258 Tasting Notes
I attempted a pitcher of this iced, much like I did with Paradise Green (also from Lupicia) the other day. This was also very good – but not as good as Paradise Green, which I also have rated slightly higher.
So, as opposed to A.C. Perch’s White Temple (And I’m sorry if this is ming-numbingly dull to read, but I want to remember this little discrepancy.) which went from good to divine after a cold steep, Lupicia’s greens seem to remain fairly stable, quality wise. Which is reasonable, considering how much they depend on their exquisite bases.
So no, this pitcher won’t last long.
So this is the fourth and final tea from the gift pack I first talked about in this note: http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/184829
Today is an important day; it’s Swedish Cinnamon Roll Day! http://www.su.se/english/about/news-and-events/cinnamon-bun-day-kanelbullens-dag-1.5166 Please go honour this sacred occasion by procuring a suitable cinnamon pastry this very instant.
And as I can’t get anything even remotely similar today (Seriously, Rome. Sometimes you’re just so Italian.) I’m tackling this chai mate. See, I despise cinnamon in tea. Loathe it. In food and pastries, cinnamon is one of my favourite flavours of all time, but drinking it is just vile.
In other words, I’m not the right person to review this poor tea. It has a weird sweet-sour hint to it – I can taste it on the sides of my tongue far better than on my tongue, which is a very weird feeling – disregarding the flavour, the mere act of drinking this tea is unsettling.
The tea tastes like it smells and looks – like spicy tea leftover salad. I guess it’s supposed to appear bountiful, but it just seems like there were all these bits and pieces that didn’t fit anywhere else, and that were just thrown together, resulting in this blend.
[Purchased/gifted at Teavana in Honolulu, January 2013.]
This is another of the few bagged teas I own. Not only that, it’s also from Lupicia, an anomaly in itself – I generally only buy greens and oolongs from them. Not because I’ve had a bad experience, but their blacks always come off as so very lightly scented, and I tend to go more for really full-bodied, rich black teas.
But hey, this was on sale.
In the bag(s), it smells light and fruity. In the cup, it smells light and fruity. The first taste is also very light and fruity, but the high temperature isn’t really doing it any favours – now that it’s cooled, however, it’s very smooth and light and nice. And yes; fruity.
On the one hand, I feel that Lupicia’s delicate, perfect flavourings are better suited for greens, on the other, I get a craving to fully explore their assortment of blacks, as this is so much more easily drunk than the ones I usually favour.
I’m increasingly aware of this divide in my tea preferences lately – on the one hand, there are all those lush, elegant French blends, and on the other, unassuming, fresh, gorgeous Lupicia everything.
I really love this tea company over any other.
[Purchased at Lupicia in Honolulu, December 2012.]
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.]
This was just as beautiful as the last time around – a light, elegant, floral pick-me-up.
It’s struck me on several occasions that many of these greens from Mariage Frères would probably be excellent iced, but somehow they appeal to me more brewed hot. I think back at chilly winters in Paris, I guess, whereas Lupicia’s greens are all Hawaii to me and hence my favourites to ice.
I wish it were possible to redrink all these teas for the first time, entirely without the shackles of mnemonic, emotional and spatial attachments; to crumble and toss away the madeleine, if you will.
But, then again, that would lessen the experience. Beauty lies all in the context, after all.
How to decide what tea would go best with the last ever episode of Breaking Bad? There was just no way. I chose the last of this sample purely for symbolic reasons – so the dregs of my first ever batch of Pleine Lune would go down with Mr. White.
I have nothing left to say, except there was some bitterness right at the end.
[Sample acquired at Mariage Frères in London, May 2013.]
[Polished off in Rome, October 2013.]
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.
Right, so someone on my dash (Who was it?) recently talked about wanting to try this one iced, so I figured I’d be a helpful little steepsterer and give it a shot.
And I did. And forgot about it completely. So I think this cold-steeped for a little over 24 hours.
I assumed there would be at least some bitterness due to the long steep, but there really is none. Not a hint. Even if there had been, I would have been delighted with the experiment, as it demonstrated quite clearly how very useful even these somewhat less amazing Lupicia greens are iced.
Because this is seriously beautiful – almost up there with A.C. Perch’s White Temple. The floral notes really come out very nicely in the cold tea, and the base is so good. This is something I could drink all day. I will keep the grade at 75 for now, though, until I see how the higher rated teas fare iced.
So I tried this one with a longer steep at a lower temperature, and it definitely enhanced the flavour. Boiling water kills the delicate vanilla/kiwi flirtation to a far larger extent. Next time I’ll try it a little hotter, maybe at 80C, mostly to see if I can squeeze any more kiwi notes out of the leaves before they go bitter.