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Product Review: White Chocolate with Jumpy Monkey Yerba Mate from DAVIDsTEA

White Chocolate with Jumpy Monkey Yerba MateTea Information:

Leaf Type: Yerba Mate/Chocolate

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

Looking for a rich and decadent pick-me-up? Check out this deliciously creamy chocolate bar, a combination of the finest imported white chocolate and our java-spiked Jumpy Monkey tea. With yerba mate, cocoa nibs and coffee beans, it makes for an exotic taste of the rainforest at its finest. Made in partnership with a Montreal chocolatier.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had this tea before as a latte, and as far as I can remember it wasn’t too impressive. Kind of run of the mill, actually? However I was still pretty pumped to see it in chocolate bar format at the store yesterday because, first off, I love white chocolate though also because even though I’m not a huge fan of coffee I have a special place in my heart for white chocolate coated coffee beans. My Dad used to buy them in bulk, and late at night I’d sneak into the kitchen (when I was around eleven) and eat small handfuls out of the bag in the pantry. And of course, I’d have problems falling asleep after that…

However, this is a slight let down if I’m being honest. I mean, the white chocolate is really good! I love the white chocolate that DAVIDsTEA uses for these chocolate bars. The problem, for me, is that it really over powers the flavour of the tea/coffee. It doesn’t help part of the profile of this tea is white chocolate in the first place. I’m conflicted by this. One thing I dislike about DAVIDsTEA’s chocolate bars is that the infused chunks are often too large but in this rare occasion I really wanted more large pieces because without them the tea is lost. I wish there was a better way to ensure a more consistent size for the pieces used in these chocolate bars, but I don’t know what the best way to go about finding it would be. However, it does at least seems like DAVIDsTEA is trying to do that because these newer bars do at least seem to consistently use smaller pieces and I know that was something that was really being criticized prior to the change. So I commend them for that.

But without the flavour of the tea, this is just a super expensive white chocolate bar.

Pomegranate Detox from Tea Drift

pomegranatedetoxTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Tea Drift

Tea Description:

You’ll truly enjoy this tea with a delightful fruity aroma. It’s a smooth, full-bodied tea with mild berry notes. This tea is tasty over ice or steaming hot.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The first thing to say about this one is that it smells so, so good. Strong, rich, fruity pomegranate, as soon as you open the bag! The leaf itself is a pretty thing to look at, too, with whole golden chrysanthemum flowers plus a few stray petals, and tightly rolled oolong pellets. The scent, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees.

 Once brewed, it still smells really good, and looking at the leaf I think it might possibly resteep pretty well. The oolong has just about started to unfurl, and the pomegranate scent is still very prominent. The liquor is a pale yellow-green.
To taste, this is pretty much exactly as I hoped it’d be. The pomegranate flavour is right at the forefront, and it’s delicately sweet. It’s not quite as intense as the scent of the dry leaf would suggest, but that’s a good thing I think because it would be pretty overpowering if that were the case. Instead, it’s very natural tasting and spot-on flavour accurate, very reminiscent of pomegranate juice. I can hardly taste the oolong base at all, which from a flavoured tea perspective is a complete triumph. It would also be a good thing for those who are looking for an easy way in to drinking oolong, without an overload of scary flavours, or who are looking primarily for the health benefits and want a tasty drink to provide those. This is definitely a tea for flavoured tea fans; oolong connoisseurs probably won’t find much here.
As I’m not much of an oolong connoisseur myself, I’m pretty pleased with the flavouring here. It’s not at all artificial, and it reminds me quite a lot of lychee which is one of my favourite tea flavours of all time. I don’t feel I’ve drank enough of this one to really comment on the detox properties, but it’s certainly one of the more pleasant “detox” drinks I’ve tried. I’d also recommend it to pomegranate fiends, because that aspect is second to none. I found this to be a very enjoyable cup.

Rohini Emerald Green First Flush Darjeeling from Udyan Tea

Rohini Emerald GreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Rohini has been planted with special green tea clones which have very less *tannin content in them. The teas made from these bushes taste smooth and sweet, with pronounced vegetable flavour. They aren’t bitter unlike their counterparts from the district. Rohini Emerald Green Tea is made from single leaf and a bud.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Rohini Emerald Green is a First Flush Darjeeling tea, a variety I’m particularly fond of. I’m intrigued by this one, though (more so than usual!) because the leaf is different from any I’ve seen before. It’s a fairly uniform mid-green in colour, with one or two lighter leaves and some yellow mottling. What’s surprising is that the leaves are large and curly, partially rolled but not tightly. I’ve never seen a first flush Darjeeling that looks quite like this one. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow-green, the scent reminiscent of a green tea. After an initial hit of orchid-like floral, there’s a distinctive vegetal scent. The leaves, once unfurled, remind me a little of oak tree leaves.

