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This was my first rooibos blend ever and I’ve almost finished the box; there’s just enough for another cup or two, no more.
I really like the mellow taste, hinting of vanilla and flowers but in which the blend makes all the flavors mixed together, so that none of them overwhelms the others. It’s therefore quite difficult for me to really identify the different flavors within.
It used to be my favorite evening drink for a while, then got superseded by Nil Rouge, later on by Rouge Bourbon. But when I tried it again to finish it, I found back what I had liked so much at first about it : a real smoothness that makes it very easy and pleasant to drink, without anything strong about it that might get overwhelming and in the end nauseating.
I do not know if I’ll buy it back this Christmas but surely sometime in the future.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec
cteresa

My main (realistic) tea shopping dilemma right now is whether to buy this or Nil Rouge. I got 50 grams of each last winter, finished this and got just a couple teaspoons of Nil Rouge. And I absolutely love both (and Bourbon as well, but I got a similar very good vanilla rooibos, so got to finish that first). Now, which one do I love better? Trying to make my mind. I suspect I will hedge my bets and get 50 grams of each again.

LaFleurBleue

I still have a little less than 50g of Nil Rouge left…
I understand your dilemma. Where can you buy MF by 50g ? I never could buy less than 100g from them.

cteresa

A local gourmet shop, they sell Mariage Freres, Kusmi and Fauchon loose teas by the weight. And minimum is 50 grams, which is oh so nice of them because that weight I can try more teas. Wait, I will show you their shop window, a photo I took some months ago

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cteresa/6544328075/

I never buy the tins, particularly the special tins. They are so expensive, and with a price hike from Paris. The loose tea is still a bit pricier than in Paris, but a lot more reasonable.

50 grams is sort of my perfect buy-size. Enough for me to know if it´s going to be a must-have staple, and if not, enough for me to drink and wave farewell.

LaFleurBleue

Looks real nice.
I agree for the 50g being perfect. It’s usually not too difficult to use the first 50g, but for average not so great teas, finishing the pack can get real tedious. And I feel a bit bad buying and opening new ones when I already have too much ongoing.
I confess I have bought a few black tins from MF, as I really like their design; it looked perfect in my previous kitchen (don’t think I ever took a picture however). Anyway I mostly buy loose also. It also takes less room in the cupboard.

cteresa

I got a few black tins, though most of the hoard was when this gourmet shop decided to stop carrying tea and was selling it for almost half price. Investment! I like how we can peel off the sticker with the price when reusing the tins and I reuse tins a lot – I steam them, let them dry really well and reuse them. And black tins were sort of reasonable, the first one I bought was 11 euros or something a few years ago. And most of my hoard was from when a store decided to stop carrying tea (I would have been sorry if I had known they sold tea before they decided to stop) and was selling them for 9.95€. But right now they are selling even the black tins for 19 euros, it´s ridiculous price hike from Paris. And the oh so pretty special tins are even more expensive :(

I have been eyeing Dammann Freres. 10.50€ a tin, and it looks nice and compact and very good quality the tin. I love when you can pile up tins. The reviews for the tea are promising!

LaFleurBleue

I’ve bought (or got offered) my 3 black tins from Paris shops at around 11€; I agree that 19 € upwards is really too expensive.
Haven’t tried Damman yet and do not even know what their tins look like; but I also like to be able to pile them up. I might look at it also at Christmas…
I’ve not had to really clean mine, as the finished ones were Marco Polo Rouge and Nil Rouge which I know I’ll keep on buying. But I may try the steaming for Rouge Ruschka once I’ll have finished it (it might take a while though).

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cteresa

My main (realistic) tea shopping dilemma right now is whether to buy this or Nil Rouge. I got 50 grams of each last winter, finished this and got just a couple teaspoons of Nil Rouge. And I absolutely love both (and Bourbon as well, but I got a similar very good vanilla rooibos, so got to finish that first). Now, which one do I love better? Trying to make my mind. I suspect I will hedge my bets and get 50 grams of each again.

LaFleurBleue

I still have a little less than 50g of Nil Rouge left…
I understand your dilemma. Where can you buy MF by 50g ? I never could buy less than 100g from them.

cteresa

A local gourmet shop, they sell Mariage Freres, Kusmi and Fauchon loose teas by the weight. And minimum is 50 grams, which is oh so nice of them because that weight I can try more teas. Wait, I will show you their shop window, a photo I took some months ago

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cteresa/6544328075/

I never buy the tins, particularly the special tins. They are so expensive, and with a price hike from Paris. The loose tea is still a bit pricier than in Paris, but a lot more reasonable.

50 grams is sort of my perfect buy-size. Enough for me to know if it´s going to be a must-have staple, and if not, enough for me to drink and wave farewell.

LaFleurBleue

Looks real nice.
I agree for the 50g being perfect. It’s usually not too difficult to use the first 50g, but for average not so great teas, finishing the pack can get real tedious. And I feel a bit bad buying and opening new ones when I already have too much ongoing.
I confess I have bought a few black tins from MF, as I really like their design; it looked perfect in my previous kitchen (don’t think I ever took a picture however). Anyway I mostly buy loose also. It also takes less room in the cupboard.

cteresa

I got a few black tins, though most of the hoard was when this gourmet shop decided to stop carrying tea and was selling it for almost half price. Investment! I like how we can peel off the sticker with the price when reusing the tins and I reuse tins a lot – I steam them, let them dry really well and reuse them. And black tins were sort of reasonable, the first one I bought was 11 euros or something a few years ago. And most of my hoard was from when a store decided to stop carrying tea (I would have been sorry if I had known they sold tea before they decided to stop) and was selling them for 9.95€. But right now they are selling even the black tins for 19 euros, it´s ridiculous price hike from Paris. And the oh so pretty special tins are even more expensive :(

I have been eyeing Dammann Freres. 10.50€ a tin, and it looks nice and compact and very good quality the tin. I love when you can pile up tins. The reviews for the tea are promising!

LaFleurBleue

I’ve bought (or got offered) my 3 black tins from Paris shops at around 11€; I agree that 19 € upwards is really too expensive.
Haven’t tried Damman yet and do not even know what their tins look like; but I also like to be able to pile them up. I might look at it also at Christmas…
I’ve not had to really clean mine, as the finished ones were Marco Polo Rouge and Nil Rouge which I know I’ll keep on buying. But I may try the steaming for Rouge Ruschka once I’ll have finished it (it might take a while though).

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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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