328 Tasting Notes

87
drank Mademoiselle by THE O DOR
328 tasting notes

I just got a very nice surprise with this tea – expectations are funny things! Ysaurella had kindly sent me a sample, and just last night she had reviewed it, and led me to expect more lavender. She in fact compares it to another lavender tea I also had, Gryphon´s Earl Grey Lavender (a very kind sample as well, this time from LaFleurBleue). And for once Ysaurella and I have diverging opinions – I prefer Mademoiselle and find it less lavender-ish.

I confess I might have mistreated this when brewing, and did not pay too much attention to how long it steeped. I think it might have steeped too long or too hot, it has a small hint of astringency but one which seems to bring out the bergamot. I get the lavender only as a background soothing things. The bergamot is a great bergamot and the base tea just right. Love it, it might be the one lavender earl grey for me.

PS – maybe it is water alchemy? I notice bergamot teas seem to react so differently to different tap waters! Though with my tap water usually it´s violent rebellion not improving alchemy.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 15 sec
Ysaurella

I am happy you loved it ! I brewed mine at 90° and 3 minutes only and I get a hint of astringency too, I think it is the tea base.
but yes to me too much lavender even if I appreciate the blend it suffers the comparison with the gryphon one for my palate :)

cteresa

It is very funny because to me this is less lavender than the gryphon – but I really am convinced bergamot is a tricky thing and reacts very differently to different waters (maybe the bleach?). I still got one Gryphon tea bag, I shall compare when I use it. Maybe try Gryphon with bottled water, surely it deserves that!

Ysaurella

next time I’ll send you a sample of Pouchkine from Betjeman & Barton, it is my favourite bergamot tea along with Earl Grey French Blue (even if sooooo different)

cteresa

Oh, you temptress! In a couple months, if you loved it, then yes I am sure it will be so interesting. But you know, I am not usually a earl grey person – though good earl greys seem to win over just the same. I got to go and up the rating in Aïda though, it was quite OK the first time I had it, but that tea the more I had it, the better I liked it.

Ysaurella

so I’ll need to send you too some Mélange Hédiard as well, these Earl greys are addictive !

Hallieod

Definitely take her up on the Pouchkine, Teresa! I was wowed by the way the bergamot is controlled by the other citrus flavours and the hint of smokiness, and I’m not always an Earl Grey lover.

cteresa

Ah,ok, I believe you both, one of these days (though do not save it specially for me, drink and enjoy as you will), when I have made a sort of dent in the teas you two ladies have sent me.

It´s sort of torture (a good one, but still), me trying to be sensible about caffeine and two packages arriving on the same day and full of precisely the teas I have been wanting to try. I am restricting myself to two cups a day of something caffeinated (though cheating with second steeps. And plenty of rooibos)

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80
drank Regent's Park by Yumchaa
328 tasting notes

Look at what I found in the back of the cupboard – I still got some of it. Sadly aged a bit, I love Yumchaa but I really wish they had more air-tight packaging – tins ideally, or foil packets (which are indeed great and pratical).

While this is a bit less scented than it originally was it is still very smooth and a very lovely combination of flavours (not as weak as you might think. Yumchaa is really good at intense natural flavours). I love papaya, but not sure I get its flavour here, for me this is green tea with pineapple and strawberries and it is a lovely summer drink indeed.

Hallieod

Totally agree about the packaging – I was going to call for your backing when sil said that Mango Sunrise was very mildly mangoey. I had transferred it into a tin, but didn’t have one for quite a while, and I’m sorry I didn’t send her a sample of it at its best. My last bit of Regent’s Park was in even worse shape than yours.

Yumchaa tins — that is the dream!

cteresa

The ageing is definetely worse for the green teas – the black fare better, the rooibos in between. Such a pity, because they are so awesome when fresh.

I got a set of cheap identical tins which I use for a few yumchaa teas, but teas are always scarce round my parts! And you know those foil like plastic bags with ziploc? Those really really work, as well.

Theoretically I should just use the tea up fast, but I am a hoarder, and try to order several teas at once to save on shipping – I drink faster the favorites but then I get hoarding urges to save a bit for an emergency (favorite tea emergencies, they happen), and then do not drink my non-favorites often and get tons of those using up tins.

Hallieod

Boo – trying to reply while watching Eurovision and lost the comment again. (We certainly won’t be hosting next year!) Was just going to say that it’s odd Yumchaa does have the foil packages, but only for the white teas. And have the exact same problem of hoarding favourite teas. I’m slowly building up a tin collection, so hope to be better!

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87
drank Adele H by THE O DOR
328 tasting notes

Adding another note, because I can not believe I missed the nutmeg| Duh, it´s so definitely there as well, adds a background, some solidity to the peach and pepper.

