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Recent Tasting Notes
The tin and box refer to this as blue tea. I had never to my remembrance heard of a oolong tea being referred to as “blue.”
This smells heavenly. It reminds me a lot of Teavivre’s Taiwan Ginseng Oolong in the scent. I googled blue tea and lots of the listings were for oolong tea rolled in licorice root and ginseng powder, but these leaves do not appear to have been rolled in anything. It is sometimes referred to as a Formosa style oolong.
There are large and medium sized leaves and a good number of cherry blossom petals. We are steeping over and over. The flavors are sticking around for a few steeps, but mild after the first. The oolong is neither super green or heavily roasted. Perhaps “Blue” refers to the level of oxidation and type of heat this tea has had?
This tin is going to be gone in no time and I am going to miss it when it is gone. I am rather taken with this tea right now.
The tin is tall and thin and has a really nice double lid. It will definitely be saved and recycled for storing another tea.
I’ve had this tea a number of times now but only just realised it now that I’d never posted about it. Lucky this is what we had today, then, because an actual tasting note wasn’t really what I thought I’d be writing here today… I wish I’d paid more attention to the tea, then.
Anyway, as mentioned I’ve had it a number of times, so I think I can muddle through. Basically we’ve got a citrus-flavoured breakfast blend. The base blend itself is strong and.. breakfast-blend-y. I can’t tell what all has gone into it, but I suspect it’s largely of Indian/Sri Lankan origin. The citrus-flavouring is not super tart, it’s more of a bitter-y flavour and a bit perfumed. I think we’re dealing with bergamot here and possibly some grapefruit. It’s not very strongly flavoured, so rather than tasting like a flavoured tea, it’s more like a standard breakfast blend with a twist.
I rather like it. I like that the emphasis is on the base blend, which makes it a familiar sort of thing to drink if one enjoys breakfast blends, but with a bit of freshness on the side.
Anyway, what I actually came to say was, merry Christmas, Steepsterites, as in this country we celebrate on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day.
One of these days I shall get around to summing up the AC Perch’s christmas calendar which continued to disappoint straight through to the 24th… Not buying that one again next year!
So I mailed out my Pay it Forward Tea Box this morning and I felt like I deserved a definite reward after braving the lines at USPS during the christmas rush and my gorgeous blue and gold unopened tin of Christmas Cake was calling my name once I finally got back to my desk. Since that first sip I honestly think I’ve drunk another three cups of this tea!! The dry leaf scent is insanely delicious smelling, like sweet vanilla cake batter but with a slight nutty crust undertone (Marriage Freres refers to this as praline but I’m not that sophisticated)… Sipping I’m hit by Caramel, Vanilla, brown sugar and nuts… I hope this becomes a yearly offering as I don’t think I could handle knowing that I couldn’t drink this every christmas season!!
Oof, another flavored green… :P This one came from the lovely and generous Dexter. Who knows why I requested a flavored green tea, I assume probably because it’s Mariage Frères and I figured it would be worth trying regardless. We shall see! This has a similar sencha base to the other greens I’ve been drinking – very flat and long. The goji berries are all covered in tea dust, so I can’t really see them until I empty the tea into my cup. Dry scent is vaguely fruity.
The steeped tea has a somewhat tart berry-like scent that reminds me of fresh raspberries (I’ve never eaten a goji berry, so I’m not sure what they’re like). The green tea base is slightly grassy, but quite smooth and unobtrusive. I can barely taste the goji berry flavor, but it does remind me of fresh raspberries. I’m not sure how old this sample is, so I’m going to withhold my rating on this one.
Flavors: Grass, Raspberry, Tart
Another tea I have the chance to taste thanks to cteresa , obrigada Teresa .
It is an Oolong and an highly oxidized variety .
I decided to brew at 100 ° c as Teresa wrote no indication and because I am a phenomenal lazy people and don’t want to go to check on MF’s website (which by the way often gives wacky brewing indications on this site)
The liquor is quite dark for an Oolong , meaning we are drinking an highly roasted variety.
The taste is strong too. The flavours that emerge in the first place are earth, malt, wood.
The aftertaste reveals some cocoa notes and a fairly pronounced fruity note . I am unable to identify the fruit, stone fruit but which one?
It is not a great roasted Oolong but it is more than respectable .
Ultimately the site Mariage gives no recommendations for infusion , incredible isn’t it?
