303 Tasting Notes
Rome is at its very worst in June; I’ve always left in summer and it’s always taken a couple of years for me to even consider going back. All because of June. There’s something about the light, maybe. Or the dust in the air, the loudsweaty tourists, the desperate groping in the parks. This season turns everyone into an animal, but June, for some reason, is always the worst of it. In June you still remember delicate, sheer May – what it was like not to be sickwrong and itchy. In July you’ve adapted and just learned to live with the illness.
A ripe, dark, fruity oolong is just right on a day like this. I’m never disappointed in Lupicia’s oolongs – they never let me down, they never make me reconsider. What more could you possibly expect from anything?
Because Dexter3657 is beyond amazing, I received a whole package of additions to the Project Peach sample collection. I’m known as the insane tea person here (The cleaning staff allegedly talked about my tea cupboard for about three months before someone finally worked up the nerve to ask, ‘Is that really all tea, and WHY?’) so when I picked up my mail, one of the cleaners side-eyed me and said, ‘More tea, huh?’ It did smell insanely good in my cubby, so it could also have been that.
My favourite yoga DVD is ridiculous in many ways – it’s from the mid-nineties, and Bryan Kest has long, curly hair, wears yoga jeans (?!) and is very touchy-feely while topless. Combined with his random life advice and thickly slurred lilt, it’s definitely an acquired taste… but a wonderful programme, nonetheless. It’s on YouTube, but beware of any drinking games based on him touching the curly-haired lady, or using the word ‘release’ – you will thank me in the morning.
But I digress – what I meant to say was that Kest was the first teacher who really made me work hard to get to that fluid stage, where each movement is precise and measured, but still flows into the next seamlessly. That’s the first thing I thought about when I tasted this tea. It’s like a shapeshifting scene, where the two faces exist simultaneously – there is absolutely no way I could distinguish the passion fruit from the peach in this tea, but they’re still both undeniably there – I’ve never really tasted that before, and I love it.
So yeah – the two fruit flavours work very well together, and the end result is a smooth, juicy rooibos. There is a slight tartness to the aftertaste that I haven’t decided how I feel about yet, but other than that, this adds up to a very well-balanced sip. I will definitely enjoy finishing the rest of this sample – thanks, Dex!
[Sample sent from Dexter3657 to Rome, June 2014.]
Skype asks, ‘Does Skype power your passion?’ (white text on pink background) and I admit that the only time I can talk forever on the phone is when I’m in love with the person on the other end, because otherwise I get bored.
M was here, and wanted tea instead of alcohol (wait, what just happened and how) so I managed to find this. I picked it up at the grocery store as some kind of emergency tea when I was here for a couple of days in the fall, and mostly tealess. I guess that worked out well, for what could be more of an emergency than me saying, ‘But there is PEACH VODKA,’ and the other person shaking their head in response?
This is simple and reliable – I steeped it at something like 90C for 2 minutes, dropping a few tea bags into the pot, and there was no bitterness or astringency. It’s a very flat jasmine, none of the personality, deep scent, or floral exuberance I tend to prefer. I like over-the-top jasmines, I really do.
What brings the grade down in this case, though, is that it’s a little papery – a little too obviously a bagged tea. I will have no problem finishing the rest of this box up, and I might even get some more to keep around for emergencies, like if Sil shows up like a ninja and sips my other 156 teas down in the night… but it’s not something I’d ever crave.
[Purchased at Luthagens Livs in Uppsala, fall 2013.]
I’m a little tired and I need to open a new box of contacts. How I know this? As I squinted at my profile just now, I read, ‘All pets are off’ and wondered what the hell whoever had written it meant by that.
Those poor smelly pets.
Anyway, this is today’s second batch of Thé du Hammam, but this time… iced! This has the same unfortunate reaction to being cold-steeped as Kränku’s delicious kiwi vanilla – it gets all foamy. My glass seriously looks like I’ve been drinking beer from it (and it’s not just the contacts this time).
Aside from that, it’s nice – clean and fresh, but without much of an aftertaste. I was hoping for a little bit more of that smooth, creamy vanilla LPdT do so well, but this is mostly vaguely Hammamy and nothing else.
In accordance with my ratings rule that greens, whites and oolongs must also be tasty and delicious iced, this might have warranted a five-point reduction, but I was going to give it another five points after enjoying it so much hot this morning, so I’ll just do nothing and congratulate myself on giving it such an insightful grade right from the start.
In other news, the right index fingertip pad is a really bad place for two mosquito bites.
Today’s tasting notes are going to be wildly unoriginal, as I’ve only had one tea, in two incarnations.
This is the first. Hot in spite of the weather, as I had it for breakfast and hot tea really does make more sense for breakfast no matter the weather, in my opinion. I was going to fruit, too, but then there were phone calls and things.
Again, I have to say how impressed I’ve been with Le Palais des Thés in terms of consistency and quality – I know they’re probably (or, most definitely, really) not the tea company to turn to for unflavoured experiences in a fair price range, but the four flavoured LPdT teas I have I really, really love. I find myself returning to them frequently, and I want to restock all of them.
I haven’t tried them iced yet, but for that you will only have to wait for the next note.
I shared a pitcher of this with Em while we hung out on my hideous pink couch. We had a couple of glasses as we caught up (she’s been away) and a couple as I talked about all the packing I have to do (I’m off for a bit on Wednesday) and then a couple more just because…
…and then there were none.
I don’t technically have time for this tasting note. Shhhh. I had to tell you, though, that this is not what I expected.
One of my most beloved iced whites is A.C. Perchs’ White Temple, which has some melon notes. As for Lupicia, I’d only cold steeped their greens before, but they generally come out absolutely perfect. So I figured this would be an instant favourite.
But no! The weirdness! This acquired a surprising tongue-tip tartness that mostly overpowers the melon experience for me. There’s also none of the sweet, lovely, lingering aftertaste the iced greens usually leave me with, and it has an unforeseen dryness to it, for lack of a better word.
I’m actually going to detract 5 points from my rating, as it’s so important to me that greens and whites work as well iced as brewed hot.
This feels like heresy, but, then again, my newly received Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter reward DVD case was in Italian, so I guess this is going to be one of those days when everything is off by a few degrees.