I am liking this a little bit less this second time, but I think I brewed it too hot and well Assam is a tricky thing for me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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86

I made this a little bit too hot and I think a little bit too long – should have been 5 degrees (real degrees that is ;) Kelvin or celsius) and one minute less. It is, like a lot of Théodor teas, a forgiving tea. Though I think due to it being brewed hotter than my first attempts, I am finally getting a hint of the apple mentioned on tea description.

This is a masterfully well blended flavour tea – a great smooth green tea base and then a blended mix just in proportion of evocative flavours. No flavour is really dominant, this is not a one note or predominant note tea, but different flavours seem to work at different levels. The mint is the first thing, then the rose and apple and the date last. I do not detect the almond, but sweet almonds are not very strongly flavoured anyway.

A truly well done tea blend – and a very elegant one as well somehow.

PS – to add, it resteeps very well! Slightly different notes on resteep, a little bit more rose and more date and maybe the elusive almond, maybe not. I expected a lot more mint because the spent leaves smell so minty, but not so much on the taste. But a definite two steeps blend.

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

yes this is a lovely tea.

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71
drank So Long by THE O DOR
328 tasting notes

This is a tea which has been having rotten luck at my house. Whenever I make it I get distracted while doing it, and do not give it much enough attention. Ysaurella, to whom I had sent some in a swap did a tasting note before I ever got to it. Poor neglected tea!

Even today, I used water which was too cold – should have been a bit hotter. But even so, since the result was so nice, here goes. This is a tropical fruits oolong. Site says “pineapple, red passion fruits, mango and bergamot” and it is a nice touch to distinguish between the passion fruit type – I suppose their red is what we call purple passion fruit and which is indeed the better and pricier kind of passion fruit (green passion fruit grows better in our climate, it´s the only one which will grown on the mainland and produces tons more but is just not nearly as nice).

The oolong is not too dark, not too green, not too large, not too small – and not too noticeable underneath the fruit. There are some filler petals – rose and something else. There is bergamot in this tea but it might possibly be the most subtle use of bergamot I ever noticed (of course, uses of bergamot I never noticed would be more subtle even ;). For me the main note is passion fruit, with a touch of bergamot second and only then mango and then I take on faith there is pineapple. It´s fruity, smooth, and I think it would be delightful cold. I love passion fruit with its inherent tartness and funny how the bergamot seems to amplify it.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec
LaFleurBleue

Purple passion fruit is also my favorite. Does the yellow / green passion fruit grown in Portugal also have yellow flesh inside? In Indonesia, there’s a sort of passion fruit I’ve not seen elsewhere with the inside being greyish with bigger seeds than the purple. Honestly I do not enjoy eating it.

cteresa

The green passion fruit is sort of green-yellow inside – and it´s sour, I really do not like it very much. Even on juice, it´s only good mixed with orange juice. (and I love love purple passion fruit juice. Fresh when possible which is rarely or Compal Fresh Maracujá which is the bestest fruit juice ever packaged ever).

The green is like this http://www.google.com/search?q=maracuj%C3%A1+verde

It´s a lot tougher and more prolific and easier to propagate (just stick a cutting in thr ground) than the purple one so i guess that is why it is so popular. But everything traditional (liqueur, mousse, etc) is always done with purple passion fruit.

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1
drank Green tea with lemon by AKBAR
328 tasting notes

This is possibly the worst tea I ever had. Not helped by brewing preparation which was probably too hot, but really undrinkable stuff – bitter bitter and with an artificial “lemon” flavouring which reminds me totally of “lemon” cleansing products but not lemon. Horrible.

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

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68

Just a note, I have been eyeing these kitschy (but cute kitschy!) tea tins in a natural beauty products store. But I am always wary of buying cute packaged teas particularly in that sort of retail.

But at a café recently they were serving these teas, and I had my chance to try this. I am totally unsure of brewing details since I did not prepare it, but as it was served (and I think not too carefully) it was quite nice. The almond and pistachio taste was delicate but still noticeable (if you paid attention), the tea strong bodied but not too rough. Not a great tea IMO, but a respectable honorable cup of flavoured tea. I have had worse and from more famous brands!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C
Hallieod

‘A respectable honorable cup of flavoured tea’ is a great description! Also, that tin is super-cute.

cteresa

Thanks, it is a very middle-something tea – I was pretty grateful, you never know what is available in cafés, so in all, appreciated enough.

And the tins are incredible, particularly the iced tea ones – check here

http://www.natureetdecouvertes.com/senteur-art-de-vivre/thes-et-saveurs-du-monde/the

but pricey and I think I will stick to spend my money on paper bags of loose tea I know to be good. Though a pretty tin is always extremely appealing…

TeaBrat

I am a sucker for cute tins!

