59 Tasting Notes

85
drank Lao Tieguanyin by tea-adventure
59 tasting notes

I received a sample of this tea with my regular order (policy of the company, which is very nice).

The company website and description has me a bit baffled. It says the taste is/should be sweet and floral. Perhaps I brewed it wrong, though I don’t really think so as the tea turned out to taste pretty good, just not sweet and floral, but rather very much like raw chestnuts. It also smells of chestnuts, olive oil and/or some kind of vegetable I can’t put my finger on. Furthermore it has a distinctly woody quality.

Perhaps the website refers to the aged Tieguanyin, while I received the non-aged or less-aged version? (The website links through to a page about the farm, where a number of varieties are mentioned, while the website itself shows pictures of a yellow/amber coloured brew and a burnt orange coloured brew).

Anyway, it has a comforting warm but at the same time strangly crisp energizing character.

I’m sorry I can’t describe it more accurately, but it just isn’t like any tea I’ve tasted before. Maybe the taste is typical for oolongs, but this is just my second – the first being a Chinese “milky oolong” of undisclosed origin.

A very interesting tea in a positive way. Probably something I’ll be ordering in the near furtur (maybe even today… :-)).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
cteresa

I really liked this, thank you! I think I am definetely a oolong (green oolong) persona after all.

Also from a swap, I tried Ten Ren´s Sun Moon Lake, a high mountain oolong from Tai Wan which was excellent.

Barbara

Good to hear! I really like the oolongs myself as well. Currently I’m moving a bit toward the darker oolongs, which are really good as well (Red Robe and such).

cteresa

I am pretty interested in blacks blacks right now as well – but glad I got over thinking I did not care much for oolongs.

Barbara

Those are not my favorite although I’ve tasted some pretty nice ones lately. Amongst which a black Tieguanyin from tea-adventure. I’ve ordered a batch. I’ll send you some sometime (shipping is some three weeks).

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85
drank Lao Tieguanyin by tea-adventure
59 tasting notes

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83
drank Thé au Tibet by Mariage Frères
59 tasting notes

I received a sample of this tea from Cteresa – thanks again ;-) – and liked it so much that I recently bought Histoire Tibetaine from THE O DOR as it resembles this tea ingredient wise.

These teas are similar in some respects but certainly not the same.

Starting with the basis: both teas contain vanilla, bergamot and jasmine. The HT adds marigold and uses a base of black and green tea. The TT adds mandarin orange and rose and uses a base of black tea.

Although the vanilla and jasmine are very recognizable in both teas, they vere into entirely different directions taste wise.

In the HT the vanilla is really in the forefront, both scent and tastewise. De jasmine prevents the brew becoming too sweet. The bergamot and marigold aren’t really recognizable, at least not to me (actually I don’t even know what marigold smells and tastes like). The tea is warm, sweet and comforting in character. The floral notes remain in the background.

In the TT on the other hand the floral notes – and especially the rose – are at the forefront. Together with the black tea base this makes for an edgier tea with a slight smokey feeling. The vanilla is cetainly present but seems to be in a supporting role rather than a leading one. As the tea cools the vanilla becomes more noticeable btw.

It’s really great to see how two teas with for a great part the same ingredients can be so different in character. They actually aren’t comparable at all :-)

I like both teas. For the TT that’s something, as I actually don’t like rose in my tea and usually try to avoid rose scented teas. The HT is more of a ‘happy feeling’ tea as the TT is more elegant and sophisticated. Being a sweet tooth I’d probably choose the HT over the TT most times, but I can imagine that being different for others.

Prep details: HT 80 C/ 4:30 min & TT 95 C/ 4:30 min

Rating is for TT only. This review has been posted under HT too and give it’s rating there

cteresa

loved to read your opinion, thank you! It sounds like two great teas, each their own thing.

a quibble, I think Thé au Tibet is also a mix of green and black or it has some green on it, maybe not too much, but I think it is there (the same way mariage freres casablanca which everybody classes as green tea has some black tea in the mix as well!). It is indeed very refined, like their description but a totally charming nice refined!

And funnily enough Palais des Thés famous Thé des Moines also uses the tibetan “secret” recipe thing, and is also a bergamot with fruity-flowers thing.

