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264 Tasting Notes
Have been so busy lately that I haven’t properly enjoyed tea for a while! I am now having a long weekend, and I decide that it will be perfect to start it with a tea sample that I received in a recent tea swap with the very generous Steepsterite Ysaurella. :)
One thing I really love about French teas is that they always have pretty, poetic names! This tea (“A day in the countryside”) is no exception. I was expecting a really floral tea (cos there should be lots of flowers in the countryside right?), but it’s nothing like that. Rather, the dry leaves have a tangy smell of cinnamon and dried fruits.
When brewed, this is a warming tea with dominant flavours of cinnamon and orange. Both flavours are very natural, which is good news as I am normally put off by artificial “Fanta”-like orange. But seriously I can’t detect any chestnut in the tea… a real pity. The black tea base is fairly astringent so I am happy that I have kept the brewing time short.
Overall, I am glad to have the chance to taste this tea, which is not available in Hong Kong. Thanks again, Ysaurella! Sharing tea with people around the world is such a beautiful thing. :)
Another GTC tea from Treasures variety box! It’s also the last bag I have for this flavour…
I know everybody has different preference, but it’s hard for me to believe that there are ppl who don’t like a beautiful tea like this. It’s quite a strong tea but it’s “feminized” by a generous amount of bergamot and lavender. When I picked up my cup, I thought I was holding a bouquet of lavender! The floral fragrance was natural and very calming, and it took a cup of fairly good Earl Grey to an even higher level. Lovely.
My last bag of Hanami from GTC’s Treasures… I am sad to see it go! :( Unlike TWG Tea, I don’t think I can get GTC’s tea anywhere but in Singapore…
This is surprisingly creamy, a quality that I do not expect in a sencha. Sakura presents in the form of soft floral fragrance and subtle sweetness in the tea, which is lovely. The sweet flavour reminds me of sakura-scented Japanese sweets I had before. It certainly evokes the image of sakura bloom in spring (in fact, hanami is Japanese for flower viewing)! I can almost see sakura petals in the cup. ;)
The Japanese often pair sencha with sweets (wagashi), and I think this tea is exactly the result of such pairing. I am impressed :)
Something I don’t like about Tea Forte is that their teas always come with surprises – usually not in a good way though. While for most of the brands, you can predict reasonably well what your tea tastes like with the name of the tea (which makes me feel really secure), it doesn’t work for Tea Forte at all because they always add A LOT OF other ingredients apart from those suggested by the name. :( And seems most of these “other ingredients” are herbs and spices that I don’t like…
I didn’t enjoy the first brew of this tea. I was horrified to find tartness of hibiscus and rosehips PLUS the unique sweetness of licorice in the otherwise soothing chamomile tea. I didn’t notice that much mint, but perhaps it’s just because hibiscus got my attention completely. :( When cooled the tartness became even stronger – ugh!!!
It was late at night and I was thirty, so I brewed the tea for the second time instead of preparing another tea. The tartness was gone and the refreshing flavour of lemongrass was able to stand out. There’s also a bit of mint. It tasted a lot better!
Have just brewed a proper cup of this – 2 days ago I got distracted during the brewing process so it was seriously oversteeped… :(
This smells really sweet and creamy! Just like the strawberry milk beverage that I had when I was small. Frankly speaking the strawberry flavour seems quite artificial, but I am ok with it because it tastes pretty nice. Despite having the flavour of candy, this is hardly a tea for children because the black tea base is quite strong!
