327 Tasting Notes

90

My first sip of this and not quite sure what to make of it.

I certainly love it better than the first Nepal black tea I ever had (from david´s tea, a Angrboda sample). This is just smoother, more elegant. But either Nepalese black tea is so different from the teas I usually have I am a bit baffled by them and can´t really judge yet. But will drink my cup with pleasure! And finish that David´s Tea sample (but for once, the one I had before is not the winner. This Shangri La is just better even to newbies like me).

I get the woody and hazelnut notes from the official description – as well as something raisin-esque. Very smooth with just a hint of astringency which IMO is part of the charm.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Ysaurella

this sounds really great, I’m looking forward to see you rating next time

cteresa

It is interesting and it´s all packed and ready to send, except not sure I will do it this week – for once November first is not a holiday but there is a transport strike instead and not sure I will be able to send it easily.

And madame, considering not going to rate it! The number is not too important – I am pretty honest about saying I do not like something and what I do not like, the rating I try to balance perceived liking and quality and yes value for money, and besides being harder to do it for kinds of teas I do not know well, I think it might be confusing!

Ysaurella

don’t worry there is no hurry – I am very sick, I have a pneumonia and am unable to work or do a lot of things neither.
I will prepare you teas probably next week if I’m not dead (lol – I am not expecting to die !)

cteresa

Oh, no, pneumonia, poor you, do take care!

And on my account, seriously am in no need of new teas, and on a ruthless mood to finish old teas and samples. Do not worry about sending me teas!

Ysaurella

I’ll do, sure I want to read your reviews :)

cteresa

ah, that I promise, but no hurry, really!

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drank Madame by THE O DOR
327 tasting notes

This was a sample kindly provided at The-o-dor´s shop and duh, should have bought it. Yep. Luggage would probably not have burst.

A warning, this is a smoked tea – a subtle one, a very subtle one, but smoked tea haters might want to avoid this. On the other it is perhaps the most subtle, more ready for for smoke-curious smoked tea I ever tried.

It is a light smoke tea with red berries. I was stupidly careless when brewing it (a sample! a precious sample, careless indeed) and I overbrew it, longer than 5 minutes for sure, let´s say on its way to 10 minutes for sure. It did not really matter, it was wonderful just the same with that particular mellowness which I associate with lapsang souchong (a confession, I love lapsang souchong not because of the smell, but because of that mellow taste).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 15 sec
Ysaurella

this one looks not bad but not maybe as good as you expected?

cteresa

No it was great, did you think that because of the rating? I try to not overrate things, to reserve really high notes to things which are astounding , and maybe not rate as high flavoured teas.

I really hate it when some people on steepster rate everything decent 85-100 which is really misleading as well and is just narrowing the space phase of possible ratings. This was great. I am going to delete the rating, thinking about it seemed fair, but this is wishlist material and maybe my rating was confusing.

Ysaurella

it was more because the note was short and the rating yes not so high.

cteresa

Oh, it was just difficult to know what to say – it was lovely and not ruined by my extra long steeping and am gonna buy it one day, but other than that, I ruined it for a fair trial (but it was lovely just the same) and could thing of nothing interesting to say!

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

A new tea, since I have been very good at finishing old teas, and wow what an indulgence this tea is.

First it is very pretty, filled with huge petals and tiny tiny perfect little rose buds, an incredibly beautiful tea. I used more leaf than normally and am glad I did, this deserves to be intense!

I am somewhat baffled by the other taste notes here on steepster, I get very strong coconut and chocolate notes, with some pistacchio and almond in the background. A very smooth base, as expected (and I think I should have gone a bit hotter and shorter, though no harm was done) and if I did not quite get before this the concept of dessert tea, I get it now. It is totally dessert in a cup, a not too sweet, not filling but a very pleasant intense taste. A very indulgent lovely tea!

(not sure if I prefer this or Tribute. Will selflessly test it!)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

oh the dominant note is coconut ? I was expecting pistacchio more…

cteresa

I dunno! For me, because it was unexpected the first thing I noticed was the coconut . but the pistachio (and almond!) are truly there as well. But nobody else mentions the coconut, might be just me.

