523 Tasting Notes
WOW! The dry leaf aroma is pure salted caramel! OMG, it smells INCREDIBLE!!! I’m brewing this up immediately!
I requested this tea from Shmiracles because I’ve heard so many great things about Mariage Frères teas. The downside is they’re so expensive and you can only buy large quantities of them. BUT, I’m going to France in October!!!! So, I figured I can save shipping costs and pick up some tea while strolling the streets of Paris! Still, it’d be best to try a few things first and figure out what I want to buy exactly.
And this brings us to today and my first Mariage Frères tea!!! Thanks Shmiracles!!!!
Wow! Have I already said wow? Well, let me say it again! WOW! The brewed tea aroma is even better than the dry leaf! It smells of black tea and salted caramel. Holy cow, this is going to be good! First sip sans additions…mmmm, malt and caramel show up first. Then a hint of bittersweet cocoa appears in the middle. Then more caramel, salted this time, appears at the end of the sip. THIS IS GLORIOUS!!!!!!!
I feel like cackling like a mad witch right now. This is a magical tea! First of all, it’s assam. And I don’t even like assam. Second, everyone finds it really strong and leaning towards bitter. I hate bitter and hardly ever drink black tea straight. But this is great straight! (Rhyme unintended). :P I’m sure with milk and sugar it would be a delicious dessert treat too. But even as is, it’s a really really delicious cup of tea!
Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. I love this soooo much! I can’t wait to go to France to stock up on it. Wow! :D Thank you sooooo much to Shmiracles for sharing this amazing French creation! I am in love!!!!
YAY!!!! First sample from the swap box Shmiracles sent me!!!! I’m so excited! There are sooooo many teas in this box! You really outdid me. I thought we were shooting for 10. I think I gave you 13. And then I open this deceivingly small box to find 20 samples!!!! Wow!! You are amazing, girl!
So, on to the first one! :D I do have to ask though…What does this tea have to do with North Africa? When I think of houjicha, I think of Japan. When I think of chai spices, I think of India. And when I think of peppermint, I think of Christmas and the North Pole. LOL! No Africa in any of that! But let’s just get brewing already. :P
The dry leaves looks like chai and are chock full of spices and big cardamom pods. Mmm, I LOVE chai! This smells heavenly! And I don’t even remember the last time I had houjicha. It’s been too long. I loved houjicha long before I loved sencha, matcha, white tea, and even oolong! Okay okay, it’s done steeping and now I can finally get to the taste!
First sip…hmm, all I can really taste is chai spices. It probably didn’t help that I just ate three slices of pepperoni and sausage pan pizza. LOL! But I was starving!! I couldn’t wait any longer! Man, I am talkative tonight. I apologize for my ramblings. Just very excited! Second sip…now I’m getting a hint of mint amongst all the spicy goodness. But the houjicha seems very quiet still.
Well, even just as a cup of chai mint tea, it’s yummy! I’m surprised I like the introduction of mint in chai. I think it works because it’s a very small amount of mint compared to the other flavors. Now if only I could get the houjicha to shine! Houjicha has such a nice roasted toasted taste. The base here feels more like a backdrop to the mint and chai spices so that you’re not drinking a purely herbal tea. No roasty toasty elements to be found, sadly.
Oh well, if I didn’t know what houjicha was supposed to taste like, I wouldn’t know what I was missing. So overall, I’m enjoying this cup for what it does taste like. ;) Wow, my brain is just kooky tonight. Is any of this making sense? LOL! Thanks Shmiracles!!!!
The dry leaf aroma of this tea is AWESOME! It smells like creamy, lemon-y goodness. Like lemon meringue pie! There were huge chunks of dried lemon in the blend and lots of yellow calendula petals too (which look exactly like marigold petals by the way).
The brewed tea aroma is mostly woodsy green rooibos with a hint of lemon zest. That’s sad. I hope the lemon creaminess returns in the flavor! I really dislike red rooibos, but flavored green rooibos is usually okay. This brewed aroma is making me second guess myself. Time to try it and find out!
Mmm, lucky for me, that lovely lemon creaminess has returned! The green rooibos base is still pretty strong though. But the added flavorings are nice. It’s worth noting that the lemon in this is very natural and zest-like. It doesn’t taste incredibly tart or citrus-y like lemon pulp or juice. It’s definitely more akin to zest.
