300 Tasting Notes

95
drank Ripe Mango Oolong by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

I just reached for the cup and it was empty. I guess this counts as backlogging, then. Pfff.

Apparently I feel very oolongy right now, so it’s pretty much all I crave. There’s very little to be added regarding this perfect tea that hasn’t already been said in previous notes, except that I’m hoarding this one, too, as it’s not available through French Lupicia (yet).

One thing I really look forward to is doing a massive post-summer inventory of my tea stash. If there is anyone I’ve promised to swap with, send me a reminder, and I’ll add you to the list – I’ll look through my messages, too, in case we’re both senile.

This tea makes me so happy.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Stephanie

Sounds delish

TheTeaFairy

It’s one of their oolongs I haven’t bought yet !! A 95 eh? Lol, I started filling a cart on their website last night (late night shopping, danger, danger!!) I will add this one for sure. I’m not always a fan of mango in tea, but Lupicia has been reinventing flavours for me :-)

Anna

Yeah, I don’t even know if it’s mango anymore – it’s just super ripe and ultra tasty stone fruit nom perfection.

GO LUPICIA GO.

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90
drank Kotobuki by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

Oh, bad, bad, bad. I hate the sound of traffic accidents in the street outside. It’s beyond a stretch of park and out of sight, but somehow not being able to see the extent of it makes it worse – there’s just the shock of the impact and then the perplexingly slow motion screech of metal and the honking and yelling far away in the distance, sometimes not even carried all the way here, and then finally the sirens. I’ve seen so many accidents there – it’s a badly planned stretch of road, with trams stopping in the middle, pedestrians meandering all over in a fairly heavy flow of traffic… and to top that off, trams crossing the road to turn around. Now I’m just waiting for the sirens – the crash occurred just as I clicked this note open, so this has been a live report from Rome, reminding you to be careful.

I was just going to say – and mostly for the benefit of those of you with whom I’ve been discussing cold-steeping methods lately – that this has been in the fridge for about three additional days now, leafs removed, of course, and that it tastes just as fresh and clean as it did when I wrote my first review. I’ll keep experimenting with various tea types, but these oolongs are very forgiving.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
keychange

I understan the concept of hearing car crashes being worse than hearing and seeing them simultaneously. Since a lot of cars these days are built to withstand a lot of impact, they can often sound worse than they are, but absent getting that confirmation yourself, all you can imagine is a wreck of epic proportions.

Anna

Yes, you sum it up perfectly.

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85

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Kotobuki by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

I.

Can’t.

Even.

So I finally got around to cold steeping this, and I have to tell you – if anything in the mortal realm could ever taste like ambrosia, this would be it.

This is golden plum honey balm. This is perfect.

Seeing as this tea should have been given an 85 in the first round, this will kick it up an unprecedented 10 points, right up to 90.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
donkeytiara

like meade? :) I like the sound of that!

Tealizzy

Yay! I just bought this and can’t wait to try it now!!

Tealizzy

Oh, forgot to ask….how long did you cold steep it for?

Anna

Tealizzy: I hope you love it! I steeped for about 24 hours, but try half that at first and then sample it (or use a smaller amount of leaf than I did – sorry to not be more helpful, but I don’t have a scale right now) because it was maybe a little tiny bit over the top flavour wise.

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85
drank Melon Oolong by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

Really, now. All the talking I do about this tea. All the references to the delights of the melon oolong. All that swagger. And yet I barely ever log it.

The main issue is that I’ve given most of it away, so I’ve been hoarding the rest of it, just a little bit, for summer. But now summer is here! 33 C in the shade, and Em and I have to go groceryin’, and Em is all but the heat and I’m all I love when it’s warm and Em is all noooo please carry me and I’m all well, if you’re a very very good little puddle of sweat i will buy you a gelato and I could go on but you get it.

This tea is gorgeous. I’ve been in doubt after all these melon white discussions – did I really note such a big difference between the two? Was I mistaken? I am very happy to announce (ha, classic hog) that I was not. This is so much better than the melon white, in my opinion – ripe, fruity, smooth, complex. This is really, really, really good.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
whatshesaid

Yayyyyy! Come onnnnnn July.

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80

You and me, Champagne & Cream rooibos, we’ve been together since fall 2012. And you know what? I’m still into you. You still taste and look pretty much like you used to – I’d like to think that’s mostly thanks to me, seeing as I’ve treated you lovingly, kept you in an air-tight tin in a dark, cool cupboard, written you up and introduced you to several of my friends. We’ve had a good run. We’ve been good together.

Now, in your old age, it would be predictably trite, of course, for me to discard you. But that’s just not me. I’m steadfast and loyal and true – I stick around. You might not be the freshest of my teas, nor the fanciest, but I still love you. When I commit, I commit. When I say forever, I mean forever.

What I’m saying is that I’m going to finish every last little rooibosy bit of you.

Because that’s just how I keep a promise.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Cheri

That’s awesome that it’s still tasting fine.

DeliriumsFrogs

Oh my, do I love your notes…

Anna

Haha, thanks guys – and yes, these industrial strength German blends keep FOREVER. Thankfully, I guess, since you can’t ever buy any less than 100g.

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90
drank Kotobuki by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

Someone had liked my review of Kotobuki (Mirabelle) and I reread it because I remembered nothing, and then I remembered everything, and so I cold-steeped some for tomorrow. I so very much look forward to getting a tea scale so I can leaf more scientifically – this randomness is not Anna at all, now is it.

And while I was at it, I made a warm afternoon cup of this for myself – because if you act like it’s not 33 C/91 F outside, it’s probably not. Also highly scientific.

