333 Tasting Notes

1
drank Green tea with lemon by AKBAR
333 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
333 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
333 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.
333 tasting notes

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87
drank Lao Tieguanyin by tea-adventure
333 tasting notes

This is from a sample very kindly sent by Barbara – she had said it reminded her a bit of our beloved Thé-o-dor Milky Oolong. I had misplaced the sample (I really have too many teas still to try!) but just found it so here goes.

This is rolled green oolong, bit smaller than that Milky Oolong, but not quite as tightly rolled as Ten Ren´s Sun Moon Lake. Infusing the tea, I was sure I had made a mistake in ammount or temperature, the water hardly changed color, a very clear very pale liquor – but the tea is resulting is indeed tea! Body, flavour, some sweetness, some astringency. Barbara mentioned a taste like raw chestnuts which seems spot on to me, that sort of taste quality.

I got to experiment with more steeps and as well, with a more generous ammount. This is further confirmation that after all I am a oolong person, as long as it is a really good green oolong.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Barbara

Glad you liked it! I found this one re-steeps very well…

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73
drank Cider Guayusa by Butiki Teas
333 tasting notes

This is something different indeed – I had never had Guayusa before (never even seen it for sale), and never had a Butiki tea either. Thanks to Courtney I now got the chance to try it.

This smelled absolutely heavenly when dry. Real apple with a bit of cinnamon – the orange and cloves will take on faith and indeed it is a more complex scent than “just” apple cinnamon. I have been a bit shy of brewing this, afraid to screw it up, and that it might not smell just as great as it does. I finally took the nerve to try it.

I used a bit more amount that I would have if it had been tea, and having learnt my lesson from mate, I was afraid to scald it so temperature was in the 80-90 range surely (Celsius). Never having had guayusa I can´t really compare to other blends. The apple scent is indeed transmitted to the flavour and it´s as complex as it promised to be, absolutely lovely flavoring.

I can not judge for its energizing properties just yet – I wanted to do the taste note with it on front of me, in order to not forget anything, will edit later.

But underneath the flavouring (lovely indeed), and ignoring its yet untested effects, judging this just by how pleasant a drink it is: meh about the guayusa. It tastes a little bitter at the back of the tongue and somewhat astringent, with a hint of an herbal-grassy sort of taste. The mouth-feel is well, watery, without the pleasing body of tea or rooibos. I will try different ways of brewing this a bit, but am afraid if I try to intensify the body by adding more leaf or hotter water it will also intensify the hints of bitterness. Any tips?

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

Hmmm, I’ve never noticed any bitterness and I usually do 1 1/2 tsp of guayusa with boiling water for 6 minutes and sometime overleaf when I need some extra caffeine.

Hallieod

Ooh, that mix of flavours sounds delicious.

cteresa

Butiki, thanks, I will try with water a bit hot. The bitterness was more of an aftertaste, at the back of the mouth as I swallowed – and when paying attention, the main flavour is indeed very well done and strong.

Hallie, it smells delicious and it tastes delicious – though am not sure guayusa is for me (caffeine for caffeine, give me tea instead!)

Ysaurella

it’s a pity I can’t send you any Good morning sunshine tea !it was lovely but I only had a sample of this. But I can send you some othe BT if you want, but not guayusa…

Courtney

Guayusa certainly has a distinct taste. I love it straight, but the only way I can describe it is like taking a sip of the jungle haha! I use 98 degree water with guayusa though, perhaps that will help next time :)

cteresa

Ysaurella, thank you but not so sure I am or will became a guayusa fan (otoh it is smoother than mate, but mate also seems more effective at giving me energy).

Courtney, will try, you sent me enough to try it a few different ways, thank you! Flavouring is absolutely lovely.

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90
drank Baya by THE O DOR
333 tasting notes

I have right now, two different rooibos mixes from two of my three favorite rooibos providers, both sultry mixes named in hommage to southern islands – this Baya which is supposed to evoke Île de Réunion, and Mariage Fréres´ Surabaya a hommage to Java. And suraBAYA and Baya, get it?

And they are totally different teas, while both matching the description of sultry rooibos. I made separate, previous tasting notes about Surabaya, just mentioning it because the coincidence is funny.