And calendula, I am not sure they give any flavour at all – nor cornflowers or mallow flowers, I think they are just there to be pretty.

Barbara

Yes, I saw that some of the reviews mentioned that, but the website of Marriage Freres only states black chinese tea… so I stuck to that. Do you have the tin or an original package with an ingredientlist? You could check that then… Either way, it’s a very good tea :-)

Do you mean marigold is the same as calendula? That I do know, albeit only from soap :-) And you’re right it doesn’t really smell that much.

I love cornflowers in tea, they look so pretty.

cteresa

a whole lot of plants get called marigold, real old-style marigolgs are calendula officinalis and that is what should be included – it is one of those plants which are eaten safely. But tagetes, which are a newer to Europe family of plants (new as in a few centuries, not a few decades) and I think they are not used to much in salads. So theoretically marigolds in tea should be calendula officinalis.

Cornflowers are pretty but I get the feeling cornflowers or sunflowers or marigolds are annoyingly just fillers, you are paying tea prices for you know fillers – if a lot it weakens tea if you do not had more tea to balance the space used by the fillers.

about the green tea, oh I think I have the box but the boxes are totally unhelpful, they say in Portuguese or french, tea and flavourings _(really!) and expiration date. Exact flavourings is always a guess, though the french mariage site is more helpful than the english one. But I think just from looking at the tin you can tell that Thé au Tibet includes some green tea and Casablanca includes some black tea, it´s just there. it´s not too obvious from a sample but looks more obvious in the tin, or even this photo is interesting

http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/FR/ft+the-au-tibet-boite-classique-100g+TC925.html

it might not be really green tea, they might use something in between, but just from looking at it, no it´s not like any “pure” black tea I ever seen! (and admittedly they do admit casablanca has black tea http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/FR/ft+casablanca-boite-classique-100g+TC908.html)

Barbara

I see your point. However the green in the Cassablanca could be teh mint or not? (I’m not very good at recognizing plants and such :-)). And there are black teas that have golden tips, or even greenish bits:
http://www.tea-adventure.com/en/black-tea/yunnan-black
http://www.tea-adventure.com/en/black-tea/golden-eyebrow
so I’m not sure… But I agree the picture on Marriage Freres makes one suspect…

cteresa

Nah, I think in Casablanca you can see the black tea (which is the bergamot carrier I think) and the black tea, unmistable, the mint is sadly much less visible and crumblier – Casablanca is one messy tea! As the blend ages, the mint gets crumblier and crumblier, only my beloved magic tea filter can handle that.

and yes indeed some black teas can look very light, darjeelings often! Oxidation is not a discrete variable, sort of a continuum, what i meant is the tea used in Thé au Tibet, even if “black” and not a blend is not at the edges of the black-green spectrum!

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88
drank Histoire Tibetaine by THE O DOR
59 tasting notes

I bought this tea because the ingredients and the smell reminded me of The au Tibet, of which Cteresa so kindly sent me a sample and which I really liked.

These teas are similar in some respects but certainly not the same.

Starting with the basis: both teas contain vanilla, bergamot and jasmine. The HT adds marigold and uses a base of black and green tea. The TT adds mandarin orange and rose and uses a base of black tea.

Although the vanilla and jasmine are very recognizable in both teas, they vere into entirely different directions taste wise.

In the HT the vanilla is really in the forefront, both scent and tastewise. De jasmine prevents the brew becoming too sweet. The bergamot and marigold aren’t really recognizable, at least not to me (actually I don’t even know what marigold smells and tastes like). The tea is warm, sweet and comforting in character. The floral notes remain in the background.

In the TT on the other hand the floral notes – and especially the rose – are at the forefront. Together with the black tea base this makes for an edgier tea with a slight smokey feeling. The vanilla is cetainly present but seems to be in a supporting role rather than a leading one. As the tea cools the vanilla becomes more noticeable btw.

It’s really great to see how two teas with for a great part the same ingredients can be so different in character. They actually aren’t comparable at all :-)

I like both teas. For the TT that’s something, as I actually don’t like rose in my tea and usually try to avoid rose scented teas. The HT is more of a ‘happy feeling’ tea as the TT is more elegant and sophisticated. Being a sweet tooth I’d probably choose the HT over the TT most times, but I can imagine that being different for others.

