My recently acquired 17 varieties of Davids Tea: Shanti Ayurvedic, The Glow, Forever Nuts, Fired Up Fennel, Goji Pop, Kapha Ayurvedic, Pitta Ayurvedic, Sweet Ginger Heat, Licorice Twist, Genmaicha, Butterly Jasmine, Jasmine Silver Needles, Secret Weapon, Long Life Oolong, Quangzhou Milk Oolong, Jade Oolong Chai and Coco Chai Rooibos.
Ok, so I went a little overboard with Davids Teas recently… It all started when a friend of mine mentioned her favourite herbal tea on her blog, and I realized I could order from Davids Tea online (this might be one of the geekiest sentences I’ve ever written). I ended up making three orders within one month for 17 different varieties of tea. Although I now have to buy a new cabinet to store all the herbal, white, green, oolong and rooibos teas I ordered (remember, I live in a small loft with limited kitchen storage), this latest fixation has allowed me to go from clueless to well-versed in the tea universe. And given Davids Tea is quite the rage these days, I thought I would share my “faves” and “fails” to help you make an informed decision when faced with the hundreds of tins on your next visit to one of their adorable shops.
Among the 17 kinds of teas I’ve tasted, I’ve narrowed it down to 7 favourites based on what I am in the mood for, 5 “so-so” teas that leave me somewhat indifferent and 5 fails that I really dislike.
My all-around favourite from David's Tea
Herbal tea from the ayurvedic (or natural remedy) line, caffeine free, $6.50 for 50 g
This is my all-around favourite tea. I tend to like chai teas and this one has a similar taste thanks to star anise, but is much more mellow and sweeter with fennel seeds and licorice root. The peppermint and lemongrass make for the perfect counterpoint to all the spices and brighten everything up. The tea gets its name, which means “peace within”, from the Holy basil it features. It is currently (and often) sold out, so be on the lookout for it if you are interested. When I purchased this batch, it was only available online.
Herbal tea, caffeine free, $6.50 for 50 g
This is a personal favourite that might not appeal to everyone. It has a very strong taste of anise and fennel seeds, but also includes spices like ginger, peppermint, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves that give this tea a depth of flavour that I keep returning to. If you like anise seed and licorice flavour, this is one for you.
Organic the Glow
Herbal tea, caffeine free, $7 for 50 g
Although the packaging describes it as “floral”, I think it’s on the sweeter side. It’s billed as Davids Tea’s beauty elixir and includes natural complexion enhancers like cinnamon, rose petals, rosehip, rooibos and jasmine. Does it work? I’m still skeptical but it looks, smells and tastes great! And I love the fact that it’s all organic.
Herbal tea, caffeine-free, $6.75 for 50 g
Part of Davids Tea’s Voters Choice Selection, this tea has been a hit with everyone I’ve served it to. It’s sweet and slightly tangy and I think it would also make a great iced-tea. It features goji berries – a super food, apples, hibiscus, rosehip peel, honeydew, marigold petals and − unfortunately − artificial flavouring. I was very surprised to see this ingredient in many of the teas I ordered as well as in a number of customer favourites. It will definitely make me think twice about ordering this tea again, even though it is high on my list of favourites. For more information on artificial flavouring in Davids Tea, read their FAQ.
Quangzhou milk oolong
Oolong tea, medium caffeine, $9 for 25 g
This tea knocked my socks off. I was looking to get away from herbal teas and enter the world of “real” teas when I ordered it. I decided to go with an oolong tea because they are known to be easy on newbies. It is described as velvety smooth and lightly creamy with a subtle hint of orchid. I was doubtful that I would be able to detect any of that, but upon opening the bag I was immediately hit with a sweet milky and delicately floral scent. If you are looking to try something new, this is the tea I would recommend. It’s limited-edition so if you’re interested better act fast!
Green tea, medium caffeine, $10 for 25 g
If you like jasmine tea, this is one to try. It’s described as “perhaps the finest jasmine we’ve ever tasted” by the Davids Tea team and I can second the statement. It starts with Chinese green tea which is layered with jasmine petals night after night to achieve a very deep scent and flavour. Its name comes from the shape given to the tea leaves when bound together by hand into small butterflies. It is beautiful in addition to being extremely fragrant.
Green tea, low caffeine, $5 for 50 g
I was on the fence about including this one in my faves because it has a very subtle taste. What convinced me is how easy it goes down and how versatile it is. It seems to suit whatever mood I am in. I enjoy it mid-day at work or right before hitting the sack. When I don’t want a strong taste but more something comforting, I turn to this tea. It is known as the “popcorn” green tea because it contains roasted grains of rice that lend it a nutty flavour. If you want to start drinking green tea but aren’t a big fan of its strong, funky taste, this tea is a good place to start.
I won’t go into too much detail about these teas, but I will say that many of the teas I disliked contained artificial flavouring which turned me off big time.
My personal dislikes: Secret weapon, Long life oolong and Forever nuts.
Forever nuts, which happens to be one of Davids Tea’s top 3 best-sellers, has a sweet, nutty scent to it. Unfortunately, I thought it tasted very fake once infused… The pink colour didn’t help either.
Secret weapon sounded great on paper with ingredients like almonds, licorice and goji berries, but I knew it would be a fail as soon as I opened the package. To me - and this is very personal - it had a smell of mold and almond extract… The taste was similar.
Long life oolong was my first attempt at oolong. Peaches, apricots and almonds seemed like the perfect pairing, but the tea ended up smelling and tasting like fuzzy peach candy. If that sounds good to you, go for it! But that’s not what I was after when I chose this tea.
What’s your favourite brew – Davids Tea or otherwise? As far as chai teas go, I have a soft spot in my heart for Bengal Spice from Celestial Seasonings. Mmm… Just like Christmas in a cup!
If you are looking for a recommendation among the teas I’ve tried, feel free to ask. Just drop me a note and tell me what you like.
Full disclosure: No one at Davids Tea has ever approached me to talk about their teas. Although my boyfriend makes fun of me for it, I paid for all of these teas in full. I simply figured given I’d spent all this money on tea, I’d share my new-found insight with you.