drank Houji Fruits by Lupicia
303 tasting notes

Oh, oh, oh, so nice. You remember that little Apricot Houji burial that took place at Fiumicino a while back? http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/229850

This one has that same perfectly balanced smooth houijicha base with the addition of fruitiness. Comparing this to the apricot is somewhat unfair – in that tea, one fruit was allowed the full range of flavour, and, at that, the fruit in question was one Lupicia pulled off flawlessly. In this case, the fruit flavour is more generic.

It’s not quite Apple & Berry territory, but muscat grape and apple, well – they do blend together fairly seamlessly, and I can’t say I distinguish the individual fruit flavours. I think that’s good, because I was somewhat put off by the apple when I considered this – Lupicia’s apple is a crisp, green one with a slightly yeasty aftertaste I wasn’t convinced would go well with the earthy houji.

Here, though, the apple is rounded off by the muscat grape on the tonguetip – their sweetness slowly dissipates to give way to the full earthiness of the houji, which is as exceptional as always. The booziness of the dry tea is quite toned down in the cup, which I consider a good thing in this case – I do love my boozy teas, but when the base tea is this good, I want it to shine.

(Also a big thanks to darling devious tea temptress Christina for pointing me in the way of some other flavoured houjichas that I am now dying to try.)

[From my Lupicia order to Rome, April 2014.]

Boiling 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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