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325 Tasting Notes

87
drank Mademoiselle by THE O DOR
325 tasting notes

I am saying goodbye to the sample Ysaurella gave me and well this was a lovely surprise. I would never have put it on my shopping list, me and lavender earl greys, no not for me. Except wrong, apparently this one works and very well for me, enjoyed all of the sample very much (do not brew it too cold, though!) and this is going to my shopping list for one of those days.

Hallieod

It’s so funny how a tea can surprise you, for good or bad! This doesn’t sound like a cteresa tea, at first glance. :)

Ysaurella

yes it sounds like an Ysaurella’s tea and I was surprised not being in love with this one even if very nice

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82
drank Notting Hill by Yumchaa
325 tasting notes

Just adding a new taste note, this is another leftover from the back of the closet – two years old at least. And despite Yumchaa´s paper bag packaging not being a favorite of mine (well, I think it is lovely in a spare cool look way, just not air tight enough), this black tea survived so much better than the green teas. Still as fragrant as it was when I bought it – a simple fruity black tea, one I can hardly think what to say about (good smooth black tea base with a strong natural apricot and strawberry flavour) but a really lovely one.

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84
drank Rouge Sahara by Mariage Frères
325 tasting notes

Eureka, finally found a way to prepare it – cold brew. It is absolutely lovely (to my taste buds) that way. Minty, but without bitterness and some rooibos body. With a bit of brown sugar it was even better.

Normal amount of rooibos, cold water, put it in the fridge for a couple hours, added a tiny bit of brown sugar. Might be the most stomach friendly drink ever – rooibos AND mint.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Hallieod

Yum, sounds lovely!

TheTeaFairy

Cteresa, I’m not a fan of Rooibos (red rooibos that is, I don’t mind green but there isn’t many green blends out there). I find the medecin taste in the backgroud always ends up ruining the experience for me! But rooibos and mint sound like a harmonious combination somehow :-)

cteresa

TeaFairy, I like rooibos (normally. Some bases I find horrible, some I love and would take plain), so I am coming at this tea from the other direction, so to speak.

As a hot brew tea is really not working for me because I dislike the bitterness (not quite, but can not think of the right word) gets in boiling water. So yeah, this cold brew really works!

And cold brew, you get rooibos as a base, very fresh mint and a hint of the roses…

Ysaurella

happy you finally managed to have the best of this rooibos

LaFleurBleue

I also tried it steeped directly in cold water and loved it too – but I have never been inconvenienced by steeping it in almost boiling water either.
Glad anyway that you found a way to enjoy it.

cteresa

I think it is definetely the boiling water and mint which is a big bit personal turn-off. In cold water it is not just palatable, it is the best (so-far) cold brewed rooibos I have tried! Speaking of which should go make some today!

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85

This is just exquisite – I might have to review my line “don´t like flavoured whites”, because it seems if the flavouring is right, I do!

How peculiar that the pairing of a herb with a flower produces such fruity notes – like strawberry almost. Really lovely.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

this one is really lovely, I loved it really much too.

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89

I do love chinese black teas, like no other tea can provide that chocolate-yness quality while being oh so smooth. And this sample which Hallieod so generously surprised me with is a very very good chinese tea indeed. Though, for no fault of its own, comparisons are odious, it is suffering from comparison with yesterday´s sample, another chinese black tea (and yes, this is a total embarassment of riches of teas to try), the Laoshan Black I fell totally in love with.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Oh, this is going to be a case of “it´s not you, it´s me”. This tea smells fantastic when dry, citrus with some spices underneath, a very balanced, complex blend of scents.

