Each and every year, tea enthusiasts take a look at their tea stashes/cupboards and decide to take an earnest attempt at sipping down the tea that they currently own for a variety of reasons. This year, I’m joining in on this venture for a different reason- I want to dedicate more time to myself. 2020 was a hard year on my family. Between one of our son’s being diagnosed with cancer to losing a beloved member of our family to an extremely hectic and challenging political cycle (my 9-5) to everything in between which includes basically being a “single parent” for a good chunk of the year while my hubby took care of our son, Parker while he was getting treatment at St Judes. For so many, 2020 will always be an exhausting and stressful year. But, it is time to now look at 2021 and make new habits and choices to set the year off right.
One the new habits I am truly striving to establish for myself is literally time for myself. I am very fortunate to have been working from home for a few years now but with the kiddos also being home and remote learning, that tea time that I always really enjoyed fell by the way side. And I have too many delightful tea goodies to have that happen. So I have literally set up time each day on my calendar to take a moment, pop onto Steepster, log my teas, see tea lovelies everyone is enjoying all while enjoying a cuppa myself. If you aren’t familiar with Steepster, I highly encourage you to check it out. Steepster is a great place to log your tea tasting notes while engaging with other like minded tea friends. A lovely environment that I am thrilled to be engaged with once again.
To start 2021 off right, my Black Friday Friday Afternoon tea order finally arrived on 1/3 so I thought these would be a nice treat to ring in the new year. I mainly ordered a variety of black flavored teas but my mystery sampler was also included in this order so there were various tea samples to dig into as well.
I’m No Prize was the first sample I grabbed. This blend is black tea, ginger root, star anise, rose, jasmine blend with cinnamon flavoring. I’ve been seeing a lot of rose flavored chai blends lately and the idea of mingling floral and spiced flavors was incredibly intriguing. Brewed up with water at 212F and steeped for 3 minutes, this tea was a joy. You could literally pick out each flavor on its own and they all worked together nicely. Pops of ginger, star anise, and cinnamon worked wonderfully well with the rose and jasmine.
I was able to get a few infusions out of the sample serving and enjoyed every sip. Really lovely blend and one I could see re-ordering more of in a heart beat.
Butterfly Blend was the second sample that grabbed my attention. A black tea blend with honey, strawberry, orange peel and lemongrass. When I first opened the sample- the first thought that came to mind was how much this tea smelled like a strawberry candy. I was eager to enjoy this one so I prepped up my water at 212F and again allowed the tea to steep for 3 minutes. Sadly, I think my taste buds are changing and this blend was too sweet for me. The first sip – my taste buds were super happy. Super sweet honeyed strawberries was what I was getting. However, after a few more sips, it was like I needed a bit of something else to round out that sweetness, possibly even a bit more black tea. The blend itself is beautiful to look at but just doesn’t seem to be the right tea for me.
Courtesan’s Blend was the last of the three samples I enjoyed during my tea time sipdown. I will be honest, I’ve received this blend a few different times in my mystery samplers from Friday Afternoon and I have never really enjoyed the blend. But again, looking at the ingredients I should. Oolong, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring. All sounds delightful. When you first open the sample pack as well, the blend smells delightful. To my dismay, those aromas (for me) did not translate into any noticeable flavors until the very end of each sip if not the after taste. Then I could pick up the oolong, clove, and cinnamon notes. If the flavors were more pronounced, I have a feeling I would be in love with this blend. But after trying this blend so many times, I think this one just isn’t for me.
All in all, not a bad little tea party (that spanned a few hours might I add). The winner for me is I’m No Prize which is already on my list to re-order the next time I order from Friday Afternoon.
Let us know if you have any tea related goals for 2021. We’d love to hear them!
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Where to Buy: Friday Afternoon
Each season DAVIDsTEA premieres a new collection of about five teas. Sometimes there may be a returning favorite but most of the blends are new and exciting. Lately though, DAVIDs has been treating their customers to mini collections, released almost monthly to keep their selection fresh and intriguing. This month, in addition to the Valentine’s teas, they brought us The Malt Shop Collection, featuring three ice-cream inspired teas and ice cream teaware. Now I am a sucker for all things ice cream and cupcakes and milkshakes and the like so you can bet your a$$ I was in the shop the minute I could step away from the office.
As far as the three blends go, Mint Chip Sundae was the blend I was least excited about, since I am just not one for mint chip ice cream and chocolate mint teas just seem so overdone. This one is made with cocoa nibs, green tea, peppermint, white chocolate, cocoa powder and stevia. Scentwise, this is a whole lotta mint with a faint note of dusty chocolate. It brews up muddied from the cocoa nibs and cocoa powder settling at the bottom. When it comes to taste, this is creamy and minty, but the stevia just takes over and coats your whole mouth. For those that don’t mind stevia and are looking for a creamy mint chocolate tea, this could be a nice choice but if you’re anything like me, the stevia here will be a deal breaker.
Vanilla Swirl, made with lemongrass, pineapple, white chocolate, globe amaranth, cornflower, and stevia, is definitely the prettiest of the three blends with the pink and blue flower petals sprinkled among the white chocolate curls on the lemongrass base. The tea smells of artificial vanilla extract and herbs and brews up a light gold color. Again the stevia is a deal breaker for me but I will say it is not as bad as in the Mint Chip Sundae. Looking past the stevia though, there is a silky vanilla quality contrasted by the hint of lemon that acts as the foundation here. Does it taste like vanilla ice cream? Not really but there is potential here for a nice nighttime treat.
Strawberry Shake was the blend I was most excited about, not because of the tea itself perse, but because I am basically obsessed with strawberry milkshakes. There is even one restaurant that can recognize a delivery order as my family’s because I ALWAYS get the strawberry milkshake. This tea, made with green tea, strawberries, papaya, and yogurt, smells like candy – sweet but artificial. It brews up a light yellow and it tastes like a strawberry milkshake…sorta. The strawberry syrup element is captured nicely but muted slightly by the green tea base. Though the base doesn’t impart much flavor, which is a plus in my book. All in all, I am enjoying this creamy delight but this is the one time I think it is maybe too subtle. DAVIDsTEA is normally heavy handed with flavoring to the point that it is just too much but here, where the flavor should be over-the-top, it is way too subdued and borderline bland.
As an added bonus, I also grabbed the Strawberry Shake Tea-Infused White Chocolate Bar. Opening the package, what immediately took me by surprise is the green hue making it very clear that bits of the tea have definitely made it into this bar. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really come through in the taste. White chocolate is pretty much all I am tasting with just a touch of candy strawberry flavor.
All in all, I would say this is a fun collection. For me, I might go back for my Strawberry Shake tea but DAVIDs need to pre-sweeten everything with stevia is such a turnoff for me. Consequently, Mint Chip Sundae and Vanilla Swirl were misses in my book.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Various
Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA
A collection of three sweetly nostalgic, malt shop-inspired teas.