Featured & New Tasting Notes
I suddenly found myself in the mood for a chai.
I’d like to publicly thank the Devotea for setting me straight on chai making.
I poured some vanilla almond milk into a pot, turned in on low, added probably way more tea than would be recommended (basically, the rest of the contents of the envelope), & just let it sit there for awhile, checking to stir occasionally. You can disregard any lame reviews I’ve written about this chai in the past, because what I’m drinking now is f*@}!&g awesome!
And it’s a sipdown…uh…326, I think.
I’m drinking this tea out of my new birthday mug, and it’s been poured from my new birthday teapot. I have named the latter Freddie, after the character Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley, because it’s fat-yet-elegant, showy and has weird colouring. Birthdays aren’t very gifty to me, unlike Christmas – I’d rather get together with friends and chosen family for activities and Symbolic Things. I prefer getting myself birthday gifts – small things I don’t really need, but that make me happy. So on Monday I was out all day on a magpie spree with my special sweetface Em. When I got this, they offered to deliver it for me. I mean. It’s a tiny teapot. It was hilarious. When it had been settled that it did, in fact, fit quite easily into my bag, they knocked €2 off. It really cracked me up.
My friend T. inspired me to pick this up (Hey T. – good news, I have enough to share!) She’s been ogling it for a while and I figured I’d do us both a service and act as a test subject. I wanted something fit for spring – complex, floral, but yet light and not too overwhelming. Mariage Frères definitely delivered on all accounts. First of all, this is a beautiful tea. Long, thin, needly leaves in various dark shades of green, the occasional light leaf breaking it up nicely, and an absolute abundance of lovely petals.
Scent wise, it excites me a lot, because to me, this is the spring counterpart of Marco Polo Vert – and that, to me, is the ultimate green tea for autumn, with its thick fruity ripeness. This has the same boozy character, but it’s a light, floral booziness. A perfect spring tea party tea – when I close my eyes I see tiers and tiers of dainty sandwiches and cakes.
I’m sometimes frustrated by teas that have no discernible, individual flavours, but in this case the multifaceted florality present in each sip is like a lovely, delicate veil of tea. It’s perfectly achieved, and I’m very pleased with this one. Like most Mariage Frères teas in my collection, it has a very clearly defined personality that grows on me with each sip.
Anyway, one of the Symbolic Things I did yesterday was to dye my hair for the first time in… well, forever. I have never altered my hair colour, ever, in any manner whatsoever, during my 34 years. We went with chocolate, tobacco and a dash of gold. In other words, just like my own hair, only without the greys that emerged overnight some time in late November. http://tinyurl.com/qe7jd58
I love my pervy old uncle Rick.
[Purchased at Dagnino in Rome, March 2014.]
-one spring tea sampler set
-one matte white Nordic mug with shellfish and pale green interior.
-I can’t believe that was all. I just can’t. I saw and fell in love with the lime green timolino, and think it will be mine very very soon, just not yet.
I also saw their new travel mug, which is said to be leak-proof. It seemed nice, although for some reason I wasn’t crazy about its esthetics, or maybe it was just the way it felt in my hand. It’s a rubberized textured type of metal, and it just feels wide and clunky, and I’m not sure how I feel about the handle on the lid yet.
But yeah, this tea, sorry!
I got it to go as a soy latte with agave. This tastes pretty comparable to what a peaches and cream flavoured oatmeal tastes like, minus the grainy taste of oats. The peach is a soft, rounded peach as opposed to the fresh juicy variety, and is not even remotely tart or tangy, although this could be due to the vanilla, which gives more of a cream note than a distinctly vanilla one. I also didn’t get any apple at all, which whatever, fine by me.
This is a solid tea, and makes a fine latte. I’m pretty excited to play around with the sample I have!
First tasting note! I went in to the store early today, mainly to pick up the awesome whale perfect mug. I still have an unopened perfect mug from last spring (the elephants), but whales are the love of my life (shh don’t tell J :P). I was really only interested in this tea and Blue Lagoon, but Blue Lagoon was shipped to the wrong store, so I only grabbed this one.
This smells amazing. It smells just like a body cream I ran out of ages ago, that was my favourite. Something about cucumber melon is awesome. The steeped scent is (mint?) all cucumber melon. The flavours are light here and don’t come through too strongly. But the base also isn’t overwhelming. Overall a light tea. The scent is definitely what makes this tea amazing. Every time I bring it for a sip, the smell is just delicious.
P.S. I’m not supposed to tell you guys, but apparently Coconut Oolong is making a reappearance in April. They said it has lemongrass this time around though.
mmm perfect mid morning tea to go along with getting tons of work done at home today. I really needed this day to just relax and focus on catching up with work. Hopefully by the time the weekend rolls around i’ll be ready for daylight savings, and being back in to the full swing of things with work :)
Oh wow! exam tomorrow…. how do i do this quickly?
gong show week.
nevermind, gong show semester.
bought some zen teas because i’ve had to drop my caffeine… tried a chamomile blend? baaaaaaaaad call!
but they threw this is as a sample.
if my exam is half as amazing i’ll be very very happy!
