330 Tasting Notes

86
drank PU-ERH MAPLE CHAI by Tealux
330 tasting notes

Oh wow, this is not a tea I would dream existed but a friend sent me some and it smelled so appealing, it was tried at once. And it´s lovely – the earthiness of the pu-erh, the exquisite sweetness of the maple and a touch of spices. Really wonderful combination of flavours.

And just to say this maple tastes so much more natural and less fake than the flavouring in Oh Canada (not that I disliked Oh Canada, oh no. But this is better.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Je T'Aime by THE O DOR
330 tasting notes

I am liking this more and more each time I have it (good thing because I got 100 grams). The trick to brew it is IMO to use more leaf that you would normally use – this is a very pretty tea, filled with petals and things, but you need to compensate for those pretty things by adding more real tea.

It´s sweet (macaroon tea! Parisian macaroon tea!) and feels like a total indulgence, but somehow perfect for this post Christmas season where I am totally tired of food particularly rich food (clementines, rucula and tomato and sushi are somehow OK. Chinese hot and sour soup as well). The coconut and pistachio in this tea are somehow just perfect for this mood of mine.

Anna

On my list of tea things to try next year is a tea (any tea) from The O Dor, thanks for the reminder. I LOVE Mariage Frères, as you know, but I am so, so underwhelmed by Dammann Frères (And they’re much like Fauchon, right – some blends are almost exactly the same?) So it seems The O Dor is the one big contender left on my list. Would you say they’re more like MF or DF?

cteresa

I am a little bit underwhelmed by Dammann (and Fauchon) – they are nice teas, but they are a bit samey-samey, and the base is boring. Though Dammann is quite nice at pricing (not somethin which can be said for Fauchon).

I think Theodor is much more like Mariage Freres than Dammann is, but with a definite more quirky side. I heard right here http://steepster.com/tuscanteal/posts/205248 the owner used to work at MF and that for example Coincidence Noir is a very cheeky version (his version) of a better Marco Polo. But their teas are truly very good, different tea bases, intense, interesting (even when strange! The tomato and lemon darjeeling which somehow works) flavours. They are good at rooibos as well and very interesting plain teas – though they seem to specialize more on japanese green teas, and sadly have not started exploring those, mostly due to budget.

Anna

Thank you so much for explaining, it was beyond helpful. I’m even more determined to try The O Dor now.

I’ve always been both impressed and annoyed by their website; I admire the concept and the quirkiness, but since flavour plays such an important role in tea consumption, I wish they’d offer alternate, boring old descriptions. Plus the shipping is murder.

But you’ve inspired me, I’m going to Castroni later in the week! I’m pretty sure they carry Fauchon.

cteresa

The site is annoying and I was pretty prejudiced against them because of that (well, and because the tins I saw for sale here were 20 euros for english breakfast blend and a hibiscus tisane. But they do have a peculiar tin pricing thing).

The trick I use on their site is the search function which gives short one or two lines description for teas. Search for bergamot and it lists all teas with it, search for part of a tea´s name and gives it back a short description of that tea. Does not make up for the rest but helps (build monstrous tea shopping lists…)

Anna

Yes, you’re right – great idea. (Oooh, peach! Oooh, vanilla!)

This is going to get very decadent very fast.

MissB

Jin Patisserie sells The O Door in the US, and if you call them directly, shipping is much more reasonable than what’s posted on their website.

MissB

Ah! You’re both in Europe. My bad.

Anna

Haha, yes, at the very source of fancy tea! But that’s a great tip, nonetheless – I’ll check out the website; thank you.

cteresa

MissB;thanks in any case!

Ysaurella

thanks Teresa for the tip about the leaf amount, I’ll retry your sample soon :)
Anna, Dammann is thetea provider for both Fauchon and Hédiard…you can find the same tea cheaper at Dammann.
There are exceptions as Mélange Fauchon, I think this is a exclusive creation of Dammann for Fauchon

cteresa

Ysaurella, I can send some more – I think this really has potential ( though comparing to Tribute, perhaps it is natural to always prefer the first). But the fillers, the huge huge petals, it needs more tea than usual to be strong enough – but when done right, it´s something.

This is one tea I can not imagine ever not being able to identify, it´s so unique.

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90
drank Rouge Provence by Mariage Frères
330 tasting notes

This is a tea I did not expect to bring home with me. I am always on the hunt for good rooibos, particularly in Winter. I am rooibos-picky, I like rooibos strong and seem to crave a nightly cup in all these winter evenings.

