111 Tasting Notes

67
drank Nostalgie by Mariage Frères
111 tasting notes

I wanted to try one of MF special tea blend for the evening low in theine, of which there are not many and their description is at best brief.
This one seemed appealing, its smell in the shop was rather pleasant. It required a bigger than average bag, as the leaves are bigger than average, with different colors.
I first brewed it tonight. And I cannot say the experience is very conclusive.
I followed the MF instructions for brewing and believe I should leave it brewing for a shorter period of time, as there’s a hint of bitterness underlying the tea flavor. It’s basically a black tea, with probably Darjeeling inside, not sure exactly why ones, some I like and some I do not like so much and I would guess one type of citrus – only one as the flavor is rather basic and unvarying over time.
Not bad but nothing to make it special or interesting. MF Rouge Ruschka (rooibos with a few different citrus) was a much more interesting and tantalizing blend than this one.
Now I definitely hope it contains a low level of theine; otherwise I’ll downgrade again my rating tomorrow for false promises;)

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

LOL, wishing you luck with it!

Hallieod

If we wake up tomorrow morning and see there’ve been lots of notes and comments from you overnight, we’ll know it was false promises! :)

LaFleurBleue

Good news, it did not prevent me from sleeping
Bad news, I brought a small tin at the office, there was less citrus peel in my cup and the taste was even worse than what I remembered. This one was a bad choice ;(

cteresa

Low on caffeine or theine tea almost always is, dunno, just wrong in taste. Lapsang Souchong IMO is not too bad at keeping awake which is good because for me it´s an afternoon or evening tea, but that is just about it and not helpful for people who do not love LS!

LaFleurBleue

Sorry CTeresa, not sure that I understood correctly, you mean that LS seems to be rather low in caffeine/theine and never prevented you from sleeping even when drunk in the afternoon?
Surprisingly, Le Palais des Thés sells some low-caf blends that are more than decent, ie. similar to their normal caf tea, with some successful blends, and not a big step below, like it’s often the case. However I have to admit their best teas are not exactly up to par with other brands.

cteresa

Yes, I mean Lapsang Souchong because of the type of leaves used or time where they are picked is naturally low on caffeine usually and does not bother me much, even when i take it relatively late – that does not happen with other teas usually! Good white tea which I love and looking all innocent and light is probably the strongest acting on me.

I will keep that in mind regarding PdT – I have never been very lucky with their blends, but I always keep trying.

LaFleurBleue

Now I know I can finish your small bag of MF LS also in the afternoon, while I was scared to drink it even just after lunch, convinced it would be as potent as the smoky flavors are strong.
Totally agree with the white tea, looking so delicate, light-colored, with a refined flavor and a mighty second effect. I also did the mistake to drink some in the afternoon and reproached myself until late at night.
For PdT, the two low theine blends I prefer are Thé des Songes and Lime Wu Long. None is really fantastic, but I never had difficulties to empty those generously filled bags.

Hallieod

I was not impressed by a tea shop in town (they’ve been selling tea for a while but only opened the shop recently) when I asked for the strongest blend they had and got tea that was still too weak. When I said that while asking for a second cup, I was offered Lapsang Souchong which she said smelled really strong. Good grief – smoke aroma does not keep you from getting a caffeine-deprivation headache!

Scary about the white teas, which are always said to be low caffeine, though I gather that you only know for reals about any type of tea by lab test (or the hard way at home!)

LaFleurBleue

Actually regarding the white teas, most people believe it’s low caffeine but a few tell the exact opposite, that it is indeed the most caffeine-laden of all, supposedly because it’s not or very lightly oxidised. I’m not so sure of the explanation, because the oolong I drink very often in the afternoon is slightly oxidised (15% only according to the box) but never prevented me from sleeping, even when I drank some around 5 to 6 pm. Maybe it’s only because I use very little tea when I brew it?
@ Hallieod: agreed, it’s frustrating when the salesperson either does not know what he/she sells, or more or less deliberately misunderstands the question asked, to push another inappropriate product, sometimes to avoid acknowledging that they do not have what you want. It’s very common practice all over Asia.

cteresa

I think with white tea, or gyokuro is a matter of the time when the leave is picked, very new top leaves when just unfurling so it´s all very concentrated on all sorts of compounds. I think gyokuro is supposedly highest of all teas, though checking wikipedia apparently the trick of covering it makes caffeine increase http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyokuro

last weekend I was making herbal tea with brand new leaves from lemon verbena, and OMG is was so good, those tiny little leaf buds are so much more strongly scented, so much better than normal leaves (the bush needed to be pruned anyway. No plants were seriously harmed to make tea for me).

