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263 Tasting Notes

75
drank Milk Caramel by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

This is interesting – I bought this with very low expectations, as it sounds so generic – I mean, caramel this or caramel that seems to be in everything – it’s hardly a novelty.

Then again, it’s Lupicia, so I absolutely had to try it.

In the bag, this is a boozefest – a very liqueurey caramel, which really does veer far closer to hazelnut. I think this would have been the potentially fatal flaw of this tea – the blend of sweet, thick dulce de leche caramel and the roasty houjicha adds up to something very close to hazelnut/walnut/whatevernut tea, as it is generally presented in much lesser (yes, I mean German) blends.

But even though the flavour is very familiar, Lupicia take it to another level entirely. This is what really does it for me with their teas – they never feel disgusting or wrong in any way. I have never had a green anynut-flavoured tea that didn’t make my throat slightly itchy as the liquid cooled, or that wasn’t thick and oily from the leaf. But this one? No – every sip is clean and smooth, all toasted nut caramel. Even cold, the dregs of this are beautiful. I’d latte the fuck out of this one if I could.

I don’t want any of the other nut teas anymore (coconut, you are exempt and may go back to your seat) because this is all I’m going to need. (And I haven’t felt like that about anything since, say, February 2012 or so.)

[From my Lupicia order to Rome, April 2014.]

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
VariaTEA

Anna, we are tea twins today!!!

CHAroma

Mmmm, reading your review reminded me how much I love this tea even though I haven’t tasted it in years. I need to pick some up!

Sil

want

Anna

VariaTEA – yes! And now I REALLY REALLY have to try Japon even more, haha.

CHAroma – have you had it with milk? Was it good?

Siller – add it to the swaplist, then. Type type! Swift pawfeets!

Sil

swap list! oh noes..my hairs, they were slacking…

VariaTEA

I am always happy to share some Japon :)

Anna

Sil – Siller Slackerhairs.

VariaTEA – Aww, that’s so sweet of you. Well, it certainly doesn’t seem like I’ll be getting it any other way (SIDE-EYE LAURENT) so let’s consider a swap, maybe? =)

VariaTEA

Haha I think we decided like a month ago to swap and nothing ever came of it :P. This time, we must be proactive

Anna

Oh, the SWAMP that is my inbox. I really must try to go through it some day, but all those nice messages! I love them! Nooooo.

Do you remember what we talked about swapping then?

CHAroma

The last time I tried this tea was back in 2010 before I found Steepster. I believe I drank it straight with no additions.

Anna

Oh, it’s definitely time to get some more and see if your palate changed! Always scary, but interesting.

VariaTEA

I have no idea. I just remember we decided in the comments of another tasting note and then nothing ever happened. Haha. C’est la vie.

Anna

Haha, yeah – but let’s make it happen. I’ll come find you after my deadlines.

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80
drank Decaf Momo by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

French Lupicia have renamed a lot of the teas on their website – Momo, for example, isn’t Momo, but Pêche blanche, which is well and all, but it’s confusing even for second-language-French, third-language-English me, so I’m going to add the French names to the tea description – I hope this is okay with everyone. Thankfully, all national Lupicia branches use the same number system, so this is still trusty old 5404 all over the world.

So I guess there are three main questions here:

Black fruit tea, Anna? Also, a decaf tea, Anna? And, above all, MORE TEA, Anna?

Yes, yes, and yes.

- I’m not a black fruit tea fan at all, as you know – except that berry one that Ang shared in a swap and that still haunts me sometimes – but peach is one of this year’s projects, after all, along with pushing boundaries. Lupicia’s Momo Oolong is still one of my all-time favourites, and I’ve been eager to compare how the perfect pitch of that peach flavouring translates to a full-on black base. In addition, I don’t have a lot of experience with Lupicia’s black teas, yet my favourite blend ever is one of Lupicia’s flavoured blacks.

- Decaf, because, as you’ve been able to tell, I’m not really getting around to drinking a lot of tea right now. I’m very deep into my work and I can’t really drink tea when I’m off all over Rome visiting libraries and archives and museums – and so when I come home, if I finally do get a chance to steep something, I have to stick to rooibos, which doesn’t feel overly exciting if I only get to have one single cup in a day.

- More tea, because I’ve been really, really curious about French Lupicia and how they handle their stuff. I mean, Frenchies, I love you, but tread lightly, this is Lupicia we’re talking about. They’ve been an absolute dream, though – great service, fair tea selection which seems to be expanding at a solid pace, surprisingly modest shipping and quite adequate delivery speeds.