I’m going to add a tiny bit of Truvia to see if I can make the flavors really pop. Well, it kind of worked. There’s just no way past that rooibos base. :P This is just okay in my book. But I can see how this would be the perfect late night treat for rooibos lovers. At least it won’t keep me up past bedtime. :)
I really wanted to make this Gingerbread Cookie recipe by DaisyChubb: http://www.daisychubb.com/recipe-zombie-gingerbread-men-matcha-ginger/
But I didn’t have any ginger matcha. :( I did have cotton candy, maple syrup, caramel, and cheesecake matcha in my stash…so I opted to make Gingersnap Cotton Candy Matcha Cookies!
To see photos of my creations, go here (although they are nowhere near as cute as what DaisyChubb created. I am simply not as talented a baker): http://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/sets/72157633585326552/
My improvisation kind of worked out. It made for really sweet, really sugary cookies with a ginger zing. In all honesty, I could have done without the ginger I think. But my mom and husband (fiancé at the time) loved them!
This is a recipe probably best left unaltered. But hey, it was worth a shot because I was really craving matcha cookies! Thanks to DaisyChubb for posting the recipe! And by the way, those zombie gingerbread men are soooooo freaking cute!!
I finally got around to brewing this one up for my kitty, Mr. Frodo! He rubbed his face on the bag for a while before indulging in a cup of brewed catnip tea. He was so cute! I captured the whole thing with my iPhone camera. To see the photo play-by-play, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/sets/72157633587132206/
While waiting for it to cool enough for Mr. Frodo, I tried it myself. If you didn’t tell me this was catnip, I’d have no idea! It tasted like green yerba mate with a touch of mint. Or just a very weak peppermint tea. It’s not bad! I gave some to my husband and he really liked it, even after I told him it was catnip. ;P
This is a fun one to have around. I’m glad I picked up a packet. If you have a kitty, you should definitely get some for him or her too! It makes for really cute photos. :) And I have a ton of it, so feel free to request some in a swap.
SIPDOWN, and a Gongfu brewing session!
Hmm, I’m not really enjoying this as much as I did when I brewed it Western style. As before, the first few infusions are my least favorite. As the dark chocolate notes wane and are replaced with caramel and honey notes, it becomes more to my liking.
I prefer sweet over bitter, and this tea leans more towards the bitter end of the scale. It doesn’t reach bitter, but it definitely leans in that direction and comes fairly close. The early infusions are dark and roast-y and maybe a tad bit woodsy. By the fifth infusion, I started getting less dark cocoa bitterness and more honey sweetness. A warm spicy note emerged as well. Now this is getting yummy!
I gave up after the eighth infusion even though the leaves could have gone longer. I can definitely see why people love this tea so much. While I can appreciate it, I don’t love it myself. I am excited I had the opportunity to try it!
This is a really delicious flavored oolong. I really like the plum flavor. It’s not the average fruit of choice for fruity tea blends. I let my husband sip it. It’s his first oolong experience, I think.
He said, “Mmm, I really like it. It tastes buttery or creamy.”
“YES!” I replied. “That’s exactly right! Green oolongs do taste buttery.” :)
I love introducing my hubby to tea. It’s so much fun! And now that I know he likes green oolongs, I have soooo much more to share with him! :D
This is the last of the individually packaged tea bags I picked up on my mini-moon from the Cliffside Inn. Awww. :( I guess the mini-moon is officially over. Well, in reality it’s been over for weeks. LOL! The dry leaf aroma is strong oil of bergamot. That’s not my favorite way to flavor an earl grey, but I’m holding out hope. I saw a couple silver needle leaves in the sachet. What’s that about? Well, one way to find out!
Mmm, this is a smooth cuppa! I could probably drink it straight and enjoy it just fine. But with skim milk and Truvia, this is a really yummy tea! I’m unsure I can taste the soft flavor of the white tea amongst all this black tea and bergamot oil. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still very delicious! I just don’t know if the white tea is really contributing much in the blend. Overall, I’d rate this tea a success, seeing as my cup is empty. :P
Mmm, how I love Paris! This is just as delicious as I remember it. It tastes like berries and vanilla cream. Yum! I added a little milk and sugar to experiment, but I think it’s better sans additions.
This is another individually packaged tea bag I picked up on my mini-moon from the Cliffside Inn. I enjoyed a cup then too and knew I had to grab a sachet to have later. I think it’s finally time to invest in a tin of this stuff. It’s a near perfect creation! I bet it would make an amazing iced tea too.