303 Tasting Notes

85
drank Lychee (Lichee) Oolong by Lupicia
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?

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Doug F

Very poetic!

yyz

I understand, though Rome tends to absorb tourists a little better than some other major tourist centres I’ve been to. Florence was the worse. Firenze is a completely different city between the renaissance Disneyland of high tourist season and the rest of the year.

donkeyteaarrrraugh

my niece will be there in a week….adding to the chaos that is your environment!

Anna

Haha, thanks, Doug!

yyz – I agree Rome (not least, as the vastly larger city) absorbs tourists better than Florence, but sadly that doesn’t make the glaring difference between the off season and now any less obvious. It should probably be added that I live in an area of Rome that more often than not makes it necessary for me to choose one of the Ripetta/Corso/Babuino options, which are all near impossible to navigate efficiently right now.

donkeytiara – Ooh, I hope she has a very lovely time!

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80

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.]

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

This sounds lovely – both the tea and the yoga video.

Anna

Yes, but not as lovely as Dexter! <3

VariaTEA

This is true. Nothing is as lovely as Dexter.

Dexter

Awwweeeeee – It’s just a couple of peach teas – wait until you get Octo mug. :))

Anna

I will be full-on OctoPeach!

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60

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.]

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
ohfancythat

Lol, Sil’s got her own mass quantity of teas to worry about!! But she might show up like a ninja and drop off some of hers….

Dustin

Wait, why are you traveling wihout tea?! How does that happen?!

Sil

i could do both…

Anna

whatshesaid: Aaaaah! NOOO!

Dustin: Well, when I bought this, I literally only came here to repack and then leave again the next morning, so not much need for tea… but then I obviously had a jasmine craving. This time around, my friend doesn’t really like fruit teas, and all I’d brought was fruit oolong. But my guests never say no to alcohol. Still in a state of shock.

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75
drank Thé du Hammam by Palais des Thes
303 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
JustJames

lolololololol. ‘all pets are off……’ hedgehogs too? :-(

Anna

HEDGEHOGS ARE FOREVER.

__Morgana__

Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you…

Cheri

Morgana I am laughing so hard….

Anna

Oh, Phoebs. Such a creative genius; so misunderstood.

mrmopar

Too Funny!

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75
drank Thé du Hammam by Palais des Thes
303 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

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.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Sil

want! sniffles this sounds totally neat

Angrboda

I’m beginning to notice a theme here… Are you sure your jugs haven’t got unauthorised holes in them? :p

Anna

Pfff! What are you even implying.

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85
drank White Temple tea by A C Perch's
303 tasting notes

A whole pitcher of this, cold-steeped…

also gone.

Poof. Just like that.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
yyz

It’s ice tea weather here as well… Hmm greens and Oolong’s are my favourites to ice. I should make some.

Anna

Mine, too. And yes, you really should. And then you should tell us what you had.

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80
drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
303 tasting notes

An Agatha Christea mystery in two sentences:

First there was a cold-steeped pitcher of this…

…and then there wasn’t.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
TheTeaFairy

Easiest mystery to solve ever ;-)

Anna

You just go around the room, jiggle people and see who’s the sloshiest.

caile

Hahaha

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75
drank Melon White Tea by Lupicia
303 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Angrboda

I agree, the temple blend was much nicer in a cold brew.

Anna

It’s always really weird when we agree.

WHAT IS THIS WITCH MAGIC WHY.

<3 <3 <3!

Angrboda

It’s only really weird when it’s about a black tea, though. We do a little better with these other ones, I think.
Did you ever try their dream blend, btw? I rated temple quite a lot higher, but whenever I think of them now, it’s always the dream blend I consider trying again. Isn’t that odd?

Anna

That is odd, but I sometimes get the same kind of craving for a tea I’m not entirely sure about. I guess my subconscious wants to revisit the weirdness and sort it out.

And no, haven’t tried their dream blend – if you try it again, send me some! I’m curious now.

Angrboda

I suspect it’s mostly because I recall it having banana flavouring in it, and I’ve been really liking my banananas lately.

Angrboda

(Oh dear. I made a Gytha Ogg-ism there and it wasn’t even on purpose…)

Anna

LOL. Also, that should have been banannas because they’re all mine.

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85

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.

Forever.

* *

2015

This will be a year of in-betweenness and logistics. Where to put the teas. How to arrange the teas. Which teas to replenish – which ones to say goodbye to.

Still doing Project Green.
Still doing Project Jasmine.
Still doing Project Peach.

Dr. Tea is the name, I’m ahead of my game
still, steeping my leafs, still f*ck with the temps
still not loving Assam (uh-huh)
still rock my Bosch kettle with its high-pitched shriek
still got love for the greens, repping Lupicia
still the cup steams, still doing my thang
since I left, ain’t too much changed, still

(With apologies to Mr. Young.)

2014

This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.

2013

Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.

Ever.

* *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

100-90
My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

89-80
Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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