392 Tasting Notes

89
drank Boléro by Mariage Frères
392 tasting notes

hello beautiful.

if you had predicted it in advance i likely would have laughed (okay guffawed) in your specific direction but this blend jolted a DISCONCERTING (and embarrassing) movie quote from me…… MissB. were you aware of this? hmmm

in any case… as i was sifting through the beautifully packed bag of treasures B packed for me last night i was drawn away to an ethereal world of fauchon crosswinds and mariage freres chinooks. after a long day i settled down (gleefully) to choose my own adventure.

what stood out about this blend was the colours…. bright yellows and red against the tea. bright and festive, and the smell! a bolero indeed. that is when it happened— that is when words from a movie i saw ONE time under duress squeaked out: ‘you had me at hello.’ yeah. ‘jerry macguire’. it’s like finding yourself singing along with the canned elevator music. how appalling.

dry the blend smells intriguingly like grapefruit! once the water was added the spanish dancer became a chameleon. no more grapefruit, fresh peaches mixed with sweet smoke, a background of fig, but a spicy version as opposed to the straight succulent sweet.

beautifully sweet, brilliantly executed. thank you MissB. i don’t think even you could have predicted a spontaneous ‘jerry mcguire’ recitation. you know what though? i’ll wear it…. a blend like this is worthy of such a dire confession, LOL!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
MissB

Ha! Oh my goodness, I love it. LOVE it! I found strawberry in this, so unfortunately I’ve had to pass it along, and am so glad that you were had at hello. ;)

boychik

I think you should publish James book of tasting notes. It would be a bestseller

JustJames

lol, thank you bochik…. i think we could all pool our resources. there are some amazing ones on here that are absolutely beautiful and/or hysterical. =0)

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drank L'Anniversaire by Fauchon
392 tasting notes

sigh. i was so excited when i found this at winners. i must agree with dexter3657….. mint, alas mint. and i say that LIKING mint for the most part! i actually think the issue is compounded by the blue mallow? but i can’t be completely sure.

i don’t taste raspberry, i don’t even smell it. i’ll try again before i apply actual numbers, because i wanted to love this tea…. i really did. and if i apply numbers now… they wouldn’t be happy numbers. (i’d like to try again before i go on record =0( )

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Dexter

I’m not a good judge of this, I don’t do well with mint. I thought this was pretty much all mint with some fruit in the back. But that’s just me. Hope you find the steep parameters to make this work for you.

Fjellrev

I don’t know if I’d like mint and raspberry together anyway. But still sucks if it’s more 2D than expected.

yyz

I’ve had this tea a couple of times. I didn’t really keep track of brewing parameters, but I generally don’t brew black teas for 5 minutes and I think this time I used a little less leaf than, the first. First of all I do get mint, but I did taste cream and raspberry. Not really cake but I definitely got cream and raspberry along with the mint. I think the cream note might add emphasis to the mint though as it is a cool bitter cream ( like unsweetened whipped cream ), maybe this is what you’re noting James.

JustJames

thank you, all three of you for your input. try, try again! either i’ll nail it and figure out how to make it work, or i’ll figure out why i don’t like it!

MissB

I’m also in the camp where I had to play around with it (their steeping parameters are so vague). Three minutes max and less than boiling is what worked for me.

JustJames

i have determined that fauchon and i are going to argue argue over who leads, lol.

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thanks very much to MissB for this sample.

this blend baffles me a bit. the smell when dry is fresh blueberries, all the way. freshly picked, sitting in a bowl on my counter….

once the water is added it just becomes a tea. nothing special. except every now and then i got a whiff of fresh blueberries. the cooler it gets the more blueberry it becomes. curiouser and curiouser.

very nice as cool, just there as hot. hmmmm. no numbers, could have been operator error.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
MissB

I’ve been hit and miss with Naked Teas, and I think I’ve yet to try this one. I was thinking of trying it as a cold brew.

