303 Tasting Notes

drank Apple & Berry by Lupicia
303 tasting notes

I’m generally a big fan of Lupicia’s fruity/floral green teas, but this isn’t one of their best. It does smell very good in the bag, although it’s more of a generic, slightly chemical fruit aroma. Thankfully, the chemical note does not in any way carry through into the brewed tea – I’ve never come across a Lupicia tea I’ve found unpleasantly artificial.

This is not a particularly flavourful green, however, and what bookshark already wrote (and which cracked me up), “The berries might have RSVP’d but they certainly didn’t show up.” sums it up well. It’s really mostly apple, and if you want a Lupicia apple tea, you’re better off choosing Tsugaru Green.

As a basic, simple, fruity, everyday green tea it works fine, but it’s not much more than that.

Fair re-steep.

[Purchased at Lupicia in Honolulu, December 2012.]

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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When I first started out seriously drinking tea (and by that I mean actually emptying the cup, rather than pretending to sip and making faces of disgust when no one was looking) it was always rooibos, and always to accompany something else. So when I find myself drinking straight-forward, sturdy rooibos these days, it’s always a very deprivation-tainted, ‘hey who took my scone?’ kind of experience. It makes me want to throw an elaborate tea party. With individual menus. And five kinds of sandwiches. And three times as many kinds of cakes. More than anything, it makes me crave the afternoon tea at Mount Nelson in Cape Town, and crave it bad.

I love rooibos, but it’s occasion tea for me, not everyday tea. Not because I consider it luxurious – on the contrary I find it rather robust – but because it’s sociable tea. It’s not something I drink in solitude – it’s something I serve friends. (With a plate of scones. And three kinds of cake.)

This is one of my simple rooibos favourites. It smells so good. There’s definitely a creamy headiness to it, that makes me wish there were a floral Bailey’s to be found. It’s pretty, too, with its cornflower petals, but it’s definitely not one of those abundantly chunky teas.

I like this one best when it cools a little, as the smoothness and creaminess of the flavour are subdued in the hotter tea. The strawberry note does by no means dominate, it blends well into the floral redolence, and a hint of vanilla keeps it all together.

[Purchased at Tehörnan in Uppsala, fall 2012.]

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Now you made me crave for scones ! even if it’s almost 10 PM here.
Rooibos are really not my favourite cups even if the kind cteresa sent me some really very nice I have been able to appreciate.


I’m in your time zone – and it’s NEVER too late for a scone. I’ll check your ratings for the ones cteresa sent; I’m currently on the fence about rooibos, too, but it might just be a summer thing.


it’s carpe diem from the French house Theodor which is really nice. The yumchaa was nice as well.


Ugh, that tin is SO PRETTY. And it sounds ridiculously good. 0_0


Oh, and Sans Doute intrigues me, too – a green tea with blackcurrant and blueberry? Hm.


Theodor teas are really something, I never had a bad one and they are real creation. I should have a look to sans doute…I love blueberries

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drank Ginger Lemon Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
303 tasting notes

I’m used to drinking this one bagged – I got a mixed set of Kusmi tea bags from my friend E., and this was the one that really did it for me. When the airport lounge I spend most of my transfer time at started stocking it, too, it somehow turned into one of my standard go-to teas for travel. I picked up a bag here and a bag there and never actually bought it for myself until this spring. Consequently, I’ve never had it in loose leaf form before.

The scent of the loose leaf is surprising. So much less of the lemon I’m used to from the bags, replaced by a grassiness and the slightest hint of bitter chocolate – both of which I have never encountered in the cup. Drinking it, though, is very familiar. I steep it far less than the recommended 3-4 minutes, as I feel it easily gets a bitter aftertaste. This is nearly completely avoided with a shorter steeping time (and without significant loss of flavour).

The perfect ginger-lemon tea is a bit of a Rosebud thing for me, to be honest.

