”