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Tea: Devil’s Chocolate

The retail wall of David's Tea

The retail wall of David’s Tea

Ages ago I picked up a small amount of Devil’s Chocolate from Teaopia, a rooibos tea with cacao nibs, ginger, cloves, and red pepper.  The tea is intended to be a rich chocolate flavour for chocolate lovers, but I was disappointed in the tea as a chocolate tea.  The tea is tasty, but not really the chocolate flavour that I was hoping for.

Dry, the tea is mostly spicy, warm, hot…  There’s also a slight bitterness to the scent which I didn’t care for, but     I was so curious to try the tea that I went for it anyways. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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David’s Tea Honeydew Maté tea

I received Honeydew Maté as a sample, which I love because it’s a low-commitment way to try new teas – though at the same time with David’s Teas it’s a bit frustrating too – only because if I really loved this tea, I’d be out of luck, as it’s no longer in stock. I love that they bring in new flavours every season, though I don’t love how they retire teas… couldn’t they keep them on their website even if not in store?

Ah well…

This tea is a green rooibos, with green yerba  mate, white hibiscus blossoms, melon pieces (which include sugar, green melon and starch) along with ‘natural flavouring’. The tea is super fine, so of course it just flowed on through my Tuffy Strainer, but at least all of those little pieces sank to the bottom of my cup!

Honeydew Mate Tea from David's Tea

Honeydew Mate Tea from David’s Tea

Dry, the tea smells pretty gross. It smells a lot like that artificial watermelon flavoring used in bubblegum. Ew. When steeping up though, more of the smokey scents come up from the rooibos, and when it’s ready to drink, it’s kind of mix of the two -artificially sweet flavour and smokey rooibos. The sweet isn’t too bad though, it’s tolerable… but not fantastic.

Now.. the maté. Maté is known as a stimulant – an alternative to caffeine. I had mine on a Monday morning when I really could have used a pick-me-up… and this tea sort of fell flat. I didn’t get the “buzz” that I did with Chocolate Rocket, or really any ‘stimulation’ above any other cup of tea.

All in all, it’s a general “eh” for flavour and effect.  It’s not a terrible tea, but it’s not a great one either. I won’t miss it now that it’s retired… nor will I look for it or recommend it if they bring it back.

Since this one is no longer in stock (maybe it will come back at some point?) you can check out all of the maté teas that David’s Teas offers.  http://www.davidstea.com/mate-en

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in South-East Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Ice Cream Cake

I love the name and branding of this tea from David’s Tea.  It’s also a super-pretty (dry) tea, and without any caffeine, drinkable at any time of day… even if it’s not a special occasion!

Ice Cream Cake tea

Ice Cream Cake tea

This tea contains red and green rooibos, honeybush, freeze-dried ice cream bits, sprinkles, natural and artificial flavoring, and the allergens include milk, eggs, and soy.  The tea looks pretty dry, but it’s kind of a hot mess when you steep it up. I put it in my Teavana perfect tea maker, and the ice cream bits are all gooey and icky when the tea steeps up… definitely makes me glad that the tea maker is dishwasher-safe.

Ice Cream Cake tea

Ice Cream Cake tea

Dry, the tea smells sweet, and just a little bit smoky from the rooibos.  When steeped up though it’s just warm and delicious smelling. The taste is similar to a lot of David’s other ‘candy’-centric teas like Red Velvet Cake, Read My Lips, and Toasted Marshmallow – there’s a warm, soothing taste, with just a bit of sweet, even without adding sweetener.

The reviews on Steepster seem to be pretty much in line with my thoughts – it’s a tasty, sweet tea, but the additional ingredients make it somewhat gooey and messy.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Creme Caramel Rooibos

Creme Caramel Rooibos from David’s tea is one of the last teas left from the caffeine-free collection I received during the holidays. I actually thought that I had tried it before, but it looks like if I did, I didn’t record it in Happy Sushi Belly, so here’s a quick review of it too!

Creme Caramel Rooibos

Creme Caramel Rooibos

The tea’s initial scent follows through to the steeping scent and the taste of the tea itself – there is the slight caramel sweetness along with the scent and taste of rooibos ‘tea’.  The liquor is dark and rich, but the dry tea is pretty boring to look at – not chips of caramel, no petals of flowers, nothing textural really other than just the little reddish ‘leaves’.  The ingredient listing includes rooibos tea along with caramel pieces and artificial flavouring – but I didn’t really see any of those caramel pieces, so presume that much of the caramel flavour came from artificial means (unless the caramel was ground up very fine..)