But these is something here which does not work for me – the wet leaves had a strong sense of something herbal (the little green leaves) which was not working for me, checking the other taste notes, I suspect it is the aniseed. It seems to bring a herby sweetness to the tea, provide some background, which would be more than fine to almost everybody but does not quite work for me. The tea itself has a decently strong base, not rough and not absent, an absolutely lovely blended tea. Thank you very much Ysaurella, for sharing this. I can appreciate how masterfully blended this is, just the aniseed is not a rational thing for me!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

you confirm me it has aniseed …I was pretty sure it has as I mentioned in my note :)
Personally I loved this touch, but I love aniseed. This tea is really a fantastic one, as you mention, it is a very complex tea and very well blended. It’s just a pity you don’t like aniseed :)

Ysaurella

you need to try le petit prince de Kharkov now because the ingredients of this one are really for you, sure !

cteresa

It was something and I suspect the little green leaves – and knowing how I react to aniseed, it all computes!

I will try le petit prince soon! Thank you.

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84
drank Rouge Sahara by Mariage Frères
325 tasting notes

Experimenting with this – I have figured out boiling water and mint is an absolute no for me, no matter what it tastes bitter in an oily way. And this has a lot of mint. Experimenting with this, I just tried 80 degrees water and a long long steep – it is indeed better, but the end result a bit colder than I like my rooibos. And still too minty (though not boiled-mint bitter) for my own taste.

I will give it another try, just to make sure, but I think this will be up for swap – preferrably for another rooibos. I will have 35-40 grams of it left I think.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 45 sec

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70
drank Schisandra Chinensis by Infussion
325 tasting notes

This was a sample, kindly sent by infussion, and I admit that while it was my pick, it took me a while to get the courage to try it.

I was unsure of dosage – I used maybe 20 berries for 3 dl of boiling water, and let it steep some 6 minutes maybe. It´s a very pale infusion, but I think it is just strong enough for me. Any stronger would be way too much.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omija_cha

This is supposedly 5 flavour berry. Magical seeing the dark berries. Omija cha. I wanted to try this, thank you infussion!

And it is a very very strange thing to drink. So far, am unsure what I think though I can already say on its favour – it´s better than hibiscus!

I can not say I detect all 5 flavours – no salt IMO, but there is a pungency which reminds me of pepper. There is a woody quality as well, a bit like juniper or cedar. And a lot of tartness, sourness – but I don´t find it unpleasant at all, I do mean it I find it much more palatable than hibiscus.

This could be a lot of fun in blends, particularly fruit blends.

I tried eating the berries, and it is uh, interesting, but no way could I eat more than a couple. It sort of reminds me of sour plums, both the tea and steeped berries – which luckily I like.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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96
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
325 tasting notes

This is an amazing tea – the hype had mostly passed me by, I confess I tend to ignore a lot of reviews of teas which would be difficult for me to find. Ordering tea from outside the EU is risky, anything past 100 grams is subject to tax (and delay and flat fees on tax) and less than 100 grams the shippping so expensive for the quantity. I just might have to risk it because of this.

Angrboda very kindly and generously picked this for me in my last swap. After checking steepster the expectations were raised, and somehow how this lives up to it.

I can´t really add anything new to the great, complex tasting notes already done so not even going to try. This was somehow lighter than I expected (not a problem), and it is indeed magical at evoking scents of other things, while being tea, just tea. Chocolate, malty, vanilla-y and at second steep almost peppery – reminds me of another tea I loved, Theodor´s Milky Oolong which is also magical. Really fabulous tea.

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

I drank a cup of this while fixing breakfast today :)
Glad you got a chance to try it!

Angrboda

I do that too. I automatically just assume that new names are out of reach, although I tend to be mostly hung up on shipping fees. It’s quite rare that I actually go and look them up. Sometimes I get a pleasant surprise when I notice that it’s actually a place I can shop at. :D Discovering a new shop is always twice as fun, though.

cteresa

I am a bit scared of customs – it´s not paying the 6% or 23% (yikes, harder) but the whole fuss and flat fees. European Union is OK, out of Europe, a bit scarier.

I still got plenty from your sample (thank you! a treasure indeed) and I am going to enjoy it very much but I just might bit the bullet and order from then when this is back on stock. They have free shipping on orders above 70 dollars IIRC? Did it work well?

Terri, it is a small world! Loved it.

