85
drank Apricot Houji by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

Okay. So FINALLY I’m getting around to writing tasting notes for those last tricky teas in my cupboard. This is one of very few bagged teas I own. I got it on sale when I did my big Lupicia run in Hawaii; I’m generally a little cautious with flavoured roasty teas, mostly because they’re confusing to my palate, but this one was so cheap it would just have been silly not to try it.

Plus, I really love apricots. The best thing about the scent of this tea is that smelling it, I get instant apricot mouthfeel. It’s uncanny. Lupicia are so spot-on in their flavourings, and this is no exception.

The reason I label this tea tricky, is that I’ve used it as one of my travel teas. Every sip of this puts me at an airport or on a flight. The first time I drank it, I was sitting on the floor at Heathrow, waiting to catch a flight. This was the last time ever I traveled without my thermos, because Starbucks had the nerve to charge for hot water. Pff! The insolence!

Either way, I really like this tea. It instantly calms me, which – again, I know I wrote about this in one of my tasting notes yesterday – seems unfair to add to a note, because it only reflects the fact that I’ve conditioned myself to perceiving this as a post-luggage hauling, post-security check, post-travel chaos treat; something I reward myself with when all I can do is placidly wait around for someone to make a boarding call or land a plane.

But either way, the body of this still has a good roastiness, and a nice, juicy, entirely authentic apricot.

And there’s just enough of it left for my next trip.

[Purchased at Lupicia in Honolulu, December 2012.]

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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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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