This white should be lo-caf enough for the evening. Lupicia are just too good – whenever I open this bag, I have an instant, irrational, want-to-turn-around-and-check, ‘But where is the melon hiding?’ type reaction. It’s just that melony. I honestly can’t think of anything that could make this better or more melon-esque.
And to continue my general praise of Lupicia, I think I could probably pour 300C water on their most delicate teas and let them steep for five minutes and they would still taste good. I mean – every single tea I love of theirs have boiling/1.5-minute steeping instructions. And they taste fresh, natural and amazing.
I swear they’re not paying me to say this. It’s more like I’m paying them, and I still say this.
(Lupicia, I love you.)
Once upon a time, we used to cherish a month called March. After a long and cold winter, we’d get all excited to see March arrive and bring along the promise that spring was well on its way.
Yes, spring, remember that? Used to be one of our four seasons…but nowadays, winter seems to be the only season left…On March 4th today, it’s freakin MINUS 20 CELSIUS!!!
Thank god I have this tea to remind me what spring season is like.
Mmmm, Darjeeling, with its fresh citrusy notes. A beautiful first flush this tea. Sweet but slightly astringent and very juicy. It’s what I call a sunny tea :-)
Thank you so much for sharing this “sunshine in a cup” with me Sil. Such a good pick me up on this cold winter day!
When I’m feeling under the weather or otherwise particularly sorry for myself, I reach for what I call “the big guns”, and this tea is one of them. As I tossed in my sleep last night, I realized in that semi-conscious way that you do that my knees were hurting. I woke up this morning and my knees were indeed hurting, along with my elbows and fingers. And as is typical for pretty much everyone I know with any medical issue whatsoever, no one knows what’s wrong because “it all looks fine”. Oh ok then, I’ll just eff off and admit that i’m making the whole thing up. Need some drama in my life, ya know? things get a bit dull without joint pain.
Haha sorry. I feel I complain far more than is appropriate in tasting notes. This tea was as delicious as always, and made me feel as though I was drinking a liquefied funnel cake drizzled in confectioners’ sugar. Add strawberry and you really would have the entire funnel cake experience. And although I might go so far as to say this tea doesn’t “need” guar, I always add some (along with some cream) to really emphasize the tea’s natural and unique sweetness (seriously, I’ve never tasted a sweet tea with this type of sweetness—must be the leaf hoppers!)
I joined Steepster one year ago today. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone here for helping me explore tea, putting up with my questions, generously sharing your cupboards, expanding my knowledge, and just generally being the nicest online community I’ve run into. Thank you !!! (This also reminds me that I should update my profile – it’s not really completely “true” anymore).
I’m really working on getting over the “funk” I’ve been experiencing the last few weeks. I think I’m on the right track now and should be around more.
This was my tea of choice at work today. I’ve written about it before, and it still confuses me, but not as much as the first time. LOL I am learning – or trying to learn.
I really like Camellia Sinensis quality of tea. This one is Taiwan, and that’s why I think it’s weird. I think all Taiwan black teas are a little strange. Most of them are a little oolong esque to me. This one does not TASTE like oolong, but it’s definitely on the lighter side of the black scale. I think this is an interesting Taiwan Black, and if that’s where your interests/tastes lie, then you should give it a try. Me – I’m more of a China Black kind of girl – and that I didn’t know a year ago….
This smells like a chocolate truffle – the earthy kind that you’d dig from the ground, and then add some dark chocolate to. Seriously, that’s the kind of truffle I get out of this – if you like that kind of earthy pu-erh, you’ll love this. Well, and if you love chocolate, too. It’s earthy, rich, deep and velvety.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth
Cue the sense of dread that just courses through you (or otherwise sits in your stomach) when you see the work week stretching out before you, accented with awful, awful weather. Sometimes it feels like tea is the only thing that can cheer me up on a Monday morning. After having this cup turn into a disaster of epic proportions on Saturday, it was lovely to have a perfectly creamy vanillay cup this morning. I am also taking my mini keurig into work today, and i’m hoping i’ll actually use it to enjoy tea in the afternoon, but it’s starting to feel complicated, and I might not. I hope I do though!
One of those mornings. The body is trying to do one thing and the brain is trying to remain in a sleep induced coma. Wow. Everything is taking so such effort. Standing at my tea wanting to get that first cup down me. Craving black pearls but using scissors is too technical. My hand grabbed this one. It is open and the ‘tin’ is cardboard. I probably can’t get hurt on that. Over leafed on purpose. Boiling water and anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes steeping. Seriously, I say it again, wow! Probably 3 minutes on the steep. Wonderfully lightly smoky with rich honey caramel. Just what I needed. Tea do your magic. This really is a great Yunnan.
