91
drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

I thought this was a sipdown but according to my spreadsheet I have another cupful from my advent calandar! This is the last of my Santa’s Secret from the very generous WhatSheSaid. I’ve drank this so many times and never written up a note, apparently! I don’t know why this still surprises me, I was terrible at writing up notes while I was at uni – I would have 5 or 6 cups of tea a day and only log one. I bet that’s actually preferable to me logging so many teas and clogging everyone’s dashes.

Mmmm… probably my favourite Christmas tea. If you look at my ‘tea-dislikes’ you’ll see I’m not big on spices (unless with pumpkin) and so most holiday blends are a no-go for me. Candy canes though are one of those things that just epitomises the season, you know? As soon as you taste one you know that the holidays are coming. And this tea gets the candy cane flavour bang on, without the tea being pushed to the background. The mint and the creamy vanilla are sooo good together, and if I add a little sugar it’s like I melted an actual candy cane right into a cup of tea. I overleafed a little (I had almost 2 tsps but not quite, so I used it all in a 12oz mug) and left it for over 6 minutes and I’m still getting no astringency from the base tea, which is incredible to me. The creaminess is so pronounced that I didn’t add any milk and I’m drinking this black, which again is super rare for me in black teas. It’s the first time I’ve drank it without milk, though, and I know it can take it well. I just can’t think of anything that I don’t like about this tea.

I’m going to have to come up with something creamy-minty to replace this with, since DAVIDs isn’t readily available to me. Oh US and Canada, how I envy you.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

South Shields, UK

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