Love this stuff and it mixes great with the dark hot cocoa by Swiss Miss. ;P
80 Tasting Notes
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I broke into this black tea and swore it was going to be another berry or dark fruit monster. I don’t mean monster like The a l’opera, that’s strawberry shortcake on crack and I mean that in the best of all possible ways. Vivaldi has the aura of something so sinfully familiar to one who loves to bake or craft personal creme brulees.
There is a section in my cupboard of goodies devoted to the various forms of vanilla and to open this said cabinet is a delight. I honestly can’t say I can tell all the differences between my vanilla but I know what I use each of them in.
Vivaldi is a voluptuous bourbon vanilla in the strictest of senses. She is loud verging on fruit but soothing, dark and tempting… If Dita VonTesse was a tea, I might say this was her. This is not a tea I would share excepting with the “boyfriend who would draw me a bath on a bad day!”
I will place this tea in my “waiting for my prince to come” category, which includes the sappy chick-flick night.
I love the color of this tea. I like to drink this on the ship but tend to forget to take the little baggies out of my cup. It has that wonderful matcha scent and taste until it turns bitter. This is my first and only experience with matcha and I am sure it is an insult to matcha purists. LOL When I lived in San Francisco I would eat green tea ice cream and this tea reminds me how much I miss it. :) So I am off to get an ice cream maker!
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Tried this strawberry scented green tea again today, my second steep, and carefully watched the minutes tick by.
The liquid is a lovely light green tinted liquid. Where I thought yesterdays loud candy coated scent had faded, it returned but in a subtler fashion. The tea in and of itself is pleasant. It isn’t a mouth full of berries despite its fragrance. I expect Crunch berries but find a refined delicate green. And yes, if you watch the clock the bitterness is non existent! LOL Lesson learned.
And today, I did find the perfect place for this tea. I had taken my truck up to Mt Baker and followed a gravel road along the Sauk River. I can only assume they are still logging the area because the smell of a trampled and cut wood was everywhere. It was sad, hauntingly beautiful and empty… I had the old road, rivers and woods to myself. Poor Grumble took a beating (and he, my truck, just got a new paint job :( ) but despite this mini pitfall I found the view required a gentle cup of strawberry scent green tea. It was but for a moment but I could and should have been sipping it silently there resting in thought on a felled tree resting on the river bank watching the sun scoot across the cradling snow entombed mountains.
Not a favorite but well worth a try… on a back road, sitting on a tree, listening to nature and alive in thought.
Mariage Freres has made up for their Lipton-eques blunder with this one. Having not yet tried Marco Polo I can only image this tea to follow in the same vein. It is berry berry Berry smelling. Like something akin to Smuckers strawberry filling or jam.
As a kid there was a breakfast treat that came with a packet of strawberry jam. You could use it to decorate whatever it was it came with… I think is was a pop-tart or something similar. This is spot on.
Out of the bag it is strawberry shortcake’s best friend but when steeped becomes buttery and almost hints at its pound cake or angel food beginnings. So far, I am in love. However I don’t know when I would especially crave this tea but I will get back to you while on deployment on that. I can see this sweet berry tea as having great annoyance properties that could come in handy. Perfume free office spaces be warned with this brew!
Oh and since this is a green tea, go easy on the brewing time less it provide you with a karate chop to the palate. For all the berry in the world can’t hide a bitterly neglected (western brewed) tea. :)
Love this tea. So glad I found it here. :)
This darling sprang forth from the bag smelling of summer fruits kissed by the sun, dried and cradled by black tea.
Brewing it brought about more of the same. The flowers were a charming addition but this tea smells very much of pulp. Not berries or rich red fruits nor was it the hiss of dried orange. This sings of the sun and the former life of a stone fruit. I am reminded of peach or apricot and their golden flesh… more so that area of change where it turns red as it kisses the stone. The brew if fair in the way of black tea and perhaps I didn’t nab enough leaves. It is of a nice taste and I think this blend would be perfect iced with peaches on a summer day.
It’s lovely… cheery… I will have to remember this brew when the sun shines again. It screams summer… and is very enjoyable plain. I think my grandfather would have liked this tea.
Honestly, in my re-drinking of this tea… it tastes like an over priced Lipton. Nice… pleasant and safe. Tee-hee and ho-hum.
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Well I regret to say that I was a bit scared to try this tea. Aged… Mold… next I’ll be licking my shower curtain!
But I did it, finally, and if the tea could rate me I would get half a star for trying it cold. I was on the phone with my mother and that’s my excuse.
What did I think of it? It’s dark… like WOW dark and the taste was hard to place. Is that malty? I hear malt and think beer or Whoppers candy. This was that taste you find at the end of a bowl of cereal, sort of. While its appearance was on the verge of midnight the taste was pleasing, smooth, and the perfect metaphorical almond.