Creme Caramel Rooibos

Creme Caramel Rooibos

Without sweetener, I really didn’t think that this tea was much of anything at all.  I shared it with a friend who usually doesn’t sweeten her tea, and she could taste the caramel flavour, however on a second cup, added sweetener to enhance the flavour.  With sweetener, I could definitely taste the warm, sweet, vaguely creamy taste of caramel in the tea.  We got five cups of tea out of the sample and it wasn’t starting to taste exhausted yet, which makes it a great tea for a big pot of tea… so this is one I might pick up more of … when I have a little more room in my tea cupboard!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2013 in Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Orange Blossom

The dry scent of David’s Tea Orange Blossom rooibos when dry doesn’t give a great idea of the amount of flavour  awaiting you!  Steeped up, the tea smells juicy, and has an almost ‘orange-drink’ scent, and the taste is similar – juicy, but a bit of a fake orange taste.  The tea itself also tastes similar to a black tea with a dark, smoky flavour (and just a slight bitterness) rather than a bright, crisp taste. There is a lot of flavour in this tea though, and if you like fruit-flavoured teas, you might really like this one.

Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom

The colour of the tea is dark, and almost ruby-red.  This is a very pretty tea steeped up, and I added a bit of sweetener to bring out the juicy flavour of the orange.

The tea is described as a “subtly sweet rooibos blend” with orange peel, orange blossoms, currants, “kissed with vanilla bean creaminess”.  Other ingredients include marigold blossoms, safflower petals,  and artificial flavouring.  Perhaps it’s that artificial flavouring that gives the tea a slightly fake orange taste?

Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in Tea & Beverages, Uncategorized

 

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Tea: Oh Canada

David’s Tea’s Oh Canada Tea is pretty cute – in terms of look (with tiny multi-coloured maple-leaf shaped candies) and description, promising the “taste of Canada” (provided by the flavour of maple syrup).  However, the tea falls flat.

Oh Canada

Oh Canada

Dry, the tea just smells like an ordinary rooibos tea, and steeped up, it isn’t much different. The taste follows suit.  If it wasn’t for the little candies I wouldn’t know the difference between this tea and a plain rooibos based on flavor and scent alone.  I added sweetener to my tea, and although it tastes nice, there really isn’t a unique flavour to it, and I couldn’t taste the maple syrup at all.

The ingredients are South African red and green rooibos tea, honeybush, caramel bits, toffee bits, candies, along with natural and artificial flavouring.  The allergens are listed as dairy, soy, and tree nuts – so there are also other ingredients in those additions…

I ended up adding my own maple syrup to the tea on the second infusion which brought a bit of the flavour I was looking for. I don’t really recommend this tea if you are looking for a flavoured rooibos – and if you are just looking for a plain rooibos, you’ll probably want to skip all of the additions.

Oh Canada

Oh Canada

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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Blends with Benefits

Not long ago I was looking through my mum’s November 2011 issue of Canadian Living magazine because she pointed out to me: Blends with Benefits.

The article discusses the different benefits that different types of tea can have for people with different health concerns, though oddly enough the article doesn’t really say what I would expect to read.  For instance, they recommend ginger tea for people who are having respiratory ailments – where I would normally expect to see ginger recommended for upset stomach.  For digestive problems they instead recommend rooibos tea.

So, here are the recommendations from the article.  Obviously the November issue isn’t on stands anymore, but the library might have a copy if you’re interested in reading more.

For anxiety: Chamomile tea
Calm down without zoning out with sedatives.  Cover the pot or cup while steeping to retain anti-inflammatory oils responsible for the calming effect; then can escape with the tea’s steam.

Buttercream tea from David's Tea

For weight control: White tea
The least processed tea may help prevent the growth of new fat cells while stimulating the break down of existing fat cells.

For those at risk for cardiovascular disease: Green tea
With lots of disease-fighting antioxidants, green tea is linked to heart-health benefits.  The article quotes a study that indicates that one of the antioxidants acts as an anti-inflammatory which protects the interior lining of  blood vessels.

For digestive problems: Rooibos tea
The article suggests 2-3 cups of tea per day of this naturally non-caffeinated tea because of anti-inflammatory properties which can relax stomach muscles and intestinal tissues.

