274 Tasting Notes
The dangers of buying loose tea by the weight. I ordered this, which is supposed to be black erva-mate with red fruits and supposed to look like this
The non-local tea shop, whose existence and selection of teas I very much appreciate wrote Me Faltes ( I suspect some subconscious grammar correction, thinking that brazillians would not use the second person of the singular, LOL) on the package and they seem to have packed me this
I need a small rant: IDIOTS! Oh well, I can not go there for them to fix it since it´s not a local shop, and Lembrança was on my wishlist for one day anyway. But sniff, I wanted this. Fazes-me falta, Me Faltas.
Geographical relativism is a bitch. I think my mental image, associations of Galicia, the region are pretty different than from a Parisian´s associations. For me it´s “up north”, “lá para cima”, morrinha and fog, cold summers, even colder waters than Moledo beach (brrrr), great shellfish, almond tarts, stone buildings and rias. That vibe for me is definitely northern and very atlantic. I would not associate it with peaches and vanilla nor with the sin of laziness exactly ((Thé-o-Dor associates most of their teas, whether black, green, infusion or unflavoured origins tea with a particular sin or quality. This is Laziness tea.) But I love Galicia, I was in the mood for a peach black tea, so hence the purchase.
I brewed this “wrong” and it turned out to be perfect after all. I accidentally dumped barely warm water on the tea pot already filled with a generous amount of dry leaf. Instead of trashing it at once I decided to see if it would be rescued and filled the rest of the pot with free boiling water and let it steep longer. By my calculations the water must have been 70-75 C at most, and I must have left it at least 6 minutes. It was a happy accident, I think it brew perfectly! Only quibble is that it cooled rapidly, the last of the tea was colder than I would prefer.
And this is just as advertised: real exhuberant peach flavour, with noticeable vanilla with an almondy, nutty quality underneath which I associate with Bourbon Vanilla in particular, and with just the right amount of body. The loose tea is filled with yellow petals, I don´t know if sunflowers or marigolds, can not really detect any influence from their presence. As the tea cools there is a strange change in flavour, it´s the Bourbon vanilla which is predominant, and the peach becames just the supporting role.
This is a great tea to be drinking in winter while wishing for summer! I will play around with different temperatures for it.
I wish I was sure of what I am drinking right now! It is supposed to be this blend, Thé O Dor´s Christmas red tea. But it was bought by weight, handwritten label and wow, it looks different than from what it looks in the blender´s site ( or other photos google shows me). Is this supposed to have little white sugar (almondy-sugar) snowflakes? The rest looks just right, the rooibos and the marigold petals and little bits of presumably spices. But sugar snowflakes? Hmm, nobody says so. (And are not little sugar snowflakes a little bit, uh, unexpected for Theodor teas? )
Taste wise, it tastes like it should be if it is this 25 December. The rooibos underneath is very much to my taste, and then you got orange, a bit of cinnamon, a hint of I think nutmeg and something sweet like anise or liquorice (this is what kills it for me). Not going to be a favorite, though that always seems to happen with me and Christmas teas, I have not loved wholeheartedly one yet (Easter Tea OTOH is a different thing!). Interesting blend, whichever it is, and I will enjoy my sample of this, but would not buy any more.
This is from a very generous sample sent by Angrboda, thank you so much! I had sent her some tea from Mozambique, and was interested to compare with other different African teas. Kenya tea I have had before, Tanzania never.
Not sure why it took me so long to try this. Breakfast teas are usually the ugly ducklings of my tea cupboard – I only dare have them in the morning, but I never have tea at breakfast, so mid morning at most, and to brew loose leaf, I got to have my things. Loose leaf breakfast teas have a very narrow niche of opportunity with me. Here goes this one though.
First thing, I think I brewed it wrong. About 5 minutes with boiling water brought just below boiling point. It was too long or too hot, this brewed up a bit too tanninic, too astringent for my taste. Got to experiment with it, definetely a bit colder brew.