Pics of the session are available here :http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/se-chung-mariage-freres/
Next in line! This sample came from boychik and, originally, CharlotteZero (whom I wish would come back so I could thank her!). I’m unsure how this one got missed, as I’m usually rather eager to try French tea samples. I guess it must have gotten lost at the bottom of the sample box! The leaves are very small and dark. I can’t smell much, perhaps a hint of fruit.
I can immediately smell that this tea is French – it has that powdered sugar aroma. I can also smell red fruits and some sweetness. Hm, this is actually quite good, especially for being rather old. There are definitely red fruits here, mostly heavily strawberry and raspberry. It got a teeny bit bitter, but I did steep it for 4 minutes, and the leaves looked quite broken. I can taste a hint of vanilla, but I wish there was more. Pretty tasty, I would like to try a fresh sample of this one. :) Withholding rating because I suspect flavor loss here.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla
Where do I even start?? This tea is amazing!! Opening the red and gold canister I’m immediately greeted by huge curls of toasted almond, juicy looking raisins, large chunks of orange and cherry and an almost overwhelming brown sugar and candied fruit scent.
First sips really are reminiscent of Christmas pudding!! Oranges, vanilla, brown sugar, almond… Ohmigod! So expensive but SOOO worth it!! I really need to make sure this lasts til Christmas morning!! A splash of milk makes the vanilla and sugar notes really stand out.
I swear I have reviewed this one, but I can’t find any notes on here from me. So here we go…
This is one of the teas my daughter picked up for me when she went to Amsterdam and Bruges. She brought it to me while we were still in Ireland, and youngest and I had a ritual of having a pot of tea in the breakfast room of the house and then heading out for scones and more tea and at 9am, which is when the fresh scones came out at the Java Café. We had a pot then and I think I had it once since, and today we have had two big pots of it.
I was a little confused at first because I thought macarons were the same as macaroons, but they are completely different. This is definitely macaron. The dry leaves are beautiful, with the mix of flower petals and bits of nuts and dried apple pieces. The aroma is largely apple, almond, and pure biscuit. I still don’t know how they make tea smell and taste like biscuit, but they do.
I found it to be smooth and flavorful, very nice even without milk or sugar. The different flavors are well balanced and none overpowers the others. My hubby still has trouble drinking black tea without milk and sugar, but he drank several cups of this plain and enjoyed it very much. Big thumbs up here!
Yay, this is the last of my Héritage Gourmand samples from boychik and CharlotteZero! This one is based on the madeleine, which is a little baby sponge cake that’s baked in a mold that resembles a shell. The base of this tea appears to be sencha or something similar, and there are yellow cornflower petals mixed in. Dry scent is generic grassy green tea with some sweet cakey notes.
The steeped aroma is pretty much the same – grassy and sugar/butter. Meh, I think this sample is pretty old, it seems to have lost all of its flavor. All I can taste is mediocre grassy green tea. Withholding rating!
This sample came from boychik and, originally, CharlotteZero. Thanks ladies! I really enjoy macarons and almond-related things in general, so I hope this one lives up to its name! The tea itself is a mixture of small black leaves, dried apple pieces, and little white things that look like tiny popcorn but are apparently amaranth. Dry scent is kind of vaguely sweet and dessert-ish without really smelling like anything.
The steeped tea smells like apples and caramel, which is pleasant even if it’s completely unrelated to the intended flavor. Hm, for some reason this cup came out a teeny bit bitter, which is odd since I used rather conservative parameters. I can definitely taste apple, although I’m not sure how that relates to macarons. There’s also a bit of a burnt sugar kind of flavor which makes it taste somewhat desserty. Overall, it’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near a macaron… Closer to caramel apple. :P
Flavors: Apple, Burnt Sugar, Caramel
I’ve been very keen on nut-flavoured blacks in recent months, so when we ordered from MF, this seemed an obvious choice. I don’t know what kind of nut is in here, but one of them is definitely almond. That marcipan-y note is impossible to miss. Then I expect one of the others is likely hazelnut and the last one probably walnut. Those seem the most likely choices anyway, as they’re so common I reckon any other type of nut would probably be mentioned in more detail. If the French version of the description offers more detail on this, feel free to inform me.
The leaves smell very sweet and almond-y. Husband thought it was quite Christmas-y and I agree with that, because marcipan is closely connected with Christmas in this country. You can have it all year, but I’d wager 50% of the average Dane’s yearly marcipan consumption happens around Christmas. After steeping it smells more hazelnutty and walnutty which fits nicely with my guess of other nuts in this.