JustJames

it could have been me. it’s true. =0\

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92

thank you so much to laurent and sophie for this sample…..

the description of this tea is wrong. it is appallingly understated and borders on misleading. strong words, i know. allow me to explain:

apple teas are rarely what they claim to be. they are rarely ‘apple pie with spices’, they are rarely even good bases for tisanes— the apple gets lost, becomes vague…. not sweet, not tangy, not there.

at this point i will segue: french teas are a different breed. the nuance, the layers, the hundreds of years backing the study….. still what could they do with an apple. just because it’s a french apple doesn’t mean it’s going to carry any more punch. while i was excited to have a famously named sample….. as soon as i saw ‘apple’ listed in the ingredients list my heart felt a little less buoyed.

wrong. WRONG. i need a size 22 font……WRONG.

if i’m not mistaken they chose crab apples. plenty. of. punch.

clever, so clever…. rose can be too perfumed, crab apple could be too bitter…. the acid aspect of the apples draws out the fresh petal suggestion of the roses, i get fresh flowers…. not an intense perfume. fruit, flowers…… all made brilliantly because of what seems to be a crab apple.

laurent, sophie, mes compliments tres sinceres.
laurent, sophie, my most sincere compliments.

this is the first and only apple tea i have ever found even remotely tolerable, nevermind outstanding.

i steeped for 3 minutes after a full boil, i think perhaps a slightly lower temperature for perhaps 2.5 minutes next time.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
yyz

This is my favourite apple tea so far too!

JustJames

okay…. definitely squirrel suits, from the top of the eiffel tower and then stop by vendome (nina’s), mariage freres, dammann, fauchon….. you decided it!

Bonnie

This tea reminds me of an old classic French movie…an oppulant one of course. But crab apple? Not for me. The sweet yellow delicious apples that grew outside my window growing up in California tasted like this too!

yyz

Sounds good! I need to spend more time in Paris anyways;) I picked up my accent in French in the south of France and all the Quebecois think I’m from Germany. Ironically the French congratulate me for being able to speak proper french.

JustJames

lol, people always thought i was from beligium. was told to ‘eradicate’ my francophone accent before arriving in paris, and thus i now carry an indiscernible one. =0) call me a mystery man…. well, that’s not what my wife most commonly calls me, but anyway!

@Bonnie… they have captured the scent of crab apple….. not the vicious twang. if you can coax a sample from laurent i absolutely would. the next time i place an order if i’ll probably get some of this blend and i’ll ship some down. it’ll be a couple of months though.

Bonnie

I’ve tasted it. Thought it was splendid. My daughter has a crab apple tree (messy thing).

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drank Northern Wilds by Verdant Tea
392 tasting notes

this sample came from the gracious Stephanie whom i am thinking of at this ungodly hour as i sip.

i have an exam in a few hours. i need to be able to think. which means i need to sleep….. instead i go over and over my information. this is NOT helpful!!!

the tea…. mild, minty, hopefully conducive to sleep in the near future. although going by the name i am not inspired to look up in awe at majestic trees or dodge charging elk (which has been known to happen in northern BC). to me this blend is a murky mint. i don’t get any oolong, birch, cinnamon or clove….. i smelled anise in the dry blend, but that is explained by the fennel. murky mint sums it up for me.

no numbers, c’mon, it’s 4:15. i’ll try one more time. at the moment though i’m not amazed.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Stephanie

Yeah…this seems to be the consensus on this tea. Meh, sorry!

Hope your exam went well :)

keychange

Good luck on the exam!

JustJames

i’ll know soon….. i leave in 45 mins, then i’ll have a much better idea. thanks for the positive thinking!

yyz

Hope everything went well James!

caile

Best of luck!