Tasting note 1111 for the number amused among us.
Just one more cup before I run off – and as always, this makes for a flawless one.
I have a little more than half of this tin left, which makes me ponder the logistics of tea storage. I mean, I have a lot in my cupboard now, which I assume is typical for this stage of tea obsession – you tend to overbuy once you get completely hooked, because you want to explore certain brands and tea types.
There are definitely numerous new teas I’d like to try now, too, but I’d really prefer to have a cupboard consisting only of teas rated 80+ before I get anything else. However, that’s roughly 1/4 of the 100+ teas currently in my cupboard, which means I’d have to finish 3/4 of all the tea I own before I buy more. I don’t see that happening, even though I have not yet purchased any tea this year, which is quite a feat in itself.
I really like when there’s a system, though. I need a system.
Ok, so this isn’t actually going to be a tasting note about this tea, because I’ve written about it enough for you to know that it’s a lovely EGC, and that’s about all you need to know.
But last night, I decided to take a timolino full of this to a friend’s place for dinner and hanging out. And instead of using my Keurig to dispense the hot water like I typically do, I used Watson (Watson is the name I’ve given to our Culligan water cooler, that has both a hot and cold water tap—we named him Watson after the computerized jeopardy contestant! /nerd). Anyway, from my understanding, the water dispensed from Watson is around 107 degrees F, while the Keurig website says that the Keurig dispenses water that’s 192 degrees f, so that’s definitely a noticeable difference. The thing is, however, that I never never successfully brewed a cup of satisfactory tea using Watson, and it seems odd to me that a temperature of about 207 (ETA—sorry, I originally wrote 107, which explains the general wtfness in the comments below, but it really was 207) would be too hot for absolutely every tea (especially since I drink mostly blacks, which are reputed to almost always take extremely hot water). As for the water I use, the Keurig takes filtered water through my brida filter, and Watson uses Culligan’s water—both are filtered, but are provided by different companies, so perhaps that has to do with it. But last night’s tea tasted bitter and horrible, just horrible. No vanilla cream notes to speak of—only an amped up bitter bergamot note that was bitter and gross.
But this has me terrified to ever get myself a variable temp kettle, because what if the Keurig is the only acceptable source for hot water for me in this universe? this is actually really upsetting to me! Because i so badly want the Bonavida goose-neck one liter variable temp kettle, but like, if I drop 100 dollars on it but it makes all my tea taste like bile, then…then…then what?!?!?!?!!?
Please comfort me.
This poor tea – it’s been offered to guests on numerous occasions, and swapped, and I have snuck an un-Steepstered cup on occasion. There’s not that much left now, and this is only the second tasting note for it.
I’m so on the fence about Palais des Thés. I know they’re not even comparably as high quality as Mariage Frères. MF have such excellent base teas, and such exuberantly debauched flavour profiles that it’s not even a fair comparison.
But when I just want a simple, comforting cup, I admit I go with PdT more often. Because MF’s teas are demanding – all head games, smoke and mirrors. PdT’s teas, on the other hand, are simple, accessible, predictable.
And I just turned into Gone Girl’s Nick Dunne, didn’t I?
More snow (sigh).
I decided to brew up a trusted favourite. I think I must always keep a coconut oolong in my cupboard. I haven’t tried one that I dislike, although I do prefer some over others. This is one of those that I like a little more.
Infusion is bright yellow. Upfront taste is toasty coconut. As the cup cools, butter and a touch of salt lingers.
The second infusion doesn’t offer much, but the toasted coconut still makes its presence known.
Funny that this should be next in the queue, when I’ve been drinking another Irish Breakfast blend today. It feels a bit full cicle-y
This is another take from the EU travelling teabox, one I didn’t really have to think too hard about before pinching. I rather like breakfast blends, but I never seem to actually buy them for some reason. I think it’s because, in the actual ordering situation, I either get too focused on interesting flavours or on unblended teas, and if they have a breakfast blend at all, then I don’t even look for it.
But I do like a good breakfast blend, so perhaps it’s something I should start paying more attention to. They are so varied, because many companies make their own unique blend that for them is breakfast-y, so it’s not a tried-on-tried-them-all sort of thing at all.
My perfect breakfast blend is actually quite easy to find. In fact I can go out tomorrow and pick up a box from the supermarket. You see, I grew up on Pickwick tea bags when having tea, and their English breakfast blend have a distinct note of honey to it. At least it did 15 years ago, who knows what sort of shenanigans their product development people have been up to in that time? I rather enjoyed that honey note, so that’s what I want in a breakfast blend.
Irish breakfast or English breakfast, though… I can take either. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on exactly what’s supposed to be the difference here, so one is as good as the other for me.