It is amazing though!

Ysaurella

no no you’re not the only one, I checked on the French forums about teasand I saw other people mentionning coconut…

cteresa

Oh, that is nice to know, that I am not imagining or got totally the wrong tea (not that it would have happened anyway at their own store, but I know it has happened to me before particularly with a very pretty but very dishonest and/or unorganized tea store at Porto!)

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81
drank Fukujyu by Pekko Teas
327 tasting notes

KittyLovesTea sent me this tea in a swap a while ago and while I had had it before, this is the first time I am doing it with patience and a computer nearby.

Not that I got much to say, this is lovely and making me realize how little I know of japanese tea and that i really should get to know it better (but please no seaweed notes, please, no. I fear the sea notes). This is a very smooth but somehow strong japanese tea, that grassy-vegetal note and is just what i was craving.

Must explore more japanese teas.

And thanks kitty, am enjoying this very much!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C
Ysaurella

I offered a Japanese tea to a friend of my mine with sea notes (even salt notes !) and she just cannot physically drink it – she becomes sick !

cteresa

Sea notes, very very complicated for me. I had excellent japanese tea, though the best japanese tea I have been brewed by japanese people. But a lot of japanese teas, ouch, scary.

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79
drank Chaud Les Marrons! by Lupicia
327 tasting notes

This was a sample, kindly sent by Toitoi in a swap we did in Spring. The package toitoi used, the foil hermetically sealed was so awesome and seemed so safe I had no qualms at saving this to try it in Autumn. Because chestnut tea is surely an autumn thing!

I love roasted chestnuts, but it´s such an impossible flavour to replicate. I am not crazy for marrons glacés, it always tastes a bit like jam, too sweet somehow. But somehow Mariage Fréres made it work in Rouge d´ Automne. And here it is a different kind of chestnut, more like plain roasted chestnuts, but somehow different. No smoke notes here, though that for me is part of the flavour of the autumn roasted chestnut. There is a caramel note, I think.

This tea is frankly delicious. I think I prefer Rouge d´Automne, but I am usually biased for the first of a kind that I try. But still got some of the sample to experiment some more.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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38
drank Samouraï by Mariage Frères
327 tasting notes

Bah. Non. Pas du tout.

It sounded like a good idea, but smelling it I had my doubts and MF kindly (though with some froideur) provided a sample. And thank goodness I did not get 100 grams of this.

A flowery, very flowery vanilla earl grey, have no idea why they call it samourai, I can´t think of anything less samurai like than this tea. Bergamot, a lot of vanilla, the violet. I think it might have some orange blossom as well. And it´s a mess.

I got half the sample left, enough for a cup. If whoever I am sending teas next wants it, please just mention it, I will be glad to give it away free to a good home for anybody who wants to check for themselves (though I am warning you!).

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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90

Dear America, I think Mariage Freres loves you, to make you such a breakfast tea.

Dear Wedding Impérial, you are fired, sorry.

I was smelling all the MF breakfast mixes, and it is interesting – I can not imagine some of those blends really working as a breakfast mix. This was the no competition win – a chocolate breakfast mix. A malted chocolate with vanilla breakfast mix. I just made it, added some sugar and a smidgeon of milk, oh my this is indeed a lovely tea.

I think there are some honey notes as well, and this is not a very strong breakfast mix IMO which is fine with me (though a lot of the other MF breakfast mixes seemed even less likely to be strong breakfast mixes). But oh so lovely.

Not kidding about Wedding Impérial now being put off rotation.

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

sounds good!

Sil

now i need to try this.. i love wedding imperial!

cteresa

yyz, it is good! Sil, I like wedding imperial very much, it was my very first MF tea (and its tin, lol, already been refilled and was now the tin I just refilled, after very well steamed and aired, with this very one). But I find it a tricky tea to brew just right and somehow this american breakfast has supplanted it. Mind you, French Breakfast also smelled heavenly.

