335 Tasting Notes

72
drank Valnød - Walnut by Hans & Grete
335 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
335 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
335 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
335 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
335 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
335 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
335 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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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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