The tea (wow, that sure took a while to get to) smells insane in the bag, as always – more like peach candy than natural peach, but still without coming off artificial. It’s that typical Lupicia mind game that I can’t explain, but it presents all pure and perfect. The same goes for the brewed tea – light, clean and fresh both in the nose and the cup. It hits just the right peach note, because not only do I get the juicy fruitiness, but also the complex tart bite of the skin, which is baffling.

This is definitely light for a black tea, but that’s what I expected and what makes this so accessible to me. I do prefer my greens, whites and oolongs, and I love knowing there are black teas I can keep around that don’t feel like a full meal to take on.

Now I just need to figure out which Lupicia store I want to live close to, and plan my life accordingly. Priorities.

[From my Lupicia order to Rome, April 2014.]

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Ysaurella

no way for a French marketing service of whoever/whatever to call a product momo…;) you now we are snobbish and Momo is the nickname we give to the truck drivers cliché…eh oui, Momo dans son camion, the big guy with a dirty tee shirt and not an once of refinement vociferating against other drivers…which tea would he drink ?
To discover it I need to plan a visit rue Bonaparte in Paris.They seem to have a tea for all of us and that’s great !

keychange

I always love your notes!

Stephanie

What keychange said :)

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85
drank Montagne de Jade by Mariage Frères
263 tasting notes

I’m so unteaful right now it’s silly. I had a pot of this the other day; it was really nice and made me want more tea, but then I… didn’t have more tea. I don’t know if it’s because I relate tea drinking so much to writing tasting notes now. At the moment all the poetry’s been wrung out of me; I most resemble a limp, smelly dishtowel.

This really is lovely as a spring tea, though – the light green shade of it, the delicacy, the subtle florals. So much less flamboyant than some of the Mariage Frères greens, yet without lacking in personality.

Tomorrow. I’ll try to drink some more tea tomorrow.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
__Morgana__

It’s good to see you. :-) I’m going through the same unteafulness.

Angrboda

Drink some you’ve already posted about for a while. (This is what my queue is for)

TeaExplorer

Anna – I get what you mean about relating tea drinking to writing tasting notes. A number of times I’ve shied away from steeping something just because either I didn’t have the time or was not in the mood to make notes while I drank. And, yes, the poetry is something that comes and goes with most people.

You’ve set a high standard for yourself with the beautiful, clever or funny tea notes you’ve written here on Steepster. Speaking for myself, however, that’s not expected to always be the norm. I’d rather read a post with whatever your thoughts are than nothing at all.

That last bit I should post on my fridge since I need to heed that advice as much as anybody else :-}

Dinosara

Ditto on the unteafulness and tasting notes. I think I need to get a new tasting note philosophy, or something.

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75

Okay, so I had a pot of this today, and it’s a little too perfumey and handcreamy for a whole pot, at least that early in the morning.

I’m mostly posting this to screenshot what happens – there’s a bug that shows the most popular note for the tea rather than the new note upon posting. Let’s go bugfix!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Anna

Ysaurella, the most pointless tasting note in the universe would like to thank you for your support.

Ysaurella

lol look at mine ! I had some issues with Steepster as well so fully understand and support ;)

Christina

Woot! What’s their response time like for user reports? I emailed them about a tea having duplicate pages, but I don’t think it’s been addressed yet.

Anna

Hm, I think the response time is completely dependent on what else they’re doing – this particular issue was discussed at length in the forum thread for the new tea page where Jason addressed questions and concerns yesterday. That took about two months, though.

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100
drank Cookie by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

This week’s Tuesday seminar tea was Cookie. Great seminar, lovely tea, and I’m really, really busy right now.

I miss you, Steepster! I miss you, tea! Kbye.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
keychange

we miss you, too. We’ll be here when you get back though.

Anna

YES BUT WHAT IF YOU DRINK ALL THE TEAS

Stephanie

LOL we will save you some :)

Sil

I WILL SAVE TEAS FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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80
drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

I started my day with a pot of this and more strawberries. And banan(n)a. Today was a two-fruit day. Also, Facebook tells me, the day The Breakfast Club met for detention 30 years ago! I don’t know if I’m more excited about that, the multi-fruit situation, or this tea.

This one was actually tastier than I remembered and I enjoyed it very much. It came off more complex and well-balanced – fruity, sweet, and with that lovely base tea I love so much. I’m going to nudge it up five more points.

In other news, just work, work and more work. (And some missage. I miss you.)

