A Happy Kombucha From David’s Tea = A Happy Deb! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 011

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DSCN2444I know, I know.  It’s summer, not spring and we’re closing in on Canada Day, not Easter.  So theoretically, I should be posting photos of an awesome summer haul, right?  In theory, yes.  But when you’re sipping tea left and right and trying your best to keep up with the dizzying array of delicious options available, you’re going to fall behind.  I’m still bummed about not exhausting the spring collection before it went off the shelves!  So I’m playing a bit of catch-up right now with my sets.  I FINALLY cracked this baby open (in my defense, it’s only been 2 months, not 2 years!) and played around with the adorable peek-a-boo egg-shaped flaps and tea tins in this cute-as-a-button 12-tea set which includes favourites such as Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Macaroon, Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait, Lime Gelato, Chocolate Rocket and more.

I wanted to try something different though so I decided to try the Happy Kombucha tea ($9.75 for 50g in-store and online), an Oolong with mango, pineapple, kombucha powder, and safflower and HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL is it ever fruity and refreshing and delicious!  To me, it tastes similar to the Long Life Oolong but with more of a tropical twist to it as opposed to a peaches and cream and with a subtle sweet tea scent and flavour mixed in as well.  Its looks are deceiving; in appearance it looks like a mix of rolled tea leaves with chili flakes and sundried tomatoes but in taste it is all brightness and fruitiness.  I instantly loved it and it’s now on my list of favourites.

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I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “well, you love everything!”.  I actually don’t.  There are a bunch of teas I’ve tried that I don’t care for and that I wouldn’t buy or bother to drink again.  I only post about the things I love because ranting or focusing on the things I don’t is a waste of my time and energy and it’s funner to talk about things I enjoy.  So if any of you ever want to know which teas I’m not fond of, pop me a message and I’ll message you back privately with my honest opinion, no holds barred!

Lovey-doveyness aside, Happy Kombucha is truly where it’s at for a yummy summer iced tea option.  It’s a fab tea and its name is fun to say!  At first, I thought kombucha was just a fun name but I looked it up online and found out that it’s actually a type of tea that goes through a fermentation process with all sorts of probiotic and bacteria culture stuff going on.  For more info on kombucha, check out this great blog called The Kitchn where Emma explains the food science behind it with great photos and descriptions.  Drinking this amazing tea totally made my day.

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An Intro to Deb’s Tea Journal & Scrapbook & the Favourite David’s Tea List – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 005

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I’m going to tell you all a story about my beloved Five Star coil-bound plain white paper notebooks, the ones I’ve used to create and house two very special scrapbooks.  It was the summer of 2003, the summer I graduated from high school.  Me, my best friend, and another high school friend were at the mall one lazy summer day when we decided to stop by Wal-Mart.  For whatever reason, we meandered into the stationery section where we stumbled on these plain and simple Five Star notebooks.  They had a sturdy dark green cover, a large metal coil, and the most luscious (yes, luscious) plain white perforated paper.  Pages of pure white, bursting with endless possibilities for all sorts of art projects.  We saw them and we knew we all had to get one.  They were just too perfect to pass up.  They weren’t lined, they weren’t too thick or too thin, they weren’t held together with staples or glue and the price was pretty darn decent at $3 a pop.  So there we were, 3 girls out of high school and university-bound, lining up at the cash single file waiting to pay for the exact same notebook.  When we left with our identical purchases, I asked my friend what she was going to do with hers.  “Fill it with memories, I guess.”

And that was the plan, to make scrapbooks that were uniquely our own, each telling our own special stories.  While my best friend and other friend never ended up using it for this purpose (I know, I asked out of curiosity), I went to town with mine, creating a personal, visual time capsule using photos and magazine cut-outs and stickers and stationery to tell the story of what high school was like, what my life was like, and everything that embodied what I loved and who I was at that point in time.  I poured myself into it, creating layouts of birthdays parties, prom, Christmas get-togethers, fun things that happened in high school.  It became a pet project near and dear to my heart at the tender age of 18.  I loved the notebook I used so much that I actually went back soon after to buy another one, this time with a dark teal cover.  And it is this 2nd notebook that now houses my new and beloved Tea Journal and Scrapbook.

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Check out how THICK the scrapbook has gotten!  The pages add up fast!

Check out how THICK the scrapbook has gotten! The pages add up fast!

