1088 Tasting Notes

95

Drinking this as a cold brew again at work today. It was just so delicious last time, I couldn’t resist giving it another go before iced tea season is officially over. It’s cold in the mornings now, and I can’t see myself wanting a cold drink during the day as often anymore. Still, hopefully a couple more weeks to enjoy before it’s hot tea all the way!

This is as delicious as I remember, anyway. The raspberry note is strong and clear, a little candy-like. There’s also a sweet, delicate shortbreadiness. I have yet to try this hot, but I’ll get around to it over the next couple of weeks. Good raspberry tea is a wonderful, wonderful thing, and I have high hopes for my continuing relationship with this one!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95

A sample from Cteresa. I tried Rouge Provence earlier today, and was half expecting this to be very similar, but it’s actually a completely different experience. A more complete experience, perhaps. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180. The liquor is a bright, grassy green; it’s a completely fabulous, young grass on a bright summer day, kind of colour. Very sunny! Just looking at it cheered me up.

To taste, the flavour I pick up straightaway is cherry. Black cherry, to my tastes, followed by a hint of blackberry. It’s a beautifully natural, fruity, juicy flavour – no children’s cough medicine here! In the mid-sip, I can pick out a hint of rosemary, maybe a touch of thyme. Finally, rounding out the whole thing are lavender and rose. It really is like a journey through Provence — from fruit, through herbs, into flowers. There’s a mild grassiness from the green tea base in the aftertaste, and a tiny bite of astringency. Perhaps two minutes brew time would have been enough, but it’s so slight it’s hardly worth complaining about.

It’s not often that I prefer a green tea to a red or a black, but in this case I’m happy to say that I do. This version is a far more complete experience, to my tastes — it puts me in mind of France, and Provence, far more than the Rouge did — although I really do like that one also. Many thanks to Cteresa for allowing me the opportunity to compare the two. It’s made for a very enjoyable morning’s tea tasting!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella! This was my Sunday afternoon cup, which followed Saturday morning’s Vanille des Iles perfectly. Not that I haven’t had tea since then, but tea this good? I’m eeking out my MF samples, making sure I brew them when I can pay attention, and drink them when I have the time to really appreciate them. I’m hoping to become a bit more familiar with the brand so that I can choose wisely when I do finally make my long awaited trip to Paris, hopefully next year.

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 2 minutes in water around 90 degrees, and added a splash of milk. I chose this unconsciously, but it’s pretty much the perfect follow up to Vanille des Iles. It has a very similar light, creamy, vanilla flavouring, on top of a fairly prominent base, but this time with a delightful run twist at the end of the sip. It’s delicious, right there in the final moment when all of the flavours blend together. Sweet, delicate vanilla with a deep, almost plummy, boozy kick. It’s another one I’d be wary of brewing too long, although I have come to be careful of most MF black teas in this way. I think it could potentially tip over into bitterness, and lose its flavouring amongst the base tea. Not so with this cup, though, which delights me considerably. I don’t think I’ll need both Vanille des Iles and Jamaique in my cupboard at the same time, but I’d certainly drink either again if given the chance!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

I’m glad you liked Jamaïque. All assams tea base by MF should be brewed very carefully, other bases are less capricious and easier even with a 5 minutes steeping

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95

A sample from Ysaurella! This was Saturday morning’s cup. I’ve been so tired lately, I felt I needed something sweet and decadent to help me get going. A treat in tea form. This one seemed like the perfect choice! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and followed Ysaurella’s advice with regard to brewing for only 2 minutes in water around 90 degrees. The resulting liquor was fairly dark, so I added a splash of milk.

I was expecting quite a strong hit of vanilla, but this one is actually quite gentle. Creamy, delicate, soothing. It’s a completely natural vanilla taste — no artifice here. It reminds me a little of the vanilla ice cream I made myself a few months back — such a change from the vanilla-flavoured ice cream I’d been eating up until that point. Similarly with this tea.

I think the milk has aided the creaminess a little, and I’m glad I didn’t steep as long as I would have without a warning, because I fear the base may have overtaken the flavour completely had I done that. It’s quite a present base, as is. This is definitely black tea and vanilla, rather than just vanilla tea. It’s delicious for it, though, and it makes for a wonderful breakfast time treat. Enough black tea not to be overpowering, enough vanilla to be a pleasant treat and a gentle wake-up.

I like this one lots. It’s up there with the best vanilla teas I’ve tried this far, and it’s definitely one I’d like to add to my cupboard when I get the chance. Many thanks to Ysaurella for giving me the chance to try this one!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

you’re very welcome, I think you can push the brewing a little with this one until 3 or 4 minutes and you’ll get a less subtile vanilla.

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90

A sample from Cteresa! I’m lacking variety in my teas at work, and have got myself into a bit of a tea funk, so in an effort to dispel this I brought some samples with me this morning. This is the first of them, and I have to say it smells divine! I’m a little leery of lavender in tea, and while this brews it smells quite strongly of lavender, and a little of rose. It also smells generically sweet. I gave 1 tsp of leaves 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk, just because. I have enough sample left to try a cup without if it turns out milk was the wrong thing, but it’s what I fancied this morning.

