330 Tasting Notes

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
330 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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81
drank Cream Irish Breakfast by Tealux
330 tasting notes

Me, who had never ever been a breakfast blend lover, am now finding myself really interested in breakfast and morning teas. Which is a fun development, so many tea varieties to discover. I think the fault is Mariage Freres´s American Breakfast though sadly that is a tea I can not rebuy locally, or not without massive internet charges. American Breakfast, I love you and you became my staple.

Ah, but this tea instead, it was from a swap with Courtney. She was interested in swapping a lot of breakfast type things, a very tempting proposition in my current mood. I had mentioned to her this recent infatuation of mine for breakfast blends and she kindly added plenty of other teas for me to try. Including 2 irish breakfasts, really seasonal as well! Thanks, Courtney.

Now I had this at breakfast and I am not at my best before breakfast, I just did my usual, not even being sure what tea this was. I used lots of leaf, sweetened it a bit and a lot of milk. I taste it and OMG it´s Bailey´s tea. The cream flavouring, particularly when I had sweetened it and added milk made my mind authoritatively categorize it as Bailey´s tea. And that is not a bad thing at all. Though it was a bit surprising as a breakfast tea, I am sure I could get used to it instantly.

Teabase, I can not say much because of the milk, sugar, and also strong flavouring, but it was strong enough to stand up to the rest. In all a lovely tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Cream

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

I fell in love with this one immediately. I love the creamy aspect.

cteresa

i can tell you the baileys association was a surprise :) but it is lovely indeed

Anna

I’ll keep my eyes open for American Breakfast!

cteresa

Anna, American breakfast is Mariage Freres totally sucking up to the north american market (which actually is the one place they are not big) by making the most awesome, malty and chocolatey breakfast tea ever. It´s like French Breakfast (which is awesome) but extra everything.

I can buy French Breakfast here and might do it, though also seeing if I can get somebody to bring me tea from France or something one of these days.

Anna

Yeah, I meant I’d look around for it for you here in Rome, and I’ll let you know when I order from MF. =)

cteresa

I have just discovered you can now build a wishlist at MF site. I am busy filling it.

(but not now, not now. In autumn, my precious. And OMG Rouge Pleine Lune, I even love the name!)

Anna

There is a Rouge Pleine Lune?!

cteresa

They seem to make it now

http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/UK/ft+rouge-pleine-lune-classical-black-tin-100g+TC647.html

at least on tins, loose leaf is not showing, but maybe it is just not yet?

This really was on my wish-they-made-it list.

Anna

Wow, just… wow.

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85
drank Golden Monkey by Adagio Teas
330 tasting notes

This is another tea from the european teabox, and a sample I picked to remove more or less accidentally. I needed space and this was in a big original bag with a relatively small amount of tea for the space it occupied, so that was that. And while I lucked out on this selection, I am now feeling sorry i won´t read the next person´s opinions on this, because I really liked it and love seeing reviews by others of teas I liked.

For me it´s a quintessential Chinese black tea, though that is an opinion of a non-expert. It´s light, delicate, full of background flavours ( wild honey? some nuttiness?), refreshing. The kind of tea I really like.

But I confess to being a bit baffled by the descriptions and other reviews and wondering if I screwed up amount or brewing times. They mention this as being full-bodied, but with me this turned out light-bodied and delicate and graceful, a ballerina black tea, a perfect afternoon tea. I also find it a very sweet, naturally, tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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60

(edit:~This is embarrassing, can not remember if this is something I took out of the euro travelling teabox or a sample Meliorate sent me uh, a year ago.~) Nevermind all that, a tea from the euro tea box.

I had left it near the kettle, because, yay, the weather is turning that way where I want fruity flavoured green teas. Green tea with peach, yes please. Though sadly what i really really want is The-o-dor´s Peché Mignon which I can not get without paying A LOT on shipping and will have to wait for a large order in a few months.