I’m haunted by this Proustian reminiscence of a perfect bouillabaisse lunch shared with my best friend. We were getting ready to pay and leave when the waitress told us coffee and dessert was included, which was a nice surprise. What we got was a very dense, yet crumbly, beautifully aromatic white chocolate cake. The cup of tea I was given to go with it was an elegant green ginger-lemon; perfect for that cake. Retrospectively, that tea and this Kusmi tea have somehow merged into one, although if I dig deep, I think the restaurant tea was more sophisticated. I had a similar experience at Café Pesto in Hilo. I had a cold coming on and I exchanged my pre-, during-, and post-dinner cocktails (What happens on the island, stays on the island.) for three cups of it, enhanced by local honey. I escaped the cold unscathed. That tea also carried itself with more elegance and sophistication than the Kusmi does.

I think.

Until I know for sure, this will be the ginger-lemon green I stock.

[Purchased at Atatürk airport in Istanbul, April 2013.]

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I smelled this in the Selfridge’s (Apostrophe Protection Society 4 lyfe) store and had to try it. Almondy teas all-too-often hit that cheap, artificial bitter almond essence note, but this is much closer to amaretto-drizzled marzipan cake – but without being cloying.

Re-steeping is quite acceptable – but it really brings out the cinnamon in the nose and tones down the almond body of the flavour – it’s still round and warm and pleasant, though.

This is one of those teas that do something to me. The leafy equivalent of shakabuku, maybe; a spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever. In this case, the kick is aimed at the taste buds, but it does feel like some small aspect of my tea-related brain chemistry has been adjusted. After just one cup, Pleine Lune already appears familiar and self-evident.

I look forward to living with this tea very much.

[Sample acquired at Mariage Frères in London, May 2013.]

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Some people find cloves are overpowering the entire blend ,I’m happy to read you don’t find the cloves too present in Pleine Lune, this is the experience I have as well with this tea which is my favourite since a long time now.


Interesting – I never closely read others’ reviews if they’re about a tea I really want to try, and in this case I forgot about it entirely. I found no clove-ishness at all, just that very light note of cinnamon.


(And now I have to go read all the reviews! Thank you for the reminder.)

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This is tea #2 from the selection of four I first talked about in this post: http://steepster.com/annchen/posts/184829

The scent is fairly subtle, half grassy and half freeze-dried strawberry. The tea itself is rolled oolong; I tend to find the leafy kind more soothing – all that rolling-out action reminds me of Alien, but I digress.

The tea tastes of… tea. Not displeasing, but completely anonymous. It leaves me with no lasting impression at all and no distinct notes to pick out.

[Purchased/gifted at Teavana in Honolulu, January 2013.]

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Raspberry Mint Herbal by Teavana
303 tasting notes

I very rarely acquire teas I don’t know I will at least enjoy to some degree – I know what I like, buy nothing un-sniffed, and my nose rarely deceives me. So when I hit the post-Christmas Teavana sale and found a couple of super cheap, much-needed thermoses, I seriously tried to haggle my way out of the four (2 oz./56 g.) gift canisters included in the gift set. ‘You can just knock off another $5!’ Obviously, Teavana being what it is, I had no luck. (Incredibly, however, the included teas were NOT overmeasured! A miracle!)

Accordingly, it is with some trepidation I now set about trying these. The first one is the Raspberry Mint Herbal Blend, the ‘night’ tea of the bunch. (There’s also the Soothing Strawberry Oolong for dusk, the Golden Needle Black Tea for noon, and the Samurai Chai Maté for dawn.)

I love the scent of the dry tea. I rarely go for straight-up raspberry teas, as they often tend to be unbalanced and a little too tart for my tastes. I’m also not overly enthusiastic about mint teas. Combined, however, this has some promise – at least nose wise.

The first taste of the blend is actually really good. It doesn’t quite live up to the lush ripeness suggested by the scent, but it’s nicely rounded off. As it cools, however, the familiar raspberry tartness becomes far more dominant and overpowers the mint/berry harmony entirely, which is a shame.

Cooling it de-tarts it almost entirely, but leaves it tasting more or less like artificially sweetened, watered out lemonade. No.

[Purchased/gifted at Teavana in Honolulu, January 2013.]

