383 Tasting Notes
ah! my first birthday review! i’ve been 38 for a whole half a day and nothing….. i feel no different. then again, it’s always like that =0)
after last year (when my mother bought me a huge amount of wine most of which is still kicking around our kitchen) i went out on a limb and discussed with her the concept of going a different direction this year: if she really wanted to pour a couple hundred dollars into beverages in honour of my birthday, could we go with something that I like? please? are you imagining me tap dancing dear friends? can you imagine how dicey that conversation that might have been? she laughed, said that if i wanted my GRANNY’S habit indulged she SUPPOSED she could. granny? really? what part of tea says senior citizen? i mean i’d have thought she could have gone for grampa at least….
anyway, as always, i digress!!! when the box from dammann freres arrived my mother could have called me anything she wanted. the smells drifting up from the box after i carefully opened it! berry and biscuit, chocolate and nuts….. separate blends that somehow all played together happily; separate but still comprising a mutual fan club. this one was the first of my day….. i sipped it in a daze on the way to school. what a way to wake up on your birthday!
this in my cup with music that was likely way too loud, smile wrapped around my head two times. i worked all weekend on a lab that i only got half done until i ran it by my prof who said i could stop with what i had because i had done so impressively much. it’s been a good birthday so far!
sushi coming up for dinner, new kettle kettle humming in the background…. a buffet of spoiled boy teas to chose from. why is it i shouldn’t like birthdays again?
my wife refuses to try this tea…. though she says she might consider wearing it as a perfume. =0)
i love this tea…. go figure, it was made for me! but it’s not just the blend i love…. it was the whole process.
stacy is brilliant. we all know that, but working with her one on one that is absolutely reinforced. we tried tons of combinations. we were all over the map! she listened to every idea i had and added in her experience, what did we get? a delightfully NOT tropical coconut/baked banana praline invention that makes me feel like i’m eating dessert even though i have very proudly (and honestly!!!) been off sugar for 2 weeks now.
the banana level is deep, very reminiscent of when i make baked bananas with butter, lemon juice and a pinch of brown sugar. the hint of lemon is there, i swear. the coconut is beautifully balanced by the banana and praline. not to mention the taiwanese assam! i love that the blend has a brilliant tea to back it!
if you have dreams of tea i cannot recommend stacy lim highly enough. the person, the process and the result. she even allowed for my particular fondness of cream and sweetener (formerly known as sugar, lol). it’s great with, without. hell, it’s just great.
thank you so much stacy…. i have sent a bunch of it out, though only two know it’s coming, lol!
of course it gets 100%! oh, and in case you need the reference that stacy and i geeked out over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-q3_XoS2T8 …. believe you me, there were many, MANY discussions about dr. who tea names!
i don’t know what i expected from this tea…. but is is most certainly not what i got.
as a rule, things that are are harvested in canada in fall like the grapes for ice wine and winter like maple syrup are viscous and have an intense potential for sweet. playing off the word ‘frost’ i think that, paired with the colder weather, had me expecting something with an element of sweetness. i was entirely wrong.
while i smelled a light floral from the dry, the strangest thing i have ever encountered happened with the water added: nothing. well, almost.
i have an autoimmune disease that impacts my nervous system primarily. i have some abilities that could be called rather rare, though certainly not unheard of— like being able to smell the metal UNDERNEATH the plating metal. weird. i know.
this tea is cold. it smells like ice. yes, for me temperature can have a smell. screaming hot, steaming away, scalds my tongue….. and it is ice. pure ice. i have never encountered such a thing!
i don’t know if i like it… i don’t DISlike it, but i want a repeat performance. thinking that i might be having an early moment of dementia i wrenched the top off my tea cup in class today and shoved it under my lab partner’s nose. (she’s used to this by now)
‘what do you smell?’
‘i….nothing?’ (perplexed look) she grabbed the cup and took a more serious sniff. ‘how can it smell like nothing?’
‘it smells like ice to me.’
‘james, ice doesn’t have a smell!’
‘yes it does.’
ooooh, very nice mandala! simply complex.
very smooth, reminiscent of a tie guan in, or yellow…… i really don’t think i would have guessed it was anykind of oolong had it not been on the packaging. robust but in a light hearted kind of way.
on a completely separate note, i wanted to thank your group for your product excellence. i had lunch with my mum today. often we don’t get on, but life has been a bit tough on her lately and the place where we meet always has great food but ghastly tropical flavoured bagged green teas. i brought my bag of yellow buds with me and made her a pot at the table. she loved it! she was very surprised at the steep time, the colour, the taste. i know things are going to be difficult in her life for a while longer, so i sent her home with the tea and told her i’d get her more when she ran out.
your company really is a class act. and while my mother doesn’t know you at all, on behalf of us both i will thank you.
i find these days i bounce between paris (mariage and dammann) complexity and manadala’s understated simplicity. but that’s like calling a circle simple to someone whose only ever drawn straight lines. thank you for the introspectively quiet circle.
most sincerely, james.
this tea is grand, i mean truly exceptional.
dry it reminds me of ripe strawberries and raspberry jello, but once the water goes in there is a premeditated tartness from the green base that negates any thoughts of jello whatsoever.