Hallieod

I admire your restraint! I’m not sure I’d manage to resist some of those tins if they were right at hand, even if the tea might not be great. :)

Ysaurella

that’s funny because this week end I was looking at this tin and at the tea itself (I love pistachio and almond !) but was suspicious about the quality

cteresa

Hallie, it is been easy to resist – do I spend 12 euros in a pretty tin of dubious tea, or do I walk (upwards, it must be admitted) to the tea shops I know and buy 3*50 grams of good tea? I have resisted – though it might be harder now that I know this tea was OK.

Ysaurella, it was OK IMO even when made carelessly. Enjoyable. Not too flavoured, but still there. You will have better almond teas around for sure, but this was indeed pretty OK.

Hallieod

Okay, Teresa, but I still give you credit for not buying both. :) (Might as well take the credit while it’s going!) And that’s not a bad price for good tea. In walking distance.

cteresa

Yep, and it is Mariage Fréres tea by the weight, so it wins for sure.

Ysaurella

I went to Nature & Découverte today and sniffed the tea…no scent at all ! The box is greener …so decided not buying it

cteresa

Not sure I would recommend comitting to 100 grams of it anyway. It was a nice enough cup for a café.

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85
drank Celebration by THE O DOR
328 tasting notes

Thé-o-dor is a brand which has some interesting multiple takes on the same “ideas” – for example Adèle H and Mélange de Galice are both black teas with peach and are totally totally different. If you check the brand´s description of this Celebration it is:

CELEBRATION
Flavoured black tea with major notes of chocolate, vanilla and hazelnuts

as compared to their Thé du Loup

THE DU LOUP
Flavoured black tea with major notes of hazelnuts and notes of chocolate.

I had and finished and loved to pieces Thé du Loup. But it was sold out, and I was advised this instead and OK, I will try it.

This tea smells incredible – like a rich thick dark chocolate mousse drenched in Frangelico and yeah, a little bit of vanilla as well. It is very rich in little cocoa pieces, cocoa husks I think and I think there might be vanilla bean pieces in there as well – when brewing this up keep in mind to up the dose a bit, since the cooca husks will take some of the space of the tea itself.

Brewing it, following their 95 º advice with some trepidation but being unintentionally careless with time (they advise 3 minutes, it was closer to 4, and let´s not check which side of 4 minutes it was) this is an extraordinarily smooth tea. No bitterness or roughness at all, a very smooth base. It tastes less potent than what it smells, but the scent is so rich, so evocative I am not sure any tea could really live up to it. It is more about the chocolate than the hazelnut, and the hazelnut is almost liquorish, sweeter than in Thé du Loup.

I think when comparing similar teas of a similar quality, the first one tried always has an advantages, we are always comparing the second to the first, which somehow got canon status due to having been first. Maybe that is why I prefer Thé du Loup, do not know for sure. If you are likely to prefer something sweeter, then this; if you would prefer something “drier”, then Thé du Loup.

And I am amazed at how the same company does two very good flavoured teas with almost the same flavourings but which manage to have quite different personalities (and wonderfully smooth but different bases).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Sil

yum!!!

Ysaurella

awwwww now I can’t wait to brew this one as I ordered it too !

Barbara

Hmmm, next time I’m at Tea Zone I ask for a sample of this. Sounds interesting, although I’m not really prone to wandering from The Du Loup. First love and all you say… :-)

Hallieod

The two almost-identical but very different teas is fascinating! And both sound great in themselves too.

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95
drank Berry Berry Nice by Yumchaa
328 tasting notes

This is pretty much a staple for me, fruity red fruits rooibos – very very fruity, very very exhuberant, good rooibos done properly (bad rooibos is a terrible thing, good rooibos a wonderful thing). I take this for granted and hardly pay attention to it anylonger.

Except I was making this for a child and made it strong so I could add a lot of sugar and a lot of milk (half tea, half milk I think). I tried it to test temperature before handing it over and OMG it is like it is a new tea, it is wonderful like that as well. Totally surprising and unlike I usualluy have it, like a new reminder of why I love this so much. Child approved (though admittedly the child in question has unbelievably unlikely gourmet tastes and a very expensive-liking nose).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Yunnan Black by Peony Tea S.
328 tasting notes

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Profile

Bio

Inconstant tea drinker – I mostly drink tea when not too hot. I hang around steepster much more frequently in (northern hemisphere) cold season.

- Teas -

I like all sorts of tea, flavoured and unflavoured, though I am picky. I am always willing to try anything new. I am now particularly interested in single origins.

I am one of those people who actually loves Lapsang Souchong. I am not crazy about Earl Grey, in general. I don´t quite get Darjeeling teas, but I am trying to make sure …

I like rooibos, though not all bases. I loathe hibiscus. I do not like fennel/liquorice/anise in blends or teas with chicory. I am picky about what I consider true cinnamon.

As you can probably tell from my cupboard, the brands I find more interesting right now are Mariage Fréres,Thé-o-Dor and Yumchaa.

Location

Portugal

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