111 Tasting Notes

81
drank Baya by THE O DOR
111 tasting notes

This rooibos is puzzling…
It’s very lovely with ylang-ylang flowers : the flowers are complete with the petals still attached to one another; they tend to rise on top of the rooibos needles when I shake my bag. After steeping, they still are full and look like they were freshly plucked.
After this aesthetic interlude, let’s move to the tasting note. I believe I must have had this rooibos at least 10 times now. And everytime I start drinking it, I’m puzzled by some tastes that overpower all the other flavors. The first would be the nutmeg, followed by pepper, which is rather subtile and which I find as an aftertaste and especially when licking my lips. Too much nutmeg in my opinion as it covers the other flavors – I cannot identify the ylang ylang though I can smell it on the dry leaves, no passion fruit, no vanilla, though this one might explain the creaminess of the blend.
This is a very nice blend, though not as subtle as I’d like it to be.

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

pepper and nutmeg seem to be interesting tastes, Theodor often uses this kind of ingredients in their teas.Unfortunately for me this one is a rooibos :) But I know you love rooibos so much !

cteresa

I got this by the weight, and we almost certainly got different batches or batches at different stages. I don´t get a lot of flowers, not a lot of nutmeg (luckily I think!), but a lot of passion fruit. Though I totally agree, not a subtle tea!

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98

I just realized my last tasting note of this tea was so old and frankly outdated. I brought some of this tea at the office and had some usually with lunch and in the afternoon. The more I drank it, the more I liked it. I just know it will provide me with the perfect brew, quite delicate, slightly grassy, very mild though flavorsome. I never have had any problem sleeping even when I drank my last cup around 6pm. I did up to 7 brews with the same leaves and could probably have gone on for quite a few more rounds, as the flavor was still there.
The price was outrageous – I rediscovered the bill some time ago when tidying my papers and wide-eyed I checked that I was not mistaken, then I wondered how I could have paid such a price for 150g of tea. Thinking of it back now, I realize it was not that much, as a very small quantity (less than 5 beads for one cup) does the trick and works with as many steeps as more.
Every time I realized the number of beads in my office small tin were getting scarce, I had to restock it as I could not imagine not being able to drink it at lunch. That’s the only tea I brought to the office that made me do that – all the others (flavored all of them) I had to change and replace by a new one after a few weeks, even if I restocked a few of them once or twice before changing. This one, no, I really feel now that it’s a basic I cannot live without.
This explains my upgraded and almost perfect rating.
I’ll have to try other oolong, but I have to admit I’m wary of being disappointed.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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91
drank Une Autre Idee? by THE O DOR
111 tasting notes

For the first time since last Sunday when the haze started to hit on us, I managed late today to open my windows and breath almost fresh air. Since my living-room used to stink increasingly like a smoking bar the morning after, when all ashtrays are overflown, I was in a very good mood to have the stench removed by a nice and not too smelly breeze.
That was definitely an opportunity for a celebration. What could be better than opening a new and promising tea bag? I chose this one so that the exotic fruit flavors remind me of some great pleasures I enjoy living in Singapore.
I’m really glad I did that, as drinking this tea definitely made me happier. The flavors of tropical fruits are rather blended, but gave me the feeling that only the tropical fruits I prefer had managed to reach the bag. Isn’t that fantastic! I recognized quite early my favorite passion-fruit, some pineapple is also there and some fruit that taste both sweet and very tangy at the same time and that have a creamy texture, a bit like mangosteen but not exactly this fruit. I then decided to look over what was the mysterious guanabana and I realized it was the French corossol and the English soursop – then it was clear it was this last fruit that brought out this tangy sweet slightly sour but overall very interesting and multi-dimensional.
To be drunk hot or warm – it seems not as interesting once it cools down.
I made a second tea-pot, right after finishing the first. I’m quite sure the bag will empty itself very quickly and I’ll certainly restock this one after.

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

This is definitely going on my shopping list – I love rooibos, but I seem to get pickier and pickier about it all the time, and Theodor ´s rooibos are always good!