Somebody who thinks lapsang souchong is high on caffeine, or color or body corresponds with caffeine is sadly not too knowledgeable about tea – but often tea salesperson are not!

cteresa

Ah and an interesting article, http://elmwoodinn.com/about/caffeine.html

looks somewhat scientific, though they did not test lapsang…

LaFleurBleue

This article is indeed interesting and seems serious enough. Of course the sample could have been bigger – I really would have liked to see a decaff-tea in the sample in order to check whether it was indeed that efficient.
I would also have appreciated different measures for the same tea, according to different steeping times and quantities – to check whether it’s actually better in terms of caffeine intake to brew one whole teapot or to resteep leaves.
This article confirms however that my resteeping my oolong sometimes many many times until very late in the afternoon is not something that should turn against my beauty sleep.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84
drank Notting Hill by Yumchaa
111 tasting notes

I’ll be another steepsterite to wonder at how lovely this tea looks like. Everytime I open the bag or small tin I’ve filled with this tea, I am amazed by the colors. The black tea leaves are lavishly sprinkled with blue, yellow and dark orange petals; there are also a few dried pieces of fruits: I recognized some strawberries and some light yellow, that may be apricot? It’s indeed one of the most beautiful teas I’ve had the opportunity to brew and that makes the experience all the more pleasant.
The smell of the dried leaves is very fruity, with a strong apricot-peach tone.
Once brewed, the flavors do not disappoint and are in line with the smell. This makes for a very sweet and mellow brew. Really lovely end extremely pleasant, but with unfortunately no wow factor to make it unforgettable.
I’ll have to compare this one to MF Bolero, for which I still have a few teapots left at the bottom of the bag. I believe this one will be slightly more fruity with more distinctive flavors, while the other should be more balanced.
I know it should not be very difficult to finish this bag and that I might rebuy this tea some day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Hallieod

All those lovely things to say about it and it still doesn’t have any wow factor – makes my head spin imagining what does. :)

Ysaurella

does it have the incredible mellowness of Boléro ?

LaFleurBleue

@Hallieod: I know I’m highly demanding and not only for teas; it’s indeed very lovely and pleasant to drink, but it would probably be my first pick in the full cupboard, nor is it a tea I could not do without for a long time, nor would it be an absolute recommendation to anyone, like “you really have to drink that, whatever your tastes are like”. However going deeper into the bag, I might change my mind about that, which turned out to be the case for Boléro, which I found more and more pleasant as I was emptying the bag.
@Ysaurella: I would say so, though the fruit flavors are less blended in this one, but that’s definitely one of the things I’d like to check through a direct comparison of the two. Will keep you posted;)

Hallieod

It does make a huge difference having a tea that’s similar but which does wow you. I’m going to check out the notes for Boléro now, just out of interest. :)

Ysaurella

@ Hallieod : I can provide you with a Boléro sample as well with our next month swap if you like to taste it :)

Hallieod

Oh, thank you, Ysaurella, I’d love that! But I’ll stop whining about the French tea companies that haven’t set up shop in Dublin now, I promise. :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

25

Let’s start with a digression about what I tried that after the disastrous experience of trying another of their product.
I moved earlier this week and needed a few things that are most readily available at a famous swedish furniture store. It took longer than expected (doesn’t it always especially in this shop?), I decided to have dinner there. I learnt that I was entitled to a free drink for being a loyal customer to the brand (double so as I am registered both in Europe and in Singapore as the loyalty programs are not shared across countries).
In the drink choice, this was the only non soda drink and I did not even see a water fountain.
When tasting my first sip, I was getting prepared for a bad experience and was then positively surprised, as I realized it was quite drinkable. There is still more than 10 times the amount of sugar there should be; I was wondering whether there’s not also aspartame or whatever synthetic diet sugar are used in soft drinks, as the taste was not very natural. But this artificial feeling might also come from the lemon, which did not taste as much as dishwasher liquid as I feared but nevertheless did not taste at all like a fresh or even dried real lemon, but really like a lemon synthetic flavoring.
When reading the product description,I laughed at the “real tea leaves” section as the tea flavor reminded me strongly of the basic Lipton yellow;)
I will not buy it again, except if there is nothing else, but then I know I could drink it.

