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.
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!
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:
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).
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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.