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50

Victory!
I finally managed to empty the small tin and will be able to fill it instead with a tea that I like much better.
It indeed is a bad sign, when I’m happy to be done with a tea:( Usually when I really like a tea, or worse when I even love it, I never can manage to finish it; I always want to leave enough to make another few teapots, in case I ever need this specific tea or the comfort that my favorites bring. It’s actually pretty stupid as I know that leaving a few leaves on their own for so long cannot really be good for the flavoring, but I feel bereft after I emptied completely the box or bag.
Not the case with this one, which rather inspired me a “good riddance, hope I’ll never meet you again” feeling.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

you have managed ! I have managed as well to terminate this one too :) I didn’t even make a tea note about it….

cteresa

I was fondling Kusmi tins today, seriously. I resisted so far, and this is making me glad I did.

Ysaurella

you know when I love some brand tins, I try to find them empty on the second hand market…and I buy them to put teas I love.
I bought recently 2 collector kusmi tins edited in 2007 and I filled them with 2 Mariage Frères teas.
I have paid 8 € for 2 tins like this : http://www.linternaute.com/paris/shopping/selection/cadeaux-noel/3.shtml
Mine are blue and rose and I can pile them up as they are stackable !

cteresa

Oh, they are lovely indeed. But to buy tins, on their own, there are lovely empty ones anyway – and I reuse a lot of tins which came my way, with paper and labels (or washi tape, which is awesome). Baking powder tins are great because they close nicely and got no smells, and while I was dubious about paprika tins, I washed one on the dishwasher and let it sit for a couple months unused and it got no smell either. I paste some pretty paper over it, some varnish on top, then a label, and a new tea tin to my own taste!

But there is something still irresistible about tins filled with tin in shops – will be strong!

Ysaurella

yes I have 4 or 5 washi tin but they are expensive here (really much affordable in Sweden) I made my calculations and if was doing my own washi tin, price would be the same (15 or 20 euros).

Ysaurella

I suppose washi are not so expensive in Japan…I’ll need to visit this country :)

cteresa

Here washi tins are about 12 to 20 euros, so wow for sweden, that sounds lovely.

But are you sure making tins with washi paper is so expensive? I do not know how much those cannisters would be, and it´s expensive to buy supplies to just one thing (glue, varnish, whatever) but if making several I am surprised that the price would be so much. A sheet of chiyogami paper is about 4 or 5 euros and enough for a couple tins at least – and usually there are much cheaper papers which are also nice like italian papers, or origami paper or scrapbooking papers (like 1 euro a sheet and good enough for a tin). Worth checking about it! LOL, or maybe I am just trying to addict you to a an associate tea hobby ;)

Ysaurella

lucky you ! here the half sheet is almost 8 € !
look : http://www.adelineklam.com/store/feuilles-papiers-washi-japonais/Fleurs
and the tin (with double cover) is near 6 € …
But I would love to do my own tins…I’ll check the italian papers :)

cteresa

Not sure I am so lucky, because the choice I have here is much smaller, but those japanese papers are indeed very very expensive! Check on etsy or ebay, wait will mail you some links!

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85

I already had one pot of this tea, kindly sent by Ysaurella. It was one of those days when other issues derailed my concentration from the experience.
Today, as part of my grand mission to empty all received samples, I decided to try it again.
When looking at the tea, it looked more like a normal MF blend, than to the picture used. Sure there are some small yellow and brown pieces, but in less quantity and with much smaller sizes than on the picture. It does not matter so much, MF usually does not care much about the look of the tea, just the taste, so I cannot hold that against this tea.
After brewing, my first impressions were quite similar to what I remembered: a mellow, strongly blended with no flavors really striking me out, though it indeed is flavorsome. A very pleasant blend, especially for the afternoon.
Then I got busy and forgot the remaining half of the teapot. When I came back to it, it was more cool than lukewarm, which does not bother me much, as I definitely do not need warming. Vanilla is there at the beginning of the sip, a nice very natural tasting vanilla. Then there’s a long lasting after taste staying all over my mouth and lips, that indeed is marron glacé: super creamy, sweet, really decadent tasting. My lips especially feel like I’ve just eaten some. Amazing!
Real marron glacé are not a favorite treat of mine and I usually cannot eat one entire. However it turns out that as a beverage flavor, I really like it and it makes for an unusual brew.
In my opinion, this is better at “room temperature” than hot.
I’ll most probably buy some, both for myself and for my in-laws who are completely in love with real marrons glacés.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec
LaFleurBleue

There should be some spices in there. I do not get them, all the better as I usually do not appreciate chai like flavors.