Preparation
Iced 0 min, 15 sec
Ysaurella

hope your move went well …you’re really brave to have dinner at I***…after all the horrible things mentioned in media regarding the food they were using :)

LaFleurBleue

I about finished unpacking and tidying.
Regarding food quality, believe me you’re so lucky to be in Europe and especially France. At the local supermarket next to my new home, I dare only purchase 1 out of 10 vegetables and fruits, as the 9 others come from China, when the origin is even labelled and considering that the labelling are not falsified; I have to check the origin of every food I buy first to be sure it was not made there. However I regularly eat in food courts, where the food is cheap, though nicely cooked, and every single ingredient most probably comes from there. So I guess one plate of supposedly organic pasta with tomato sauce was not a greater danger to my health.

cteresa

But horse in beef meatballs or pork in elk is safe! It is surprise extra protein ;) but there was no question bacteriologically and all it was safe food. ( though arguably we do not know about banned medication on the horse meat). honestly if this is the bad food scare, yay for Europe. Chinese food quality scandals are on a whole different category – fake eggs (really!) the whole issue with baby formula and baby formula smuggling and tons more.

I buy stuff from Chinese and Indian grocery stores ( because some stuff like spices, tahini, soba noodles, wonton wrappers) is just much better than I can get at regular supermarkets if I can even get them and I always worry. I try to buy stuff made in the EU, or Japan or Korea or Thailand or Taiwan. Never ever China, except for tea and I confess no matter the seller I always worry a bit about Chinese tea. Which i love.

Ysaurella

sorry to be trivial I was thinking about excrements found in chocolate pie sold at I*** ! Agree on different meats used, no safety problem just moral ones and cheating with consumers.

LaFleurBleue

I have not heard real bad things about food from other countries.
More and more after reading about new tea scandals often uncovered by the Japanese (the latest was only a few weeks/months ago), I feel like asking my favorite tea company whether they test the tea they purchase regarding the level of pesticide contained.
Problem is I much prefer chinese tea to any others. Oolong seem to be one of the most prone to pesticide overload and I really intend to stick to Taiwanese oolong for more safety.

LaFleurBleue

@Yzaurella: I had also only heard about the horse meat in meatballs, not about this disgusting and definitely dangerous matter. Glad that I’m very very picky on desserts and not a big sweet-tooth. Otherwise I might have felt sick;)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

54
drank Adventure by Yumchaa
111 tasting notes

I just finished the small tin I brought to the office of this rooibos blend and had it for a few days in the late afternoon.
I’m downgrading its rating, as I realize each time I drink it, I feel that I like it less than the previous. There’s definitely a flavor in there(I’d assume rose hips) that I do not like and find both too strong and almost unpleasant.
I assume it will be difficult for me to finish the bag.

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87

First teapot from the generous sample sent by CTeresa.
At the first sip, vanilla popped in my mind, then definitely caramel, of the unsalted sort. At the middle of the teapot, I realized this tea would be perfect with Carambar and tastes as decadent as those sweets. I did not really identify the berries and fruits, except as underlying flavors in the background.
I really liked it, will probably enjoy a lot the remaining of the sample but will have to decide whether this tea should remain on my shopping list or if the caramel flavor turns too overwhelming for my taste in the long run.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
cteresa

I got a tin of this and of 4 fruits rouges – this one first as I had much higher expectations of it, but somehow the one which I keep grabbing and doing is 4 fruits rouges! So dunno what to advice!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88

First teapot brewed with the sample sent by CTeresa. Thanks a lot, that was a good hit!
The smell of the dry leaves was very fruity appealing – definitely peachy.
I must confess I did not follow the instructions she had given me (80-85° for 5mn) as I did not feel like waiting long enough for the boiled water to cool to that temperature. And then I forgot to take it off after 3-4 mn and left it a whole 5 or 6.
It nevertheless turned perfect. The brew is very clear and nice to look at. The smell divine. And the flavors: very peach, though the vanilla left a very pleasant aftertaste and feeling all inside the mouth.
And I like that the tea base though delicate is not absent or tasteless as it can sometimes seem with some other blends.
I cannot compare with Nosy Bey that I have never tried but this sure is a win. I’ll try it again and compare it with both Boléro from Mariages and possibly Alfonso from TWG which both seem slightly similar in the “sweet and mellow fruit overload” department.

