162 Tasting Notes
My first tea from Mariage Frères! I’ve been eyeing a bunch of theirs for some time – they have so many intriguing blends, although I do wish they’d provide more information in terms of ingredients, or at least more concrete descriptions of each tea’s flavor profile – and this one seemed like it’d be totally up my alley. Green base? Yes, please – that’s how I like my flavored teas best. Fruity? Definitely. Floral? Tell me more, Mariage Frères! Plus, “a blend of fragrances recalling the ripe fruit on a tray laden with offerings”? I’m sold.
So, my expectations were high. And, unfortunately, this tea is not meeting them. It’s very sweet. I wouldn’t say the sweetness resembles the flavor of any particular fruit, or even possesses a quality I’d consider fruity in a generic way. It reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. There is a bit of a generic floral taste, but it’s nothing particularly complex or exciting. The sencha base is solid – it’s light, smooth, and ever-so-slightly vegetal – so that’s a point in Bouddha Bleu’s flavor. The tea has a sweet aftertaste that I don’t entirely care for – but, I can finally place the not-quite-fruit flavor: bubblegum. Definitely bubblegum. I happen to pretty much hate the taste of bubble gum, so that’s kind of killing this tea for me.
I’ve tried Bouddha Bleu both hot and iced (brewed hot and then chilled), and have had pretty much the same experience each time. I really wanted to like this tea, but it’s just not living up to the hype (or the price) for me.
Decent, but still a bit of a disappointment. Although the dry leaf smells very strongly of gummy peaches, once the tea is brewed all I can smell or taste is the base. If I really focus I can maybe get a tiny hint of a peach note, but I was hoping for more than that. This has the same slightly smokey black base as the other flavored black teas I’ve tried from Lupicia. I don’t particularly think it plays well with fruity notes, to be honest. In cases of weaker flavoring (this tea, Framboise) it overwhelms the flavor profiles. Even in teas where the fruit flavors are stronger (Neptune, Strawberry), I just don’t find this base + fruit to make for awesome blends. I think it might be the smokiness that’s getting me, even though it’s not very strong and even though I don’t mind smokey black teas on their own.
The dry leaves smell like berries – I’m reminded a bit of the aroma I get from the dry leaf of Republic of Tea’s Black Raspberry Green. I really enjoy the Black Raspberry Green, so I consider this a promising sign. Once the tea is brewed, it still smells fruity. I’d say the aroma is more reminiscent of currants than of berries at this point. That’s still good – I like both berries and currants.
The flavor of the tea, though, is not particularly strong on either currant or berry. Bergamot definitely seems to be the dominant flavor. The base is quite smooth, and it does come through reasonably well. I don’t taste much in the way of berries, but I am getting a mildly fruity aftertaste – more on this later. I’m not getting any vanilla whatsoever, nor do I notice anything that particularly strikes me as caramel. There is that sweet, fruity aftertaste that I don’t entirely care for – I almost feel like I’m left with a sticky coating in my mouth, as if I’ve just eaten something sugary. Maybe that’s meant to be the caramel? I don’t think I’ve ever had a tea with caramel flavoring before, so it could be that my expectations are a bit off. I’m not usually a huge fan of teas with more dessert-y flavors, anyway.
I really want to like this one, but this particular mix of flavors just isn’t doing it for me. I definitely prefer plain Earl Greys for those times when I need a bergamot fix, but I’m happy to have been able to try this tea as it’s one I’ve been curious about for some time. Thanks to ToiToi for the sample!
This morning, I made myself a cup of this with a lot more leaf than I’ve used before, and I am getting some flavors I hadn’t noticed. However, it is still not quite raspberry. I’m reminded of Harney & Sons’ Paris, which I also found disappointing. I think the note I’m picking up in this tea is similar to the one I’d passed off as bergamot in Paris – it’s quite perfumey. But I don’t think Framboise does have any bergamot (not that you can really tell from Lupicia’s frustratingly vague ingredient lists). Anyway, my rating is staying the same – I still find the tea passable for what it is (whatever that is…) but wish it had lived up to its name.
This is a decent, basic black tea. It’s light and smooth; there’s no bitterness and not too much astringency. I can taste both the Assam and the Darjeeling, although the Darjeeling seems more prominent. There’s a fairly strong honey note, too. I wouldn’t buy this – I got my current supply in a 2013 Lupicia Happy Bag – since there are less expensive options that serve the same purpose (some Twinings blends come to mind). But it’s quite pleasant.
I should preface this by saying that pineapple’s not among my favorite fruit flavors. The dry leaf of this tea smells strongly of coconut, but once brewed the coconut is mostly absent (from both the scent and the flavor) – it’s not totally gone, but it’s very, very faint, and the pineapple definitely dominates. Which is too bad, because I’m fonder of coconut than I am of pineapple.
I will say that the flavoring here isn’t terribly strong, and the oolong base comes through nicely. I like this one okay, and I can definitely see pineapple fans really loving it.
This is pretty good for what it is. I’m not the biggest fan of red rooibos – I don’t like it plain at all, although I do sometimes enjoy it in blends. The rooibos here is present, but not to the point of being off-putting (to me, at least). The fruit flavoring is rather sweet and quite strong, if a bit on the artificial side – I say fruit, rather than berry and/or apricot, because, as with several other Lupicia blends I’ve tried, it’s more of a generic fruit candy flavor than anything else. I’m especially reminded of Neptune here, which struck me as, essentially, Piccolo with a black base rather than a rooibos one. It’s a bit sweeter than I’d like.
I’m enjoying this one in the evenings. It’s not outstanding, but then there aren’t a ton of caffeine-free blends that I really love drinking. I’m giving this a slightly higher score than I’d give a comparable caffeinated tea (see Neptune) just for adding some variety to my nighttime repertoire.
This one was a disappointment. I’m on the lookout for a great raspberry tea – I’m more inclined toward a green or an oolong, but am open to black as well – and this is decidedly not it.
When I first opened the bag, the dry leaf had an aroma that was, if not quite raspberry, at least fruity. I’ve noticed that Lupicia’s fruit flavored black teas – not that I’ve tried very many – tend to smell more like fruit candy than like actual fruit, and this one was no exception.
Once brewed, though, the fruit candy was mostly gone, to be replaced by a scent and flavor not all that dissimilar to Lupicia’s Afternoon Blend (which is decent but unremarkable). I could not taste even the slightest hint of raspberry. I admit that I’m far from a super taster, but nonetheless I expected a bit more from this tea. As a plain black it’s passable, but for a tea that bills itself as raspberry-flavored it’s decidedly subpar.
Genmaichas are some of my favorite teas, and I was excited to try one with matcha mixed in – this is my first. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed that the matcha has no discernible impact on the flavor (although it does provide an awesome near-neon color!). Expectations aside, though, this is a solid genmaicha. The toasty rice notes definitely dominate; the sencha’s a bit less present here than it is in most blends I’ve tried. In general, I’d say it’s on the subtler side for a genmaicha. I am enjoying this, but it’s probably not a tea I’ll buy again since there are plenty of more flavorful options out there.
I enjoyed this blend, although it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I thought I’d get mostly orange and oolong flavors, but in reality the dominant notes were definitely ginger followed by hibiscus, with citrus as a fairly distant third. The oolong base hardly came through – but it’s quite possible I underleafed my cup, and that could have a lot to do with it. I didn’t notice any berry flavors, but then those are often overwhelmed by hibiscus. This tasted more like a tisane than a tea, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ginger + hibiscus isn’t a combination I’ve tasted before, but I thought it worked quite nicely. Thanks to Steep City Teas for the sample!