Steeped gongfu in my Houjicha dedicated yixing pot.

Thank you Starfevre for sharing this – it feels like ages ago you did, so I’m sorry I’m just now getting around to trying it…

This is from last Sunday; I had a whole giant tea picnic planned that I was going to take to the park, but it was ridiculously windy outside so rather than cancel everything or try to have a peaceful session outside during a dust storm I just had an indoor picnic instead. So in addition to steeping up this tea, I also had freshly sliced mangoes (a suggestion from Togo, I believe, to pair with my houjicha) as well as cannolis!


The tea was nice; it immediately brewed up super strong. This is a fairly dark roast on a houjicha and the leaf itself is so stemmy – so that roastiness is immediately prevalent in the cup. It’s definitely a soba cha/roasted barley sort of profile primarily but it has the caramel/roasted nut notes that are often present in houjicha as well. Oddly, I found this almost boozy too, and I’m not totally sure what that flavour note was coming from but it was quite interesting, tasty, and complex. I felt like I was getting a big hug with each slurp of tea!

The cannoli was just perfect as a pairing; sweet pastry and creamy filling with dark roasted barley notes? Obviously that’s going to be a win. The mango was interesting; I actually enjoyed the two together quite a bit but it’s certainly not the sort of pairing I would have ever thought to put together on my own and I’m not totally sure why it worked either. I guess maybe the “pineapple and ham” effect where they’re just so different from one another that they come together perfectly!? It reminded me, though, of drinking one of Lupicia’s roasted barley teas that have the added fruit flavours: those are so dense and heavily roasted that they’re almost like black coffee and the fruit flavours are usually sweet and syrupy, so it’s like adding a flavour shot to black coffee. Incredibly strange – but still good in an unusual type of way. That was my experience with the tea and mango together…

Lovely indoor picnic though! It would have been nicer outdoors, but I’m just happy that I still made it happen in general.

Song Pairing:

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Hello! My name is Kelly, though many people in the tea community call me Ros or Roswell.

I am a mid-twenties tea addict, blogger, and all around nerd. I grew up in the Prairies, but a few years ago I relocated to Quebec to pursue a career with DAVIDsTEA in the tea industry! I’m still working on getting my French language skills down…

My first introduction to tea, in any form outside of instant and bottled iced tea, was about seven years ago when I happened to stumble upon DAVIDsTEA while looking for a birthday present for a friend! I tried their Birthday Cake rooibos blend, and I’ve been hooked on tea ever since! In those seven years; I was introduced to the online tea community, expanded my interest in flavoured teas to include a deep love and appreciation for straight teas and traditional brewing methods, got a tea themed tattoo, started reviewing teas, amassed a sizable tea and teaware collection, became a TAC certified Tea Sommelier, & even came full circle by beginning a career in the tea industry with DAVIDsTEA!

I consider myself a Jack of all Teas, and strive to have a knowledge and appreciation of all tea types, formats, and styles of drinking. I don’t like to feel boxed in to just being a “flavoured tea” or “straight tea” drinker – my expectations may vary depending on the type of tea or how it’s been processed/prepared but if it’s good tea, it’s good tea no matter how it’s been made!

You name it, I probably drink it- and I’ll absolutely try anything at least once.

My default method of preparation is hot, Western style, and straight – but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea or use a different method of preparation I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gongfu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

I’m also one half of the “tea and fandom” podcast GeekSteep where, weekly, we discuss newly explored fandoms over tea as well as try to figure out the perfect tea to pair with each fandom. You can find us on Spotify and Apple & Google podcasts.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, hazelnut or walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strongly spiced profiles (and most Chai in general), mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, stevia, saltiness or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Please contact me at the instagram account listed below if you would like me to review your teas.

Currently I’m employed in the tea department of the DAVIDsTEA head office. While I’m still sharing my own personal thoughts on new & existing DAVIDsTEA blends, I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any comments expressed are a reflection of my own thoughts and opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company. Any DAVIDsTEA blends you currently see with a numeric score were reviewed prior to my being hired there and have not been adjusted since becoming a DAVIDsTEA employee.


Montreal, QC, CA


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