60

Sometimes it’s good to be wrong; I thought I’d tried all my Comptoir teas, but there was one sample and one black tea that were hiding behind everything else on the tray. This is the sample.

The picture of the dry tea looks very pretty, but there is nothing even resembling a strawberry in my little bag. That doesn’t make it smell any less delicious, though. What instantly comes to mind is my favourite strawberry gelato from Giolitti. Steeped, it retains the same lush berrynote.

In the cup, nothing overly surprising happens – if that gelato were a tea, it would taste something like this. The problem is, I don’t really want to drink ice cream. I know, a surprising lack of debauchery on my part, but I honestly do prefer it pre-meltage.

If you want a very nice, natural strawberry tea, this is a good choice. If you want a little more smoothness and fun (I know I do) go with Lupicia’s Strawberry-Vanilla.

[Sample from my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 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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