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89

this was an insightful inclusion by one miss VariaTEA in a return swap.

this blend calls old fashioned christmas trees to mind, the ones decorated with oranges studded with cloves in eccentric patterns, hung by huge loops of ribbon. the air is always spicy when i see them, almost sharp; cloves, orange peel and some invented element when they combine that i have never been able to identify… hmmmm a few tweaks and this could be a chai!

heavy spice, but beautifully balanced. a very good way to wake up, especially if you’re feeling rotten. very smooth base, very smooth transition into and out of the spice. the orange has a strong presence…. THERE IS NO PITH!!!! i am getting no lingering bitter after taste. full marks for that kusmi!

honestly, i am wondering where i can buy some of this. this could absolutely be my seasonal theme tea. thanks so much VariaTEA! such a thoughtful inclusion.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
yyz

Hi James, you can use this tool to search for a retailer near you. Call first I’ve found that some of them only carry the mini sets and 3 or 4 varieties of large tins, but some have a more diverse collection.
http://www.kusmi.ca/en/retailers/kusmi

JustJames

yyz…. you are a hero! inquiring minds and all that….. do you wear a cape? ;-)

yyz

Nope, but I have had training in reacting, responding to, and coordinating emergency services;)

VariaTEA

I actually have not even tried this one yet so I am sooo glad you liked it! Now you are making me want to run upstairs and brew a cup because your description (like so many others you have written) make this sound amazing! They also sell this on a green tea base if that is something that interests you although personally I though black tea suited the flavors better.

JustJames

ha! outstanding! as have i…. though it was a long time ago. oh. and i’m a parent. that might count too. though not officially. definitely exhaustively! i don’t wear a cape….. the kids would laugh and point more than they already do.

JustJames

@VariaTEA….. i have NO desire to try it as green. the pairing could not be better than it is on the black. i would find it frustrating. not one likes a frustrating tea, lol.

yyz

I’m not a parent, but I have spent weeks at a time looking after my relatives and friends kids. Fun and definitely exhausting. All parents, I think, have a little bit of a super hero in them. Perhaps the cape can come out next Halloween?

JustJames

you what i would like more than a cape? one of these…. not the same, but not too different…. and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more fun. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L8UCfxmtSw whaddaya say yyz….. shall we respin a tacky old joke? ‘two guys fly over a tea house and…..’ ?

yyz

That could be incredibly fun!

JustJames

i think so. from the top of a building? or from the top of a mountain? and maybe the most important question….from the top of the eiffel tower so we can stop by theodore? lol. can you imagine? it would be like walking in a body suit of corduroy. ksh ksh ksh. bwahahahaha.

Ysaurella

I should have sent you the rest of my tin of this tea ! I am unable to drink it.

JustJames

oh dear!!!! i hope i didn’t send you anything undrinkable?

Ysaurella

nooooo until now I think my reviews of the 2 teas I drank were really positive !
but Rois Mages is really not my thing !

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thank you so much to Stephanie for this sample. (her timing was very ninja-like…. quite cool!)

for those that have been following the nonsense that has been my life of late: i saw the emergency opthomologist yesterday. surgery likely in two weeks, steroids up until then. reading isn’t fun which means my exam on monday is going to be….creative? thus Stephanie-ninja’s package (and VariaTEA’s) found me yesterday!

the tea: hmmm. my sample does NOT look like this, first off, although the smell wasn’t too far from the photo. this tea would give darwin new insights, lol. (ie: the blend has a dramatic evolutionary shift).

i do not care for it hot. i scowled at it openly. i got no chocolate, no almond…. coconut? hah! i do try not hold grudges…. they serve no purpose but to grow poison trees. i channeled zen sipped again and….. MUCH BETTER! not robust. not clearly chocolate almond…. but the cooler it gets the more it improves.

i think the blend itself needs more oomph. an oomph boost! good idea… not done yet though. darwin could meddle!

Fjellrev

Gah! I hate when teas have some awesome notes but you can’t taste them.

JustJames

my thought is: go all the way with the idea, don’t stop part way there. it has potential…. but not done cooking yet i think!

Hesper June

Oh,my! That poor tea must have been quivering down to it’s very leaves…to be scowled at openly by JJ!
Glad that it redeemed itself once slightly cooled.
Sorry to read of your recent eye problems, I hope it will all soon be quickly resolved.