Other than that, oh this is tea indeed. A nice cuppa, so to speak. A lot of body, a lot of taste (though like Angrboda points, a sort of generic tea taste, no real individual notes), and I think a lot of caffeine (will be surer of this in a couple hours). It reminds of Ceylon teas mostly, and it´s a pretty different thing than the Mozambique tea I know – which is more like an afternoon tea almost. I think this would make an awesome base for flavors. And I really got to tweak those brewing parameters, this is worth getting right.
My second Theodor rooibos and I am impressed, even if I did not love this quite as wholeheartedly as the first (Carpe Diem).
This smells heavenly – baked apple and toffee and indescritably dessert-y. Just the smell makes you feel good. Brewed up the taste is not quite as intense or as identifiably caramel-apple (Tarte Tatin) but I am impressed by how smooth, nice, full of body the rooibos base is. The apple-toffee melds wonderfully with it. The rooibos seems to have nutty-caramelley-honey tones itself and that is what makes this shine. I am so impressed by Theodor´s rooibos bases and how they flavour those. If you like rooibos, try to check what they are doing with rooibos.
This is wonderful. I am sort of in love with it which is a surprise because so far I had not really loved white teas.
The leaf itself is beautiful and slightly strange – so silvery, so long, the strangeness that is the blossom. It smells wonderfully, an essence of tea smell with notes which remind me of raisins and yes, vague flowers (I have no idea what peonies smell like!).
I could not control temperature too well, so keep in mind the desired 80C are probably just an approximation. But regarding the liquor, brewing this at the advised amount with bottled water, at close to the advised temperature, and at 2 minutes per steep:
1st steep – very pale, very light golden with no hints of red (yet). Surprisingly full of body and tastes fruity and slightly floral at the same time, a taste which reminds me a bit of grapes – tiny grapes with a lot of skin but sweet table grapes just the same (comparing anything to wine grapes would not be a compliment!).
weirdly I do not like at all the smell during the steep, it smells very grassy and almost minty, I worry if I am using too hot water. But it does not translate to the taste of the steep
2nd steep – no worries after all. A deeper color, and flavour much richer, with perhaps even more body. No bitterness or astringency. Absolutely wonderful.
3rd steep – ah, now it has decided to remind that yes indeed this is related to black tea. The color now really has reddish tones. Just as sweet if not even more, with even more body, and the taste has now moved fully to raisins. I try to decide if this or the 2nd steep is my favorite, I decide the 2nd probably but it is close.
Brewing the 4th steep I am wary, I think the leaves are probably gone.
4th steep – but no, still alive and kicking. Slightly less rich than the 3rd steep, but still great and full of body. Lovely. I am going to go for a 5th steep but decided to stop the review right here since Peony Tea S only advises 4 steeps, not fair to take it further and risk finding fault on it when it´s me taking it past its limits.
I received this tea from Peony Tea S a few months ago, when they were asking for volunteers to test their shipping services, thank you so very much for your generosity! They selected the teas and I took my time getting to them. This was a weird psychological thing: a mix of weather, me being slightly intimidated by the tea´s obvious quality and wanting to try them for the first time when I could give them their due attention. I left this for last because well, silly me, thinking I was not fond of white tea. I was wrong, of this I am very very fond indeed.
Ah, a note, as advised by Derek, I kept this (and the green tea) in the fridge, sealed and double sealed from the rest of the fridge. I think it is more than worth that small effort!
oh, this is nice. I have a weakness for red fruits in tea, particularly in rooibos. I think a lot of my favorite rooibos blends have strawberry or other berries there in some form or the other. So when Melanchocolate offered to send me some of this I could not resist accepting. And it is not a disappointment at all.
Funny that I seem to get a subtle green apple (granny smith) taste from a lot of things which are strawberry based – Marco Polo for example and this here. I think it is happening on my brain not on the cup!
This is just unbelievable. And I do not even like oolongs! Or maybe I should say I didn´t. And did not know plain tea could be like this.
