328 Tasting Notes

78

Another taste note, just to add, that brewing this hot, it´s OK, interesting. Brewing this cold, with long steep times, it goes very very bitter. Cold steeping this for short (one hour) and then sweetening it, this is very very nice. Citrusy, herby and energizing (in a different way than regular caffeine).

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Anna

Oh, I remember writing in my review I might get a small craving for this in the future, and yes, there it is.

cteresa

I still want their black mate with red fruits. I think when I do that long promised order there I am going to get a mate for sure!

Anna

Ooooh, cool. I look forward to the review. =)

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86
drank Jardin Sauvage by Lupicia
328 tasting notes

Now this is a multiple personality tea! The rest of Anna´s sample and she had warned me she had been baffled by it. I tried this first cold, and cold brewed and sweetened and it was FABULOUS. But Anna had tried it hot and not liked it, but seriously if so good cold how bad could it get when made hot? I decided to try it hot.

And I really really do not like it when made with boiling water. A total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tea. It is sour somehow (how?!?), there is a very strong peach (it should be mango, mango is what they say but it tastes like peach to me!) flavour bordering on artificial and a orange rind taste (maybe this is the culprit). I truly did not like it

I am going to leave the rating as it was, because a tea should be judged by its optimal brewing method – but if I had to compare I would rate it about 85 when cold brewed and maybe 40 or 50 when brewed hot. Isn´t it weird?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Anna

Hahaha, right? It’s so weird. But I guess it’s not too much of a sacrifice to just cold-steep this. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

cteresa

It is insane, I do not understand at all where the sourness (and it is sour) is coming from or could possibly be.

But it is so lovely cold..

Anna

Tell me if you want some more for the summer, by the way – I have a whole bag!

cteresa

Thanks, but seriously I am want instead to try cold a lot of likely little bits and ends of teas I got here. I want to do a major clear of all those little bits I am hoarding “use what you have” ( getting a lot counter space and tins to air for new teas, though this is dangerous, I am going oh, my teas, my hoard……)

Anna

Ugh, I know – I have so much tea to clear out… before I can buy more tea!

cteresa

My mantra right now is “use what you have” and it´s good, but it´s better for things which do not run out! I am feeling a bit dubious about my sucess when i finish something I love, kinda of rethinking it.

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74

A tea from the euro travelling box, and I think I am getting close to having tried all the samples – though for a couple I need a second tasting.

I am not a Darjeeling person. Though maybe that is because of lack of knowledge of those, due to only having tried not so good ones (Mariage Freres, can not quite forgive you for Arya Rose). Altitude tea, or at least tea from the himalayas seems to be quite a different beast to the black tea I am used to, even with all the variation encompassed by “black tea”. There is the astringency, for example, which is always there.

But recently just learnt to love a Nepal tea, and testing more Darjeelings is always interesting to me. This was a small sample I took out from the travelling box, and I might have ruined it with too long a steep, since I got distracted. Yep, astringent. But ignoring that (and rightfully so, because it is my fault) this is delightful and I can get the so-different character underneath. It´s floral and musky at the same time, like winegrapes. Nice even when tortured…

The astringency, ah, at normal levels maybe I can learn to like it. Maybe. Will test more Darjeelings.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

I was like you Teresa regarding Darjeelings and now I managed to love several of them. Much 2nd flushs but I am now considering first flushs as well.Like you I am convinced the difference resides in the Gardens and in harvests.

Excelsior

After I try the current 2014 FF Darjeelings from Mariage Freres I’ll try to find a tea you might like. Little to no astringency, right? I’m still drinking the 2012 Vintage Darjeeling from MF so it might be a while until I order the 2014 FF Darjeelings.

cteresa

Excelsior, that is a very kind offer you have made me, but really a rain check is more than good enough for me! One day i would love to try a cup of darjeeling you recommend, but seriously no hurry. Or maybe the best way is next time I am in Paris, I will go to Mariage Freres and use your notes to order a cup of tea prepared by them, maybe I am not doing it right.

Astringency might be just a mental block, on a few cases I think I enjoyed it and thought it was part of the fun – maybe like acid which is not a good thing in wine, except there is vinho verde, and if you get to used to it, the little acid touch makes it so special to have with so many other things.

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72
drank Valnød - Walnut by Hans & Grete
328 tasting notes

Another of Anna´s surprise samples, and this is indeed a surprise and interesting. I love walnuts and can not remember ever tasting a tea with walnuts. I was doubtful if would work – walnut kernels go rancid fast, and the thin inner skin is bitter. This dried leaf showed little kernels of some nut (almond according to the site description) without skin and some other bits and pieces (after googling, must be the dried pineapple and coconut).

