323 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 ;)