Ysaurella

very happy you like it. I love it even if I’m not a big fan of Marrons glacés neither.

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79

It was my second brew of this tea generously sent by Ysaurella; the first one being a few weeks ago. It had not been love at the first sip. So I deliberately waited until I was in good condition and good mood to give it another real chance.
When preparing my pot, I was amazed at how lovely this tea is: sprinkled with blue and yellow flowers, with bits and pieces of almond, some pieces of what has to be cinnamon. It indeed is one of loveliest MF blends I’ve seen.
The brew remains crystal clear and is lightly fragrant. What is surprising is that the taste comes out as much stronger as I expected from the smell. And the main flavor I get, which I have trouble forgetting to try to identify the others is most definitely clove. All the rest, cinnamon, almonds, seems perfectly blended together, but a few two many buds have managed to get their way to my teapot, for my taste.
Once again I understand how this tea can be a favorite for many, but unfortunately not for me.
Thanks anyway Ysaurella; this will definitely help me avoid a purchase that I should have liked, as everything in the description seemed fine, but which would have disappointed me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Ysaurella

I generally brew it longer than you did – around 5 mn – It may change the main flavours tasting, but you probably already have tried several steeping times.

LaFleurBleue

I’m honestly not so sure how long I brewed it ;(
I came back to my teapot later when it was cool and amazingly the one flavor that popped at this moment was cinnamon, the clove seemed all gone. I’ll try to be more thorough in the measuring of the steeping time the next and last time…

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87

This morning is my second brew of this sample, kindly sent to me by CTeresa.
I’m not sure how long exactly it steeped, probably way over the 5 mn period, which worried me, as I remembered the bitterness that Paris tea took after a too long steep.
None of this here, the tea seems brewed to perfection. Ah I really love the non-fussy and easy-going blend that will not hold it against you, if you treat them badly.
It’s indeed the perfect afternoon tea for people who are not that used to tea or when you just want something easy to drink in any circumstances; its flavors are very accessible, quite rich both in quantity and quality, none of them overwhelming.
For my taste, the caramel tone is a bit too strong; I believe I’d prefer a blend leaning more on the red fruits, like Marco Polo is, from what I remember. It’s however really lovely. And way, way better than Paris, from H&S, in my opinion.
I ’m not sure that I will buy it soon for me, but this would certainly make a perfect present. I totally understand how this blend could become an absolute favorite to many people.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 0 sec
cteresa

We really are tea twins! Totally agree regarding Marco Polo and Paris (and also Kusmi´s St Petersburg. Yep, at a time I had all 4 of those teas in my kitchen).

Ysaurella

this is strangely a Dammann Frères blend I never tasted !

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83

Once again I’ve been completely puzzled the first times I drank this, as it did not taste like what I expected. At the same time, TWG description of the blends can only be considered as simplistic or minimalist.
After a few surprising and almost difficult to drink brew, I realized this blend, though different from my usual rooibos, definitely grew on me. After believing I never would be able to drink it all, I changed my mind and realized it might be easier and easier to drink until it’s finished, as I like each new pot better than the previous, for now.
The rooibos in itself seems really nice, brews a very clear and bright color, quite fragrant.
Let me try to describe the fragrance and flavors, quite tough because I haven’t managed yet to really grasp what could be in. There’s nothing flowery, nor fruity or sweet in this blend, which favors much more vegetal and earth tones. Thinking of the Caribbean, those flavors would remind me of a walk through the jungle forest, definitely out of the seaside and out of blooming gardens.
There’s a clear nutty flavor to it, bringing both mellowness and a tinge of bitterness. The cocoa beans cannot be mistaken for chocolate, it’s clearly the unprocessed, unsweetened slightly bitter flavor that comes through. I still have not managed to be certain whether there is some vanilla inside, bringing additional mellowness to the nuts. Nor am I clear whether there is some coconut; in any case, if there is, it would be fresh and raw coconut, most probably just scooped from the nut, taking only the pieces that were closer to the bark and neither the milk, nor the soft flesh at the center of the nut.
I hope this rambling will make sense.
I may some day post another tasting note not too similar on this one, which still puzzles me…

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Hallieod

Your “rambling” was very interesting! Odd about the lack of descriptions (or ingredient list!) from the company.