Prep details: HT 80 C/ 4:30 min & TT 95 C/ 4:30 min

Rating is for HT only. I’ll post this review under TT too and give it’s rating there.

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78

I received a free sample of this with my order from Tea-adventure. This one was included as “extra” sample in addition to the two free samples of your choice you get with every order anyway. Thanks so much!

If I’d had a choice, I wouldn’t have chosen a Jasmine tea sample and I would have missed out on something worthwhile. I’m not really a big fan of Jasmine or other flowers as sole means of perfuming/flavouring tea. That doesn’t mean I can’t stomach jasmine, but in my experience flower scented teas are prone to boardering on ‘soapy’. In general I prefer fruits and spices with or even to flowers.

Anyway, as I received a sample, I felt compelled to try it. Afterall, one never knows… and as they say good deeds reap rewards. I actually really liked this jasmine tea. The white needle base has an inherent sweetness that balances the jasmine very nicely. I find this tea much more tasty than the classic green tea based jasmine.

All in all a pleasant surprise. I may just order this tea sometime in the future, maybe for the summer.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

I only have the idea to drink a cup of Jasmin tea when I have lunch in a Chinese or Japanese restaurant…I am weird, it’s such a delicate flavour

Barbara

I understand what you mean. For me the two always seemed intertwined as well. After all it’s the main tea served at chinese restaurants, at leat here in the Netherlands. But that jasmine tea is definately of a much lower quality.

cteresa

The cheap chinese jasmine tea is really cheap (I have bought big tins for 2 euros something) but still amazing value for money all things considered because it still is pretty drinkable. But great jasmine tea, ah that is something else altogether – my favorite right now is from a small traditional shop that I do not know from where they order.

But there is a very good and expensive authentic chinese restaurant around (macau and all that) and they serve really wonderful tea with dim-sum. Jasmine as well – but not sure if dim-sum really is the time for great tea, you keep having strong tasting things (so far, have avoided the jelly fish, though the chicken legs surprisingly have potential, pity about the bones) and getting the pot refilled

cteresa

chicken feet I mean! (and it´s not as bad as it sounds. The jelly fish will not comment on)

Barbara

As a student I used to work for a chinese boss. His family had a restaurant around the corner from where I worked and somethimes his family would arrange for dinner to be bought in to him. He loved his chicken feet. I thought they didn’t really look very appetizing (esp. the claws) so I’ve never tried.

cteresa

They are not a favorite of mine, but they are surprisingly better than you think it would be. I love dim-sum.

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drank Emei Snow Buds by tea-adventure
59 tasting notes

I received a free sample of this with my order. As I couldn’t find any instructions on brewing temp & time, I just stuck to my average green tea temp & time (80 C/ 3 min).

De dry leaf smells very ‘green’ with a note of seaweed. The smell is very similar, though mellower when brewed.

At first it has a very fresh, somewhat ‘peppery’, brisk taste with some astringency. The sides of my tongue tintle a little. After a few mouthfulls the taste mellows and a sweeter note presents itself. It’s as if some component of the tea coats the inside of your mouth and thus changes your perception of the taste. In the aftertaste I think I detect something mineral like, although I’m not entirely sure. It’s something I haven’t tasted in other teas before.

This is an interesting tea, though not really to my taste. Perhaps I’d review it differently during a hot summer day, when I prefer more ‘fresh’ tastes. If you like straight green teas, this tea definitely is worth trying, despite my not being overly enthousiastic. After all tastes differ and my palette may just not be mature enough to adequately appreciate this tea.

EDIT: I decided to remove my rating because I just can’t honestly rate a tea that is evidently of good quality but just isn’t to my taste.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Thé du Loup by THE O DOR
59 tasting notes

I recieved a very generous sample of The du Loup today when buying yet another tin of Theodor. I’m starting to feel like some kind of repeat record, but what a great tea! Considering that I have never liked a chocolate tea before, that’s saying something. Somehow this blend just works.