I know it’s a bit of a departure from my blog’s namesake (hi 8×8 scrapbooking!), but I wanted to do something different and I wanted everything in one cohesive package.  Working on my latest scrapbook project, my tea journal and scrapbook, has been one of the best things in my life for the past few months.  It’s been so much fun and such an amazing creative outlet creating a gazillion layouts chronicling my afternoon tea adventures, teatime recipes from magazines, tea-inspired food, and my favourite teas and tea experiences.  And just like that first Five Star notebook scrapbook, I poured my heart and soul into it.  It’s a reflection of who I am (or at least part of who I am) and how deeply I have fallen in love with all things tea in the last 5 years.  It’s been so much fun that in hindsight, I should have bought 5 more notebooks!  I only have 5 more pages, front and back, left and still plenty of scrapbook layouts to do so I am on the hunt for another one (or three).

While I’ve plowed through a ton of photos and layouts, some pages are still a work in progress, but for good reason: these pages are growing lists of my favourite teas from different shops and brands!  I had a jolly good time adding a few more favourites to my David’s Tea layout recently and creating the layout in general.  I wanted it colourful and punchy so I used some bright and fun scrapbook paper that would stand out but at the same time be a good backdrop to plain white paper and text.  And to be resourceful, I punched out the teal circles and cut out the David’s Tea logo from an actual David’s Tea bag!  Here are some photos of my scrapbook cover page and David’s Tea scrapbook layout, as well as an updated list of my favourite teas!

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Deb’s Updated List of Favourite Tea from David’s Tea:

  • Baked Apple (herbal tea, Winter 2010/11)
  • Birthday Cake (rooibos tea)
  • Blueberry Jam (black tea)
  • Chocolate Rocket (mate tea)
  • Coco-Lemon Thai (white tea)
  • Coffee Cake (black tea, Winter 2013/14)
  • Creme Brulee (rooibos tea)
  • Fantasy Island (black tea)
  • Lime Gelato (green tea)
  • Long Life Oolong (oolong tea)
  • Mango Lassi (herbal tea)
  • Mom’s Apple Pie (green tea, Fall 2013)
  • Pink Lemonade (rooibos tea)
  • Red Velvet Cake (black tea)
  • Shooting Star Fruit (white tea, Summer 2014)
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait (herbal tea)
  • Toasted Walnut (green tea)
  • White Chocolate Frost (herbal tea, Winter 2013/14)

Soaking Up Summer at David’s Tea – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 004

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A recent Sick Kids Hospital & David's Tea collab!

A recent Sick Kids Hospital & David’s Tea collab!

I’m almost positive I’m in the minority on this one: I’ve never been a coffee drinker.  Ever.  While most people line up at Timmy’s or Starbucks or Second Cup for their morning java (or just make it themselves at home), I’m usually either noshing on a breakfast wrap or sipping on a cup of tea.  Or both.  Coffee just hasn’t captured my heart the way it has almost everybody else.  Even so, I know how deeply folks (like my mum!) love their coffee and how the morning jolt or two is crucial to functioning for the rest of the day.  And I’ve always found it amusing.

I think I finally know what that feels like now – only with tea.  I don’t feel right unless I get my weekend fix of David’s Tea.  I make myself a cup of tea at home most days but on weekends I’m talking literally walking into a David’s Tea and getting myself a hot or iced cup of whatever flavour I happen to be craving at that particular moment.  I am at odds with myself now if I go a weekend without a visit.  Which is not to say I’ll start exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal like twitching if I don’t get my fix but I will certainly show signs of dissatisfaction like, you know, pouting.  Going to David’s Tea is just too much fun – the window shopping (and of course real shopping when I do my hauls), the sampling, the adorable themes, sets and accessories, the cute chalkboard promos (see the Sick Kids one up top!  This one was from two weeks ago) and the tea drinking.  You should see my tea menu.  So many scribbles and notes on all the teas I’ve drank so far, my favourites, my not-as-favourites, the teas I still need to try, the ones I’ve bought, possible ones my best friend would love, the ones my brother has tried and loved…yeah.  It’s a scribbly mess and I love it.

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So, I’ve been making my weekend/weekly jaunt to David’s Tea and enjoying the lusciousness that is their summer collection.  I am SO in love with this collection and I’ve actually been trying it out for a few weeks now, knocking them down one by one.  The summer packaging and accessories are so bright and punchy and fun (watermelons!  pineapples!  palm trees!) and the seasonal flavours are really great.  I’ve tried 4 so far: Shooting Star Fruit, Just Peachy, Mango Fruit Punch and the June Flavour of the Month, Hot Tropic which I actually tried today (it tastes like a mango pina colada!) and my absolute fave is the Shooting Star Fruit with honourable nods and mentions for the Just Peachy and Hot Tropic for also being awesome.