The flavour is more sort generally nuts. There’s a sweet hint of marcipan to it, but mostly it’s just generic nut. It doesn’t bother me, though, that I can’t tell the different nuts apart and identify them separately because they come together in a rather well-rounded whole which also suits the base quite nicely. It feels like they’ve used a fairly strong base for this and that’s a good choice, I think. Nut flavoured teas tend to get rather sweet on their own, so a strong base balances it out a bit more.
I’m quite happy with this one. I have to say I find that something of a relief, really, since earlier this year I tried a number of French brand teas which others had found to be the best thing ever and I kept getting a little disappointed by them. I mean they were nice enough, but not all that. It’s good to know that there are still lovely French teas out there for me as well. I used to be very keen on the subtlety of the French blends in general. It’s like French brands blend and flavour to a particular style. My tastes must have changed a bit since then.
So I’m off today, and I slept in, really late, since I’ve been sick for the last week, and really fatigued at work (I did take Sunday off so I had 3 days in a row last weekend to take it easy). I got up, made this tea, and heated the tea biscuits I got from the Timmies at the airport yesterday morning when I took my husband there.
It tastes a little bit like an earl grey, when I added the milk, but it was more mild when it was without. Neither taste was bad. I did not steep this very long, afraid of getting a bitter base. I might they it again with a longer steep.
I’m glad I picked this one out of the SSTTB to try. It’s nice and just what I wanted this morning/afternoon. I think I may head back to bed soon, when this cup is finished, and rest up some more.
A little while back, I stopped in at the Holt Renfrew holiday shop and picked up some beautiful Mariage Freres teas. Unfortunately, the beautiful tins came with a not-so-beautiful price tag of $45 a tin. Plus, I had the added bonus of having the Holts employees basically glued to me as if I came to steal all their precious tea. So, I was not too motivated to splurge on anything. Consequently, I bought two tins: one of Mousse au Chocolat, which I tried before and really enjoyed, and this tea since it is one that I have been eyeing for over a year.
When I smelled this tea, it smelled deliciously rich and fruity. When I brewed it up, I hoped the smell would transfer into the taste and it did to some extent as the tea was quite fruity. However, it had a generic red fruit taste and not much else other than a mediocre base that fought for center stage. With that said, I steeped it for 5 minutes at 200F according to the Mariage Freres instructions and I think that might have thrown things off so I will be trying this again and again until I get it just right. I mean, at $45 a tin, I’m not about to just give up on it :P.
Another Mariage Frères arriving to me straight from Lisbon : obrigada cteresa.
It had been super wrapped by Teresa to not contaminate the other samples and it was so right because that Lapsang Souchong has a smoke smell really stronger regarding the others I had until now.
I have a very soft and mellow cup of Lapsang Souchong , medium bodied. This is a very nice tea, very smoky so rather not recommended for novices in Lapsang Souchong unless you have an highly developed taste for all that is smoked.
Smoke , despite its strength, is extremely refined – the wood used was probably selected on high profile and one can clearly feel it in his cup. It is extremely enjoyable. I just finished my full teapot .
you can see pics of my session with this tea here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/lapsang-souchong-imperial-mariage-freres/
Flavors: Smoke, Wood
This is the third tea I bought at MF in Berlin. I decided to take a chance on it because of the bergamot and rose combo. I am not disappointed in my purchase! (Side note: I know I have rated all of these new teas the same, but it’s hard for me to really pinpoint my feelings on them right now. I really really like all of them, but I don’t know if I loooove them. Anyway, probably jet lag brain).
I enjoy this tea quite a bit. The base is smooth and pleasant, the bergamot is relatively stong, the florals (mallow, rose & lotus) add a nice counterpoint to the bright citrusy bergamot. It’s kind of like Amore from DF, but slightly simplified (without the chocolate and almond notes). It may (like that tea) become a regular rotation of my morning tea; an Earl Grey with interest. Another winner.
Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Rose
I had not planned on buying this tea, but one sniff of the caramel and rose blend and I had to have it. I was again crossing my fingers on the base tea for this one.
And yay, it’s one I like. This is also pretty delicious. Base tea is smooth, caramel is on the burnt toffee type flavor to it (not so buttery or creamy), rose is light but adds a nice sweet note.
Neither of these special edition teas are quite special enough for me to justify ever purchasing them again (since they only come in pricey tins), but they are special enough that I will be happy to have them in my cupboard.
Flavors: Caramel, Rose