A Year of DavidsTea’s Tea Tasting Club

A Year of DavidsTea’s Tea Tasting Club

It’s been awhile since I wrote about tea. Long enough that it may have seemed I didn’t intend to write more. But never fear! I will always have time (and the desire) to talk about tea. I have simply been waiting for the right moment.

A year ago, for my birthday, my mother-in-law gifted me with a DavidsTea’s subscription. Rather than monthly, they put together 4 gift boxes each year. They are seasonally themed. And because you only get 4 they’re pretty generous with their inclusions.

As soon as I heard what awaited me, I got excited. I’ve done several tea advent calendars over the years and find they’re a great way to discover new teas. Especially since loose leaf teas quickly get expensive, and I always hesitate to buy a full 50 grams of something I’m not sure I’ll enjoy.

The trouble is, advent calendars tend to include a lot of community favorites. So after a few years, most of the teas included stop being new. The subscription service sounded like a great way to discover new things without the repeats.

And as luck would have it, that’s exactly how it worked out!

The Summer Subscription Box (2021)

My first box arrived shortly before my birthday. (Bonus!) They seem to send each box out slightly in advance of the collection’s release. Probably so that you’ll buy the teas when they go live. This initial box came with 8 teas, a steeping guide with ideas for how to use the teas beyond just a hot cuppa, and a collection of cute color-changing cups.

The teas for summer of 2021 were: Blueberry Fields Forever, Bumbleberry Burst, Hibiscus Splash, Maui Madness, Oat Milk Latte, Peach Zing, Pink Flamingo, and Strawberry Lemonade.

The steeping guide provided recipes for popsicles – which is a great idea – and also a rum cocktail which I rather enjoyed.

As expected, not all of these teas were winners. The Peach Zing was particularly disappointing. It was mostly zing with almost no peach flavor. But it was comprised of peach and ginger, so that doesn’t really surprise me. Peach can be a very delicate flavor and ginger overpowers easily.

I did enjoy most of these teas, however. After initial hot cups, most of them went into my cold tea press and turned into delightful pitchers of iced tea.

For me, the standouts from this box were the Hibiscus Splash, Maui Madness and Oat Milk Latte – all three of which I went on to purchase. I expect to drink a lot of the Hibiscus and Maui blends when it gets ultra hot this summer.

I’ve added the Oat Milk Latte to my regular rotation and hope to always keep a small stash of it on hand. It’s delightful. It really does taste like a creamy cafe coffee, especially if you add a sprinkle of actual oat milk to the cup.

The Fall Box Subscription (2021)

The teas included in my second box were: Coffee Pu’erh, Candy Apple, Dark Chocolate Orange, Pumpkin Earl Grey, Blueberry Pancakes, Sleepy Lychee, Wild Grown Rooibos, and Honeycomb Chai.

The box also included single teabags of S’mores Chai and Pomegrateful, plus a metal steeper that fits nicely into most mugs and a package of teabag filters.

My favorite thing about this box was actually the steeper. I have one of those steepers that will dispense the tea out of the bottom while filtering the leaves. But my husband always had to use tea bags whenever he wanted a cup at the same time. Now I can use the steeper for him. It doesn’t quite work with wide rim mugs, but I can just about cheat it if I’m careful.

This actually ended up being my favorite box. Fall flavors suit my personal pallet best and make some of my favorite teas.

I don’t think there was tea I didn’t like in this box. The Pumpkin Earl Grey wasn’t my favorite pumpkin blend. But my husband rather liked it. And since I can’t drink the Pumpkin Chai anymore (it contains dairy), it’s made a nice replacement.

The most surprising tea was the Blueberry Pancakes. I never realized a drink could taste exactly like eating pancakes!

My favorite was the Coffee Pu’reh. Dang is it ever good! However, I haven’t allowed myself to buy any. I have to be careful about my caffeine intake, and I worry that way leads to madness.