This Baya I had smelled but not had a chance to buy (strategic decision of picking other teas) a few months ago, and I had promised myself to get it next possible chance. It got here, and it was slightly different than remembered. The official word is that it is rooibos with vanilla, ylang ylang, nutmeg, jasmine. The more poetical descriptions of it also mention pepper and passion fruit. Pepper is not particularly noticeable at any level but indeed there is a fruity note which seemed pineapply-or-passion fruity (more likely) to me.

This was, to my tastebuds, sublime. Very intensely flavoured, maybe a rooibos for people who do not like rooibos, and an unlikely but unbelievably good mix of flavours. And perhaps more strangely, the flavours change in the mouth, there is a fruity like smell which you can feel in the front of the mouth/tongue, but as you swallow there is a vanilla-ylang sweetness at the back of the tongue and then also that touch of the nutmeg. A very interesting sensory experience, this tea seems to work at different levels. I absolutely loved it – the vanilla is strongly there and bourbon (reunion? how appropriate) vanilla, and the touch of ylang is a delicious addition to it. Jasmine is not too strong, but just a hint, melds with the fruitiness of the passion fruit (surely there is some?) and then a touch of something deeper which is quite probably the nutmeg. And a good, smooth (nearly undetectable except in that structural body) rooibos underneath.

I am not sure I love this better than Carpe Diem, another huge favorite Theodor rooibos – let´s see with acquaintance. I do love it better than Marabout which was also an impressive rooibos mix.

Ah, anecdotal, but this seemed to have a very efficient and pleasant digestive-help effect.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec
Hallieod

Awesome description! Is this the first tea with ylang-ylang you’ve had? It sounds as if it would easily overpower with its sweetness, but that may just be in essential oil blends for aromatherapy. :)

cteresa

First tea with ylang indeed (though I have had Mariage Fréres´ plain ylang flavoured tea on my wishlist for a while. one day). I like ylang, and it seems to work so very well with the vanilla (lots of vanilla here, vanilla is magical with rooibos) and the rest here. Just gives it a sort of warmth. It´s not a strong note at all.

Hallieod

That way of it working in a supporting role with the vanilla does sound great. I should probably try to get over my ylang-ylang prejudice, though I’ll never like it as an essential oil.

Devilish

Wow this sounds amazing! Too bad this is not available in Hong Kong…

cteresa

Oh, that is a pity – I really love Theodor´s flavoured rooibos. It´s extra dunno, an extra flair at combining flavours which really works.

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87
drank Adele H by THE O DOR
333 tasting notes

I just managed to order (with difficulty and problems sadly!) some new Thé-ô-dor teas from a local retailer. Cocotte, the famous tomato darjeeling was on my wishlist but out of stock. This was instead a rather random pick, but wow this is unexpectedly filling the wish for a strange surprising tea.

I would probably not have picked it if I had smelled it before buying. It smells like pepper, black pepper, with peach and some unidentifiable flowers and just a bit strange somehow. It brews slightly different, less flowery, all (to me, at this first acquaintance) just tea, peach and black pepper. It´s a complete (but excellent) taste dissonance to have the unmistakable strong black pepper with the peach, but it was coup de foudre, love at first sight (or first cup). That pepper and fruit, it somehow works (for me. I suspect this will not be everybody´s cup of tea). I think this is the cure to me being tired of nice polite flavoured teas which seem samey-samey and forgettable. No way anybody could confuse this flavoured tea with any other flavoured tea.

The base is lovely, smooth but strong Assam. I am reminded, as I was by Mandalay, that chai is not just any tea with spices. This, like Mandalay, is a tea where a spice is essential, but without being in any way a chai.

I am slightly in love with this tea, unexpectedly. So lovely.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C
Ysaurella

I was hesitant about this one yesterday while on theodor website.Nice to know it is a good tea.
I finally bought…nothing ! because Je t’aime was out of stock and Thé du Loup as well…
I hate the Theodor website ! too much idiot descriptions (not idiot but unhelpful to choice a tea…)
So Adèle H has pepper…not so surprising if we think to the movie histoire d’Adèle H :)
Victor Hugo made beautiful poems for Léopoldine, it was fair François Truffaut dedicated a movie to Adèle and Theodor a nice tea !

cteresa

It is nice, but it is a tea I recommend with care. It´s wonderful to me, but the pepper is strong, I am sure it will be a hate it for many people.