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

By the way, it can also be pleasantly drunk in summertime, though I understand its appeal when it’s cold.

cteresa

This is rather magic, not sure if my brewing instructions are really the “best” way to brew it, it seems to turn out right always!

cteresa

And just to add, you do not have to wait for water to cool, just add some cold water. Best of all I think is not letting water get past the desired temperature but on real life, that is not so easy. What I do is let water boil or close to it, and then eye how much cold water to add. Assuming room temperature water is 20 degrees more or less, and boiling water close to 100, I just eye it. If I want say water at 90 I had what i think is about a tenth of the pot, if I want water at 75 degrees I had about a third (the math is not totally exact but you loose some heat to the air and surface anyway). I usually put the cold water first, on the leaves, to protect them from scalding. It works well for me though of course it´s really just eyeing things.

And unlike Ysaurella, I prefer Galice to Nosy Bey – but might have just been each of us preferring the tea we had first.

LaFleurBleue

Good and practical tip; I’ll probably try that out next time.
I’m struggling hard, trying to decide whether I should use the opportunity of my hubby’s trip to Paris to have him bring me back some teas – knowing that he will complain that I already have more than enough, until he tastes and likes some of them (sure win) or take the opportunity to really empty my cupboard and wait for Christmas. Or bet that one my friend will come later this year and will bring me the teas without tipping the hubby.

cteresa

Hmm, difficult choice! Though you know the saying, better a bird in the hand than 2 flying?

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

54
drank Adventure by Yumchaa
111 tasting notes

It’s the second or third time I brew this and I’m not that impressed.
The dry tea looks lovely with the dried apple pieces, the almond pieces (I thought those were hazelnuts), some bark of rose hips. The spices include cinnamon and others, as of now unidentified.
The taste is rather pleasant, though I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon or spices in drinks. The almond flavor makes for a strong basis, but there’s a sour tanginess which strikes me at first, with the spices, that I’m not so fond of.
A very good quality rooibos that I most probably will never rebuy as it does not really correspond to my tastes. It’s definitely not an auto-pick from the cupboard, as there are so many others that I almost hear screaming my name and see jumping in their bags waiting for the teapot.

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

I have not rebought this yet – i liked it (and it is got a special place in my memory as the only hibiscus done subtle ever) but it´s pretty much not a yumchaa favorite though it would be a rebuy if it was a local supermarket stuff, if that makes any sense. But if ordering from yumchaa, they got many more teas I love better.

The sour tanginess is probably the hibiscus – as i said it´s subtle but there!

Ysaurella

Teresa, do you buy your yumchaa on line or while visiting London ?

Ysaurella

@LaFleurBleue : do you have more attraction for black teas now after different tastings ?

LaFleurBleue

@Ysaurella : I actually like black tea very much; main problem is I can’t drink them, nor green or white, after 3 or 4 pm in the afternoon. Otherwise I cannot fall asleep.
I personally bought my yumchaa online and got it sent to France, as it was quite cheaper than to Singapore – a little under 8 Gpb for 8 bags. It was delivered very quickly – about 2 or 3 days after the order in a thick bubble enveloppe. The enveloppe waited for me about 1 week in a bedroom, which smelled perfectly delicious at our arrival.
@cteresa : I recommend you to try Courtesan next time, no rooibos, and less hibiscus flavoring so no sourness. I believe you would like it and could enjoy it in the hot Portuguese summer.

cteresa

Courtesan sounds lovely indeed, maybe! Though I got a fruit infusion from a spanish blender which might be similar to it and which is so so good iced (and mariage freres´Casablanca. Though I look at how much tea I use and mentally calculate the price and yikes…)

The first couple times I bought Yumchaa I got it in person from their stalls or the camden shop in London. Later I bought it online direct a few times (the mailman praised the smell, said it perfumed his all mailbag!) and often got it through a friend who lived in London. Just got a new package of Wanderlust and oh it is so lovely.

