333 Tasting Notes

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
333 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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75

This is from the european teabox. I removed a small sample from this, enough for a couple cups and sadly I ruined my first try (too hot water I think). This second cup suffered perhaps a smidgen from too little leaf, but I managed to not torture it this time!

It is a weirdly pale tea (too little leaf maybe), but with a lot of character. It´s weirdly thick, body-ish, and very very veggie. I get no bitterness at all, but I went coooooollll with its brewing temperature. Very lovely.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Figue Fraîche by Dammann Freres
333 tasting notes

From a sample Ysaurella so kindly sent me, MONTHS ago. And which i have had before with a lot of pleasure, but without writing a taste note. Maybe because I do not know what to say about it. Black tea, Dammann usual black tea base (if that means anything to you) flavoured with fig. Precisely what it says on the package, so to speak. No less, but also no surprises.

It is a lovely flavouring, tasting natural to me and making me feel like summer is closer (the ads for garden furniture have started! Though it is going to be months before anybody with sense would put it out). For some reason, I think this flavour is one to which Dammann´s one-size-fits-all tea base really works perfectly. A very good example of a solo-flavoured black tea, surely one of Dammann´s best.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 45 sec
Ysaurella

I’m glad you liked it even if I almost forgot I sent it to you !
To me it is Figolu tea, not Fresh fig.

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70

From the EU Travelling box. Yep, am being so slow at trying the samples I removed.

This does not remind at all of Christmas, but that might be cultural (christmas without cinnamon? noooo! And oranges, sometimes pumpkin and maybe lemon as well. Vanilla a bit. Maybe cloves). It smells of cream flavouring (artificial of course, but I do not really mind), vanilla and peppermint on the background. It is full of little silver beads which made me scratch my head and go “seriously?” (weirder than David´s tea even), but they are on the tea description here on steepster and well I will take it on faith. The sample I had might not be very typical, it is the leftover on the envelope (which was the reason I picked it, needed space in the box), and looked pretty broken down. I readied myself for some bitterness, and cut the brewing time short but the tea behaved admirably and it made a nice cup.

It is, for my taste, a sort of weird Christmas tea – peppermint and Christmas? why!?!? Mint is summer stuff, it is known…. Crazy, I say. But a nice cream-peppermint tea in all.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Dustin

Mint is often thought of as a winter flavor here in the States. I’m guessing it is all the festive candy canes that make that association, but when I think about it logically it does seem more fitting as a summer flavor since it is so cooling.

cteresa

I am sorry to be dogmatic, but your country is all WRONG about it. Very clearly ;)

I do not think it is an european thing, though have seen (and used, and think adorable) candy canes on christmas tree). Cinnamon and orange and other spices, those are the proper Christmas flavours ;)

Dammann freres has a series of Christmas teas, noel a someplace, I think not based on local traditions (which will be pretty close anyway) but in inspiration. They could do a Noel a New York or something!

Dustin

My country is a pretty awesome place to live in a lot of categories, but I can definitely admit we do get things wrong from time to time and I agree this would be one of them.

Dustin

I didn’t realize the Dammann Noel teas were based on local traditions! I got the advent calendar and wasn’t too impressed by the teas, but the idea is pretty creative.

Ysaurella

Teresa I do agree with you, Peppermint is clearly not associated with winter or Christmas for me and don’t think it can be for a European.
Dammann Frères Christmas teas are really much dedicated town evocation rather than local tradition (e.g Rose for Noël à Paris – we have nothing really special with roses for Christmas here…more poinsetias !)

ashmanra

Stash Tea makes White Christmas, which is white tea with peppermint. Bath and Body works sells a Christmas blend called Twisted Peppermint, so I think you are right, they are associating the candy canes with Christmas. But I certainly respect that it is not a Christmas association everywhere! :)

Ysaurella

in France Candy Cane are called Sucre d’Orge and the aroma the most seen everywhere is probably Cherry (of course red ones are more popular for Christmas). I may have seen some peppermint Candy Canes but probably not as popular in the south of Europe as I seems to be in North America.

