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263 Tasting Notes

85
drank Tsugaru Green by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

This is all quite sad, but that was the very last of it. I dropped the remains into a pitcher and cold-steeped over night. It’ll last me to the end of the day, but this is definitely a tea I will miss very much until I restock.

This remains my favourite crisp, green apple tea and I will nudge it up five points for being consistently awesome since Christmas 2012.

Lupicia, I love you.

[Purchased at Lupicia in Honolulu, December 2012.]
[Polished off in Rome, March 2014.]

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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80

I will always have a special fondness for the Swedish (=German) champagne blends, even though I know how chemical they come off to other brave Steepsterers I have exposed to them.

This is one of the few rooibos teas I will want to restock when I’m back in Sweden, and as you can tell, I’m still being a very good tea drinker, sticking to no-caf before bed.

After a trip such as the one I just returned from, I crave healthy foods so much it’s not even funny. There isn’t much in the ‘healthy, fun, pre-packaged snacks in aesthetically pleasing containers’ category here in Rome, so I made a trip to Whole Foods in NOLA to stock up before leaving. (There are two stores!) Right now, I’m eating freeze-dried apple chips, and I have serious plans to incorporate the peach chips I bought into my Project Peach proceedings.

Tomorrow I’m going to try my new super-ultra-natural-wholly-organic maple almond butter. Let’s all ponder suitable tea pairings until then.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Ripe Mango Oolong by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

I’ve taken to making whole pots of tea for myself now that I have a good teapot – it saves time now that I’m mostly in work mode. Rome is beautiful right now, but tourist season is here with a vengeance and I’m glad I already got most of my on-site work out of the way.

Anyway, a pot of this lasted me through an hour and a half of yoga and an hour and a half of work, and it’s still warm enough to drink. Plus it’s as perfect as ever – I never want to be without this tea. Never ever.

In other news, I’m still adjusting to being back (unpacking gradually) and this week is a logistic quagmire of epic proportions – I’m sorry for being so behind on messages and comments, but I’m getting there.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
keychange

I’m going to try this tea soon, I hope, and am so excited!

Anna

Go for it! I wish I could have sent you a fresher sample; all in all Lupicia’s teas age very well, and I store them meticulously and obsessively in terms of temps and such, but still, when it was fresh it seriously took over the room in the best of ways.

keychange

Mmm I can’t wait.

Christina

This sounds lovely, and an excellent way to break in your new teapot. How large is it?

__Morgana__

That’s ok. I’m behind and I didn’t even go anywhere!

Anna

I actually broke it in with Montagne de Jade, and it was awesome. It’s 1.2 l, and from Maxwell & Williams – this colour, but a completely different shape: http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com/mw/maxwell-williams-coffee-tea-teapots-infusionst-oslo-teapot-teal-500ml-gift-it13005.asp

caile

Gorgeous colour!

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90
drank Rouge Provence by Mariage Frères
263 tasting notes

I had Em and M (I did not do that on purpose) over for dinner and we had a pot of this because Em was all ‘no caffeine because sleep no caf no caf hyper’.

And M, who stayed in my apartment while I was away was all, ‘okay so I found your tea stash and are you aware you might possibly have a problem?’

Oh, and Veronica Mars! And that kid on the plane and all the other people, including that guy and all those other things, but I’m too tired for coherence, so I’m off to bed.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

Veronica Mars!

Anna

YES. I had TICKETS. I wore the SHIRT.

Amariel

“And M, who stayed in my apartment while I was away was all, ‘okay so I found your tea stash and are you aware you might possibly have a problem?’”

Ha!

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75
drank Shaken Sweet Tea by Starbucks
263 tasting notes

So good.

So sweet.

So good, though.

In other news, I think it might be illegal to eat this much, even in the south.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Lala

This is also one of my favs! I like the half black iced tea/half lemonade too.

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65
drank Mango Iced Tea by Still Perkin'
263 tasting notes

It was iced tea. Not particularly, sweet, which I usually consider a bonus. A little bland, though. Mango? It might just has well have been peach or apricot or some other stonefruity brew.

Major extra points for the awesome little green anole on the terrace.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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85
drank Grapefruit Green by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

So I steeped this for 1.5 minutes.

(Cavocorax, this one’s for you.)

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

Short & sweet ;)

Crystal O.

What a beautiful tea!

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85
drank Apricot Houji by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

A small backlog.

So I promised I’d give the last of this a fair sendoff. It’s the last bag. The last bag FOREVER, because it doesn’t seem like Lupicia make this anymore. Unfortunately, because this has really grown on me. Or rather, I’ve been the one doing the growing, and I can now appreciate the complexity of this tea. +10 points.

The base is a subtly roasted houjicha, and this is what made this a little hard for me to fully embrace earlier, as I hadn’t quite decided how I felt about roasted teas. I’m completely swayed now, though – and roastiness intermingling with one of Lupicia’s perfect fruit flavours? It’s so, so good, and beautifully balanced. It gives me apricot tonguefeel if I close my eyes.

If this had been available, it would have been an instant restock, but as it is, I’ll just add fruit-flavoured houjicha to the list of teas I absolutely need in my cupboard.