This tea did not work as a dupe for Peché Mignon at all. Thin, almost bitter base, insipid fruit-like flavour and maybe some rose in the background. Nope. Maybe I would not be so critical if I did not want so much Peché Mignon right now, but oh well, I think I would never really love this.

Flavors: Peach

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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81
drank Lychee (Lichee) Oolong by Lupicia
330 tasting notes

A surprise from a surprise package from Anna! There is something quite special about being eager to get home to have a cup of good tea and find new teas on your mailbox (double! Teas from a swap with Courtney arrived at the same time, but those are teas I meant for breakfast, will test tomorrow). My planned cup of Thé sur le Nil will have to wait a few days.

I don´t know Lupicia very well, this is probably my second or third Lupicia tea (too tired to check for sure). I love lychee tea, and never had anything other than standard black tea with lychee. This oolong is a different take and it is lovely, the almost earthy-ness or nuttiness (nope, do not know what I am talking about, this sort of oolong-y thing, you know) and the juicy fruit on top. It´s a pretty delicate pairing and the taste is blessedly natural seeming. In all a lovely cup of tea.

(I was probably brutal at brewing this, but it did not seem to matter at all)

Flavors: Lychee

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec
Ysaurella

The brand for me is really hit & miss.Some of their blends are lovely and natural and others are horrible because of artificial flavourings.
I had the chance to taste several thanks to Devilish who send me some from Hong Kong at the time the Lupicia’s teas weren’t available in France.

cteresa

The teas I had from them were nice, this one was lovely and chaud les marrons is IMO as lovely a chestnut tea as Rouge d´Automne, just different.

But I confess to being a cheapstake. I was checking their french website just browsing and thought at their prices “oh that is brave to start to sell tea in Paris for that price”, and then clicked on items and the prices are for 50 grams rather than 100, and of course I laughed. No, quite ridiculous. Very lovely tea, but almost twice the price than our Mariage friends for equivalent tea? I wonder how that is going to work out for them. Though to be fair, they do sell only 50 grams and very cute little tins for just a little more, I might indulge in person once or twice. But it´s very brave pricing for a tea shop in Paris!

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78
drank English Breakfast by Tetley
330 tasting notes

After a recent experience with a Lipton teabag, maybe I am overrating this. Or maybe not. because for a tea which sells basically in every supermarket for about 1.50€ for 30 teabags (or half price if you see a discount) this really is incredibly nice. I was planning to have it with milk, and was careless with brewing it, but it survived and took milk incredibly well.

I am quite flabbergasted at how nice this cheap teabag turned out to be. But very happy at the result! Stocking this up for sure, for those moments where teabags are convenient, though these not quite fit all my criteria not being individually wrapped (they would not be this price if they were, though!)

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

not expensive at all in portugal…2,30 € minimum here :)
Tetley is not bad you’re right Teresa

cteresa

It gets worse even, a supermarket had a promotion this week, it is 69 cents for 30 teabags, that is about 2 cents per bag. I got to pick up a bag for my own!
this was tea, real tea, and a pretty nice breakfast tea bag, just very happy with it.

K S

I don’t know if the Americanized version is the same but this is what I use when I just want simple iced tea. Quite nice and far more full flavored than Lipton.

cteresa

K S might be the same, Tetley seems to have a relatively simple (at least compared to Lipton lineup). Though the pic on this does not quite match my product, mine it´s a foil bag with a zipper with 30 round no-string bags. And iced tea, hmm with a lot of (real) lemon, now that is a good idea now that it seems Spring has arrived with a bang!

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69

This was a tea package Toitoi kindly sent as an extra in a swap we did about a year ago. And while I am bad about saving (hoarding!) samples to try at a later date, there is kind of a reason why I took so long to try this. It fits precisely the profile of the kind of tea I like to drink when feeling slightly ill and it´s on individually wrapped, airtight teabag! Kind of precious, this has been carried in my handbag a lot, just in case. And sadly now came the sore throat needing some relief.

(I am a bit too self-aware to be able to say seriously I need more tea than what I already own, but whenever I get the urge to buy new teas, I really should be looking into teas I like, or from brands I trust, in airtight wrapping).