Hmm this is the least likable tea that I’ve had this week. I don’t know what exactly is a “cute-looking tea”… the tea leaves look pretty normal to me. It has the sweet smell of candies though! Yet when brewed the sweet aroma is largely gone. I wonder if I have used too much tea leaves because the liquor smells really strong, almost like it’s roasted. The tea is fruit-flavoured (though I really can’t tell which fruits. The packet says there are mango, cranberries, raisins, etc.) but it has a tart and slightly bitter finish… :( The reason? I have just got the answer from the list of ingredients – hibiscus!!!!! No wonder…
Lupicia has lots of fruit-flavoured blends, and a fair proportion of them re flavoured with grapes, muscat and the like. I think they are enjoyable, but sometimes they do remind me of Fanta Grape… This tea is yet another flavoured tea in the “grape spectrum”. When dried the leaves smelled intensely of Fanta Grape (hmm it should be mountain grapes, they said). I was expecting another cup that tasted like grape candy, but I was wrong this time! The grape flavour was so subtle that the sweetness and floral fragrance of the Taiwanese oolong tea base was able to stand out. To me this was a better balance between flavouring and tea base. :)
I have been pretty lucky these days. I have had several delicious teas in a row! I guess this shows that I have been more selective in buying teas, and I begin to focus more on the quality of tea leaves rather than packaging :P
This deep-steamed sensha is amazing. Fulled-bodied, smooth, a little bit of grassy flavour that gives it a refreshing taste, and has a sweet finish. I haven’t had sencha as good as this one for so long. This is unfortunately a single tea bag from The Book of Tea (Autumn Version), which means I probably won’t be able to have this tea in the months to come after I have finished this cup…
What a lovely surprise! I love osmanthus but I had no idea this contained osmanthus. The Japanese description on the packet said it was blended with “kinmokusei” that bloomed in moonlight. My Japanese is bad so I didn’t know kinmokusei = osmanthus… :P But when I lifted the tea bag out from the packet, it definitely had that familiar sweet floral fragrance of osmanthus! I was thinking, “Wow this seems to be as good as osmanthus!”… it was only when I googled kinmokusei that I realized that it was indeed my favourite flower (for cooking) :P Haha…
Sweet osmanthus plus black tea – you just cannot find fault in this winning combination. A very soft and mellow tea with a lovely fragrance that will attract bees from your garden. :) Best enjoyed under the moon!
I am not sure if Lupicia changes the recipe for this tea from time to time? Cos the description on my Jingle Bells tea tin says “a black tea scented with refreshing grapes and fruity champagne”, which is completely to the description shown above.
The Jingle Bells tea that I have just brewed does tastes of grapes instead of creamy or citrusy. It in many ways resembles Bonne Nuit, another Lupicia blend with grape and champagne flavours, but the latter is sweeter because it is scented with berries as well. It feels a bit strange to drink Bonne Nuit hot, as if you are drinking a hot fruit cocktail. But I don’t have this problem with Jingle Bells – it’s enjoyable when hot but it will be a nice iced tea too. The grape flavour is kinda like what you get in grape soda drink, but far less artificial and sickly. Kids or kidults will probably like this ;)
I found this tea, still in its sealed bag, in my cupboard when I was digging out my Lupicia teas for tea swap! This was apparently only available in Japan for a limited time. I sent out a sample of this for the swap BEFORE I had even tried it! Just now I made myself a cup of this and – wow – I am in love!!!! ;)
True to the official description, it has a mesmerizing floral scent. It smells more like rose than jasmine to me, but it has a bit of extra sweetness that makes it even better than rose. The very same sweet floral note is present in the liquor, which is just wonderful (Don’t we all get disappointed from time to time by teas that smell great but taste bland?). This smooth, elegantly perfumed black tea does remind me of those exotic perfume shops in Middle Eastern souks… it makes me miss Morocco!! I should really brew and serve this tea with my Moroccan teapot and tea glasses next time :)
updated I have just checked the ingredients of this tea and was surprised to find that there’s no jasmine or pomegranate! Rather there’s rose, cornflower and blue mallow… no wonder it tastes so floral. But then is the official description totally wrong??
I am sorry to say this, but this is a horrible tea. The whole cup is infected by the extreme tartness of hibiscus… I can taste the woody notes of cinnamon, but it does nothing about the tartness and only makes the the tea taste even stranger. I guess I should avoid all herbal teas by Tea Forte, really.