The Dark Chocolate Orange has gone into my regular rotation however!

The Winter Subscription Box (2021)

In contrast to the fall box, the winter box was my least favorite. I’m just not a fan of the flavors. Mint is extremely popular in winter blends, and I just don’t like mint teas. I also just don’t like winter spices as much as fall spices. Though I was surprised how much coconut appeared in this box.

The teas were: Organic Mother’s Little Helper, Chocolate Chili Chai, Nordic Berry, Merry Mistletoe, Silverbell Oolong, Caramel Shortbread, and Elf Help.

There were also another pair of individual teabags, this time Hazelnut Chocolate and North African Mint. The extra this time was a sparkly bubble cup.

I still haven’t figured out what a bubble cup is. (I think it has an extra layer so if you pour hot liquid in it, it won’t burn you.) But it’s cute at least.

I’ve already tried Mother’s Little Helper out of an advent calendar. It’s more of an herbal remedy than a tea you sip for fun. I’m happy to have it in my cupboard in case I ever need it. But I also kind of hope I never need it.

I actually have yet to try the Silverbell Oolong and Caramel Shortbread because both contain dairy, which is difficult for me to tackle sometimes. (My pills don’t work as well with drinks as they do with food.) So I might have to revisit those another day.

But you begin to see how this box didn’t really suit me. Most of the rest of the teas are okay, but I wasn’t particularly excited about them. Nordic Berry went into the ice tea press.

Chocolate Chili Chai is already one of my always have on hand teas, so that went directly into the stash!

The Spring Box (2022)

At this point in my subscription, David’s made some changes to their packaging and shipping process. Instead of sending a large box, they sent a more compact envelope containing just the packages of tea. This means there haven’t been any extras. But the change is supposed to be more environmentally friendly – which I do like – and it has been easier to recycle the new packaging than to deal with the older boxes.

Teas for this box included: Blueberry Vanilla, Gaba Guava, Very Cherry, Chocolate Rocket Explosion, Pink Velvet Cake, Monkey Business, Guangzhou Milk Oolong, and Reishi Relax.

I haven’t managed to try the Pink Velvet Cake yet because, you guessed it, there’s dairy in it. But I liked most of these teas. Most of them are fruity and actually quite refreshing.

The most interesting tea in this box is by far the Guangzhou Milk Oolong – which does not actually contain any milk. It’s called ‘milk tea’ because of its origin story. Apparently the moon kissed these tea leaves with its tears, imparting its silky, milky flavor. And you know what? It does kind of taste a little like milk! I haven’t added this to my collection yet, but I wouldn’t be opposed to acquiring more.

The Blueberry Vanilla has been added to my stash for summer iced teas. But my favorite from this box by far was the Monkey Business. If you’ve ever eaten the Ben and Jerry’s blend ‘chunky monkey,’ this tea pretty much tastes like a warm version of that. I love it!

An Unexpected Surprise

I expected that to be the end of my David’s subscription experience. But the Summer 2022 envelope appeared in my mailbox a few weeks ago. I’ll never complain about new teas!

The teas this time around were: Whipped Coconut Green Tea, Jessie’s Tea Rooibos, Maracuja Mango Black Tea, Peach Pucker Black Tea, Strawberry Kiwi Capri White Tea, Wild Raspberry Green Tea, Dragonfruit Aloe Herbal Tea, and Organic Zen Pearls White Tea.

I haven’t had a chance to try most of these because the box only just arrived at the time of writing. So we’ll probably have to revisit these particular teas another time. But I’m excited. The Zen Pearls were really delicious, and I’m curious to discover what “Jessie’s Tea” is.

I’m both surprised and pleased to see that there aren’t any repeats in the spring boxes, which means you could probably get a few years out of the subscription before you encountered things you’d already tried.

I enjoyed my David’sTea subscription experience, but I’m also looking forward to trying another one from somewhere else. (More on that another blog!)

What’s your favorite way to try new teas?

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