To taste, this tea is also unlike any Darjeeling I’ve tried before. In some ways, it’s far more like a green tea or an oolong than anything else. The initial flavour is lightly floral, in the sweet, heady way of orchids. It’s not an intensely perfumey floral, but rather like crushing the petals of an orchid or lily flower in your hand and then translating the scent into a taste. It’s difficult to describe, because it’s like the wrong sense is being used, but that’s as close as I can get to identifying the kind of sensation the floral produces. There’s a mild “green” flavour lurking underneath the floral, but it’s more chlorophyll than vegetal – not a flavour I’ve come across very often, but it works well here, continuing the floral theme. The texture reminds me a lot of an unflavoured milk oolong, in that it’s buttery and mildly creamy. It’s not thick tasting, exactly, but it has a sort of dairy cream feel to it that’s pleasant and unusual – almost a little “flat” tasting, but with a richness at the same time. The aftertaste is a little mineral, again reminding me of a green oolong. It’s a little like wet rock; a tiny bit metallic, but also fresh and clean.

This one was an experience for me, and I really savoured every sip. I’ve not come across a Darjeeling like this before, either in terms of taste or appearance, so it really made me think about, and question, my expectations. I enjoyed the flavour, even though floral teas aren’t usually my thing. Clearly I can still surprise myself on occasion! I’d happily recommend this one to most people, whether they’re fans of Darjeeling, green, oolong or floral teas. This tea certainly offers a unique experience, and its placed Udyan Tea more firmly on my personal radar.

Ancient Forest Black Tea from Art of Tea

ancient_forestTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Art of Tea

Tea Description:

A specialty of the southwest province of Yunnan, this unique tea is harvested from ancient trees on the protected land of Jingmai Mangjing’s Blue Mountains. 100% organic, hand picked and sorted, this black tea steeps a rich, earthy infusion with notes of cedar and honey.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The description of the “creamy texture and notes of amber and honey” this tea purports to provide made me particularly eager to try it. It certainly sounds divine, after all. I was even more interested when I learned that the base tea is Yunnan, as it’s one of my favourite black tea varieties. The dry leaf is relatively small compared to some I’ve tried, with no leaf over 0.5cm and some decidedly smaller. They’re mostly a uniform black-brown, but there are a few golden-flecked leaves as well. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown, the scent a touch mineral and a touch spicy, with a deeper woodiness underlying.

I liked this one so much straight off that I hardly realised nearly half of it was gone before I’d even really started consciously thinking about the flavour. The first thing to say is that it really is creamy, and that’s with no additions. It has a very smooth, silky texture and an underlying richness of flavour that really makes “creamy” an appropriate word, even if it’s not quite the same creaminess I’d associate with dairy. It’s the only word for it, nonetheless. The initial flavour is a mild earthiness, a little like wet forest floor only not so pungent as that perhaps suggests. I’m reminded of an aged black or a pu’erh, although the flavour here is milder than either of those typically are. It’s definitely in the same kind of territory, though. I get a woodiness in the mid-sip; resinous and a little cedar like. It pairs really well with the underlying earthiness – it seems like they’re two flavours of a kind. The aftertaste is a touch mineral, in the way of wet rock, and is again in keeping with the damp, earthy, fresh flavours I’ve tasted so far. It’s a tea that really holds together well, and one where all the flavours are complimentary.

I enjoyed this one, and it’s a tea I’d definitely drink again if the opportunity arose. It’s flavourful and fairly unique among the teas I usually drink. Certainly an encouraging experience for my first Art of Tea!

Organic Black Tea from Arum Tea

ArumBlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Arum Tea

Tea Description:

A sweet and malty flavor that jolts the taste buds, with a caramel undertone and a floral finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think I’ve come across a black tea quite like this before. For starters, it’s appearance reminds me more of an oolong. The leaves are black/brown in colour, but they’ve been rolled into oolong-like pellets, complete with leaf stem! The scent also puts me in mind of a dark roasted oolong – it’s rich and kind of earthy, with a metallic tang. I guess these characteristics could describe a black tea too, but I personally associate them a lot more with darker oolongs, as I do the leaf preparation. Still – we shall see! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a medium golden-brown, so I made no additions.

It might look like an oolong, but it certainly doesn’t taste like one! It’s actually a mildly malty, delicately sweet tasting tea, with strong stone-fruit notes. I’m picking up apricot mostly, followed by a mild plum flavour towards the end of the sip. It’s incredibly juicy-tasting, almost as if it were infused with fruit juice rather than just being tea. It’s not, of course, and that’s what’s so incredible about it. I’ve not come across many like it previously, with the exception of Butiki’s Mi Xian Black. If you liked that one, this is definitely one to try. As it cools, I’m also picking up some bready, almost yeasty, notes. The fruitiness fades a little at this point, so it’s not as unusual as it sounds.

I really enjoyed this cup. It’s sufficiently different from other black teas to provide some much-needed variety, and the fruit notes are a particular highlight. It’s a fairly light tea, both in terms of liquor colour and body, but it’s certainly not short on the flavour front. The leaf barely unfurled on my first steep, so I imagine this one will also yield significant resteep value. Recommended!