I detest the stupid descriptions at the Theodor site as well! Precious, precious and useless – there is a trick, I search for an ingredient or part of the name of a tea to show an intermediate page with a small useful description – I edited a ton of their teas here on steepster to make for easier reference to those.

I never had je t´aime – thé du loup I loved, but one of the new arrivals is the yet untried celebration, which might be a serious contender for thé du loup. It´s also chocolate and hazelnut and smells like dark chocolate mousse drenched in frangelico and with extra chocolate on top. or something. It can not live up to what it smells!

This Adele H is indeed a good hommage! A rebellious tea one as well, a different one, one not possible to confuse with any other. But one must love pepper !

Sil

This sounds delicious!

Ysaurella

you cannot imagine how much I love pepper ! my friends are always like “but when do you stop to drop pepper from the pepper mill on you meal ????” it takes me at least 2 full minutes :)
But I’m not a huge fan of salt

Sil

omg i just saw your note on “celebration” that sounds amazing..

cteresa

Sil, celebration indeed smells like that – it can not possibly live up to that expectation, I warn myself. I am saving it for a special occasion though will find an excuse for it as soon as possible ( mother s day maybe?)

Ysaurella, I also love pepper! But I did not expect to love it as the predominant note in a tea and after all, wow. And I confess I am now wondering about their on va se revoir … I am drinking baya now, which is another unlikely sounding tea flavoring combination and sort of divine. Theodor is very good at unusual I think.

Adele h is, I have now thought of the word, an eccentric tea which is so much fun.

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70

This was a cup I had on a tea shop, on my effort to try to get darjeelings. I did not prepare it.

There is a definite rose flavour to this – many times weaker than regular run of the mill china rose congou, but there has to be some extra flavouring here. I had misunderstood and though it was unflavoured, that the rose was metaphorical, so not quite what I was expecting. I did not much like it, but then again me and darjeelings are not too friendly.

I suspect preparation was not quite perfect, infusion time was up to me, and I think I overbrew it slightly. But a tea to not buy, and will keep trying good quality (UNFLAVOURED!) darjeelings whenever I get the chance.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

what did you dislike a little in this one finally, rose or darjeeling base ?

cteresa

I did not dislike this per se. Or better said, I disliked that it did not match my expectations (for unscented tea), though that was a problem with my expectations.

Disregarding that disappointment, I just did not love it. And I would never pay that price for this – though will keep trying to try good darjeelings!

Ysaurella

this is a brand new one by MF and the price is high yes 15 €/100 gr

cteresa

I had seen the name of the blend before in the same shop, maybe 2 years ago. But yes their tin was new and almost totally filled. Maybe a rebranding? And yes price was like that! It was good they served it by the cup so I can try – though sadly it can backfire, I ordered by chance , not knowing the price, a pot of silver needle and fell in love – it was 30+ € per 100 gr ouch. Maybe one of these days 50 gr or at least more teapots of it

Ysaurella

it’s a seasonal tea, each year you have the one. Like with the Sakura series – I bought the 2000 but you have one new for 2012,2013 and each time in a new tin…23 € at least !

cteresa

Ah, that is it then, this is likely the autumn 2012 picking then!

Hallieod

I’ll send you some of the Palais des Thés Darjeeling I got recently, in an attempt to “get” Darjeelings a bit more myself. It’s hard getting to grips with a kind of tea you don’t get though, isn’t it? Unless you’re hand-guided to a great example of one by someone with very similar tastes, it’s more than a bit hit and miss. (Though rose-flavoured tea masquerading as pure tea with its inner soul showing in the taste of rose is annoying!)

Cloe Tsopanarea-Skabili

“Rose d’ Himalaya” used to an excellent Arya Autumn 3rd flush Darjeeling with a NATURAL aftertaste of rose! A very subtle and refined tea! This particular Arya garden that produced this rarity burned down in 1998. The shop still reproduces and sells a tea under the same name, adding rose oil to a regular Dargeeling. Really NOT the same.Your impression was absolutely right!

cteresa

Ah, that old one with the natural taste, would love to have tried it. So sad about the fire.

And thank you very much for the information, very interesting!

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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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