It took me a while to place it, what it was that it reminded me of but it was every memory of an almond. (Growing up my family used to knock, de-husk and hull almonds. Sometimes I even miss the fuzz and pain of prising the little buggers from their homes.) The smooth texture of the drink was akin to the soft white flesh of an almond and as dark as the drink was all I could picture was perfect creamy white. The scent while hinting at its autumn leaves past was actually closer in memory composition to the smell of the blanched skins of almonds still warm and wet but lacking any form of bitterness that can sometimes be found there.
And yes, probably just like you, I am at a loss as to how one tea could return so many memories of an almond and have little to nothing to do with it than say a scented/flavored almond tea would. The memory… go figure?
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Trying this one again this evening… There isn’t the opening tang of bergamot present but what I do find as I smell the dried leaves is a berry or dark cherry perhaps? I’m not one for the caramel note but I am secure in the soothing characteristics of vanilla.
I let it steep for 4.5 to 5 minutes as I was desirous of a dark tea this evening. Feeling overwhelmed at the moment and moody… this might fit the bill. The addition of milk was a perfect touch and yet it doesn’t mask the bergamot and citrus notes fully.
There is much to say on this cup but I will leave off for the moment. The grumpies have got me and if I smoked tonight would be a two cigarette or fine cigar sort of night. I mean it no injustice as this is a very handsome tea. Ciao
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This tea follows in the suit of Earl Grey French Blue except not as boldly spiced. The Bergamot is clearly there but adds a subtle depth to the tea and is no where as overbearing in this composition. The addition of cornflower and rose provide a sweet visual distraction to the collage of black tea.
There is a soothing tone to this tea which bares a similarity to my adored The de Paques. Not in the way that the vanilla and citrus woo one into taking another cup but in its warm familiarity which would pair well with any number of guest, reverie of solitude or delectable tid-bit or treat.
While I enjoy this tea I find it a bit ho-hum after the encounter with Narcisse’s smoky quality. I would place this tea in the “safe to grab on a tea day when not sure what to drink and to timid to go exploring” category. It will soon become my “Safety Tea” (or Saftea) of choice.
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The instructions I received with this tea was that you place two pearls in the hot water but you can safely use one.
The fragrance from the bud is divine as it is so floral you would swear the flowers themselves were sealed inside. But be warned, that lovely welcoming scent fades and settles after a month or so of storage so seal them up as best you can.
As for the exact brewing temp I can’t say but I will say that these gems take a very short steep. The liquid is pale but that fragrance! I have tried similar flowers from the Republic of Tea who’s look and opening seduction was the same but the tea itself is a true tribute to the wonders of nature. It as if the that cup was what that flower had so longed to become and it is as jasmine goes very charming. I would leave the flowering bud to rest about a minute to two but much longer and the bitterness of the green begins to say hello.
Although purchasing these dainties from over seas may cost a pretty penny, I can run about my day and get 4 to 5 good steeps out of them. The fragrance diminishes but they still hang on to their exquisite green tea.
Narcisse is my first smoky tea and I am not sure what to make of this one. The site made the leaves look like a black tea but it isn’t. The write up doesn’t mention a thing about rose but clearly they’re in there. I suspect there is another flower lurking there as well but who knows her name?! Perhaps this shipment was shanghaied?
Out of the bag, she’s aggressive and I am not sure what is going on in that medley of tightly knit leaves. It’s green and angry and reminds me somewhat of a burnt split pea soup. Split pea and a wet fur smell or brown bag? Dead flowers? Who knows… It’s like smoke and wet ash, split-pea and dog and quite complicated. And yes, questioning my senses, I put this in the water to steep.
I hiked the temp up to a nice boil and then plopped the mess in for about three minutes. The scent became a bit more vegetal and calmed down. The burn split pea note made it through the steeping process and into the cup. It’s another whole mouth tea in my collection which is just lovely with cream. I can even say I like it as I am on my second cup, not to become a favorite but I can say I tried it.
I will have to try a couple more smoky teas and revisit this one. Perhaps I will in time find this review unkind as it the first leap from the English Breakfast pleasantries thus far.
Steeping No 2:
Man this monster just hangs on. I settled last pots leaves in the water after it had reached a good boil and let them go for a full 5 minutes. The brew was just as tasty and I could almost swear they would survive another go.
I am growing accustom to this tea’s personality and couldn’t say who I’d ever offer it to. Perhaps a non-guest too intent on being nosy about what I sip in my cup. A no good looker-on trying to pilfer a sample of Jamaique on the sly? I would simply sip this instead and leave its parcel out proclaiming this to be the nectar of the gods! One wiff and they would let me and all my teas to follow go because clearly my tastes have gone off! While its edges are a bit softer the ever present burnt split pea soup aroma lasts.
I give this the, “It’s okay and we get along” seal of approval.