Pomegranate Green tea from Teaopia

For those concerned about cancer: Green tea
The article suggests 2-3 cups per day of green tea, to take advantage of the anti-carcinogenic effects; catechins  that interfere with cell growth related to cancer development.

For hypertension: Hibiscus tea
I rarely see hibiscus tea available in shops by itself; only included in blends, however the article recommends it for those with high blood pressure. The article mentions a study where subjects drank 3 cups of this tea per day  and saw a reduction in blood pressure, perhaps due to an antioxidant responsible for widening blood vessels.

For respiratory ailments: Ginger tea
This is another that I rarely see by itself, but the article suggests that ginger tea dilates the bronchial tree and soothes airways.  This can also help those with asthma, and can suppress coughing.

General comments:

  • Loose leaf teas tend to have more antioxidants, and flavour, than bagged teas.
  • Steeping teas for at least 5 minutes increases the polyphenol content (though I personally wouldn’t agree with this, since a lot of teas get bitter if they are over-steeped). 
  • Dunking teas releases more flavonoids (antioxidants) into the water.
  • Decaffeinated teas may have lower levels of beneficial flavenoids
  • Tea can interfere with iron absorption, but the vitamin C in lemon added to the tea can counteract this.  (I presume that this iron absorption issue is with caffeinated teas?)
 
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Rooibos Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint Rooibos

I’ve been enjoying a lot of Rooibos teas lately – lots of flavours are out there, and since they have no caffeine, I don’t worry about drinking them late in the day.  One I picked up from my favorite tea shop in Banff is Rooibos Chocolate Mint.  Yep, I love all things chocolate, and this one is no exception.  The scent of the tea dry is amazing – a great blend of tea, chocolate, and mint.  Steeped, the tea definitly has a chocolate scent – without being overwhelmingly “chocolate”.  The flavor, once steeped is similar; the flavors of tea, chocolate, and mint all blend together really well.  I  add a pinch of sweetener, which makes it nicely sweet – but you can totally drink it plain as well.

Yummy chocolate mint tea!

I wasn’t able to find any non-commercial blogs about this tea – so if you’ve given it a try, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Banff Tea Co. on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Tea & Beverages

 

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Tea: Earl Grey Rooibos

Earl Grey with milk

I really like the idea behind small, independently owned tea shops, but it’s also exciting to see tea go ‘mainstream’ (I’m not sure how that’s possible when tea is the drink of choice all over the world, but in a country full of Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Second Cups, Good Earth Cafes & others, let’s just run with it….) and finding tea shops in major shopping centers alongside other national and international chains.

Teaopia is one of these chains – here in Calgary there are 5 locations, and they have other locations in BC, Ontario, and Manitoba, along with an online presence which sells in both Canadian and US dollars.  Not long ago I was at the Chinook Centre Teaopia, and picked up some Earl Grey Rooibos tea.

I adore the delicious flowery taste of bergamot found in Earl Grey teas, and mixing this with rooibos, which is naturally decaffeinated makes a tea that I can enjoy any time of the day, without worrying about the caffeine making for very weird dreams or a restless sleep.  Bergamot oil is also reported to be an anti-depressant, and helps with digestion – probably one of the reasons I always feel so calm and content when drinking it (or maybe just because it tastes so good)!  Also – rooibos tea is reported to be excellent for digestion as well.  Good to know if you don’t feel like eating a cup of belly-dancing yoghurt. 😉

Teaopia’s Earl Grey Rooibos is good – there’s a slight smoky taste that I find with most rooibos teas, but it’s not as strong as I’ve tasted (and smelled) with other teas.  Similarly, the bergamot flavor isn’t particularly strong either.  I likely would like this tea even more if the bergamot flavor was stronger.  There is a nice creamy taste however, and I enjoy it best with milk and sugar (like most of my black teas).  It steeps very dark and intense, but being a rooibos tea, I’ve found I don’t have to worry as much about over-steeping as I have with some of my black teas and most of my greens.

Steepster has a review of this tea as well, if you’re interested in another opinion!  If rooibos tea isn’t your thing, then check out this blog post from Tea for Two featuring Teaopia’s classic Earl Grey tea.

Have you tried Teaopia’s Earl Grey Rooibos? What did you think?  Comment below and let us know!

Teaopia on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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