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Comptoir des thés et des épices

Recent Tasting Notes

90

I received this sample from bluebelle in our February swap. Thank you for sharing!

I was nervous about this tea because I could not find an English description of the tea. I still am not sure what I am sipping, but man it is good. Why oh why must my mouth like teas that are impossible to get a hold of? As I am typing the light bulb is going off that maybe I should put the description into google translate. Anyway, this is another tea that I have a small sample of that I will savor and pray that I get to taste again someday. As for the taste, I am getting a black tea with hints of possibly oolong with a fruity finish.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

Now this is the last of the Comptoir teas, and this time I’m not mistaken. It’s a bit confusing, as this smells almost exactly like Le Thé d’Amandine by the same company. (Reviewed here: http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/212004)

Obviously, these two teas have completely different flavour profiles on paper, some of which comes through in the brewed tea. Weirdly, this one has a slight hint of Dammann Frères’ Pu erh Gourmand, as well. (Reviewed here: http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/196900)

So this feels like a big, crazy, mosh pit of French quality tea. It should be more appealing, you know – two teas I really enjoy coming together in one dirty oolong? Because the base tea here is very nice, just the kind of earthy oolong I enjoy. But no – it’s just too similar, like when you hear a song that sounds almost exactly like one of your favourites, or when you meet a person who looks very much like a friend of yours. Something’s just the tiniest bit off, and it’s hard to make out what it is.

Still, this is a great tea. Dark, rich, velvety sips all throughout the cup. If I’d tried this one before the two others, this could very well have ended up being the one I preferred.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60

Sometimes it’s good to be wrong; I thought I’d tried all my Comptoir teas, but there was one sample and one black tea that were hiding behind everything else on the tray. This is the sample.

The picture of the dry tea looks very pretty, but there is nothing even resembling a strawberry in my little bag. That doesn’t make it smell any less delicious, though. What instantly comes to mind is my favourite strawberry gelato from Giolitti. Steeped, it retains the same lush berrynote.

In the cup, nothing overly surprising happens – if that gelato were a tea, it would taste something like this. The problem is, I don’t really want to drink ice cream. I know, a surprising lack of debauchery on my part, but I honestly do prefer it pre-meltage.

If you want a very nice, natural strawberry tea, this is a good choice. If you want a little more smoothness and fun (I know I do) go with Lupicia’s Strawberry-Vanilla.

[Sample from my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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80

I so rarely come into contact with verbena/vervain in any form that now, when I have this golden opportunity, it’s going to be very, very hard to not make at least one Vampire Diaries joke per sentence. But I will try.

This is, according to my highly scientific calculations (I checked the tray of untried teas in the kitchen) the final Comptoir tea I have yet to try. Overall, they have been far more impressive than the Dammann Frères teas from the same order, but not quite as complex and flavourful as the greens from Mariage Frères I’ve come to love so much. I’ve ranked them 75 throughout, I think, but I think I’ll probably nudge those ratings up to 80 after being bored to death by some more DF teas.

This was a completely random selection – I’m not a huge citrus tea fan, but I was curious about the mandarin. It turned out to be a really good choice.

In the bag, this smells very much like something L’Occitane would sell – a little over the top, heavy and balmy. Still, it’s hard to stop smelling it, because it’s so complex, and the nice roundness of the citrus is really comforting.

Steeped, it’s just great. It reminds me a lot of a blood orange tea I had at The Gage in Chicago (I’ll write a note for that soon, as I asked for some leaf to go) which was just beautiful. This definitely inspires me to look for more blood orange/mandarin teas, as this is turning into a new favourite taste range – maybe citrus teas are for me, after all.

All in all, this is my favourite Comptoir tea so far, which is no small feat – I could drink this every day. (Not to mention the obvious perk of keeping those pesky vamps at bay.)

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
JustJames

i have a thing for the citrus scents from l’occitane….. note to self. button click. =0) happy new year dear xoxo.

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75

Since I’ve been so deep into my Comptoir cups lately, I might as well keep it up into the new year. Reading about this one, I was excited about the almond-cherry combination. Artificial cherry can be so vile, but sometimes it veers very nicely into bitter almond, so I figured this tea could be a double-almond experience, at best.

The dry tea smells absolutely gorgeous. It’s hits a few perfect galette des rois notes, but then turns a little boozier, like a liquored-up crème d’amandes/frangipane. The best part, though, is that it tastes exactly as it smells. I rarely (never, really) feel the least inclination to add alcohol to my tea, but I really do want to try this with a few drops of amaretto.