Either way, it’s a fair sendoff – I’m at the airport lounge and the bartender sings his usual showtunes. ‘Is it really the very last of the tea?’ he asks, shaking his head sadly. He seems to understand the gravity of the situation. I will leave the tiny bag corpse with him.

[Purchased at Lupicia in Honolulu, December 2012.]
[Polished off at Fiumicino, March 2014.]

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

Haha too funny :)

Terri HarpLady

You know, I’ve never tried Houjicha with apricot…or peach…or with any fruit, now that I think of it. Since I like those stone fruit flavors with roasty Oolongs, I bet they would be nice with Houjicha as well.

Cute review :)

gmathis

(Hearing “As Time Goes By” on a slightly out-of-tune piano)

Anna

Haha, thanks everyone – and definitely tell me if you find a good new stone fruit Houjicha, Terri.

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85
drank Tsugaru Green by Lupicia
263 tasting notes

I’m having a cup of this while eating a (very large) strawberry.

I find myself quite pleased with the whole thing.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Montagne de Jade by Mariage Frères
263 tasting notes

I’m drinking this tea out of my new birthday mug, and it’s been poured from my new birthday teapot. I have named the latter Freddie, after the character Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley, because it’s fat-yet-elegant, showy and has weird colouring. Birthdays aren’t very gifty to me, unlike Christmas – I’d rather get together with friends and chosen family for activities and Symbolic Things. I prefer getting myself birthday gifts – small things I don’t really need, but that make me happy. So on Monday I was out all day on a magpie spree with my special sweetface Em. When I got this, they offered to deliver it for me. I mean. It’s a tiny teapot. It was hilarious. When it had been settled that it did, in fact, fit quite easily into my bag, they knocked €2 off. It really cracked me up.

My friend T. inspired me to pick this up (Hey T. – good news, I have enough to share!) She’s been ogling it for a while and I figured I’d do us both a service and act as a test subject. I wanted something fit for spring – complex, floral, but yet light and not too overwhelming. Mariage Frères definitely delivered on all accounts. First of all, this is a beautiful tea. Long, thin, needly leaves in various dark shades of green, the occasional light leaf breaking it up nicely, and an absolute abundance of lovely petals.

Scent wise, it excites me a lot, because to me, this is the spring counterpart of Marco Polo Vert – and that, to me, is the ultimate green tea for autumn, with its thick fruity ripeness. This has the same boozy character, but it’s a light, floral booziness. A perfect spring tea party tea – when I close my eyes I see tiers and tiers of dainty sandwiches and cakes.

I’m sometimes frustrated by teas that have no discernible, individual flavours, but in this case the multifaceted florality present in each sip is like a lovely, delicate veil of tea. It’s perfectly achieved, and I’m very pleased with this one. Like most Mariage Frères teas in my collection, it has a very clearly defined personality that grows on me with each sip.

Anyway, one of the Symbolic Things I did yesterday was to dye my hair for the first time in… well, forever. I have never altered my hair colour, ever, in any manner whatsoever, during my 34 years. We went with chocolate, tobacco and a dash of gold. In other words, just like my own hair, only without the greys that emerged overnight some time in late November. http://tinyurl.com/qe7jd58

I love my pervy old uncle Rick.

[Purchased at Dagnino in Rome, March 2014.]

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

YAY birthday mugs and teapot!

Sil

also..HOLY CRAP your hair is gorgeous…

__Morgana__

Happy birthday and I agree with Sil. Your hair looks amazing! Great color, but even greater curl!

__Morgana__

(Not but. And. And even greater curl.)

Anna

Thanks, guys. <3 I think we went through a whole bottle of wine just doing those curls, haha.

Sil

i could stare at that pic alllll day long…

Anna

You can touch it if you wanna.

keychange

For a second I thought everyone was commenting on your pervy uncle’s picture. I’m sure you look fabulous! and tell me mooore about your birthday mug!

caile

Oh my goodness, your hair is beautiful!! And, happy birthday!

Anna

Oh, uncle Rick is way prettier than me, I’m definitely not posting a picture with both of us in it.

I got my birthday mug at a somewhat unexpected place – Benetton! They’re currently doing a line of mugs with graphic prints that I really like.

The shape is simple, straight-up cylindrical with a simple handle. The base/background is white, and the pattern consists of circular shapes in a light turquoise. They resemble stylized daisies, with the white background showing through in the centre, and between the ‘petals’. They’re distributed symmetrically across the mug, and the ‘daisies’ in the vertical rows are kept together by very thin lines. I like how the pattern doesn’t go all the way up/down to the top/bottom of the mug, but that there’s white space along the edges.

…and here’s a picture for the sighted: http://tinyurl.com/mkxfpes

keychange

That’s a great description. The mug sounds lovely…and glad there’s a pic for the visually advantaged!

Sil

haha i love that keychange… visually advantaged. :)

Kat_Maria

Happy birthday, liberated Rapunzel! I love your hair way too much than is decent :D

Anna

You can also touch it if you wanna.

Ysaurella

I’m happy you love Montagne de Jade because it didn’t work at all for me but I recognize it as a very high quality tea.
and of course you look like a princess with such hair !

Anna

It can sometimes be particularly frustrating when you find one of those teas you know are really exquisite and of the highest quality, and then you still don’t like them.

And nooo, not a princess – I look like a ninja assassin!

Ysaurella

you’re a Ninja Princess ;)

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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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