80
drank Buttered Rum (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
300 tasting notes

Oh, here we go. Last time around, I made this with boiling water and steeped for 4 minutes. This attempt, 90C and 5 minutes. The scent of the tea is completely different this time – yesterday I wondered why everyone was talking about coconut, when the body was all malt… but now it’s like getting into the car in summer and realizing you’ve forgotten a half-eaten Bounty on the dashboard. Not that I would ever.

It’s a little too hot, still, but I find myself spooning it into my mouth nonetheless, because it’s so good. The note of malt that was so overpowering last time now mingles nicely with the sweet, caramelly coconut and balances it out very well.

Yesterday the aftertaste was the main payoff, but now it’s a sweet ride all the way from the preliminary cupnose. It’s hard to stop sniffing.

This is done well, and I’m excited to try DT. I definitely want to sample one of their floral/fruity greens as well… but so far, DT don’t score the same kind of points for elegance and complexity as the French brother Mariage and Dammann, nor those for sweetness, delicacy and a complete lack of artifice scored by Lupicia. This is a third camp, probably closest to the robustness and reliability of my Swedish (albeit mostly German-produced) teas – solid, sturdy, no frills or major surprises.

In dessert terms, the Frères would be a salty fudge brownie with tangerine ice cream and caramelized pine nuts, and Lupicia a perfect selection of fresh fruit.

DT would be… cheesecake.

And, you know – sometimes you really want cheesecake.

This just gets smoother as it cools, and I’m particularly grateful for the complete lack of grimy sludge so often present at the bottom of the cup when I make black tea.

[Gifted by C, October 2013.]

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 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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