Unboxing My First T By Daniel Order

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Recently T by Daniel had a sale on their website for 50% off loose leaf tea. They are located in Brampton, Ontario and I had never tried them before, but have heard great things; so I decided to give it a try. My haul arrived in the mail a couple of days ago, Ollie and I could not wait to get the box open.

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When I ordered, I received a very nice email from co-owner Renata (T by Daniel was started by husband and wife team Daniel and Renata Lewis), letting me know that due to the sale there was a large influx in online orders and that shipment may not be as quick as it usually is. This was understandable and I was happy to wait. Only 3 days later I got another email letting me know my order had shipped, and it was at my door the next day. I was very impressed with how quickly I received my tea.

 
When I opened the box the first thing I found was a handwritten note from the T by Daniel team thanking me for my order, such a nice touch! Sitting under that were some free samples of “Cherry Me Up!” “Chocolate Candy Cane” both Rooibos teas and “Chocolate Marteani” a black tea. Also in the box was a card with “5 reasons you should drink more tea” on one side and a coupon code for 10% off my next order on the other side.

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Another addition to the order was a to-go cup that you would receive when buying a drink in the store, with my new nickname “RoboCop Rachel” written at the bottom. All of these additions and details really showed off T by Daniels amazing customer service and fun personality.

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I generally do not drink a lot of flavoured teas, I try them now and then but usually find I am not blown away and prefer to drink straight teas. When browsing the T by Daniel website I quickly noticed that all except one black tea were flavoured teas, but some flavours sounded too good to be true, so I stayed open minded.

What I ordered:
“The Brits” This was the only tea available that was not flavoured. It is a mix of Assam black tea and Chinese black tea. This sounded like it would be right up my alley. This is a smooth tea, easy to drink, and would be great for adding milk to.

“Mr. Fuzzy Peach” Fuzzy peaches are my favorite candy so I had to give this one a try. A rooibos based tea with blackberry leaves, calendula petals and natural peach flavour. This is the first one of the bunch that I tried, I made a pitcher of iced tea as I prefer fruity teas when they are cold. Very tasty with a strong peach flavor, I made my tea without sugar as rooibos has a natural sweetness on its own and I do not like my tea sweet. If I had used sugar this would have definitely tasted more like the candy and would be a great treat for kids or candy loving adults.

“Strawberry Champagne” Oolong tea with safflower petals, strawberry and papaya pieces, and natural flavours. I love oolong tea and this one sounded like it would be a refreshing iced tea, can’t wait to try it.

“Ginger Fruit Loops” People have told me that this tea tastes exactly like froot loops, I had to try it out for myself. This is an herbal tea with lemongrass, ginger, and orange. I have not had a chance to try this one yet, but it does smell an awful lot like froot loops.

I was impressed both with the flavors of tea and with the appreciation that they show to their customers, I would definitely order from T by Daniel again when I am in the mood for some great flavored teas.

TEAview: Charcoal Roasted Oolong

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At this year’s Toronto Tea Festival I picked up a pouch of Alishan Charcoal Roasted Oolong from Genuine Tea. I am a fan of darker oxidized oolong teas and this one boasted a strong smoky flavour and caramelized sweetness. This award winning oolong tea grows on the famous Ali mountain in Taiwan at an elevation of 2000m.  Genuine Tea sell this for $12 for 25 grams, it is on sale right now for $9 so if you are interested in giving it a try now is a good time.

This tea is a GABA tea, this stands for Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. GABA teas are exposed to nitrogen instead of oxygen during the oxidation process, as a result they accumulate GABA in the leaves. You may be asking yourself “what is GABA?”, just as I was a few moments ago. GABA is an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. In the brain it inhibits nerve transmission, this calms nervous activity. Some people take GABA as a supplement and believe that it has many benefits to it, some of these proposed benefits include: reducing high blood pressure, relieving stress and anxiety, increasing mental alertness and energy levels and many many more.

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I opened the package to find tightly rolled leaves, mostly uniform in size and color. The smokey smell coming from the dry leaves already very strong, I knew that the steeped liquor was going to have a powerful flavor.

To steep I reached for my gaiwan (a Chinese vessel for infusing tea leaves, consisting of a bowl with lid and saucer). I did 9 steepings at 195o Fahrenheit (90o Celsius), starting with 45 seconds for the first infusion and adding 15 seconds for each following infusion. The next day I steeped this tea again this time using the small tea pot shown in these photos.

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The first cup had a very strong toasted roasty flavor, it was earthy, smooth and creamy with notes or charcoal, nuts and sweetness. The smokey flavors started to mellow around the 4th steeping, the nutty sweet flavors became slightly less prominent and I could now taste some floral notes starting to emerge. This point was my favorite in the steepings, I enjoyed the mix of the nutty and floral flavors with the smokey flavor now more subtle but still clear in the background.

I enjoyed this tea a lot though it is not a tea that I would drink on a daily basis. Because this tea has such comforting flavors I would reach for this tea on days that I need something special to help me relax and recharge.