With other chocolate teas my overall feeling always used to be that it tries to substitute hot chocolate (the: this-is-good-for-your-diet-and-if-you-could-only-believe-it-preferable-to-the-real-thing). With this tea I don’t have that feeling. Of course it’s has a strong chocolate flavour and – especially – smell and isn’t ‘the real thing’, but it has such an own identity that I don’t feel cheated by the fact.

I’ll definately be buying this one!

I must say that Theodor at present is my favourite brand for flavoured teas.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec
cteresa

They are also my current favorite for flavoured teas – and my next large tea order will be of their teas!

Barbara

Which ones are on your shopping list?

cteresa

Sadly I am probably going to rebuy 3 – milky oolong (oh yeah, if I can be sure it is their milky oolong, thé du loup because it just seemed to disappear and fussy family members loved it, and carpe diem because it is sort of a perfectn rooibos. I would probably rebuy Melange de Galice but am using it more slowly!

My wishlist is peché mignon though I can not find it. I would love to buy Sans Soute, another one I smelled but did not buy at the time and can not find now hecause that shop closed – green tea with berries, whole black berries and I am sure I would love it. Of the ones I might buy but will have to ruthlessly choose just a couple:
- Baya, another rooibos, and one I smelled at a shop which now closed and smelled divinely (divinely strange, but divine nonetheless).
- Inachevee de Constantinople
- Adele H
- Madame (sounds so weird indeed, but I like lapsang souchong so I might not resist this discontinued one).
- Rouge Revolution or Yan Krasnaia – not a high priority but still
-On Va se Revoir – mint green tea with twists, it sounds intriguing.

On their main website they have many more teas I would love to try, including some single origins, but I will be sensible and order from a national store and save on shipping costs.

Barbara

Hahaha, that’s really going to be a large order! I’m going to have an extra look into some of the teas you’ve mentioned. Might be something of interest there for me as well. Although my shelf in de kitchen is full already and my partner isn’t very happy about me occupying even more space (the kitchen is his domain). :-)

cteresa

I am not going to get all of it, will ruthlessly edit and get maybe 3 to 5 teas. It will be very painful to edit down my real wishlist but will have to do it (which is why I have not got baya and sans doute already, sigh… shop closed before I could go get them).
Teas need their own corner! Tea space does not really count, it is a sign of civilication. Though I admit to a) getting some ikea shelves so i can stack b) prefer tins which can be stacked easily to use as much space as possible c) be a tin fetishist in general and keep buying tins to put my loose teas in (tiger has many cheap tins)

Barbara

You make a good argument, but ultimately they’re just excuses – which I’ll glady repeat in the domestic arena here ;-)

cteresa

and d) awww tins are so pretty and they got collectable value.

I can swear to this in a signed affidavit if you need backup!

(And tell him about using tea in cooking. matcha in some things, lapsang souchong in things with umami, earl grey can be magical to soak for example raisins, etc)

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93
drank White Needle by tea-adventure
59 tasting notes

So here I am, waiting for my first cup of White Needle tea to brew. I bought this tea in the hope that it would make a suitable alternative to the Theodor J.E. Yin Zhen b/c of it’s price. With a view to comparison I brewed both teas simultaniously.

Here’s a picture with Theodor on the left and Tea-adventure on the right before brewing: [IMG]http://i46.tinypic.com/2qxz0og.jpg[/IMG]
The buds of Theodor are slimmer than those of Tea-adventure. I don’t know which size is better. The ‘fatter’ buds look nicer/neater though.

Here’s a picture of both teas after brewing and before lifting the strainers out: [IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/4lhkqu.jpg[/IMG]
Theodor’s tea looks a little ‘messier’ with more small(er) particles and a few brownish buds. The left tea is Theodor and the right tea is Tea-adventure.

Let me start by stating that both teas taste great. The colour of the liquid of Theodor is a tad more saturated than that of Tea-adventure. The same goes for the smell and taste. Theodore’s buds smell more ‘hay-ish’ and have a tast that’s a bit bolder.