Angrboda

It seems to depend on where you order from. I have more frequently been asked to pay customs on something coming from the US than something coming directly from China (although that has happened once as well. A TeaSpring order was held hostage for a WEEK before I got it). There is a small number of American vendors that I will shop with. Verdant is one, but I only shop there very infrequently and primarily because of this tea. I’ll try the others when I’m buying this one, but probably wouldn’t shop there otherwise. It’s one of those special cases. I can’t remember if I ever pushed it above $70 for free shipping, though.

cteresa

I am definitely considering ordering this when it is on stock – though 70 dollars worth of it no!

Hallieod

Here the post is pretty relaxed about duty, as long as it’s not much over the allowance, which is something like €45. But woe to you if you have a package from outside the EU shipped by UPS or FedEx. They are just MEAN and charge a massive handling fee for paying even a small amount of duty. You could always use my address if you want to order from Verdant and I’ll pop it on to you. They ship USPS so it would not be a problem!

Angrboda I’m so much less sensible than you about US companies – I got so sick of having to check shipping policies every time I read a tempting tasting note that I devoted a little notebook to it! I’ve already got info on about 30 or 40 companies. :) Not all US, obviously.

cteresa

Hallie, oh that is a good trick! Though sometimes companies change policies – I ordered from Harney in early 2012, decent shipping, checked again one year later, shipping was 3 times as much (40 dollars or something. And nothing worth it).

And I just checked with verdant, shipping was a reasonable $8.50 , so I did a pre-order of the laoshan black while bravely ignoring everything else. When it arrives, I will have to send you some – though I think question is, when, it will take some time I guess. But could not resist (thank you Angrboda, it was indeed fantastic!)

Hallieod

Ugh, change of shipping policies is mean, as is $40 shipping. Though that’s about Dammann Freres price to Ireland, which still makes me crazy cranky. Thanks for the offer, but have to admit I tried some that sil sent me, and I wasn’t that keen. Will try to explain later when I’m not doing one-handed typing!

cteresa

Yep – though I think teas can change a lot from batch to batch and their reaction to local water is always different.

And you are posting a lot already, am amazed! But it can surely wait!

Hallieod

True, and I gather there’s a big difference between the autumn and spring harvests for the Laoshan blacks.

:) you’re not seeing how very long it’s taking me!

cteresa

And just to add, that is some nerve from Dammann! 40 euros to ireland, and they are not even that good – Mariage Frères and Thé-o-dor (both of which are better tea companies in two very different styles) have about 25-30 euros shipping to Portuga. And they have much more varieties of rooibos – this is quite silly but I am so picky about rooibos and have been drinking a lot of rooibos lately and getting new good rooibos is also a deal breaker for any tea order. If I am going to spend money on shipping I want to get food rooibos as well. One of these days I will indulge in a biggish Theodor order. Mariage Freres I can get here, Theodor no, and I am jonesing for more Carpe Diem and more Milky Oolong and a lot of other stuff on my wishlist.

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90
drank Tribute by THE O DOR
325 tasting notes

Oh my, this is like drinking marzipan – but in a good way!

Another sample very kindly sent by Ysaurella ( we have both been placing Theodor orders, and comparing them. It will not be my last order though!), and this is, as expected, great. I have no associations of galette des rois or almonds with Epiphany (almonds for us are a Easter thing instead and never bitter almond), so I can not compare it. But the taste of this tea is indeed almond almond with a bit of bitter almond to give it some punch. As usual, a very smooth base underneath.

I was chancing to drink this while nibbling on a bit of chocolate covered lemon peel, and that is a highly recommended combination!

PS – actually, because mostly I have been drinking rooibos lately, bitter almond would be a perfect flavour for rooibos (with vanilla!). Does anybody do it? My beloved Carpe Diem blend is sweet almond with raspberry and strawberry, but a bitter almond could be very interesting indeed with rooibos. Maybe caramel, vanilla and bitter almond?

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

I’m glad you appreciated this one too. I’m in love with Tribune this is really an Ode to the French Galette des Rois(the “north” of France one)-so delicious !

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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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