402 Tasting Notes
I got some of this in a long ago swap with Barbara. I was having so much fun trying the The O Dor brand while traveling last March, but when I got home I was distracted by all the teas I had purchased in San Francisco and the swap teas got tucked away.
When brewed and in my clear glass cup, this tea looks like a giant piece of amber with the light filtering through it. The smell is red and fruity, but I don’t know that I’d be able to peg the scent as strawberry if I hadn’t read the description. On my first few sips I was met by a quick sweetness followed by a touch of bitter. Perhaps I steeped it too long or the water was too hot. The black base is nice and tastes familiar, but I’m not yet able to identify them. The base also masks the flavor of the fruit a bit at the moment, so I’m adding some sugar. Sometimes adding sugar makes certain flavors stand out more or taste more natural and sometimes everything still tastes the same, only sweeter. This time it tastes the same. I’m getting a slight smokey aftertaste mingling with some strawberry. It is pleasant, but unless I’m able to get better results with different brewing parameters, this tea won’t make it on my must purchase list.
My first steeping of this tea was for 40 seconds at 175. I got one sip in before getting distracted and coming back to it when it cooled. It tastes slightly green and grassy, but it is really smooth too and leaves a nice buttery aftertaste that later fades into a grass again. If I wait long enough before taking another sip, I get this brief strange feeling on the back sides of my tongue just like a get when I drink a shot of wheatgrass. It is almost like a pucker or shudder.
The second steep was for a minute, but I had some eggs with this delicious hot sauce I have recently become addicted to (sometimes I search my kitchen for anything that I could put the sauce on just so I can have more) and the long lingering burn is still dominating any delicate flavors like tea. After some time has passed I can taste my tea again and it is a very similar cup as the first. The buttery flavors arrive a little sooner this time.
Third steep was for two minutes and the taste in the sip is much lighter on the grass. Mid sip is mainly buttery, then nothing immediately after and finally more butter which transitions to grass a while after each sip.
This tea is really nice and I am enjoying it, but I don’t know that I like it enough to have multiple cups of it in the same day. I start to get a little bored with how bright and light it is and find myself desiring something a little more heavy and earthy. I know I don’t have to drink multiple cups, but I’d feel like I was wasting it if I wasn’t. Still, this would be a nice tea to keep around when I was in the mood for an awesome buttery green.
I got a small pack of this in last year’s (or maybe it was the year before?) 12 Days of Xmas pack. Either way, it has held up well. I’m finding that my favorite 52teas are the greens and oolongs. This tea is no exception to that rule. I love cardamom and it pairs really well with the lemon to make this tea bright without over doing the cardamom. The tea base is very nice, mellow and smooth. I get the buttery quality mentioned in the description. it leaves my tongue a little dry after each sip, but it isn’t a whole mouth dryness. I don’t think can see this tea as a permanent addition to my cupboard at the moment, but I could see buying a full bag of it and having it around for a while.
I’m trying this tea again, minus the mistake of eating smoked salmon just prior to drinking it. Whoops!
I am loving the smell of this tea! It is hard to pick out the pumpkin over the cinnamon right now, but the overall blend of the spices smells amazing. Once steeped, the spices mellow out and I think I can pick out some pumpkin in the scent. When I taste it, pumpkin is the first thing I taste followed by spices. Adding a little sugar brightens it is a bit. I think I can taste burnt sugar, reminiscent of creme brulee. The tea base seems smooth and subtle, managing to not overpower the pumpkin. On most sips I first get spices and in the aftertaste get a wave of burnt sugar, then pumpkin. As it cools I get more pumpkin on the sip. Second steep is pretty good. A little weaker which is expected, but still a really good cup.
I am a sucker for all things pumpkin and have tried and been disappointed many times by pumpkin tea with spices that obliterate all other flavors. I think this is the first pumpkin tea I have had that had a pleasing balance of spices that didn’t hog the stage and let the pumpkin show it’s stuff!
Skipping around the remaining teas from my advent calendar. This one sounded good, cherry, almond and ginger! The dry tea smells promising! Cherry and almond scents are sometimes hard to decipher, but I find the two rather distinct in this tea with the cherry dominating. It is a syrupy cherry smell. When brewed the scent is still present, but faded. I’m finding it difficult to be patient enough to let it cool before sipping. First few sips… I’m finding it has a very flat taste to it, like cherry juice soaked into cardboard. Is that the ginger? Adding sugar makes the cherry stand out more, but I’m also getting a dry mouth feeling from it too. I was really hoping to fall in love with a tea or two from DF, but I think this brand is just not for me.
I am now on my second bag of this tea. It has become a permanent staple in my cupboard because I love it that much. I can envision my permanent tea collection being a variety of almond teas and nothing more! It will be just like my wardrobe, mostly different shades of black. This is such a delicious comforting desert cup. I got two good steeps out of it today and may go for a third later.
Earlier today I read Cteresa’s notes about a violet tea and it made me want to drink one too. I’m so impressionable when it comes to food and drinks!
The sweet scent of violets is overwhelming when I open the bag of this tea and take a whiff! It smells amazing. I have had this tea a few times before and enjoyed it, but I guess I have neglected to write a note. I just ate some Indian food, so that is competing a bit which is unfortunate. The first few sips were a little bitter. Le Palais suggests a 4-5m steeping time, but I think that could be lessened a little for the first steep. Aside from possibly over steeping, the tea is pretty evenly flavored. When I sweeten it, it tastes just like violet candies. It is a very lovely flavor for those who are fans of floral (which I am). I do appreciate this tea being only violet, but I’m curious what else would pair well with it. It is the only violet tea I have tried I don’t have much to compare it to, but I like this tea. It is a good thing too since the minimum purchase amount was a pretty large bag! I’ll be sipping on this one for a while.
I was super excited to see Mariage Freres teas being sold near my hometown on a visit. I decided to buy one black and one green tea to get a feel for the brand since I had never had their teas before. This one smelled really nice and gingery so I decided to give it a go. I have to admit that I was less than thrilled with it the first time I tried it, but I have been giving it another go and found it much nicer this time. When it is hot, the ginger seems a bit harsh and dominating, but as it cools the ginger mellows out and I swear I tasted a carmel like note at one point. I’m now on my third steeping and the ginger is still going strong. It is hard for me to pick out the green tea base, but there is a second or two in the middle of each sip that I can taste it. As the cup cools even more to room temperature, I find the tea less enjoyable again. It seems there is a middle temperature window that I prefer for this one. I like this one, but I feel like I might have picked a different tea to purchase if I had tasted it first.
Got a sample of this when I went into their Berkeley store. The first steep was super flavorful! They aren’t kidding when they describe it as tropical. The lichee is very distinct and the tea is really smooth and balanced. I could have gone lighter on the sugar, but I was in a rush to get out of the house with tea on the go and just spooned it in quickly and thoughtlessly. The second steep isn’t as nice as the first. There is a strange taste to it like stale water or something. Maybe I need to clean my kettle, but I’m chalking the second steep tasting odd to user error for now.