I wanted a new Mariage Freres rooibos, but was expecting to want Rouge d´Automne (the rouge rouge d´automne if that makes sense). I was not too enthusiastic about Vert de Provence (the original take of which this is is a spin-off), and floral rooibos, did not seem appealing. Plus, lavender in tea just not my cup of tea (with some exceptions). But sniffing the samples, there was no competition – it smells as divine as Vert de Provence did, but with a punch from the rooibos probably.

And brewing it up, it lives up to its scent. The rooibos adds something to the floral and fruity exhuberance, it is just fabulous. Love it.

(btw is there just a tiny touch of juniper here?)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
TheTeaFairy

I’m not a fan of rooibos, but make it sound really appealing!

Dustin

So when you say you like rooibos strong, do you mean you want the rooibos flavors to come through strong or the added flavors to be strong? I’m in the second group personally. :)

cteresa

TeaFairy, I am always wary of recommending rooibos to non-rooibosistas. But indeed this one is pretty different from everything else – and Mariage Freres is very very good at picking good rooibos bases, which is IMO what kills nasty rooibos blends.

Dustin, I meant I like a lot of leaf for not so much water! I like strong flavourings (as long as the flavourings are nice), strong rooibos I only like when it is very very very nice rooibos (which is not so usual). Excellent rooibos I like very much on its own, not excellent rooibos meh.

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87

Ah, this is lovely. I think Mariage Freres is excellent at perfecting a take on a classical idea and this is a perfect classic christmas tea – cinnamon, candied orange peel (or maybe clementine?) and a hint of cloves, so balanced. The base strong enough but not bitter, a perfect French Christmas tea.

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

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73
drank Noël à Vienne by Dammann Freres
330 tasting notes

Merry Christmas everybody.

This ended up being my Christmas tea – Dammann has a lot of Christmas teas, many of them smelling (and their descriptions sounding) very tempting, but this was the winner for me. Christmas in Vienna, why not?

For me the notes here are chocolate, apricot jam and tangerine (?). Vanilla as well, and the chocolate is kinda of liquorish, making me think of hazelnut liqueur as well. Both the base and flavouring are a bit weaker than I hoped for, but on the other hand being a milder flavoured tea, it is also a very pleasant christmas to serve anybody. Very nice

For some reason this tea sort of (unfairly maybe) came off to me as being the ugly stepsister of Thé du Loup. I love the wolf tea, I think the stepsister would be prettier without the comparison, if only I had not been reminded of it!

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

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95
drank Berry Berry Nice by Yumchaa
330 tasting notes

Lost count of how many packages of this I have gone through. My last one finished a while ago and managed to restock this – a nice rooibos is a very important winter essential for me!

And a just couple notes:

- they changed the packaging! “curators of immodest tea”, cute and yes this is a damn immodest tea blend.

- this is tea to be drunk fresh, not to be saved. The fresh natural flavourings are a total joy, always, but this is so much better when fresh. It is perfuming my whole kitchen, just from sitting in the paper bag overnight and then having transferred it to a tin.

- this particular package is slightly richer in strawberry and kiwi than previous ones (that I remember). Rose and vanilla and the other berries just rounding it off.

As good as I remembered, a total treat.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Ysaurella

my daughter managed the exploit to be allergic to kiwi

cteresa

Oh, poor thing, allergies suck – kiwi is kinda of easy to avoid, except there are some surprises.

Theoretically it is on this blend, but I had not noticed before. It is funny that I have gone through so many packages of this and it´s always a little bit, slightly different – natural flavourings are more impredictable I guess! But so much more gorgeous…

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69

This was a tea which had been on my casual to-check-out one day list for like ever. I am not a big earl grey or citrus lover, but I am not a hater of those either and sometimes it´s just so delicious. Yesterday my cup of morning tea was plain old Lady Grey, from the blue Twinings tin and like meeting an old friend you had not seem in years and picking up seamlessly. I am in a (somewhat rare) earl-grey mood.

This is a famous Dammann tea, the story is beautiful, and Sil kindly swapped some of this with me. And dunno, but am a bit underwhelmed. Citrus-y bergamot-y black tea, a familiar black tea base.

And forgive me the heresy, but for this sort of thing, I prefer Lady Grey. Or preferrably Aïda….

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

I have had many fancy teas over the years, but I so agree with you…opening my tin of Lady Grey from Twinings is really like visiting an old friend. I always keep The Blue Lady around, along with her husband The Yellow Earl :-)

cteresa

ah, the yellow earl is not such a close friend of mine as the blue lady and the black prince or the red smoker :) but they are good friends.