LaFleurBleue

This one is the same in terms of quantity used vs. price. Not the best of yumchaa’s deal. However it is one of my favorites in terms of flavors. I also have a fruit infusion bought in a Chinese grocery and unbranded – it was cheaper but it’s definitely not as good and reeks much more of hibiscus.
I’m quite sure you would like to love it.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

86
drank Courtesan by Yumchaa
111 tasting notes

I’ve been experimenting a bit trying to find the exact right way to prepare this flora tea.
Hot, it’s good and fruity but nothing really stands out. While iced, wow this makes for an incredible drink. The great thing is that it can be brewed with cold water and quite quickly; after about 10-15 mn, it was already really fragrant enough.
Thing is the dosage also has to be right. I first used a bit too much of the dried fruits and the brew was really sweet, almost like if I had put some berry sirup into iced water. And the taste was even a bit too strong on the berry, as if "I had put too much sirup for the amount of water, dixit Hubby who usually likes his drink much more heavy on the flavors and sugar than I do.
It’s really perfect for the summertime, very cooling, very natural tasting. It could easily replace grenadine sirup, according to my hubby who wondered why more people were not replacing heavily ladden with sugar drinks with this one.
Last thing, the hot and humid climate is not really great for this tea, which I have to store in my fridge. Lots of moisture went into the berries and I’ll have to finish it soon, which should be very easy.

Preparation
Iced 7 min, 45 sec
LaFleurBleue

I forgot to mention there’s almost no hibiscus in the blend, much less than what I feared. Hubby did not taste it at all, which I feared as he usually hates the coppery feel of hibiscus in a brew.

Ysaurella

it seems interesting

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83
drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
111 tasting notes

I’m preparing to move again. When the first mover suggested that I throw away some of my stuff because all might not fit in the truck, I was glad my hubby was otherwise engaged and could not suggest a selection in my “shoes or teas” – the 2 things he regularly complains about the volume. I decided then that I would have to do some of the packing myself to get the maximum of the volume.
Why I am telling that? Because it also enticed me to try to finish some tea samples, even though I know it’s not enough.
This morning is again really hot, 32° before 9am, which makes it a good moment for a light and refreshing Earl Grey type tea. I picked up the Anastasia again to check whether my not so enthusiastic first review required adjustment.
For the sake of comparison, I also brewed a cup of Douchka Goût Russe by DF, which had striked me as being quite similar during my first tasting. Both teas being rather light-bodied with citrusy flavoring.
Anastasia tea-base is light and a bit too light in comparison with the flavoring. But the flavoring is nice, really nice and stronger than what I recalled. Very tangy and citrusy, though mellow enough as a result from a blend of different citrus and orange blossom – this latest being just enough to add smoothness but not too much as to become overwhelming.
It’s indeed a very pleasant moment and I really may consider buying myself a full tin of it someday (clearly the move…)
I upped the rating on this one.

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

OMG! 32 before 9am? Try like the opposite here in Quebec-Canada, minus 30 just a couple of weeks ago! You still drink hot tea in this kind of heat wave?

LaFleurBleue

It was a bit hotter than usual for this time of the day but not that much. I drink most of my teapot more lukewarm than real hot, sometimes even leaving it without the cap to make it cool. And I realized that it was indeed easier to drink something a bit warm than really cold in this kind of weather. Surprising, especially for a former cold-weather tea drinker.
I’ve never been in a colder environment than -15C and cannot imagine going out or doing anything else than sip very hot tea below a super thick comforter, when it’s -30…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

cteresa

so, love or hate? (hate is OK, this is really a niche love!)

LaFleurBleue

I did not manage to log a review the first time I brewed it about one month ago, as I had to go out and have almost not been home since. It was a surprising experience on a few aspects… Not exactly what I expected.
I’ll brewed another one in a near future and post while drinking.
Just know that I did not have any difficulty to finish the 1 litre tea pot, with a slight help from hubby.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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

Following These People