So which one is better? I honestly don’t know. I do know that I prefer the lighter and slightly more fresh or less ‘hay-ish’ smell of Tea-adventure’s white, but as regarding the taste, it will probably be dependant upon my mood. My boyfriend prefers the more bold taste of Theodor’s tea and is of the opinion that he doesn’t really smell either tea (which may be due to the chocolate he ate right before tasting).

Is this a good alternative to Theodor’s? YES, definately. There isn’t a great difference in smell and taste, while the price is a lot friendlier.

I’ll be resteeping to see if that ferrets out any further differences… :-)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Barbara

Ok I totally forgot about my 2nd steep. I was having a look at – or better drooling over – Theodor’s Histoire Tibetaine and The du Loup and totally lost track of time… I’m not sure how long it steeped. It may be anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes. Theodor’s tea becomes too ‘heavy’ to my taste with such long steeping times, something I’ve commented on before in my taste note regarding that tea. The Tea-adventure tea becomes a bit bolder without becoming too heavy…

cteresa

It seems interesting! I love silver needles – and a tip try bai mu dan (white peony) tea as well. Silver needle is supposedly better, but bai mu dan is more floral, and it can be so excellent as well while being a bit cheaper (or I have the palate of a peasant, which is also possible)

cteresa

And forgot to ask, Histoire Tibetane, do let me know what you think! Description makes it sound a lot like Mariage´s Thé au Tibet (light bergamot with vanilla and jasmine and flowers) so either it might really *be tibetan (vanilla??). Thé au Tibet had an old name before they changed to Thé au Tibet.

Barbara

I’ll do that. I have some of your sample so I’ll drink them side by side some time this weekend. From memory I’d say they are similar in the basis, but both vere in a different direction, the MF being some spicey and the TD being sweeter.

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I’m so happy!! A few minutes ago the postman deliverd my first order from tea-adventure :-).

The first impression is favourable. The teas are packaged in aluminium foil coated bags with ziplocks, the kind where you have to cut off the top part before being able to open the ziplock and these bags were placed in a cardboard box. What I especially like about this is that (a) de bags can be used for storage due to the ziplock and (b) the tea leaves can’t get crushed in transit b/c of the box.

I’m having my first cup of yellow tea ever. It is very reminiscent of Dragon Well, although – perhaps – with a somewhat different aftertaste. I’m not really sure what it is. A bit ‘peppery’? A very very slight smokey-ness? Is it the chessnut note? I’ll first have to taste both this tea and the Dragon Well to try and pinpoint the difference so I won’t be rating this tea at this point.

Anyways a very good start of the weekend :-)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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Profile

Bio

What to say about myself and my tea drinking habits? I’ve been staring at the screen, reading other’s bio’s and still can’t come up with something worthwile. I’ll just stick to the basics.

I generally prefer white, green and oolong teas to black teas. As I read a scientific report that stated that black teas lower the level of stress hormones in the blood, I try to add a few cups of black tea every day.

Overall I prefer black teas to be flavoured. The white, green and oolongs may be flavoured or straight.

I brew my teas per cup, mostly in my – much loved – Kati mug with Cha Cult strainer. I’m rather a stickler for brewing time and temperature, so I use a tea timer and watercooker with temperature indication.

I also love a good cup of coffee and especially cappuchino. As far as I’m concerned, a good cappuchino requires a real milk/foam topping, not something made with skimmed milk, powder or the like. Unfortunately a lot of cafes still haven’t caught on to that one and serve low quality coffee and tea (type vending machine and bagged fannings). I hate it when, on a cold winter day, the choice is restricted to bad coffee, bagged fannings or a cold softdrink… :-(

As for rating teas, I more or less make the following distinction:

100:
Nothing is perfect. Probably won’t be using it ever.

98 – 99:
Nearly too good to be true.

90 – 97:
Exceptional.

80 – 89:
Excellent.

70 – 79:
Good. May rebuy depending on price and availability.

60 – 69:
Ok I’ll finish the cup and maybe even have a second, but probably won’t finish the entire package as I have other – (far) better teas in my cupboard.

< 60:
I feel cheated. I won’t ever be buying this again.

< 50:
This really is no good.

< 30:
I hate this. I want my money back.

1:
Beyond horrible!

PS: Recalibrated my ratings according to this index on 23 feb 2013.

Location

The Netherlands

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