Whoever the hell David is, David’s Tea, or DAVIDs TEA, to use the clearly incorrect and rather silly mix of upper and lower case they seem to prefer*, has been on my radar for years.
My friend Nicole Martin works for them now, or is about to, or there was something about a fire or whatever. In New York, though, which is too far to drive.
OK, I’m all over the place. This is my first review blog for months, and only my fourth blog in three months, which is a shamefully slow output, but then, I had my reasons.
So, Day 2 in Canada, a shopping mall in Calgary, and it’s snowing. Yes, snowing- something I have never seen before.
After arriving at the mall – with its very civilised heated underground car park – and ingesting some sort of sticky cinnamonish thing, we found a David’s Tea. It was closed as it was about 9.30, which is apparently “too early” for these slackers. So we continued on, and it took ages to get back to it, which is also a description of the first five paragraphs of this blog. Just helping you all to feel like you were there.
In the meantime, we walked past a Teavana, which looked much more inviting to the unwary, but as we all know, is not my cup of tea. Also somewhere called “Second Cup” that was peddling teab*gs at outrageous prices.
So, returning to David’s, it was quite busy.
The first obvious observation was that the tea was expensive, and that the store layout was really, really dull.
Maybe I mean utilitarian? No, I mean dull. Dull walls, dull tins with a simple colour coding system. Actually, the colour coding works. Whitish for white tea, green for green, black for black, red for rooibos, and then an arbitrary blue for oolong, yellow for herbals and purple for matè. As opposed to simply binning that last choice.
I was with Lady Devotea and our eldest son, who is not the one I usually refer to as Devotea Jnr, as he does not drink enough tea to be worthy of the title. When he does drink tea, he tends to prefer Chinese greens and whites or an Earl Grey.
Whilst they lurked, I decided to randomly pick three hot teas, and let them choose which they wanted. Of course, I would have a sly taste of each.
So, I did.
I picked a North African Mint with cardamom and ginger, a Crème Brûlée Rooibos and a “wild” Yunnan.
I looked up the wild Yunnan afterwards, and here’s what they say:
“In Yunnan province in southern China, ancient tea trees still grow wild in the forests. They can be hundreds, even thousands, of years old. Purists rave about the rich brown colour of the steeped tea, the aroma of sweet forest floor, the clean, natural finish. Our wild black Yunnan uses small, new leaves plucked from wild-growing trees, tightly twisted to preserve their natural flavour”.
It raises some questions: Who are these ‘purists’. Why are they so ‘pure’ about this? What’s impure about properly grown and harvested tea?
Anyway, I was served by a very pleasant young lady and shortly had three teas. Lady D went with the Crème Brûlée Rooibos, Devotea Jnr The Elder** plumped for the minty one and I got the Yunnan.
Starting with the Yunnan it was rather, er, Yunnan. It wasn’t as wild as I would have liked. I didn’t suddenly feel pure. It was just a medium quality Yunnan.
I’m sure it would have been better had it not been in a massive paper cup. A better takeaway cup would be thicker walled and maybe half the size. It was also dangerously hot for such a container.
The minty one had a lot of cardamon up front, and a lot of mint at the back. The ginger was AWOL. Too many people are wary of ginger and this was underdone. The overall effect was OK but basically, I wanted the ginger I was promised.
The crème brûlée Rooibos was a clear winner. Lady D drank it “black” (do I mean “red”?) but with a little sugar. Really clever blending.
So, overall, I’m finding it hard to judge. Not worthy of either a rating on my positive scale or a fuel can score yet – I think another visit is in order.
Better than Teavana, certainly, but then that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Dammit, I’m just going to have to go back for more. Stay tuned. Feel free to suggest some favourites.
* Canadians! It’s Katherine Dawn Lang all over again.
** Yes, that works.