Le Palais des Thes
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Recent Tasting Notes
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
Oooo… now that I’ve had this twice more I can say with certainty that I like it quite a bit. It’s a thick, leathery, masculine Earl that still smells very feminine. The bergamot is really bold and strong. Mom noticed right away today that it also smells of roses when dry in the tin. I hadn’t picked that out before but yeah – really, really rosy. In scent only, though. In taste, this is pure bergamot with that thick, mildly malty Yunnan base.
And having tried this with 3 different preparation methods I now know how I like it. My first time was here at home with tap water. Just kind of meh and somewhat disappointing. Second time was at work with filtered water. Okay, but still underwhelming – I have since discovered that my hot water at work isn’t really hot enough for most of the teas I drink at only 150F!
This time I made it here at home with boiling spring water. That’s more like it. I no longer feel like I wasted my money buying a tin of this. :)
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
Palais des Thé Vive le Thé! is another case where I find myself puzzled by the needless adulteration of a pretty decent green base tea. It’s smooth and silken, with a flavor slightly vegetal, but also somewhat buttery. The ginger and citrus just seem like distractions to me.
This tea should not be covered up. It’s a bit like putting ketchup on filet mignon. Or perhaps I should choose another metaphor, since I no longer eat mammals. How about Wild Alaskan salmon with barbecue sauce on top?
second infusion: I decided to try another round and found it to be more likeable than the first—because the added flavors were lighter!
What a lovely yunnan! It smells intensely of honey, and some of that comes through in the taste too. There are also some hay notes and a deeper earthiness that keeps it from being too light. It’s much smoother than some yunnans I’ve had, which makes for a good cup to savor slowly. I think I would get this one again.
I have a few of the muslin sachets of Palais des Thés Thé du Hammam and since I did not awaken until 1pm I figured that drinking green tea at 9pm will simply cement my nocturnal summer schedule. Here I come, 4am…
This may be a case where I’d be happier to see the tea. I certainly did not grasp any of the apparently abundant florality present here: roses, sunflowers, and blue mallow. I really only tasted the green tea (which I do not believe is sencha, in contrast to some reviewers) and the berry flavoring, which seemed somewhat artificial and, what is worse, much louder than the green tea base.
I don’t usually enjoy the taste of sunflowers in tea, so I did not miss it here. I have no idea what blue mallow should taste like, but I love rose and do not really taste or smell it in this blend. I should probably do a second steep, since generally by then the flavor on top subsides, allowing the underlying green tea to reveal some of its character.
I was debating whether to start my tea day with darjeeling or not, and then it occurred to me that this lighter black-green blend might work in the extreme heat as well.
And it does. The blend is basically an earl grey vanilla, to my taste buds. It differs from the others, however, because the base tea is so much lighter. I would never think to adulterate this one with cream, though I nearly always douse standard earl greys.
Thé des Moines represents a midpoint between Harney & Sons Earl Grey White, which is a white tea scented with bergamot, and a heftier Earl Grey Cream (take your pick—they are all very similar and differ primarily in the quality of the base). The vanilla seemed quite marked today, perhaps because of the heat.
I stand by my earlier rating. This is a good tea and probably my favorite from Palais des Thés so far, though also the only one I’ve tried in loose-leaf form. I recently realized that I’m not very fond of the cotton muslin bags favored by this company—nothing personal, I dislike Kusmi’s, too.
Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla
This is an odd tea. I would guess it is the Yunnan base that makes the bergamot stranger than in other Earls. It both smells and tastes highly perfumed but there is also a depth to it that isn’t in other Earls. It is thicker. I haven’t decided yet if I like this blend. It is, at the very least, interesting. But I need more cups to decide. :)
I love lavender more than people should. I opened the bag and was punched in the face with it. I was worried it would get that perfumey, soapy taste, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It was soft and floral and I could taste the oolong alongside the lavender. It tasted great with a few steeps too, but the balance of lavender and oolong differed a bit each time. Highly recommend.
You guys! So. Much. Tea. I’m going to be glad I brought just enough clothes and I can wad them up on the way back along with a spare empty bag to use as a carry on.
I must not have done my homework well enough because I completely missed that there was a Palais des Thes store in NYC. I stumbled across it completely by accident. We had just had lunch on 71st & Columbus after leaving Central Park. Decided to walk a bit south on Columbus since there was a Magnolia Bakery location within a couple of blocks. Couldn’t find a cab right off so went ahead and walked down a little further and there it was!!
They were sampling this one. It was really, really good. Steeped very well, not bitter at all, medium bergamot with a really nice base. The ladies in the store were super nice as well. This is their smaller boutique store. Apparently there is a larger store in Soho. So happy to have stumbled across this one. I almost bought some of this but decided at the last minute to go with the Blue of London – an Earl with Yunnan. And a couple of other things… My husband is being so patient with all of my tea, chocolate, bakery obsessions… :)
Here’s a really good example of what I was just talking about in my tasting note on Norbu Margaret’s Flush FTGFOP Autumn Flush Darjeeling (http://steepster.com/Shera%20Pop/posts/248914).
Palais des Thés sachets in the shiny silver foil envelope offer zero information beyond the fact that this darjeeling came from Margaret’s Hope estate. It’s aimed for people who don’t even know where Margaret’s Hope estate is, as revealed by the text:
A superb tea from the high Himalayan plateaux.
Of course that gives no clue as to ftgfop1, first, second, or autumn flush. That means that the company is free to throw n’importe quoi together in the sachet and call it a day.
All of that said, this sachet darjeeling tastes pretty good. I used the same steeping parameters and the resultant amber liquor is definitely grassier and a bit rougher than the Norbu. Still, this is certainly a good example of the general category of darjeeling for people who are working their way through the sampler box.
(Blazing New Rating #67)