I was sort of dubious about it. I am not usually so fond of oolongs, but both the concept of a milk oolong as the reviews about this particular one were tempting. As are Theodor´s tea tins in general – and I am a tin fetishist, and Theodor´s tins rate quite high on my appreciation scale (you can pile them! Close very safely! Colors differ according to tea type…). But Thé-o-dor´s tea tins are always the same price everywhere (20 euros) which is almost always ridiculously expensive for whichever is inside (particularly when it´s hibiscus and fruits). This might actually be the case where the price of the tin is not too ridiculous for this particular tea. I chanced upon a tin of this locally and with a discount, ok, sold!
I then got buyer´s regret as soon as I unsealed the tin – the dry leaf is very oolong-y. Green oolong and I am not a oolong lover. No hints of the promised caramel or vanilla notes. I was so not sure if I was going to love this. But I was going to give it a fair trial. I used not too much tea, maybe 2 grams or even less for a cup and used tap water (it did not seem to matter at all) and followed the brewing instructions in the tin (love that, that the temperature and time is written right at hand).
I dumped the leaves into the damp warmed pot while the new water warmed and something magic started to happen. The scent, while still of oolong tea became much stronger, richer and with totally new notes – fruity, sweet, vanilla-ey, fudgey sort of. Putting the not-too-hot water in the pot, it just became stronger, richer, full of many other scents. I never made any tea where scent changed and evolved so profoundly and so strongly!
The liquor was wonderful. Tea and just tea with nothing artificial but where the scent really was quite unbelievably evocative of other things, sweet, delicious things. Condensed milk sweets, or maybe pineapples somehow, or vanilla. No bitterness or any astringency at all and somehow still with some body. I had this with a bit of honey-rosemary cake and having the cake with its subtle flavours and sweeteness and then the tea was an even better experience. If you have this, have it plain, no milk or sugar, but accompanied by some sweet!
I found myself tipping the cup vertically in order to get at the last drop, and then re-checking the cup again to see if any was left just incase. Besides this being admittedly pathetic is something pretty rare so this rates very very high on my appreciation scale. I tried a second infusion and it was very good, though not quite as perfumed or as intense as the first steep.
This is really amazing tea. And I don´t even like oolongs.
Tangent to topic : something I appreciate in Theodor´s teas is that they give precise tea instructions, which differ from tea blend to tea blend even if they are the same general type of tea, written in the tea. That is priceless to me and gives me confidence they do care about what they are selling. If you are selling tea expensively, please put as much useful information to brewing it properly as possible.
My first Thé o Dor tea – and when I got more time I must write about my prejudices with that brand ( 20 euros for a fruit infusion tin! Site with music! the preciousness, particularly the preciousness of not getting a description of the tea on its main page but a wordy totally random bit of prose with does NOT put me in the mood to order anything but instead dream of too much preciousness being considered a criminal offense!).
But had a chance to buy some of their teas by the weight and was dazzled by the scents – wonderfully tempting scents and prices were much more reasonable to try something – prices depended on tea, this was a bit over 7 euros for 100 grams which is on the higher end cost but not too shocking. They sold a minimum of 100 grams, so I had to ruthlessly stick to just one rooibos though all their loose leaf teas smelled divine.
I think I brew this slightly too cold and while it turned out a bit weaker than I usually like (mea culpa), it was still exquisite. It´s a red fruits (strawberry for sure, maybe some raspberry as well) with sugared almonds rooibos. The sugared almonds taste totally different than i would expect – nothing like bitter almonds (like Amaretto, or Pleine Lune), nothing like either normal “Jordan” almonds, nothing like toasted almonds, instead a sweet taste of raw almond nut (no inner skin taste!) except even better. Truly unusual and melding wonderfully with the red fruits and the rooibos base. The rooibos itself was noticeable, wonderfully woody and with a sort of caramel note some rooibos has. Exquisite blend (though do not follow my preparation details, I got to tweak how I brew this!)