The cherry is present, but it’s more a cherry ghost than anything. (The ghost of cherries past.) It adds a bit of sweetness and rounds off the flavour very nicely.

All in all, this is a very lovely tea. I definitely want to compare it to a black version – I’ll check if Comptoir do one, otherwise I’ll try to find that one by Mariage Frères (ETA: Actually, Theodor – see the comments.) everyone compares to a galette des rois.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

Tribute by Theodor is cleary THE galette des rois tea :)

Anna

Oh, right, it’s by Theodor! Thank you. <3

Ysaurella

PM me your address and I’ll send you a sample of it, no need to buy a full bag if you’re not sure to like it

Anna

You’re the Fairy Godmother of samples, Y, you really are.

cteresa

Tribute is awesome!

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75

Oh.

Oh.

PEACHY.

Really good, natural peach flavour is so hard to come by. But here it is! Right here!

This tea is playing tricks on my brain in the best way. Smelling the dry leaf made my tongue tingle with the anticipation of soft-rough peach skin – this, in spite of the fact that the peach itself isn’t that obvious in the nose. There’s mainly a full, fruity ripeness there, very sweet – but I guess there was something quite undeniably peachy there that my senses immediately recognized. I’m Pavlov’s peach eater.

It smells lovely brewed, too. Like a good, green Lupicia tea at its best, but with more sophistication. (I definitely must compare this with Lupicia’s Momo at some point.) In the cup, it’s all juicy peach – the aftertaste in particular is highly peachful.

Iced. This will be iced. I’m going to ice this. Yes.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
JustJames

now THIS vendor i have thing for. someday….. maybe next semester, lol.

Sil

i’ve never tried this vendor… hmmm

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75

I’ve been catching up on books and movies lately – the World War Z mantra is as suitable as any other for that process, or moving into the new year, or getting through the tea stash, for that matter: movimiento es vida.

This has been a year of chapters closing, much like the year before it. Last words have been exchanged, final breaths have been drawn, dotted lines have been signed. At one glorious, memorable point, I’d even sampled all the teas then present in my cupboard. The cupboard situation right now, though? World War T.

But the old clichés are true (because, you know, clichés are just oft-cited truths and people get so cranky about them mostly because they’re completely unavoidable) as something new begins the very moment something old ends.

And since I really, really want some THEODOR tea in the new year, I better start moving so I can get through my current stash of French greens.

As I have previously reported on several occasions, I am thoroughly underwhelmed by Dammann Frères. The teas from Comptoir have fared somewhat better (I mistakenly assumed they were part of the Fauchon-DF family, but they really seem to have more character and personality overall, so I guess not) under my scrutiny, and this is one of them.

This is my first violet tea. I love violet – I grew up eating these little candies: http://husmorsbloggen.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/viol.jpg and it tastes of childhood to me. Super nostalgic, with some quirkiness and a dash of whimsical adventurousness. This is a horrible description, but the way I experience the flavour is just so deeply interconnected with my memories of being a child it’s impossible to be more neutral (or, for that matter, even vaguely comprehensible).

I think this would be a really perfect beginner’s violet tea. It smells lovely in the bag – first, there’s a sweet, ripe berry presence, and then a hint of violet right at the end. In the cup, however, the violet is ever-present, from the first sip to the aftertaste.

It’s a mellow, balanced violet, but definitely without being bland or watery (which is a nice change after all these dull Dammann dates I’ve been going on) and it remains equally pleasant cooling off.

This one is hard to rate, because in spite of being a violet fan, I don’t really feel I need a violet tea in my life. Then again, it might just be one of those cases of, ‘You just haven’t met the right violet tea yet.’ I will definitely try at least one more to make absolutely sure.

[From my epic Instant-Thé order to Rome, October 2013.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

World War T – I love it!

Anna

It’s funny ‘cause it’s TRUE.

K S

Anna, I often find myself lost in your writing. I mean that in the best possible way. Your writing is precise and elegant. I see Rome Italy on your profile. If you don’t mind my asking, what is your native language?

Anna

That’s such a beautiful compliment; thank you. I feel my voice is just the opposite of precise when I write personal notes, so your kind words are very much appreciated.

My native language is Swedish, but my linguistic background is a little messy.