I just like this more and more. It fills the whole room with its lushness – in stiff competition with the sweaty jasmines outside, should be noted. But it’s the lovely lingering aftertaste that really gets me. This reminds me more and more of Lupicia’s green tea Bravissimo! in terms of that perfect linger.

(And we all know what a sucker I am for a good linger.)

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
DeliriumsFrogs

Good lingers get me every time…..

Cheri

I went to look up a description of this tea because it sounded good from your description. It sounds wonderful.

Anna

Cheri, I hope you get a chance to try it – if you haven’t been able to find it in September/October when I’m done with my move, I can send you a sample!

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85
drank Lychee (Lichee) Oolong by Lupicia
300 tasting notes

Rome is at its very worst in June; I’ve always left in summer and it’s always taken a couple of years for me to even consider going back. All because of June. There’s something about the light, maybe. Or the dust in the air, the loudsweaty tourists, the desperate groping in the parks. This season turns everyone into an animal, but June, for some reason, is always the worst of it. In June you still remember delicate, sheer May – what it was like not to be sickwrong and itchy. In July you’ve adapted and just learned to live with the illness.

A ripe, dark, fruity oolong is just right on a day like this. I’m never disappointed in Lupicia’s oolongs – they never let me down, they never make me reconsider. What more could you possibly expect from anything?

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Doug F

Very poetic!

yyz

I understand, though Rome tends to absorb tourists a little better than some other major tourist centres I’ve been to. Florence was the worse. Firenze is a completely different city between the renaissance Disneyland of high tourist season and the rest of the year.

donkeytiara

my niece will be there in a week….adding to the chaos that is your environment!

Anna

Haha, thanks, Doug!

yyz – I agree Rome (not least, as the vastly larger city) absorbs tourists better than Florence, but sadly that doesn’t make the glaring difference between the off season and now any less obvious. It should probably be added that I live in an area of Rome that more often than not makes it necessary for me to choose one of the Ripetta/Corso/Babuino options, which are all near impossible to navigate efficiently right now.

donkeytiara – Ooh, I hope she has a very lovely time!

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80

Because Dexter3657 is beyond amazing, I received a whole package of additions to the Project Peach sample collection. I’m known as the insane tea person here (The cleaning staff allegedly talked about my tea cupboard for about three months before someone finally worked up the nerve to ask, ‘Is that really all tea, and WHY?’) so when I picked up my mail, one of the cleaners side-eyed me and said, ‘More tea, huh?’ It did smell insanely good in my cubby, so it could also have been that.

My favourite yoga DVD is ridiculous in many ways – it’s from the mid-nineties, and Bryan Kest has long, curly hair, wears yoga jeans (?!) and is very touchy-feely while topless. Combined with his random life advice and thickly slurred lilt, it’s definitely an acquired taste… but a wonderful programme, nonetheless. It’s on YouTube, but beware of any drinking games based on him touching the curly-haired lady, or using the word ‘release’ – you will thank me in the morning.

But I digress – what I meant to say was that Kest was the first teacher who really made me work hard to get to that fluid stage, where each movement is precise and measured, but still flows into the next seamlessly. That’s the first thing I thought about when I tasted this tea. It’s like a shapeshifting scene, where the two faces exist simultaneously – there is absolutely no way I could distinguish the passion fruit from the peach in this tea, but they’re still both undeniably there – I’ve never really tasted that before, and I love it.

So yeah – the two fruit flavours work very well together, and the end result is a smooth, juicy rooibos. There is a slight tartness to the aftertaste that I haven’t decided how I feel about yet, but other than that, this adds up to a very well-balanced sip. I will definitely enjoy finishing the rest of this sample – thanks, Dex!

[Sample sent from Dexter3657 to Rome, June 2014.]

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

This sounds lovely – both the tea and the yoga video.

Anna

Yes, but not as lovely as Dexter! <3

VariaTEA

This is true. Nothing is as lovely as Dexter.

Dexter

Awwweeeeee – It’s just a couple of peach teas – wait until you get Octo mug. :))

Anna

I will be full-on OctoPeach!

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60

Skype asks, ‘Does Skype power your passion?’ (white text on pink background) and I admit that the only time I can talk forever on the phone is when I’m in love with the person on the other end, because otherwise I get bored.

M was here, and wanted tea instead of alcohol (wait, what just happened and how) so I managed to find this. I picked it up at the grocery store as some kind of emergency tea when I was here for a couple of days in the fall, and mostly tealess. I guess that worked out well, for what could be more of an emergency than me saying, ‘But there is PEACH VODKA,’ and the other person shaking their head in response?

This is simple and reliable – I steeped it at something like 90C for 2 minutes, dropping a few tea bags into the pot, and there was no bitterness or astringency. It’s a very flat jasmine, none of the personality, deep scent, or floral exuberance I tend to prefer. I like over-the-top jasmines, I really do.

What brings the grade down in this case, though, is that it’s a little papery – a little too obviously a bagged tea. I will have no problem finishing the rest of this box up, and I might even get some more to keep around for emergencies, like if Sil shows up like a ninja and sips my other 156 teas down in the night… but it’s not something I’d ever crave.

[Purchased at Luthagens Livs in Uppsala, fall 2013.]

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
whatshesaid

Lol, Sil’s got her own mass quantity of teas to worry about!! But she might show up like a ninja and drop off some of hers….

Dustin

Wait, why are you traveling wihout tea?! How does that happen?!

Sil

i could do both…

Anna

whatshesaid: Aaaaah! NOOO!

Dustin: Well, when I bought this, I literally only came here to repack and then leave again the next morning, so not much need for tea… but then I obviously had a jasmine craving. This time around, my friend doesn’t really like fruit teas, and all I’d brought was fruit oolong. But my guests never say no to alcohol. Still in a state of shock.

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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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