It is time for a short break from the infernal EU swap box (don’t get me wrong, the swap experience itself is beautiful, but the logistics of getting that box closed are seriously like something from Dante) to give Project Jasmine some attention. It was thanks to the first round of the box swap that I was reminded of how much I appreciate a good jasmine tea – entirely understandable memory lapse; during the fall I was a little too busy trying every single French fruity/floral green tea on the market, after all.
This is insurance tea – remember when my bag was lost and not found for a few days and there were little teas in there, all lost and scared? Yes. I needed to pick up some emergency tea, so I found this one at Gusto’s (yes, the restaurant) kitchen store, which is truly a marvel. They have so much great stuff. Italian kitchen stores can be amazing, and they turn up in the weirdest places – I found a crazy good one in Rovigo (population 50 000) a few years back, with the most amazing gadgets and molds and if I don’t stop now I will probably make a full list. The one in Rome is pricey, though – pricey-and-trendy-but-not-overpriced, which makes it hard for me to tell whether or not this is a quality tea, or just a trendy tea. I mean, this company isn’t even on Steepster, but they have a fair website and a really nice graphic profile. (Look at the tin! It has monkeys and elephants!) Then again, they’re German, and have chosen an ancient-renowned-French-tea-merchant-sounding name, which is always cause for some alarm.
Adagio’s Jasmine Silver Needle from the first round of the EU box swap is a really tough act to follow, seeing as it really is the best jasmine I’ve ever had, and overall, this does lack the exceptional qualities that made me rate Adagio’s tea so highly. Dry, it has a less complex, nicely perfumed, yet not too heavy scent. In the cup, it’s definitely pleasant and well-balanced, although it lacks the silken dreamy lightness of the Silver Needle. There is some very small astringency as it cools, but I’m sure the brewing parameters can be adjusted somewhat to avoid this.
Overall, I’d call this a solid, everyday jasmine. Jury’s still out on Forgeron & Blanc.
[Picked up at Gusto Libreria in Rome, February 2014.]