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90

This was not, in fact, the one I dropped into the pitcher (see the previous note) but I’m going to give it its five points back, because I’ve had massive cravings for this one lately.

I feel like I’m cheating, because I usually write one tasting note per… what? What do I call it? Leaf cluster? Yeah, that’ll do. So one tasting note per cluster, no matter how many steeps. But I’ve had this three times without writing individual notes. Three times! Three clusters! An(n)archy!

Thing is, I’ve been experimenting with temperatures and steeping times, and it’s been so inconclusive it has just seemed pointless to log. What I can say, however, is that this tea, as opposed to the Vert à la vanille (also from Le Palais des Thés) responds very well to a longer steeping time and a lower temperature.

It comes off as far more balanced and flavourful like that, so I’ll keep steeping it for roughly 2-2.5 minutes in 70-80C water.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Bio

I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.

Forever.

  • * *

2014

This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.

2013

Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.

Ever.

  • * *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

100-90
My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

89-80
Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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