JustJames

lol, i don’t often glower at teas! but it behaved somewhat… in the end. }=0^

the eye thing is so random! very badly timed too…. i’ve been offered an extension for my exam on monday, but i can just see that causing a snowball catchup effect…. i have two major final projects another exam and surgery in between. i think just doing it makes more sense? though i am always slightly out of my head with steroids in my system…. thoughts anyone?

Hesper June

I might have to try that next time I believe a tea is misbehaving:)
Sorry about the dilemma, I often tell others that it is most important to take care of your health first…sadly I rarely take my own advice.

JustJames

i’m doing everything that can be done…. i really don’t think putting off the exam (though the offer was kind) will help. i have 12 days of steroids left, another assessment, then they book the procedure. in between i get my disease modifier.

i feel rotten. that isn’t going to change anytime soon. heaping the stress of a delayed exam on top of my other due dates won’t be helpful……

bah!

Hesper June

Very true. So sorry that you have to deal with this. Wishing you some relief soon!

JustJames

thank you, my dear. one of these random occurrences. my prof is in for a bit of a shock though…. i’m studying mostly off TED and youtube. lol. reading the text book isn’t going so well.

Hesper June

I sure you Prof will be impressed on how well you will do.

JustJames

man i hope so! you are a lovely soul…. xo

Fjellrev

By the way, best of luck with surgery! I hope it won’t be too high risk and the recovery will go alright.

JustJames

thanks for the well wishes! my mother piped up today ‘so i guess you don’t want tea for christmas anymore?’ ???? ‘sounds like new glasses might be better?’ yes, but noooooooooooooooooooo!!

it was tragic, but also very amusing.

Fjellrev

Aww, yeah, my mom’s been doing through a series of eye surgery and and her prescription keeps changing. It can be such a hassle and so expensive. Let’s hope you can hit a good pre-xmas sale and get a good deal on the glasses so you have more money for tea!

JustJames

there’s a positive thought, yay pre-christmas sale thinking!!

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87
Aimee Popovacki

thats one i’m hoping to try this holiday season!… my computer still isn’t fixed and i’m so backlogged on reviews that i haven’t been able to review the fact that i’m in a tea rut ever since you sent me those awesome teas :) … they have really changed my tastes quite a bit.

JustJames

? what? i totally logged a review!!!! NOT COOL. Aimee, this blend is great. it’s even great as a latte….. no idea how they managed that.

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VariaTEA was thoughtful enough to send me this sample, thank you much!

this tea has outsmarted me tonight, lol. now, i was fiddling with it trying to sort out the steeping time without searching the steepster data base…. but i didn’t think i was that challenging?

the base is a rare green, i would go so far as to say BARELY a green. it reminds me very much of mandala’s yellow tea. very light, very sweet. the base is so gracious i found myself wanting it uninterrupted, which is what the almond was doing.

on its own the almond is a very nice flavour! not too strong, very smooth, a nice combination of a fresh almond crossed with marzipan. no amaretto. the separate halves are very nice on their own…. i just don’t know if i want them together?

rather unexpected that! no numbers yet. =0)

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

I was definitely on the fence about this tea too. In fact I still am. I found the marzipan flavor of the almond didn’t quite blend with the taste of the green tea base.

JustJames

i think it’s that they’re both good quality but argue as a result? holy moly, i anthropomorphize my teas!

MissB

“the base is so gracious i found myself wanting it uninterrupted”

I love this. Pure poetry.

JustJames

flatterer ;-P

sherapop

That is exactly my question, JustJames: do green tea and almond belong together?

JustJames

i certainly think they can is they are balanced correctly, the example that comes to mind as close kin is butiki’s pistachio ice cream. i don’t think there are any rules at all about what can/can’t go together…. you just have to be just that good to prove yourself under certain circumstances.

i’ll have to try it again, but i’m not sure this is one of those brilliant proofs.

JustJames

sherapop- i have plenty left (pretty sure), if you’re thinking of buying i can always throw some your way.

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