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You’d think things would get boring for me making a visit once a week but they truly don’t because there are constantly new things being introduced and a slightly different selection to drool over based on the location.  It’s insane.  Along with the slew of new summer seasonal stuff (including the iced teas, pitchers, steepers, mugs, teapots and pitcher packs), there’s the June Flavour of the Month, tea flavoured chocolate bars, end-of-the-school-year teacher’s set, fun new tea blends, and even tea biscuits and cookies by the box!  I absolutely cannot wait until I make my actual summertime haul of goodies.  Until then I’ll be happily drinking, scribbling, and scrapbooking away.

It’s Crisp, It’s Fall, It’s a Wonderful Time for a David’s Tea Haul! Fall Tea & Wishlist Goodies

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So I’m just a teensy bit more obsessed with tea since the last time we talked.  Just a teensy bit.  I’ve been daydreaming about all the luxurious things I want to order from Harney & Sons, like the Orange Spice Gift Set with the white polka-dotted orange teapot (how freakin’ adorable is this??), white “knitted tea cozy” mug (even CUTER OMG) and about 6 tins of loose leaf tea (because, you know, I eventually want to swim in all of it).  I’ve been hemming and hawwing over what flavours of tea to order from Tea at the White House (I’ve been putting things in and taking things out of my shopping cart for DAYS now – this is why being an indecisive person is the pits!).  I’ve spent the last 2 weeks researching tea houses all across our beautiful province of Ontario and keeping a run list in a word document on my desktop and freaking out my boyfriend with discussions of GO bus rides to Cambridge (“you’ll come with me, right?  RIGHT??”).  Oh, and I have an order of tea magazines from Tea Times and Victoria Bliss from Hoffman’s Media on route to my magical mail box and I am so darn excited I could burst!

So I’m totally just a teensy bit more obsessed.

I know.  There really is no saving me.  Sigh.

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Tea has become such a passion of mine and I am loving it.  I have such sweet memories of drinking tea with my grandparents and playing with tea sets my aunt gave me as a little girl but I feel like I’ve been introduced to a whole new and exciting world these past few years learning about and experimenting with it (getting the perfect cup each and every single time is quite the task – it’s seriously an art all on its own!), discovering tea houses, looking up events, and just immersing myself in the fun of it all.  Which is why this little David’s Tea haul of mine is only just the beginning!  I had to use every ounce of willpower not to pick up every last thing I wanted from their adorable fall collection because 1) part of me dreaded having to carry the heavier items on the subway and bus rides back home, and 2) I really wanted to be a good friend and wait for my bestie to go crazy tea shopping  with me.  What fun would it be if I bought everything on my wishlist and just stood around the next time we went frolicking?  I think ahead, people.

I am dying to get the so-cute-it-makes-you-squeal forest animals tea mug and the cute-as-a-button bubble tea cups from David’s Tea’s fall collection as well as some loose leaf of Blueberry Jam, Long Life Oolong and Lime Gelato, but I was a good girl and stuck to picking up a bottle of their vanilla agave, 50 g of their new Cocoberry tea and 2 packets of their Mom’s Apple Pie tea along with their snazzy new fall tea menu!  And yes, that is my ultra-cool, super awesome sparkly pumpkin prop in the photo!  Hee!

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I haven’t tried my apple pie one yet but I have tried the Cocoberry one and what attracted me most at first was its chocolate-raspberry scent.  It smelled so luscious and decadent.  Its taste was so much more complex than just a simple chocolate-raspberry combo though.  For those who love the taste of currants with a subtle hint of cocoa and chocolate, this tea is for you.  The currant flavour comes out very strong in this tea and if you find it a little on the tart side, sweeten it up with a little bit of sweetener.  It’s not your typical berry tea as it’s much more earthy in flavour and that’s what I actually appreciate about it.  Berry teas have never sat well with my tastebuds because I’ve always found them to be either too sour or too artificial in taste, but this one is different from anything I’ve ever tried so if you love currants, go for it and try it out!

*****

For a list of all David’s Tea locations in and around Toronto, check out their store locator HERE (they are constantly expanding!).  So far I’ve been to these locations:

  • 336 Queen St. W (just east of Spadina)
  • 2389 Yonge St. (intersection of Yonge & Eglinton; north of Eglinton)
  • 10 Dundas Street E. (Yonge & Dundas; it’s actually just north of Dundas facing Yonge St.)
  • 100 King Street West (First Canadian Place in the underground PATH)
  • 424 Bloor Street West (in the Annex, between Spadina and Bathurst)
  • Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Dufferin & Hwy 401)
  • Dufferin Mall (intersection of Dufferin Street and Bloor Street West, just south of Bloor)
  • Scarborough Town Centre (between McCowan and Brimley Rd. off Hwy 401)
  • Promenade Mall, Thornhill (Bathurst and Centre St.)