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
caile

I like two-fruit days! :)

Christina

Quick question for you about Lupicia: Is their tea loose-leaf, or bagged? I have a friend who lives in CA express doubt about their tea because he saw it came in bags – this surprised because the high ratings they receive from you and others made me think they sold loose-leaf.

__Morgana__

Christina, they sell both loose leaf and bagged.

Anna

Yeah, they have lots of options. The bagged stuff isn’t bad, but the loose leaf is definitely where the party is.

Anna

And I have to express how insanely happy I am that more and more people on my dash are trying and getting into Lupicia. You’re awesome.

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95
drank Bravissimo! by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

Really? I am SERIOUSLY the only person to review this, still? This is such a gorgeous tea, and I wish more people would try it. It’s so well-balanced and delicately, sweetly floral, all the while carried by that nice, light base tea Lupicia do so well.

I made myself a whole pot of this for breakfast, and then I stayed in bed for a while, reading and eating strawberries with the window open. I barely ever stay in bed, and I pretty much never eat there, so it was definitely the lushness of this tea that made me all debauched.

Aside from that, today has been completely draining and I’m glad I bounce back so quickly. Now I need to just roll up like a good little hedgehog and tomorrow I’ll be spiny and new again.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
VariaTEA

You basically described my life – drinking tea and spending my days in bed :P

TeaBrat

I was just thinking I might head to the Lupicia store in SF :)

Sil

Anna… i mean if you REALLY want someone else to review this…my mailbox is open to having it hahaha

TheTeaFairy

I think reading, drinking tea, and eating strawberries in bed is the epitome of happiness :-)

Kat_Maria

What was it that you were reading, Anna?

Jennkay

I’m adding this to the list of teas to try at Lupicia whenever I go back to California!

cteresa

yay for spring and open windows, and tea and strawberries…

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40

Okay, so it’s this one again. I’m getting ready for dinner while performing various menial tasks around the apartment and I needed something non-caf. My plan is to hit the rooibos stash pretty hard in the near future, both to achieve some downsippage, and to keep my caffeine intake low.

I don’t quite see myself drinking all of this down, but I will give it a fair shot. I made a pot of it, and in the bag there remains enough for, well… so many more pots.

I absolutely don’t get the incense note anymore, but I honestly think that’s just because this is getting old.

So, anyone for some aging, fairly unappetizing rooibos? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Oh, me me! I need to do the same, although I’m lucky in that all my rooibos is no more than a few months old. Does that stuff ever get nasty when you let it sit.

Anna

Yeah, Fjellrev, LET’S DO THIS.

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70
drank Jasmin Chung Hao by Forgeron & Blanc
263 tasting notes

M left today, many sads. She seemed to be in good spirits, though, but maybe it was just pre-panic, seeing as she is terrified of flying.

I’m really not.

But she’s cute when she freaks out.

Anyway, we split a pot of this and it was nice. Then she tricked me into carrying her suitcase. Classic M.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Ofelia by Sing Tehus
263 tasting notes

I need some caffeination before heading out – I often forget about this tea, but thanks to KittyLovesTea who recently reviewed a swap box sample of it, I was reminded.

It’s light and floral and delicate, but without the weakness of flavour I loathe so much in Dammann Frères’ teas. Ofelia, along with many of Lupicia’s blacks really prove that ‘delicate’ doesn’t necessarily have to imply ‘weak’.

In other news, I see some gelato and a lecture at the British School in my near future.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
cteresa

Check yumchaa as well – my stash is not very fresh which really makes a difference with their teas ( natural flavours and all) but I would be glad to send you some. Same address as for the box ?

( my packing tape collection has more stars crying for the stage)

Anna

Haha, oh, I do love tea, but I seriously CANNOT resist the promise of another peek at your packing tape stash! Thank you, that’s terribly sweet of you – and yes, it’s the Rome address. I feel very spoiled.

cteresa

give me a while (and be kind to the teas, it´s old stash), but early next week! I will let you know for sure when I sent it.

packing tape selection now starting..

Anna

Tapetapetapetapetapetapetape.

cteresa

I got to hold an audition for that!

(though sadly, now I think of it, if I use a pre-paid no-weight envelope I would not be able to use tape. Ok, that is it, you are getting a recycled envelope need-to-go-to-post-office envelope instead!)

Anna

Awww. You’re the BEST. After Kitty’s ponies and your fancy tape, I can’t wait to get home, open my many boxes of craft stuff and step up my tea shipping game. Just wait.

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Profile

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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