I was very cruel with this, by making it impulsively without googling it first , water too hot and too long. It survived it graciously, though if anything my problem with this tea is its base being a bit anonymous. There is a lovely walnut flavour, and something else in the background, a hint of strangeness which was not bad, just a bit surprising. I could not ID it on my own, but googling it, thereis dried pineapple and coconut here, and that is the tropical strangeness I was detecting. The flavours go together better than i would think, and quite well with the green tea, but they go against my expectations of what I would want in a a walnut tea (maybe something more pastry like: caramel, maple, pecan, cinnamon or just plain lovely walnut).

The tea base, sencha according to seller, is not unpleasant, but totally anonymous IMO. I guess the best way to describe this would be one of those german blends – in the surprising fillers and combinations and weak tea base, though a nice example of a certain kind of tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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75
drank Formosa Jade Oolong by RiverTea
328 tasting notes

Another (and still a few to go!) tea from the euro travelling box, this just seemed a perfect tea to celebrate spring equinox.

It is a lovely, very pale (I must have underleafed, will try again) green oolong. Small leaves, a sweet wild flower flavour, just as expected. Maybe a hint of a cinnamon like woodyness as well? A nice tea, must experiment with the rest of the sample

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

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86
drank Jardin Sauvage by Lupicia
328 tasting notes

Another of Anna´s what-do-you-think-of-this surprise samples, and I am impressed with myself, trying 3 different teas in one day. Though I started preparing this yesterday so not sure it counts – Anna had warned me she had loved this when iced, and thought it awful when hot, so I decided to cold brew this. About 24 hours ago I put one of her samples in my trusty cold tea container ( which some might mistake for an old yogurt flask with a lid), added water conservatively, and put it on the fridge. I think I might have shook it a couple times since yesterday. Today I sweetened it generously (iced cold brewed tea needs sweet) and strained it. And two things:

- this is lovely! Very fruity but in a very elegant way and a natural seeming way. Supposedly mango with citrus, which i agree with but reminding me of peaches or apricots as well for some reason. Really intense flavour without being too much, which is rather miraculous.

- and so, this is non-rooibos rooibos. Rooibos for rooibos haters. I like very much green rooibos, my first rooibos was green rooibos, and am always interested in the so rare flavoured rooibos (and make my own, very simple mixes using plain green rooibos I got at hand). The green rooibos is there, I know that, since this is more than flavoured water, but I can not spot it at all. Not sure if i am disappointed about it – it is just lovely as it is. But the rooibos, should I be missing it or not … Unsure.

Now I am unsure if I take the other sample of this and try it in boiling water for comparison (I am curious) or just make another glass of this deliciousness. And cold brew iced tea season is officially here!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Anna

Yes, awesome! I need to try it again, too.

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84
drank Egyptian Chamomile by Unknown
328 tasting notes

I had never been a big chamomile tea (tisane, if you insist) drinker. I had stuck to teabags and often it seemed like a kind of dusty taste. But was wondering about trying again a better grade of chamomile and the other day in the bio supermarket I was intrigued by their own brand organic herbs. The dried chamomile flowers were really quite huge (and almost grotesque), and even through the packaging there was this nice cosy (much nicer than teabags) chamomile scent. Costing about 2 euros for a big huge package (50 grams? 100? it looks huge because of the volume), I bought it.

And it is a totally different, so much nicer, tisane than the other kinds I had before. Yep, I finally get chamomile and love it as well.

Just a quibble, or warning – this is about the messiest tea ever for my gravity infuser, even worse than rooibos. I just use a small teapot and strainer, or go lazy and fill a make-your-own teabag.

This, or some kind of it, is going to be a staple for me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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74

This is from a swap with Courtney, a swap to expand a little my tea horizons. Because this is really not my type of cup of tea, but I find myself really interested in this type of tea. Not sure it will be love or if they will overcome my beloved afternoon-type teas, but I am definitely intrigued.

This is presumably a black tea from Java. I never had indonesian tea before, so not sure what quite to expect. Maybe something Ceylon-ish? And somehow that was what I got, though a bit more delicate, flowery (and ok, thinner bodied) than I would expect of a Ceylon tea. It had that some copper-y (I can not think of any other way to describe it. Kind of metallic but not unpleasant?) feeling I associate with some ceylon teas. I think it had some wood (besides floral) notes, and a bit of tannin as well, which was not unpleasant. Sadly not quite as much body as I wanted of a first-thing-in-the-morning tea, but I can put this in afternoon service with please. Really interesting. Thanks Courtney!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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44

This is a sample Anna so kindly sent me. I wonder if it´s another of those german blends which cross Europe and show up a bit everywhere in every small tea shop, or if it´s something specifically spanish.