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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When I bought this, I got the tea in a paper bag, as per A.C. Perch’s usual routine. At Kastrup airport, my whole carry-on smelled like a ‘Caribbean whorehouse’, according to the security guy, who looked like he knew what he was talking about. The tea proceeded to invade my kitchen cabinet for more than a week, even after I put it in a tightly sealed plastic bag (I was out of canisters! Stop looking at me like that!). I do love a richly scented tea, but this over-the-top fruit explosion just seemed too artificial. It reminded me of those crazy technicolour infusions you get at Apostrophe (UK) or Argo (US).

Since those initial doubts, I have proceeded to treat this tea very badly, by continuously ignoring the ‘steep for 8-10 minutes’ directions. Let’s just say shorter steeping times suit my current schedule better. Today, however, I tried the 8 minutes. The difference isn’t huge, to be honest. It gets significantly darker and exhibits a slightly bitter aftertaste I’m not used to. The general body of the taste, however, doesn’t really change. This is a fairly simple tea, both scent wise, in the bag, and taste wise, in the cup – to me, both amount to a nicely balanced tropical fruitness, but picking out individual notes is a challenge. It’s tropical. It’s fruity. And that’s it.

Still, I’m very pleased with it. It’s easy to drink, works well to re-steep (at least if the initial steeping time isn’t so long, otherwise it tends to lose too much flavour) and I enjoy it very much cold – I’ve kept a big pitcher in the fridge for the past week. Drinking it cold (and steeped for a shorter period of time) brings out more character and complexity. A definite summer staple for me.

[Purchased at A.C. Perch’s in Copenhagen, June 2013.]

165 °F / 73 °C 8 min or more

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drank Ofelia by Sing Tehus
303 tasting notes

Smelling the dry tea, what I pick up more than anything is apricot and a hint of cornflower. Both scent- and flavour wise, it’s a fairly mild tea, and has none of the oily pungency I’ve experienced in many other floral and/or fruity blacks. This mildness, however, robs the cup of much of the personality found in the bag, in my opinion.

I’m sure this is a perfect black tea for someone with a more refined palate, or someone looking for a fairly subtly flavoured black. As for me, though, Ofelia only partially delivers what I want from this type of tea – complexity of flavour, originality and a lot of personality.

I didn’t bother re-steeping this time around; I wanted something else.

[Purchased at Sing Tehus in Copenhagen, June 2013.]

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I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I saw you posting in the debugging thread and followed you. I find it interesting that you are posting where you brought the tea at and when. And I’m curious about your travels this summer now ?


Thank you for finding me – I’m so happy to see someone who actually loves rooibos! I look forward to reading your notes more closely.

Haha, yeah – we recently bought a new apartment and since most of July and August were going to be a complete mess (we’re trying to merge four different storage units/houses/apartments into one, basically) we decided to squeeze all our vacationing into one big block. So first we went to Tel Aviv for a bit and then Copenhagen and then we had one day to repack and then we hit Japan. It was hectic, but lots of fun.

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This is a fairly sophisticated rooibos. The berry flavour is very prominent nose wise, but the tea itself tastes far more of (bitter) almond, in my opinion. It’s a nice, full flavour, though it seems to kick in the most by far in the aftertaste. There’s a creamy vanillaesque roundness to top it all off. I really wish the distinct blood orange note that carries through so strongly scent wise would be more noticeable (or rather noticeable at all) in the cup.

Completely pointless re-steep; smells and tastes of nothing but generic rooibos dregs.

[Purchased at Le Palais des Thés in Tel Aviv, June 2013.]

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Momo Oolong Super Grade by Lupicia
303 tasting notes

This is a very lovely Lupicia oolong. It has just the right balance of fruity and floral. The peach is definitely present and noticeable, but not overbearing. For me, the first taste is more complex, while the peach note is what lingers.

Works well to re-steep; triple steep, however, not so much.

This is another one I really have to try cold.

[Purchased at Lupicia in Kyoto, July 2013.]

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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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.


* *


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.)


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.


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.


* *

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.

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.

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!).

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

Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.


Rome, Italy

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