I have to say, I enjoyed this one from the very first sip. Looking at the dry leaf, which is fairly heavily strewn with rose petals and lavender, you’d think it would be a heady, floral brew. I’ve come to half expect this from french tea, and I feel I’ve made my peace with it fairly successfully. Floral tea can be okay. It’s not floral at all, though, really. Instead of the perfumey lavender/rose taste I was expecting, I’m actually getting a very berry-like flavour. A mixture of blackberry and raspberry? It’s sweet, not at all tart, with a faint undertone of lavender that somehow helps to round things out. I agree with Cteresa that there might, just might, be a touch of juniper in here somewhere. Gin and its constituents speak to me from a considerable distance.

To sum up, this is absolutely lovely. I’d say it’s a favourite of the MF teas I’ve tried so far! I’m enjoying the berry flavour, and I’m even enjoying the light floral notes. They combine well to make a pretty unique tasting cup. The rooibos is delightful, too. It adds a very delicate woodiness, which supports the flavours well while remaining fairly unobtrusive in itself.

Thanks so much to Cteresa for sharing this one with me. It’ll definitely make my shopping list for my future pilgrimage to France!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
cteresa

Just to add, I think the berry here is black currant, cassis… Maybe not the only berry, but I think it is there very much!

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80
drank Sakura 2000 by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella, and the second tea I’ve tried from the MF selection she sent me. I used the parameters she recommended — 4 minutes at 80 degrees. The resulting liquor is yellow-green, and surprisingly smooth. 4 minutes is a longer brew time than I’d typically give a green tea, so I was expecting some bitterness or astringency. Interestingly, there’s neither.

The main flavour that comes out is cherry; sweet, floral, almost syrupy cherry. The biggest fruity-floral hit comes mid-sip, before it tails off and the mildly vegetal green tea base makes its presence known. It’s on the edge of bitterness right at the end of the sip, to my tastes, but it hasn’t tipped over. I think next time I may nudge the brew time down a little to 3.5 minutes, just to see how that works out.

The scent is beautiful, thought. Cherry blossom through and through! It’s such a spring-like, happy smelling tea! It’s impossible to inhale, take a sip, and not smile. Another MF I’d consider purchasing when I make my long-planned pilgrimage to France.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

so agree this is clearly a joyful green tea

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80

A sample from Ysaurella, and a long overdue tasting note! This was the first tea I tried from the MF samples she so graciously sent me. I followed the parameters she recommended — 5 minutes at 80 degrees. The resulting liquor is yellow-gold, and very smooth tasting. I was expecting a little astringency, for some reason, but fortunately there is none.

The oolong is floral, slightly buttery and “green” tasting on the whole. There’s a light flavour of orange blossom in the middle of the sip, but it fades relatively quickly. I’m finding it quite a calming, reflective tea, which is just what I need at work sometimes. It’s perfect for a late summer day, when there’s still some warmth but the seasons are definitely turning. If a tea could capture the last rays of sunlight on a grove of orange trees in blossom, this one would. I could wish the orange blossom was a little stronger or more lingering, but we can’t have everything we want in life. A beautiful cup.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Starfevre

this note is so soothing.

Ysaurella

the orange blossom is subtile in this Oolong. Orange blossoms candles are so relaxing too…love this flavour even in crêpes (pans)

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90
drank Goji Pop by DAVIDsTEA
1088 tasting notes

Final sample from Memily! This is one of the ones I’ve been waiting a long time to try, so I’ve kept it until I have time to write a note along with my precious single cup. I used 5g of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is pale orange-red.

First sip, and I can taste mostly hibiscus. My initial thought was “oh”, but then I got it. It took a few seconds for it to develop, but my mouth was suddenly awash with the juicy, fresh flavour of green apple and honeydew melon. The goji berries add a touch of almost sugary sweetness, and there’s a slight tartness in the aftertaste. It’s more like fruit juice than tea!

I’m drinking this warm, because it’s cold today and that’s usually what I do first time with a new tea. I can imagine it making an awesome cold brew, though. Sadly I don’t have the leaf to try it, but maybe some day in the future…I do wish DT was more accessible in Europe sad face.

Thanks again to Memily for sharing this with me!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 5 g

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70
drank Hugs and Kisses by Adagio Teas
1088 tasting notes

I pulled this out for my afternoon cup at work. I have no milk, so I’m drinking it black. It’s very rooibossy like this, although I can taste a hint of cream. There’s no almond, vanilla, or caramel, though. They need milk and sugar to shine! Not a particularly successful cup, then, but it made a change from the black and green teas I’ve been drinking most of the day!

Note to self: use milk and sugar with this one in future.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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90

I do this one an injustice, I feel, by forgetting about it when I choose which tea to drink. I usually reach automatically for a black tea, particularly at work, but I enjoy this one so much I really should try and remember to choose it more often. It’s wonderfully creamy, and the lemony citrus flavour is deliciously candy-like. Adagio can be hit and miss, but this one is a definite hit. It’s just so perfectly put together, with really well balanced flavours. I’m glad I have a large-ish tin of this one!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 26, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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