Though not quite a fan of DAVIDsTEA, I have to admit that many of their creations are fun! This is a tea with shimmering gold sugar balls! If you serve this at a dinner party, your guests would definitely be wowed. :)
Taste-wise, this is a fairly sweet tea… the sweetness will linger in your mouth! The cinnamon flavour is strong too, so you either hate it or love it depending on how much you like cinnamon. I am not getting much orange flavour, probably because there is not much orange peel in my sample. This is one of the more likeable DAVIDsTEA in my opinion, because it is free from coconuts! :P
Beautiful name (which actually is the name of its tea plantation)… the association with stars make this tea part of Lupicia’s 2012 Christmas tea set. Sadly, it’s not a tea that I enjoy. When brewed it gave off an unpleasant metallic aroma, which led me to think there’s something wrong with the water but it turned out the water was not guilty. I was glad that I could taste nothing metallic in the liquor… in fact, I could barely taste anything!!! The tea was bland, which was rather unusual for a CTC tea. I really wondered what’s wrong…
Another chestnut tea from Lupicia – last time I tried Chestnut Green and here’s the black tea version! The chestnut flavour seems to be different in the two teas. It’s sweeter in Chestnut Green, kinda tastes like marron glacé. In Chaud Les Marrons!, the chestnut has a strong roasted, almost smoky, flavour. The black tea base also makes everything taste richer and heavier. I certainly like the green tea version more, though I think a bit of milk would make Chaud Les Marrons! pretty awesome ;)
Ok, another tea by DAVIDsTEA… oops sorry, it is by Tea Forte! Now all teas that contain coconut remind me of DAVIDsTEA because they are using too much coconut in their blends!!!
As I don’t like coconut (apparently, the excessive use of coconut by DAVIDsTEA has strengthened my aversion…), it’s natural that I don’t enjoy this tea very much. The sharp smell of coconut isn’t very pleasant and appears synthetic to me. I think it’s a waste to use “rarest Pai Mu Tan” as the tea base because coconut is so dominant that I can’t taste the white tea at all. Disappointing.
If I didn’t know this is a flavoured tea, I probably would take it as a plain green tea – the mandarin orange flavour was sooooo light when the tea was hot! In fact, the orange flavour manigested as only a trace of bitterness… which would be easily neglected. But since the green tea base was good (I love Lupicia’s green tea for its lack of bitterness and slightly sweet aftertaste), I found this tea ok on the whole. Oh yes, the orange aroma and flavour became stronger as the tea cooled. It was a bit artificial to me so I was glad that I drank the tea hot!
I love, love, love this tea! The aroma and taste of chestnut was beautiful. At first I expected the sweetness of honey-glazed chestnut, but instead it was the mellow sweetness and nuttiness of roasted chestnut. It’s good that it had a smooth green tea base instead of black tea base, cos I think the strength of black tea might overwhelm the delicate flavours. :)
Wow this is a great one! Lupicia suggests using boiling water for brewing, which worried me a bit but I followed anyway… I just kept the brewing time as short as possible. The brewed cup turned out to be fine and free from bitterness – whew! Fresh Japanese apple aroma and taste, which was wonderful. Remember the Karel Capek apple tea I tried years ago, the apple flavour was soooo artificial and sooooo overpowering, but this tea tasted completed natural. Great job Lupicia! I enjoyed this after having a bowl of salty instant noodles and felt totally refreshed :)
Contessa Grey is one of the most creative blend I’ve ever tasted. Who would have thought of blending shiso with Earl Grey? ;) I’d say this is a successful, tasty formula! I don’t know how to describe the unique taste of shiso, but it’s refreshing, somewhat herbal (taste of leafy herbs), and very fragrant. When shiso and bergamot go together, the result is a cup with such refined, elegant aroma – just like some kind of new Asian perfume! Taste-wise it is like a stronger version of Earl Grey. I don’t like eucalyptus but since it’s not terribly present, I don’t find it a problem in this tea. I feel sad that this is my last bag! :(
Interesting combination of houjicha and toasted rice! The aroma of toasted rice is very powerful when brewed (just like regular genmaicha), but the taste of rice is much less strong in the liquor. Rather, the sweetness and roasted flavour of houjicha dominates the cup. The perfect autumn drink that warms you up.
This is a very light tea even by the standard of Taiwanese oolong. Love the floral oolong base. There’s a mild citrus flavour in my cup which resembles tangerine candy. Would be delicious when iced!
I thought this was just a fruit-scented green tea but my guess was completely wrong. It’s a honeybush and green tea blend!! Plus there’s peppermint and ginger root!! What can I say… it’s just very, very weird, especially when I expected none of these (who would have thought about that!?). Being a mint lover, I found the mint acceptable… but certainly I wanted stronger mango and peach flavours. I tasted something slightly bitter and tart in my cup and wasn’t sure what it was. Could it be due to the strange combination of honeybush, green tea and ginger? God knows why Tea Forte threw in so many random (at least in my opinion) ingredients into this tea… I didn’t even want to finish my cup.