And Lady Grey is an underrated citrus tea IMO :) it just works so perfectly.

Ysaurella

please tell me you prefer Aïda to Lady Grey….:D
Douchka is a special tea, very delicate, the orange is not very present,it’s more an evocation to me than an heavy orange.
Not sure I’ll ever rebuy but I liked it.
I am impatient to get your opinion about Pouchkine as you are in EG or EG’s spin off actually

cteresa

I might prefer Aida, but to be fair and trying to not be influenced by the name on the label and just measuring the experience, Lady Grey holds its ground

Sometimes things are bargains for what they are. I think Douchka is nice, maybe my problem was I wanted something a bit stronger.

Pouchkine, ah that can be arranged and soounds like a great idea!

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90

This was on my shopping list, and Ysaurella so generously sent me a sample – thank you!

I have mixed experiences with a lot of highly rated on steepster teas. Not with this one, it is indeed absolutely lovely.

The smell of the dry leaf was on itself already intriguing, isn´t it amazing what tea leaves can smell like naturally? On first steep, it tastes amazing. Underneath it, the tea-ness of it, with hints of caramel and honey.

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

I was sure you would love this one,it clearly desserves the high ratings here

TheTeaFairy

I agree with your mixed experiences Cteresa, But it’s hard to imagine someone NOT liking this one, isn’t it?

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79
drank Caramel-Toffee by Dammann Freres
330 tasting notes

oh my goodness, this for me smellls exactly like dulce de leche icecream – now it would not be on a personal list of flavours i knew i wanted, or go in a list of my utmost favorites but dulce de leche, awww, how can anyone not love it? so love at first sniff.

but regardless of the wonderfulness of the scent, the weakness is a familisr one with Dammann´s teas – the base tea is their usual one, and while adequate for so many of their other flavoured teas, here it is just not up to the task. Too wimpy.

But am going to enjoy very much the rest of the sample (thanks Ysaurella!), though I confess this is making me very curious instead about Dammann´s caramel toffee rooibos, or what other tea companies whose bases vary more often would do with the idea of a caramel tea.

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

I’m glad you appreciated it! to me it was really toffee more than dulce de leche but yes you’re so right it is so good :)

Sil

mmmmmmmm

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90

To do proper justice to this tea I had to clear myself of the misconception this is a black tea. Seller makes pointed references to Darjeeling, but I did not take enough notice, for some reason was expecting and treating this as a chinese black tea or say an assam. Nope. Not at all. But I have very little experiences with Darjeelings as well, some of this tea has been spoiled so far while I tried to figure it out. And for me it´s not too much leaf, cautiously hot water (80 to 85 would be my estimate) and some 4 minutes.

If you do that, it´s quite unlike all other teas (except you know, those famous darjeelings which I do not know well enough) and really quite extraordinarily lovely. Light, very light color, delicate flavour (seller mentions hazelnuts and cacao. Me nope, raisins, wine, maybe wine must), a bit of astringency underneath – I usually dislike all astringency but here is no flaw but part of the loveliness.

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

I am the same way with darjeelings… I have to remind myself that they are very different than the black teas I am used to!

Sil

i second that! black teas that aren’t black teas at all :)

cteresa

I think part of the problem was that I wanted to buy a plain black tea and this was listed (sensibly, canonically) in that part, so I bought it and was mentally categorizing it as a simple black tea. Ah, it has taught me better. It is really really lovely though, as long as I remember what it is truly is.

Excelsior

Sometimes it’s difficult to categorize a tea. I’ve tasted some Darjeelings that were closer to a green tea than a black tea. This caught me by surprise and I had a hard time rating the tea.

Jashiin Jashiin

A very intriguing review – a light and delicate black tea with astringency, hmm! From what I hear, there are quite a few interesting Nepalese teas. The only black one I had was MF’s Red Himalaya, which was nothing like a Darjeeling, and nothing like what you describe. It was like a cross between a robust Yunnan black tea and a puerh. Bittersweet and earthy at the same time, but completely unlike any puerh, and quite intoxicating. Unfortunately, I only had a tiny sample available…

cteresa

I have flirted a bit with Red Himalaya based just on the packaging. Sounds pretty interesting as well, though you are right, totally different to this one.

I only had another Nepal tea, Davids Tea Nepal Black which was more like a chinese black and pretty different – maybe part of the reason while I kept misbrewing and misunderstanding this Shangri-La

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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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