1088 Tasting Notes

100

Tried a cup without milk today, and it’s just as delicious and easy to drink. The sugary, candy-like sweetness is just beautiful, and the black base tea is light and smooth. It’s an airy afternoon sugar rush, and a definite addition to my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

Second cup today, and this time I added a splash of milk. It’s much smoother this way, and the spices are a little more muted and a little less “dry” tasting. It still tastes like Christmas!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Balthazar by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

Second cup today, for which I used 1 tsp of leaf, brewed for 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. I’m getting a strong banana flavour this morning — almost candy banana, really, and which is absolutely delicious. There’s a little almond and cinnamon kicking around in the background, and a hint of passionfruit. I got far more passionfruit in my previous cup, but I really like the banana I can taste this time. It’s a really wonderful pairing, and makes for a great mid-morning cup! Delicious. One I’d really like to add to my cupboard in the near future.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
TeaBrat

oooh. sounds yummy :)

cteresa

I think I got to try it as well with hotter water – have been neglecting this tea, must try it with a few other brewing parameters.

black green blends are such a strange idea isn´t it? But I think Mariage Freres makes it work on a couple blends – my favorite example (and staple in my cupboard) is Casablanca.

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85

A sample from Ysaurella. I enjoy Christmas in general (not as much as Halloween, though!), so it comes as a surprise to me that I’ve not tried all that many teas which attempt to capture the spirit, or essence, of Christmas. I can think of one or two, but none that spring to mind as readily as this one! Finally, thanks to Ysaurella, I have the chance to try it.

I chose a cool autumn day for my first tasting — I’m just too impatient to wait for December, or Christmas itself. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I made no additions to my first cup, but I think milk would work here. The base tea and flavouring seem robust enough to carry that.

The main flavour I can detect is clove, followed by orange/mandarin, and then cinnamon. The base tea is pleasantly malty, and adds a delicate sweetness that really seems to help enhance the almost savoury flavours. It’s quite a heavy-tasting tea, and the aftertaste lingers long on the palate like a slow-fading memory of Christmases past. There’s a very slight dryness, but I’ve come to expect that from spice teas in general.

This one does capture the scents and flavours of a traditional Christmas well enough for me. Christmas isn’t always a happy time of year for me, though, so some of that is very bittersweet. This would be the perfect cosy tea for a cold winter day, though. It’s a spot-on evocation of winter, and traditional happy family Christmases.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

I also have a sample of this one from Cteresa, so this afternoon’s cup comes courtesy of her. I gave 1 tsp of leaf approximately 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The taste is a little different to the previous cup I tried. This time, I’m getting a flavour much more reminiscent of rum raisin ice cream. There’s a very clear raisin flavour, followed by a tang of rum (navy, rather than white), almost as if rum infused raisins had been added to the tea base. There’s also a sweet, silky creaminess, which I’m assuming is the vanilla, and which is so reminiscent of ice cream it’s almost unreal. At the very end of the sip, there’s a hint of dark chocolate. It’s deep, dark, decadent and delicious.

Last time I drank a cup of this, I was a little cautious with the brew time. I think the extra minute helps the flavour immensely, although I definitely need milk to cut through the tiny bit of astringency that creates. This is such a boozy, intriguing cup, it almost feels wrong to be drinking it at work! Gorgeous, through, except now I’d also like a bowl of ice cream. Ah well, I can dream sweet dreams until it’s time to go home!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Indigobloom

This sounds amazing. I love rum teas, there aren’t enough around heh

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90

I also received a sample of this one from Ysaurella, so today’s cup comes courtesy of her. This time I’m drinking it without milk, and I’m enjoying it just as much. It’s such a smooth tea, and the base is so light and mild in flavour it’s almost ethereal. A little like the full moon, perhaps?! The main flavour I’m picking up is, as previously, cherry. It’s a lightly floral cherry, rather like sakura blossom, but with enough fruitiness that it’s not a purely floral impression of scent, which is how cherry sometimes comes across to me in tea. It’s definitely a fruit flavour. I can detect almond in the mid sip, and a very light smattering of cinnamon in the aftertaste. Here and there, I’m sure I can taste a tiny splash of blueberry.