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69
drank Rose Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
111 tasting notes

Reviewing my rating. I wonder why I rated it so high. I really have trouble to finish the 25g mini tin, often get a too bitter brew and am not so keen on the overwhelming rose flavor.
I indeed tried it mixed with some of my Jasmine pearls. Overall I have to be careful to put twice as much rose green tea in comparison with the jasmine tea, otherwise the rose is already muted at the first brew. And even when I managed a successful first brew, it doesn’t allow for a resteep, the jasmine gets stronger and stronger and the rose seems gone.
Not a very interesting blend and too capricious. Not sure that I would recommend it, even to flowering / rose tea fans.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

I’ve started drinking much more tea quite recently, almost completely quitting espresso for it!
I’ve been introduced to high quality tea by one of my best friend, MF Marco Polo addict since more than 20 years. I’ve only rarely bought tea-bags since then, preferring the quality-price ratio of loose leaves.
I drink my tea natural, without any milk, sugar or sweetener. I only add honey when a sore-throat is coming along.
I usually either brew a large pot at home or resteep my leaves at the office. I cannot seem to learn to master the use of a gaiwan in an elegant and not clumsy way…
My tea preferences :
- I really like flavored black teas, with a preference for fruity flavors, from a tangy Earl Grey to a real fruit smoothie-like tea. I’m trying some single origin unflavored blacks from time to time but always end up having trouble to finish them. I usually do not really enjoy the strong breakfast teas.
- I do not like chai or teas with strong spice flavors. Strange considering I really like spicy food, but not what I drink.
- I am quite afraid of pu-erh and lapsang souchong, though I probably have never drunk any real good ones and I’m quite sure it can make a huge difference… A few years ago, I had been introduced to scotch whisky and can definitely attest that you cannot say you don’t like whisky, if you’ve only drunk blended stuff and not tasted yet single malts. I hope to get the same happy discovery for those teas.
- I discovered very good oolong, without going through the step of drinking bad-one first, and really enjoy it, especially with a meal. I’ll definitely try some flavored oolongs in a near future.
- I’ve just started discovering white teas, which feels very delicate. The only problem is that those can be awfully expensive…
- I also really like rooibos which I discovered a few years ago while searching for low-theine/caffeine teas that I could drink at night without suffering from insomnia.
- As with green tea, we’ve had a long-standing difficult relationship. I’ve occasionally had some that were real smooth, refreshing and so very many that turned bitter very quickly. And I cannot stand a bitter tea.
- As for jasmine tea, I used to like it but have indeed drunk too much of some bad quality bitter brew, and now I even have problem finishing the high-quality pearls I bought in Beijing.
- Yerba Mate: I’ve had some in one blend and am quite convinced that I would never like that as bitterness is one of its main characteristics. I’ll try to avoid it like the plague.
- Herbal tea: I used to drink more or those before discovering rooibos; finding good ones is unfortunately really difficult – even in organic shops, the herbs sold are far from great.
I loathe artificial flavoring of any kind in any beverage or food.

I’m quite opiniated and try to leave room for further improvement and better discoveries, which explain why I haven’t rated any tea in the 95 and above range.
Teas above 80 are among my favorites
Between 60-80, I could or could not give them a second chance or recognize that they are made with high-quality ingredients though their taste does not please my buds.
Around 50, it starts to be rather bad and a not so pleasant experience to drink.
25 to 40+ cover low quality products that I manage to drink when nothing else is available.
Below that, it’s really vile and basically almost undrinkable IMHO.

Location

Singapore

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