I had to introduce this into the database, not sure company is even listed correctly. Major points because the tea does indeed taste, mostly, like natural lemon. Artificial lemon is, more than a pet peeve, a full fledged hate of mine. I think there might be a hint of some artificial flavouring here as well, but thankfully the natural lemon is upfront. The tea itself is quite smooth. There is a hint of some kind of muskiness I find baffling, maybe the dried honey?

In all, it did not quite rock my world, but is a tea I would probably stock if I had it available and find maybe a more useful addition to my tea cupboard than other teas I might rate higher.

Ysaurella

awwww get better soon Teresa ! Artificial flavouring is a pain.

cteresa

Funny, was just drinking the very last of your Privilege de istanbul (and wishing I was in Istanbul, though I do prefer Inachevee!).

I think the artificial flavouring here is pretty subtle, it´s just that there is a hint of something….

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82

A sample I removed from the travelling european teabox organized by Kitty (thanks!), and one which waited till I was in the right mood. For some reason, this type of tea is so spring like, so pure and grassy and green, and the calendar says March. Let´s pretend it is Spring!

I liked this very much, though not sure how much how can say about it other than ah, dragonwell, a nice smooth one. Floral, and greeny and all so soft somehow. I think I screwed up the steeps (but in a good way), maybe let the first and second steeps be too long, those were heavenly, the third steep was one too many though!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Anna

I added this one to the list. =)

cteresa

Thanks! I got a couple teas to go still, will maybe post on the thread with the links when I have them.

Anna

I doubt I’ll miss them seeing how I excited I always get when there’s a new review from you.

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11
drank Tea Peach Mango (black) by Lipton
330 tasting notes

I really hate you, Lipton. Or better despise you, Unilever for your take on making marketing-oriented artificially flavoured beverages which you call tea and ruining the name of an old brand.

I guess me being willing to taste this proves I am NOT a tea snob. It´s supermarket fare, but so are others I enjoy : Gorreana, a locally produced brand which is very good; and so is Twinings and often I can find Ahmads which I like, and always cheap humble Tetley which is pretty honest tea and nice. But this, Lipton, was this tea “designed” in a lab by computers operated by robots? Or by chemical engineers which never tasted tea or real peaches in their life but got a table somewhere this chemical is supposed to take like peaches, this like mango, let´s add lots of those two?

This is tea for people who drink and love Lipton´s “iced tea”. Which for some reason is really popular in my country, where hardly anybody except maybe a few more specialized cafés make iced tea and few people drink tea hot. The Lipton stuff filled a gap somehow, something to drink which has no carbonation (which lots of people do not like) but is relatively intense, and very sugary. You will find it in every café and supermarket. Made with tea extract, flavouring and no tea leaves or real fruit ever.

This smells like a mix of their peach iced tea and their mango iced tea, a very familiar smell. The body is almost unexistant, you can hardly notice the tea, except there is this hint of mustiness. It´s like somebody managed to remove the sugar from the iced tea and then heated it. Like drinking hot tang or some other instant drink.

I really truly hated this. And am mad at me for expecting better, and for this, this!, being a bestselling brand. Yep just 2 euros a 25 teabags box, but lots of other companies manage to produce decent or better than decent tea for this sort of price. And people might not know any better. But to produce artificial reeking stuff like that, oh hope you are happy with the profit Unilever because proud you should not be.

Ysaurella

!…you managed to drink my 2 worst nightmares : Lipton + mango tea ! all in 1…
but you know people are not obliged to drink these kind of teas.Why do they ? I often hear I pay a lot for my teas Mariage & Frères but many of them (loose leaf) are under 8 or even 7 € for 100g and Lipton is more expensive with thier teabags…so ? why do they pick up these awful teabags ? by taste or lazyness ?I think the habit of lazyness…

cteresa

I like mango, so that was not. But seriously, how come Lipton makes so bad bad artificial shit (pardon for the language, but this is the accurate term) like this?