my unsolicited advice (as someone who thoroughly messed up their first attempt), believe the 3 minute recommendation on the bag. nina’s has been doing this long enough that they don’t recommend halfheartedly.
the green they have chosen is very smart indeed…. it has a sharp tang that is absolutely timed to the minute. the berries are balanced against a three minute time…. like a smartypants i figured more was better and went for 4 the first time and got no berries whatsoever. when correctly timed you get a perfect equation with perfectly (not over) ripe berries with a medium strength green tea. this is a flavoured green, there is never any doubt that it is a tea. with some flavoured blends the tea essence is lost, but not here.
very nice. little doubt i will buy again!
this tea has frustrated my intelligence. true i can be stubborn and do things in my own manner, but i have followed the instructions for this beautiful tea. i love the smell, i love the appearance….. but i get a mediocre taste!
1 minute, 1.5 minutes…. 4 minutes. hotter, colder. nope.
it is so highly sought after, and there is no more to be had this year at least and with every steeping i am wasting my supply.
i will rate this one… i do not believe it is a failing on my part or my other teas would be impacted. very sad…. i really did want to love it as others do….
i was curious, so i looked up the history: nina’s paris, (named after the founder’s wife mme nina diaz) was founded in 1672 as the furbishers of fragrance to versailles. it shows.
this tea is red, and round. it actually creates a spherical shape in my mouth. i am not referring to the natural process of swallowing here, i feel the flavour in a spherical shape, over my tongue and against my cheeks.
this blend is an exercise in just enough and not too much; had the raspberry been stonger it may have evolved from a balanced tart to sharp or bitter, but it did not. the red currant adds the round component i think, as well a classic element. the caramel is very quiet… three fingers brushing one time lightly between your shoulder blades after a long day. soothing.
this tea is lovely. i was surprised at first when i learned that the french tea apothecaries were also frequently parfumeries, but it makes perfect sense now. how the two vocations could ever be separate is a foreign thought to me now because it is. so. logical.
while she did not send me this tea, i really must thank ysaurella for playing the part of brilliant catalyst for this part of my tea journey. our swap caught me so offguard i think my heart may continue to dwell in parisien tea houses.
struck by the sheer terror of midterms after nearly 2 decades i behaved very badly and broke into my birthday tea with the intention of piping this mate directly into my brain if need be for my exam yesterday.
the exam the night before had been a NIGHTMARE. because of the impairments i do my exams on a PC….. which halfway way through my psyche exam timed out, drop kicked me and ERASED all of my answers.
… …. …… they called a tech from the library and shuffled me to a different spot to keep working. they did not shuffle me far enough….. i heard every groan of despair.
‘the bad news is your work is gone and i can’t get it back…’ and thus a debate about what to do. i’ll admit it, i had a brief (although polite) moment where i lost my cool.
‘FOLKS! the option is exactly ONE! i need some quiet and i need to get the exam done. PERIOD.’ and i did, because there was no other choice. especially with an exam the next morning first thing.
thus, with the advent of a new exam and a palpable frisson of fear STOMPING through my heart, i broke into my birthday tea and grabbed this mate hoping it would turn me into a genius and that i wouldn’t have a repeat of the night before. it was a risk folks…. i have mentioned several times that i don’t tolerate mate well. it usually curdles my stomach and makes me jittery.
seeing as i’m sure you are all waiting with baited breath i will tell you about exam 2: my prof will hate me. i wrote and wrote and wrote. i am expecting an A, but i’ll settle for an A+, lol.
my glitches with mate? apparently only with ones from this continent.
this tea has marshmallow notes that soften a beautiful balance of fruit and flowers. very light in colour as well in taste. it is complex, but not complicated, and not the least bit imposing. beautiful, smooth, cleared the fuzz out of my head in record time. i will absolutely buy mate from mariage and dammann.
by far the best mate i have ever had. by leaps and bounds! and i will keep one in the house for as long as i’m a student.
i find myself at a cross roads with this puerh. on one hand there are aspects that i find vastly superior, on the other i find some elements disconcerting.
i really like the fact that it isn’t musty as some puerhs i’ve tried lately are. there’s a healthy but not overpowering astringency that balances the flavours out so that i am certain i am drinking tea and i haven’t been whacked in the mouth with a moss pillow.
what i find odd are the smell and taste. it smells like popcorn, and it tastes like sticky rice. makes a certain amount of sense, it’s a rice shu…. but sweet rice in my tea cup is new for me and i don’t know what i think of it yet!
thank you very much to tao tea leaf for the sample. i always enjoy an opportunity to try.
no numbers, not yet. i’ll try another steep and see if i can come to a conclusion!
this is THE WHACKIEST tea!
visually it’s quite lovely with the long umber tendrils curling among the black fingers of tea. kombucha….. i like the calorie free fizzy drink…. how would i like it in tea though?
for me this is a very honest tea. what i smelled is what i got…. which is great because the smell was awesome! the kombucha (which is a bacteria heavy fermented tea product btw….. i had to look it up) gives a great twang without any hint of bitterness which is perfect up against the pineapple and mango!
decisions decisions….. do i ship this off to ysaurella when the time comes? lol. just kidding.