K S

I am even more impressed. There are a few people that I don’t simply read their words, I hear them. I’ll have to adjust the voice I hear with your writing to include a slightly different accent. :)

Anna

Hehe. But nooo. I don’t have an accent – it’s very generic US with a slight Californian tendency. Unless I’m in the UK, then it’s all Essex, all the way! (No, no, no, just kidding.)

JustJames

argh! you’re killing me!!!!

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89

today has been an ysaurella day. i rooted about in the magical envelope she sent me…. and pulled out the myrtille sauvage blend.

i ran the kettle, i measured the tea, i added the water, set the timer and walked away. suddenly i heard edith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFtGfyruroU from the kitchen. she was wearing an old fashioned apron and chasing me about with an oversized wooden spoon!

‘sortez vous de ma cuisine!’ she shrieked…. it’s not like i had much choice! i knew that if that spoon connected it would pack quite a whallop.

i ducked behind the couch and spied covertly. she crashed through the disorganization that is our kitchen.
’we’re renovating,’ i called out in justification of the mess.

it was a mistake, i had interrupted again. a serving fork flew narrowly missing my head.

i smelled jam. jam? i was tempted to look but was still vaguely terrified.

bluberries, but not only. i smelled raspberries? maybe huckleberries? and then cookies?? i took a chance and poked my head up silently. sugar cookies! ysaurella had packed edith piaf in an envelope and sent her to make jam and cookies in our disorganized kitchen? that’s a lady with connections!

edith elegantly placed a cookie on a plate, spooned the warm jam over top and put it next to my steeping tea.

following my nose i found the plate gone, but my jam covered cookie happily steeped in my tea cup.

a refrain called out to me very distantly and i barked laughter, ‘non, je regrette rien…’

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

I love this one, it was a nice surprise to me to love it so much with these natural notes of blueberry. Glad you liked it too !
Regarding Edith…if she had been in my kitchen, I would never approach ! not because I am afraid of ghosts…but I try not to say that too loud…but I just can’t beat her voice…I know I know this is a sacrilege ! especially for a French but …she was a great talent but I just find her voice awful to my ears !

Ysaurella

well I am wondering now… did you loved it or just respected it ?

JustJames

the first time i heard edith was when i lived in france. it was ‘milord’ over the radio while i had my eyes squeezed closed whizzing around the arc de triomph (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BliGIPQ_KHc) at 65 kph. although she isn’t my favourite performer, she will always represent to me that day and, in a lot of ways, france! i heard her everywhere!

lol, i truly loved this tea. i have been craving blueberry teas for months now. i will send you a sample of the only one i’ve found here.

i loved the fact that while the blueberry tasted ripe there was still a fresh green element to it…. it tasted very much like fresh jam poured over sugar cookies to me.

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67

Sipdown, 141. So I had this actually first a while ago when I wasn’t really posting notes (dissertation still isn’t done, but the worst has past). Violet is one of those florals I haven’t been able to get behind, but I got this as a free sample with my Instant Thé order, so I figured I would try it.

The first sip I thought I didn’t want any more, but then it kind of grew on me and I mildly enjoyed the rest of the cup. TONS of violet, not much raspberry. I decided to cold steep the rest of it with a sachet of Paradise Green from Lupicia that came in my newsletter, since I wasn’t too into it. Mistake. That blend is totally bleh, mostly bitterness and overwhelming violet. A violet lover would certainly appreciate this more, I think.

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78

Sipdown, 146. Normally I would have saved this tea for a time when my stomach was upset or I wasn’t feeling well (lemon, ginger), but sipdowns must be had. I accidentally set my timer for 1 hour and two minutes somehow, but noticed it after it had gone for about 4.5 minutes. Thankfully it survived its slightly long steep time without getting bitter or nasty.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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93

Hummmm I am sipping this one actually while enjoying the wild blueberry muffins I prepared to pair with.

I regret I didn’t manage to find out fresh blueberries for my muffins but it’s always complicated so I decided to take frozen blueberries.
These Muffins are some kind of survivors because I have experienced problems with my oven and mould :S
My muffin silicon mould just folded and half the preparation slipped to the bottom of the oven – we had smoke everywhere in the kitchen and I was asked if I was trying to invent some kind of domestical gas chamber… !
Finally I saved the rest of my preparation ans made a second one (to get full swollen muffins !)

This morning I’m happy to see they finally are good !