This one smells vaguely grassy and quite malty-sweet. There’s a fair bit of grain in here as well. I find this bode well for the possibility of that honey note.
Unfortunately it doesn’t taste like honey at all. At first, when I sipped, I thought ‘oh no, grass! Darjeeling!’ but then the malty notes came in and sort of took over. Those Darj-y notes aren’t actually so bad after all, so now I don’t think it’s in there at all. It lacks the prickly spicyness of Darj, fortunately. Maybe some other high-grown tea. It really is a quite sweet tea, this one. Under that, forming the body, there is a bit of grain and a whole lot of general Assam-ness with malt and a whiff of raisin. This is robust, strong and lightly astringent in the aftertaste.
This is quite nice. It’s not the sort of tea that I would want to drink all day, but it works well for the first cup of the day. Which this actually is, actually. Evidence to this can be found in how the leaves were initially given a short rinse in cold water because I forgot to boil it first and then had to pour it back in the kettle. Yay for strainers… I hope it’s not going to be one of the those days.
Husband found it pleasant too. He said it was a good breakfast tea and better than most English breakfast blends he’s tried (which likely came out of a bag, mind you) which were often much too (and here he made a funny face). And this one wasn’t.
PS. Lightly astringent turns into quite astringent if you drink this while eating yoghurt, apparently. So don’t do that.
This tea sparkles! I love sparkly teas! However, I think I will be keeping Glitter & Gold around to appease my sparkle love as it is more consistent. I find this to be a huge hit sometimes and not so much others. This particular cup is alright but not the best I have had. I am working my way to a sipdown in the near future so hopefully the other few cups are better.
It is so cold. I know I shouldn’t complain. I have lived in this darn country and province my entire life. I have made a conscious decision to continue living here. I actually quite like how we get four distinct seasons. I normally would not mind if it was this cold. But come on polar vortex, it is March 1. It is supposed to be like -5C, starting to melt a little every day.
It is currently -40C, feels like -52C. If you would like to know what that is in Fahrenheit, -40 is where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales meet. That’s right! It is -40F feels like -61.6F. WHAT?!?! I am not even going to bother going outside, not because any exposed skin will freeze in 3 seconds, or because my nostril hairs will freeze on contact to the air, but I am scared my door will break off its hinges if I open it because it is so cold.
So I am drinking this to warm up. I brewed it a little extra time today so it is nice and thick. 7 pearls for 2 minutes (I usually do just 1 minute). It is thick and bold and malty. Some hints of cocoa, but a lot of sweet dark plum flavours. It is STRONG. And I need that today.
I declare today a tea day!
I ate too much tonight at the Italian place we went to. Ugh. Still, I am celebrating a 10 lb weight loss as of yesterday, and I don’t think one night is going to be enough to sabotage it completely. I’m also feeling pretty good because I finished a pro bono project today and turned in my research. And I’m looking forward to going to sleep as soon as I say that I had sort of been hoarding this, which is the last of the Adagio herbal samples, and now I remember why.
It deserves a higher rating and I’m giving it a bump. It’s a very gentle, almost vague, herbally lemon, not a fruity one, but it doesn’t push any of my buttons. No bitterness, no soapiness, no unmitigated tartness, no random un-named unpleasantness.
In the grand scheme of things it’s something I wouldn’t mind having in my cupboard, but not until I’ve determined there isn’t a pure lemongrass I like better from another vendor. (Perhaps lemongrass is lemongrass is lemongrass, but how will I know unless I try ALL THE LEMONGRASS?)
Back in Florida so I am reunited with my Candy Cane Lane and Nutcracker Sweet teas. Seeing as it is midnight, I of course reached for the caffeine free option (though I don’t think caffeine really affects me), and it tastes just like a candy cane. Delicious!
In other news, DAVIDs officially launched their March tea and it is “Hibiscus Punch”. Why?!?! Does DAVIDs really need more hibiscus-heavy teas? I think not! So far, 2014 has been a disappointing year as far as tea of the month goes.
Why do I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything today?
I woke up at 7, wrote in my journal, did my blend of Qigong, Taichi, & Yoga.
I made myself a good breakfast.
I met with clients at 10:00, played for them, booked their wedding, & got their music setup.
I set up this year’s annual Harp Society Recital, making arrangements with the church who hosts it, & sending announcements to our google group & facebook page (I’m president).
I answered emails & booked another wedding, sending the contract.
I returned a few phone calls.
I finished doing my laundry & put it away.
So…sigh…why do I feel like I haven’t done enough? Probably because there is still a never ending list of things to do.
I drank a pot of this tea while I was doing some of them. It’s a great stand by for when I want something satisfying, but uncomplicated. A rich malty assam that is very balanced & fool proof.
“Now back to work”, Ms Theresa said…somewhere in my head.