70
drank Une Autre Idee? by THE O DOR
300 tasting notes

I wish I knew what the trick is to rooibos. What makes a good and a not-so-good flavoured rooibos so completely different? When I first had delicate, French-style rooibos I could barely believe it was the same thing as the cardboardy German stuff. Do they water the bushes with gold? Sing to them? It can’t all be in the flavouring. No flavour profile, no matter how adeptly put together, could ever mask that much cardboard.

Anyway – what I wanted to get to was that this reminded me a whole lot of a horrible Teavana tea experience I had with a blend called Rooibos Tropica. It smelled tasty from a distance, but then as you came closer, the citrus turned all chemical and brewed up it was seriously the horror of horrors. Cold-brewed it was seriously window cleaner in a cup. I haven’t been able to drink citrus-flavoured rooibos since, so I figured I’d better give this a try, seeing as it seemed a suitable back-up-on-that-citrus-rooibos-horse contender.

This is the sample that had leaked ever so slightly, so smelling puts me back in the state of excitement one unavoidably enters when receiving one’s swap box. (Oooh!) This one you can smell forever without it turning chemical, too – the citrus/rooibos balance is perfect and there’s a sweet note rounding everything off. This is more or less what you get in the cup as well, but the aftertaste has a warm, slightly creamy, vanilla-esque note to it that is very nice.

This is just good, delicately flavoured, high-quality rooibos.

I don’t need a citrus rooibos in my permanent cupboard, but if I did, this one would be a very fair contender. In terms of a rooibos-off between French tea merchants, Mariage Frères would still be in the lead, however.

Thank you for sharing, cteresa!

[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Kamyria

Ha ha ha… window cleaner in a cup! Awesome note! I find that the more I grow as a tea enthusiast, the more I dislike red rooibos.

gmathis

I shall sing to my evening cuppa and see what happens :)

cteresa

I am heretical, I place Theodor rooibos as high as Mariage Freres, or maybe even higher. Maybe. It´s fun to test it – and there is a small british brand called Yumchaa whose base rooibos I also approve.

I suspect the difference has to do with the grade, quality of rooibos used. If you look at Mariage Freres rooibos, particularly leftover in the pot (and we can not get rid of those needles easily…) notice how long and sort of whole, full and reddish the rooibos is. Pick a cheap german blend and look how much smaller, sadder, more broken, more yellowish-brown the rooibos looks. Though germans are not the only ones at fault, got a rooibos from Betjman and Barton which was just sad (and tasted it). And I got a repackaged plain vanilla rooibos which I suspect must be from some german blender (who else could it be from, from the source) which is good!

I am a rooibos snob it must be said. Good rooibos I love and makes me feel this warm glow, bad rooibos I somehow leave it to cool without drinking.

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Comments

Kamyria

Ha ha ha… window cleaner in a cup! Awesome note! I find that the more I grow as a tea enthusiast, the more I dislike red rooibos.

gmathis

I shall sing to my evening cuppa and see what happens :)

cteresa

I am heretical, I place Theodor rooibos as high as Mariage Freres, or maybe even higher. Maybe. It´s fun to test it – and there is a small british brand called Yumchaa whose base rooibos I also approve.

I suspect the difference has to do with the grade, quality of rooibos used. If you look at Mariage Freres rooibos, particularly leftover in the pot (and we can not get rid of those needles easily…) notice how long and sort of whole, full and reddish the rooibos is. Pick a cheap german blend and look how much smaller, sadder, more broken, more yellowish-brown the rooibos looks. Though germans are not the only ones at fault, got a rooibos from Betjman and Barton which was just sad (and tasted it). And I got a repackaged plain vanilla rooibos which I suspect must be from some german blender (who else could it be from, from the source) which is good!

I am a rooibos snob it must be said. Good rooibos I love and makes me feel this warm glow, bad rooibos I somehow leave it to cool without drinking.

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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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