And a very different, more afternoon like, chocolate tea I also love is Thé-o-dor´s Thé du Loup.

Excelsior

It it similar to CHA THAI also from Mariage? I loved their Mt. Cameroon they used to carry maybe 25 years ago. Since they had difficulty in the supply, the manager of Mariage steered me towards CHA THAI which was very similar with it’s chocolate malty taste.

cteresa

Excelsior, I had not even heard of cha thai till your comment (though I think it is going on the shopping list). Sounds lovely indeed and am putting it on shopping list.

Cameroon tea, ah that sounds interesting indeed! I wonder if stocks of african teas have gotten more difficult or if it was a marketing decision. On the MF book there is for example photos where you can see tins of Mozambican tea (Gurue, I think) but that must have been an old photo, they had none on stock, so maybe they need the space for new blends (or decided against).

But thank you for the tip about Cha thai, sounds precisely like something I want to try. One of these days!

Excelsior

Remind me to send you some Mariage Freres Darjeeling Tea in 2014, Spring. I am hopeful Mariage will have some better Darjeelings next year. I was really disappointed with the Mariage 2013 Spring Darjeelings and although I have a lot of tea, I don’t have anything that may change your opinion of Darjeeling teas. Even the First Flush Margaret’s Hope was marginal at best.

cteresa

That is a very kind offer, thank you so much! Not something I can say no to, I think if I am ever going to get Darjeelings you would be the perfect guide.

Ysaurella

this one is in my shopping list for a while ! good to know it is really a good one

cteresa

Ysaurella, I would be glad to send you some, so you can try before buying!

cteresa

And Excelsior, same offer applies to you as well!

Ysaurella

you’re awesome :)

cteresa

Nope, just a tea consumption enabler! I will write you about it, give me a couple days!

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64

I bought this tea because I am (almost always) looking for good new rooibos, it was not pricey (5 euros), and the package was very cute. I had absolutely no idea what the rooibos was about, package exclusively in German which I do not read. It smelled berry like and due to the name was hoping for some kind of champagne grape-like note.

With the help of google translate, it´s elderberry rooibos! Google says, Rooibos, elderberries, elderberry blossom (?), carrots, rosehips, aroma. What a lovely idea for a rooibos mix, elderberry is one of those unappreciated berries.

In reality, it smells nice enough though I would probably never spot any champagne or be able to be more specific than “berry” from its flavour. I will drink whole of it with pleasure but it´s rather a meh mix. The rooibos base underneath is not quite to my taste, no way around it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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87
drank Adele H by THE O DOR
327 tasting notes

This tea is still a fabulous idea, but just to add a note I had total beginner´s luck with it. It´s a fussy b*tch to brew just right. Or maybe it´s me and Assams, we do not get along. Still a lovely lovely brew when right, it´s just I am getting a bit tired of making it wrong.

That is it, Mélange de Galice rather than this to the re-buy list.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C
Ysaurella

I saw yesterday at Theodor’s shop a sooooo beautiful vintage tin of Adèle H but I managed to resist !

cteresa

I like their old tins even better than the new ones I admit. I like all their tins to be honest (the pile up safe! they close really well. instructions specific to each tea), pity about the price! I like their bags also actually and can afford much more teas if I ignore the tins, so will try to be good.

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90

I am not totally sure this is the one I got – no year mentioned, but it´s from a sampler pack, which I got a couple months ago, so probably 2012 indeed.

No brewing instructions here, used half the pack and am doing multiple steeps – it´s an amazing high quality tea, it´s giving and giving. It expanded incredibly as well. And it is wonderful but I am totally baffled by it, I am getting very very floral notes, unlike the description and other reviews. It smells to me like spring bulbs, hyacinths maybe or daffodils, very sweet and sort of wild. A bit tangy, yes, but very floral to me, which is just weird when reading the descriptions.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

whatever it is it sounds really nice

cteresa

It is lovely, really high quality, high class tea. Just strange that my experience (hyacinths! really. I love hyacinth scent so not a problem) is so different than what i was expecting.

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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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