328 Tasting Notes

90
drank Rouge Provence by Mariage Frères
328 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
328 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
328 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
328 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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90
drank Carpe Diem by THE O DOR
328 tasting notes

This was a restock, a sharper scent than the older tea I got my first time, and oh this is still so nice. It is so smooth, which does not always happen with rooibos, unfortunately, but is so essential for the rooibos to be drinkable. Almond underneath, loud strawberry and raspberry on top, and the rooibos making it all stand up. A staple.

And a tip, if the bit of loose leaf you used has one of those little cubes of crystallized almond, oh that is too good to throw away. Rescue it, rinse it, and eat it!

Sil

nice!

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drank Dan Cong Feng Huang by THE O DOR
328 tasting notes

This was a sample, very kindly provided by the Theodor shop when I was not quite sure about the scent of this. And after dividing the sample in two and having it twice I am still a bit unsure about this but sort of glad I did not get 100 grams of this – in most shops it would have indeed been the best choice, but not in that particular one.

My first attempt at this failed, I used too much water. This my second and final attempt worked much better. It is a chinese dark oolong, with a definite personality. It is wonderfully complex and very smooth. There is this richness to its flavours, which OK yes reminds me of chocolate, dark (not malty) chocolate. And there is a note as well which reminds me of tobacco, raw tobacco (I do not mean smoke!), and this is where it baffles me. Like seaweed notes, I do not like tobacco notes.

I can not really rate this properly, it is a wonderful high quality tea, which I am drinking with pleasure but which just escapes being a tea I love, because of my own personal likes and dislikes.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Ysaurella

did you use such an hot water for both testings ? on my bag Theodor said to use water at 75°C and I didn’t get the tobacco notes – however I was careful and didn’t steep it more than 3 min. do you want me to send you some more to retest it ?

cteresa

That might be it, I used almost boiling water! My bag had no temperature and it looked like black tea (well, it was not!) so of course did not check.

Your offer is veyr kind, but no need – I liked this enough, better not risk falling in love with it far in advance of how soon I can justify a Theodor order!

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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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