This is still an intriguing tea, and one I find particularly interesting to drink. I like cherry tea, especially when it’s a natural, accurate flavour as it is here. I probably wouldn’t have thought to put almond and cinnamon together with cherry in a blend, but it works really well. A little like cherry bakewell! A delicious sweet treat, and one I’ll certainly seek out again in future.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

A sample from Cteresa. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and was rewarded with a light golden liquor, which smells sweet and delicately floral. First sip, and I immediately thought cherry. Cherry jam? I also get an almond note, and a light buttery, bakey, biscuitty flavour. Sipping this one does remind me of a jammie dodger! It’s a dessert tea if ever there was one.

As a fan of dessert teas, this one is obviously going to score well with me. I like the almost over-sweet candy-like notes, and like how accurately the biscuit flavour takes shape, and I’m enjoying the fruity-floral notes that really help to round this one out. This is definitely one I’d look to add to my cupboard. It’s completely delicious as a mid-morning treat!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Dinosara

Love this one! It’s been a while since it was in my cupboard.

ashmanra

Mmmm, I need to serve this one at tea time tomorrow.

Ysaurella

sure this one is a must have

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100
drank Violette by Dammann Freres
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella. While brewing, this one smells just like a parma violet! That unmistakable sweet, powdery, floral scent, that’s so reminiscent of childhood for me. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in 95 degree water.

Brewed, it TASTES just like a parma violet! I was hoping this would be the case, because it’s a flavour I absolutely adore. It’s one of those flavours that surprises me, because usually floral teas (or floral anything, really) aren’t my thing. This, however, is clearly the exception that proves the rule. It’s sweet, almost candy-ish, and very, very smooth, with a distinctive violet flavour and light generic-floral aftertaste. It’s a little powdery-tasting, very perfumey. It’s almost a scent as much as it’s a taste.

I’m pleased to say that I really love this. I’d hoped I would, and I’m glad that I actually do. Definitely one I’d add to my cupboard if the opportunity arose! In the meantime, I shall seek out more violet teas. Avidly.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
ashmanra

Oh, I like Parmaviolets! I may check this one out!

Ysaurella

the best violet tea I ever had and from very far…glad you loved it too !

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90
drank Balthazar by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Cteresa. I’ve not had brilliant experiences with green/black blends before, but it’s something that intrigues me. I can see how, in the right circumstances, the notes could be beautifully complementary. My biggest struggle is usually with the brew temperature — it feels wrong to put green tea in near boiling water! There isn’t a huge amount of green tea amongst the dry leaf that I can see, though, so I went with1 tsp for 3 minutes at 95 degrees.

The resulting liquor is golden brown. The scent is quite almondy, with a hint of cinnamon in the background. The real surprise is in the taste; on first sip, passionfruit comes out very, very clearly. It’s followed up with almond — almost like a tropical bakewell — and then a tiny hint of cinnamon right at the end of the sip. I can taste a light roasty note, which I assume is from the green tea, and a mild, sweet fruitiness (almost like lychee) which could be the black base.

This is a pretty unique tea amongst those I’ve tried so far. I wasn’t expecting it to be so fruity, but I like how that flavour works with the almond and cinnamon. Definitely one I’d consider for my cupboard, if I wasn’t so leery of the black/green base combination. Another couple of cups should help to reassure me that I can cope with it, though!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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40
drank Se Chung by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

At the moment, I’m drinking a sample from Cteresa, which she tells me might be Se Chung…The leaves look similar to the photograph on here, so I’m going to pop my note here for want of a better location!

I let the water cool to around 180, added 1tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes. Fairly standard oolong treatment, for me. Unfortunately, it looks like this is one of the varieties of oolong I don’t get along with so well. It tastes a little like a hojicha green, roasty with a sort of background seaweed/saltiness. I generally prefer my oolongs sweeter and more buttery, definitely greener.

As roasted oolongs go, this is super smooth, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. There’s a clarity to the flavours; no over-complexity or muddiness here. Sadly, it’s just not for me. It’s good to keep trying and challenging my tastebuds, though!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 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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