Le Palais des Thes
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Recent Tasting Notes
This afternoon I tried some of the “test tube” loose-leaf Mao Feng Impérial from Palais des Thés. My first impression was that the dried tea does not look at all like Mao Feng. I’ve tried several different Mao Fengs, and they all have a dark wiry and pretty uniform leaf form. The contents of my aluminum test tube contains every kind of leaf and its mother, brother, sister, father, uncle, and cousin. There were even little broken twigs—like tiny tree branches. Really!
The liquor was pale greenish gold, and the taste was good, but not specifically Mao Feng—at least not to me. I take both the visual and the gustatory evidence to support my conclusion that this is a blend, not a single-origin Mao Feng. To me this seems more like a cross between Tamaryokucha, Long Jing, and Mao Feng (or even Mao Jian)!
Queued post, written June 22nd 2014
Here is an LS that Auggy shared with me in the most recent care package. It was had on the morning after a family outing when quite whacked and rather in need of a good strong morning tea.
And here we ran into a problem, because this particular LS is actually rather mild. Oh well.
The leaves were quite smoky and the aroma was as well, but the flavour, especially when it started cooling down were only just mildly so. Quite sweet and a bit fruity and it had a sort of mineral, chalky touch to it, but not really the sort of kick in the face that I was hoping for under the circumstances.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad tea, because it’s not at all. It’s just more of an afternoon one than a morning one, and this is going to take some getting used to as I’ve always thought of the smoky ones as morning teas.
WTH is this?! It’s like they took a bunch of left over tea parts and tossed them together with a few other random spices. I tried steeping it hot and it was awful and now I have tried cold brewing it and it isn’t as bad, but it’s still gross. I get a little cardamon in the aftertaste if I REALLY think about it. It smells slightly fruity, but I don’t really get that in the taste. I have about 5 or 6 Palais teas that I really like and when visiting their NYC store I really wanted to get another to try. I sniffed a ton of different teas and this was the most interesting, but it was the wrong choice. Straight to the get rid of pile!
The sad thing is that I bought around five different pouches of tea that I wanted to try and got this as a sample, but this tea is the one I ended up liking the most. It reminds me of an Earl Grey because of the Bergamot of course, but a sort of floral, vanilla-lavender earl grey. Which is really good :9 Whenever I drink a new tea I always categorize it into either ‘would buy again’ or ‘would not buy again’. And this, I can’t wait to go back and purchase more of.
Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Vanilla
I tried a sample of this in their NYC store the other day. I didn’t like it. All I could taste was baby powder and lots of it. I have had that experience with one other French tea Fauchon’s Afternoon in Paris, or maybe it was Garden in Paris…. anyways, I’d love to compare the ingredients in the two to narrow down what it is that my brain translates to baby powder. I smelled the tea dry and it smelled lovely, but it didn’t come through that way in the taste for me. Pity too, I usually love almond flavored things.
I am glad that the company clarified the meaning of the expression ¨summer fruits¨, which is the translation given on the Thé des Sables tea bag ticket for ¨fruits jaunes¨: mango, yellow peach, and citrus fruits.
This blend is also said to include rose, but once again I don’t really detect it. Instead, this is a fruity mélange of je ne sais quoi. I brewed this tea under the identical conditions used for Thé des Vahinés, and somehow this one tastes a bit bitter, while the other was satiny smooth. I don’t really like fruit-flavored green teas that much to begin with, but I don’t know why this tea should seem bitter, given my mild brewing stats: 3 minutes at 73C. The taste is not like citrus but oversteeped green tea.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some!
I love roses, and picked up some beautifully scented rose-scented soap at Whole Foods today, so I decided to turn tonight into a veritable rose festival. It turns out that a few of the Palais des Thés flavored green teas in my sampler box contain rose. First up: Thé des Vahinés.
The liquor brewed up fairly yellow and clear, and the scent is more vanilla than rose, as is the taste. I must say that this is a masterful blend. Very smooth and drinkable. I would not recommend this as a rose tea, per se, but as a vanilla-scented green.
I guess I’m the first to review this one! PalaisdesThes is one of my favorite tea companies :3 Great customer service too, which is always a plus. Anyway, on to the tea. I was planning to get the Vive Le The but they were out of it since apparently it’s one of their popular ones…
So I got this instead. And I don’t really regret it. It’s strikingly similar to DavidsTea’s Kiwi’s Big Adventure, but this one is actually cheaper so yeah now I know which one I’m keeping in my cupboard xD The only difference is that the sencha is more pronounced in this tea, especially in the aftertaste. Which I actually prefer. So overall this is a pretty good tea :)
Queued post, written May 21st 2014
Another green tea for Green Tea Day. Apparently it’s not only Green Tea Day, it’s also Ancient Tea Day because this one came from Auggy and it’s even older than the other two. Well. By a couple of months but even so. Still older. In my defence she sent me a few of these and I’ve only got one left. I just haven’t written about it until now.
Smells lovely of green tea and cherry. A very fruity juicy sort of cherry. The sort that I hope some of all the myriads of cherry trees in our garden will produce. (Little hope there, though. Husband’s father thinks it’s a decorative sort of cherry, not an edible one. And he’s worked with plants in some way or another, both at his job and in his garden, for 40 years, so he should know. Still. When there is fruit, I will test it the best way I know how. By biting one.) It strikes me that red fruits generally go quite well with green tea. I think a 4 red fruits blend on a green base might be rather lovely, but I expect that already exists somewhere out there.
The flavour is very floral, reminding me that this is scented with cherry blossoms, not flavoured with cherry. Isn’t it funny though how the flowers sort of smell like the fruit? The green tea is fairly strong compared to the other two I’ve had today, and it’s got a smidge of bitterness to it. No, not bitterness… But a note that tells me that if brewed hotter or longer, it very likely would turn undrinkable. It’s borderline. At the point where it is now, though, it lends body and strength and is quite enjoyable.
This was a sample size that the extremely nice lady at the shop gave me when I purchased the Grand Cru Yunnan. She said “So you can compare!” And so I did. :)
I may prefer this one. I still have enough left for one more cup of this, so I should try them side by side. Maybe this weekend. It would be nice to prefer this one since it is the less expensive one, that’s for sure! :)
I had 2 steeps of this today. One at work with filtered water and one at home with tap water. Cameron B. has been commenting in some of her recent reviews that she is having problems nailing down her water. This is a perfect example for me of how water does matter and bottled or filtered is not always the best for my tastes. The cups I had at work with filtered water were unremarkable. Very plain. Not even really sure I could have said it was a Yunnan – just a black tea. Or as gmathis says, “brown leaf juice.”
At home, the cups I had have been malty with some honey and wood. I’m not sure what they mean in the description by “acid.” I don’t get anything I would say is acid. That conjures up bad thoughts, not nice tea thoughts. :) I do get the “animal notes” though. I’m not even really sure how describe it. Like burying your face in a warm cat or puppy. I had never thought about it in those terms but a lot of Yunnans give me the same impression. No wonder I like them! Nothing better than face fuzzies!
Not sure I’d buy either of the Palais Yunnans I’ve had especially in the 3.5 ounce sizes (the only sizes available online). I know I’d get this one over the Grand Cru Yunnan Buds, though.
Was lucky enough to discover this tea while studying Oolong at the Ecole du Thé (Tea School) in Paris. Dong Ding Tea is therefore kind of special to me. This tea is at the same time subtile and strong. I really love it and I wrote a review on it on my tea blog: http://www.monarmoireathe.com/2014/06/le-charme-discret-du-oolong-the-dong-ding-palais-des-thes.html
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Vanilla, Wood