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74
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
333 tasting notes

I opened this package over a month ago. Had it precisely twice being underwhelmed by it, and actually Anna, to whom I sent a sample, reviewed it before me. So I feel like, yeah, I should get to it, and just say something about it.

First thing, I am screwing up brewing this. I have not nailed it it, yet, though I think this tea for some reason does not like my tap water (some teas do not mind even some very grand teas, some do mind. Unpredictable) and I had to up the dosage from my first attempts. And today got distracted while brewing it, brewed it slightly too long and it showed in a bit of bitterness towards the end of my cup.

The dry leaf smells fabulous (which was why i got it), boozy! Rhum, and good rhum, none of that Bacardi or worse stuff, a sugary sweet scent so different from the other more usual sugarcane derivatives. With vanilla and a hint of chocolate. Awesome! Beyond awesome , count me in. 100 grams please.

But I am still trying to crack how to brew this. This third time, it was better, a discernible taste closer to the scent. But I still think I can get more out of this tea, must experiment and not forget it.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Anna

I think because I’m so used to Pleine Lune and Wedding Impérial, which are both SUPER rich and almost overwhelming in the cup, I was confused by both this one and Vanille des Iles – then again, I love the base teas so much, I still enjoy them terribly.

Ysaurella

oh Teresa, 5 minutes steeping is really too long…2 minutes is really better. with me 5 minutes and the cup is bitter…

cteresa

I think you are right Ysaurella, I will definitely try 2 minutes!

cteresa

(this is a cousin of wedding imperial, btw, IMO!)

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73

This was a sample from a friend, and it has languished for a while in my sample tin, inside a plain plastic bag. So maybe not ideal conditions for the tea condition. Or something.

I find myself very underwhelmed by this tea. It looks like the most beautiful tea ever, particularly when being brewed, floating on water. Many many different flower leaves (i.e. leaves, which might explain why I find the result weak), bits of citrus peel. Just amazing. Though the tea itself is rather broken and small.

The dry leaf smells amazing as well – a strong fruity-floral, like good perfume.

It brews nice, just a hint of astringency. But I do not get much taste (besides a kind of floral taste) on the tongue, and the body is quite thin. Maybe I used the wrong dose, it is so full of fillers I should have upped the dose even more than I did.

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

I love beautiful flowery teas, it makes me think to impressionist painters and Giverny

cteresa

This was mostly about the scent, which was really incredible. But as a drink, I think I let my cup cool down and did not finish it.

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68
drank Bali by Dammann Freres
333 tasting notes

A sample from a friend and wow this is fruity and flowery – though I admittedly used a very generous dosage.

The green tea base is innocuous, nice enough, with some bitterness which I blame on not having been careful enough with temperature and time. The leaf I used was full of jasmine blossoms including the cutest whole blossom just starting to unfurl. So for me there is definetely a strong jasmine note, just behind the lychee, and the rose coming third to the jasmine.

I do not know quite what to think of this – it´s really intense, maybe too intense for my tastes though a nice enough blend to have now and then.

Ysaurella

would you say DF uses always the same green tea base for flavoured greens as well ? I didn’t have very much DF greens to have an idea

cteresa

This is probably my second DF green and can hardly recall the first. And this is hard to tell much about the base, it is such a busy blend. I did think it was one way to make sure I was not bored by the same base!

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68

From Kitty´s european travelling tea box, this smelled just heavenly. It smelled fruity, vaguely like cola, and oh so delicious. Checking the blend, I braced myself for hibiscus, and well yes it is is hibiscus. but it did smell to heavenly that even not being an hibiscus lover, well, let´s try this and maybe expand my horizons.

In reality this is not a hibiscus fruit tea for me. It is very hibiscus (even if most of the tea in the strainer seems to be dried apple, lovely lovely dried apple which I am actually eating) and a bit too acid for my taste and there is kinda dusty flavour I can not really identify but might be associated to one of the other dried fruits.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 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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