For one time I prepared a full teapot of Myrtille Sauvage. I normally always use a mug.
This is really yummy. So smooth, mellow and I get a so natural blueberry : Sure I’ll manage to finish the full teapot !

Fuzzy_Peachkin

What and adventure to bake muffins! I’m glad you could make more!

Ysaurella

yes it was my fault because I stupidely put the silicon mould on the oven grid and not on the plate … I not far to think I prefer classic metallic moulds even if more complicated to remove the muffins.

Nicole

Oh no! I hate when things spill in the oven. I have always been nervous of those silicone molds. I have stoneware and metallic ones that I use a lot.

Ysaurella

I’ll retry muffins next time using the famous little paper moulds :)

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69

You know there’s that current discussion on the numerical scoring teas going on now (when you’ve been around as long as I have, you’ve seen it pop up several times), where people are like, if you know in advance that you don’t like the flavors in a tea, why are you drinking it?

Here’s one reason: I got a free sample of this tea with my Instant Thé order. I am not the biggest fan of lavender in my teas, and have had some truly awful ones, but I will always try a tea out just to see if the flavor is well done by someone. This is an interesting one as well because it’s not just lavender, it’s lavender and orange and lemon and cinnamon. My boyfriend insists it smells altogether like ginger and I can kind of see where he’s coming from, even though there’s no ginger in this tea.

I brewed this a boiling before I realized it was a black/dark oolong blend, but hopefully it’s a robust enough oolong to take it. What an interestingly odd tea! Honestly I think the cinnamon saves it for me. It provides just enough spice to really cut through the lavender and keep it from being soapy. The citrus also provides a bit of an edge to the sip. It’s just an odd mix and hard to really pin down. This is totally not a flavor combo that I will ever go for again, but it’s not as bad as I feared.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
K S

There was fellow so desperately trying to sell stocks of lavender flowers, at the farmers market, that he was actually giving them away. I honestly couldn’t get near him. I like flowers but that stuff is way too bathroom spray for my nose. BUT if I found a sample in my stash, I would brew it up and rate it. Who knows maybe I might find a miracle in a pouch.

gmathis

Next time I have an envelope headed your way, I’ll put some in it. Wouldn’t recommend it straight up, but is a nice blender-inner.

K S

What do you blender-in? Gonna make me live up to my words eh? lol

gmathis

Actually, it’s not bad with tulsi or chamomile. Haven’t attempted it with black tea, but now that you mention it….

Ruby Woo Scarlett

That’s a really harsh question – samples need to be drunk and I’ve ordered teas online that sound like they’d blow all the others out of the water and ended up with an insipid cup.
I love lavender but the black/oolong base sounds like an odd pairing with lavender, or perhaps it’s just me. I think I’ve only had it with a white base.

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78

This was a free sample that came with my Instant Thé order. Like Ysaurella, I haven’t heard of this company before, but the samples they sent sounded pretty good. This is very similar to the Lemon Drop tea I have from California Tea House (and also to a large number of lemony-ginger green teas), except this has some mint and licorice root in it instead of chamomile and orange peel.

I find these teas make good stomach-settlers, which is why I chose this one this morning. I am already feeling better than I did earlier, but I figured having some of this one will probably help anyway. I am enjoying this blend… definitely lemony, but much of the other flavors just kind of blend in to a kind of herbal background. The licorice root provides a sweetness to the aftertaste that I find pleasant. Nice, but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd of other lemony green teas.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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93

Ok, let’s say right now : I’ve never heard about this company before – it’s the only tea I ordered along my 15 other which is not a Dammann Frères.

I wrote to the website to know the tea brand just to give the right informations here and they mentioned it was Comptoirs des thés et des épices.No way no find anything about this brand on the web.The website argues this is a very old and very high quality import brand -They even mention “teas of Exception”
Gosh…I was quite dubitative even if I have no reasons to doubt.

Opening the bag…the scent is so lovely, for sure natural blueberry.
I had no recommendation for steeping so I tried with 3 minutes and a half and 96°C.
I was searching a blueberry tea and found this one, I wasn’t expecting a lot of this tea except having a lovely taste of blueberry.I had very much more. The taste is more than lovely, very refined and once again so natural.

The tea base is really smooth and present, to me it seems to be a China black.The blueberry goes so well with the tea base, this is really a very very very good surprise.

I am very glad to have ordered this one !

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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