This is kind of a generic black tea with red fruits (and little bits of herbs? strawberry leaves?), and while I am interested in trying it (trying everything), it´s pretty much a dud with me. I prepared it more or less like normal, and while it brewed I was doing a couple other things, I poured it and absentmindedly sipped. For a few seconds I could not remember which tea this was and was thinking it was some tisane, but no. It´s got a really really weak body, and a kind of tartness astringency I do not like, plus the berry flavour is a chewing-gum berry flavour (I´m trying to call it artifical, I guess). It does not have much fillers, so i do not understand how it came out so well, wimpish.

Thank you very much for the intention anyway Anna – this is interesting, seriously, and helps me to appreciate more other teas (like for example Dammann´s, yes Dammann´s !, 4 Fruits Rouges tea which is a so much better at all levels version of this. Dammann, all is forgiven!)7

Edit – and it cooled down, and it´s even worse, bumping down the rating (Anna, sorry! I think it is not your puppy I am kicking, but still feeling guilty)

Flavors: Berries

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

No, kick it all the way down! If it’s anyone’s puppy, it’s an ARTIFICIAL puppy and doesn’t count. It’s so incredibly helpful to read reviews of these by someone else, because I genuinely find some of them very, very confusing. And again, I hope it’s okay that I dind’t just bombard you with favourites, but with some what-is-this-even types of tea.

cteresa

I confess the what-is-this-even teas are pretty interesting. And yeah, I totally get how useful to get opinions from other people (people who drink tea, and admittedly sometimes it feels like we are in a minority. I often find myself going “oh, you think Lipton´s white tea with roses and violet is the best tea ever? That´s nice, will check it out one day”. (no, i won´t)

Anna

Hahaha, yeah, I know. It really does help balance the feeling of being an incorrigible elitist, too.

cteresa

I am feeling all smug as a non-tea-snob because just discovered I really really like Tetley´s good old english breakfast at the supermarket and the bio supermarket´s own brand egyptian chamomile (I should review it). It´s going to take a while for me to worry again i might be becoming a tea snob….

Anna

Oh, I totally felt the same when I found I loved that rooibos that tasted like sprinkles.

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65
drank Chili Truffle by Hans & Grete
328 tasting notes

This was a sample which Anna, very kindly and out of the blue sent me! She picked some things I am finding very interesting (Jardin Sauvage, am getting there, maybe I will cold brew it overnight).

This tea looked pretty familiar, it smelled familiar, and it is tasting familiar! I think there must be a blender somewhere selling it to independent tea shops across Europe, because I swear it is precisely the same as this one

http://steepster.com/teas/unknown/31433-chili-truffle

which I got 100 grams of in Lisbon a couple years ago. I am liking Anna´s sample a bit better than what i remembered, isn´t that perverse? But maybe my memory of my tea is of the last times I drank it when it was already more aged and less flavourful. I am finding the piquancy not quite as hot as I remember though, but I suspect my parameters for hot teas were recalibrated by (the glorious) Winter Fire.

So a chilli tea, with some chocolate underneath and a musk-like note which could be the pepper, but somehow reminds me of coriander seed (or am I just somehow associating with those swiss coriander filling chocolates they make for christmas? dunno ). A very interesting tea, which seems to pop over all of Europe.

Anna

What a good review! And yes, I feel this has to be one of those generic German blends that are repackaged and resold all over Europe. Thank you so much for reviewing, I really needed some additional feedback on this one, as I felt maybe I wasn’t appreciating it enough.

cteresa

My, extremely non-expert, opinion is that there is not a lot here to appreciate. It´s interesting for a few cups, but it´s just not balanced or deep. Deep seems a silly requirement for flavoured tea, so pretentious to speak of it, but I do not know how to put it better. The chili overpowers the rest, without being too much it is just more than the rest, and it is kinda of boring past the novelty, I let my cup go cold without finishing it. But might be prejudice though to familiarity!

It was fun to confirm how some generic german blends show up across Europe!

Anna

I’m inspired by that forum thread about repackaged blends. And yes, the lack of complexity and the less-than-stellar base teas smothered in overpowering, flat/shallow flavouring sum these teas up very well.

cteresa

There are exceptions particularly for the teas available on these really old traditional tea shops ( which tend to be much simpler and more traditional flavours. or take your pick from 4 ceylons and 3 china greens and they will all be good and cheap), but these hipster-flavoured teas, usually they are not very good.

Anna

Hahaha, ‘hipster-flavoured teas’. Ewww.

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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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