Lipton is the cheap brand which spends most on marketing and packaging, by far. Big stands, colorful boxes, gimmicks like pyramidal teabags and “white tea” (with tons of artificial rose and violet scent, because oh yay, that is what you do with “white” tea), promotions, big spaces in supermarket. Plus the association with the very popular “iced tea”. So for most people, it looks like the best tea you can buy in the supermarket, it looks so much more modern and more high-end than poor Tetley (Tetley, I do not give you enough love and respect. At least they are selling tea, and tasted by human beings before being marketed).

Almost nobody here will have heard of Mariage Freres or anything like that. It tastes artificial, but it tastes intense, and people like it.

Would you believe Lipton makes lemon balm (melissa, uh, dunno the french name) tea, supposedly pure, to which they add CHICORY?!?!

Ah, and just a point, much as I hate Lipton (because they give me reason to!) it´s not totally fair to compare teabag prices to loose leaf tea. Teabags are a category of its own, and always pricier. I love individually wrapped teabags for example, I am eyeing The-o-dor´s individually wrapped teabags, which is like 14 euros for 25 teabags and I could get 400 grams of their loose leaf tea for that, but OTOH good teabags can make travelling so much more comfortable and that sometimes is priceless.

Ysaurella

yes but for me, even if tea bags are handy, only the result counts : I want to drink a good tea so I really disagree to pay more to get tea bagged and wrapped especially bad tea, what I buy is the tea itself. So it is possible to get a better tea for the same price and even cheaper than lipton with a little effort.
And it’s true as well with a lot of food,with our urban and speedy lifes : we finally surrender to bad food because it’s easier to go to the supermarket and buy packaged meat packaged salads and packaged everything…I do it as well and even each week but I cannot say I am not aware I can find better. So I don’t believe the vast majority of people really think Lipton can be the top of what we can find for teas.It’s just handy and easy and they probably don’t care as much for tea. I say MF because in France this is the reference but perhaps in Portugal you have ditributors known for selling good tea and people have this reference in head ?

Ysaurella

but Lipton can make a better tea without any problem but why? finally they can continue selling shitty products as people are still buying them…

K S

Starbucks forced Maxwell House and Folgers to up their game in America. The same sort of thing is very slowly happening with Lipton. They have such a large market share they haven’t needed to adjust drastically yet. My mom and dad will buy it without question for the rest of their lives even though I have tried to introduce them to better. Mom, “I guess I can see how people could learn to like that.” upon tasting Teavivre premium jasmine dragon pearls.

On my blog – the number one most viewed review is for Lipton green tea superfruit with dragonfruit. I liked it, better than expected, though admittedly I have never had the real thing. It has almost 10 times the views of number 3 and 4 which are Celestial Seasonings offerings. The number 2 surprises me though, it is for Justea Kenyan Black. Even here Lipton still out viewed them 8 to 1.

cteresa

K S, I do not know that one, never seen it for sale. I think Lipton has different blends for different markets, of course. (and a warning, I think steepster is very american, easily available american teas are represented really well). I admit I do not dislike one of Lipton´s herbal blends, though I rather hit the wall with the chicory in lemon-balm tea.

Ysaurella, I do think not so much. After Lipton you know which brand random people might have heard of and think good and gift you thinking it is the epithome of good tea? Kusmi!

Ysaurella

ahaha well you know sometimes just after drinking several other brands I can really consider Kusmi teas as an excellent brand !and well there is one I even keep in my own cupboard (Anastasia)

cteresa

I do not dislike the spicy chocolate. The tchai was nice, though I had 50 grams of it and ended up tired of the laurel. And ok, if I am in a café and that is the tea there is I do not mind too much, and am glad it is not Lipton.

But it is sooooooo overpriced. In Paris it seemed to me they were everywhere and selling for 8-9 euros for 100 grams, which was just crazy for the tea you can get for 9 euros in Paris.

Ysaurella

near 10 € for 125g…agree :)

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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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