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Recent Tasting Notes
This is from the forgotten batch from VaraTEA that I unearthed the other day, the leaf is a bit ancient: totally my fault, not hers.
So there it was—not enough leaf for two cups but far too much for one. I used it all, cooled the water down, and steeped FAST. The leaf is teeny teeny tiny CTC, powder really, so the result is super super strong but tasty. The apple flavouring has faded but it’s still there. And then there’s that je ne sais quoi of French teas.
If I had some milk, I would add a glug.
I am enjoying this punchy cup, softening it a bit with bites of sweet chocolate. lovely way to kickstart the morning.
Thank you for letting me try this, VariaTEA.
And it’s a sipdown!
French… Saturday?! I had absolutely no time to brew hot tea before work yesterday (and in all honesty, barely have enough before work today, so I’ll have to make this brief), so I had to push back the sampler from my baggie of French teas (thanks, Dustin!) to today.
The dry leaf smells reminds me of B&B’s Easter Egg Nests… a sweet chocolately, slightly roasty/nutty aroma. Brewed about 2.6g per 350ml of 205F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea smells like Easter Egg Nests to me as well… a fudgy, milk chocolately aroma. I’m getting a sort of roasty, slightly coffee-like background note, a subtle roasted nuts note, and a rich chocolately top note. I remember that I had more of a bitter-sweet, dark chocolate tasting experience with Easter Egg Nests, unless I prepared it as a latte, which brought out more of a creamy milk chocolate taste… I’m getting something closer to a creamy milk chocolate taste from this tea as a hot plain cuppa with no additions. There is more of a bitter sweet than a sweet edge to it, but it is quite smooth and pleasant.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Roasted, Roasted Nuts
French Friday! This sample was kindly provided by Dustin, so thank you!
Also using this as my Ode to Tea A entry, because as any respectable librarian knows, words like “a” “an” and “the” are never used in alphabetizing… and yes, that rule carries over to equivalents in foreign language titles!
Dry leaf smells like roses and cream! Rose has been a flavor I’ve been drinking (and enjoying!) a lot lately. Steeped 2.4g in 350ml 205F water for 3 minutes. Still get a strong rose aroma from the steeped tea, but the secondary aroma is citrus rather than cream. Because of the florality, the citrus is coming off less zingy/fruity and more akin to orange blossom.
The flavor is an orange/rose combo. The orange is a pithy/peel-like flavor with a bit of tang, and the rose is just that lovely sweet floral flavor that is probably perfumy to anyone but me. Not getting any of the “cream” which I picked up on the nose, but the cup is overall sweet for a black tea. The base is giving me some subtle warm bread and spice notes. Reminding me a bit of the Minnesota N’Ice tea I had during March Madness, if the jasmine were swapped for rose and the citrus were a little more gentle.
A very pleasant rose tea!
Flavors: Bread, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Rose, Smooth, Spices, Sweet
Advent from Dustin Day 24
Merry Christmas Eve to all that celebrate! Sad to have advent season coming to an end (but thankful to have another day with a tea surprise thanks to Dustin). Happy to have the holiday season over, though. Always a stressful time when working retail, particularly though this year.
Another Fauchon tea from Dustin?? I feel incredibly lucky. This one has a similar caramel/vanilla note to the Un Soir De Noel that I really loved. The citrus works really well with that delicious gourmand flavor. Such a shame that Fauchon blends aren’t more readily available in the US.
Thanks so much for this freebie, Ost! An individually wrapped sachet that I imagine isn’t new. I can’t find any info, but it seems to be a plain green. It isn’t bad. I had some Pringles before drinking… my favorite: honey mustard (Rick & Morty pringles, no less!), so we’ll see what we can do with these flavors. There is a drying effect. A bit of that smoke quality a gunpowder has. But I think it’s a mix of different green types. Some leaves look like gunpowder. It’s okay! Boring note, but needed to write one for this lonely tea (and probably discontinued).
Steep #1 // 36 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 2-3 minute steep
2020 Sipdowns: 82 (August Uncommon – Dots & Loops + English Tea Store – Swiss Hot Chocolate)
This is likely the exact same blend as in their old Raspberry Macaron packaging but I added this to the library when I initially got this anyway. The dry leaf smells ultra rosy and there is a generous smattering of pink peppercorns here and there.
It’s like drinking liquid rose petals with an ultra astringent Darjeeling base. Such a dry mouthfeel, even with milk. There is no almond in this whatsoever, so it definitely doesn’t resemble a macaron, in my opinion. As for the raspberry, I only get a tiny hint of it in the aftertaste, like a good two minutes after my last sip. Not my favourite Fauchon. I think this would have worked better with a not-so-astringent base and perhaps a more prominent almond note. Maybe not so much rose, either. That says a lot coming from a rose fan!
Sipdown 197/397! I’m down to 300 teas!! It’s a little embarrassing how excited I am about that.
I’m currently drinking this for today’s breakfast, paired with some strawberries from my newly-arrived Rotten Fruit Box! They’re an awesome company which rescue fruit that has been deemed ‘not supermarket grade’ due to its appearance that would otherwise be left to go rotten – hence the name – and freeze-dries it while it’s still fresh. So not only does it reduce food waste, but it provides a healthy and tasty snack for myself, and helps out small farmers (where they get over 80% of their produce) in the process! The bags the fruit comes in are compostable, too! I’m honestly so excited about their business model! If only more companies were concerned with all-around sustainability. Anyway, that’s my daily rant over. I swear they didn’t pay me to give that whole speech! On to the tea.
I really didn’t expect much from this. Partly because Marzipan, who sent it to me, wasn’t a fan, and partly because chocolate teas never seem to hit the spot for me. I sound like a broken record at this point, but I never actually get chocolate from them. This one, though, I actually do! It’s creamy but not artificial, while still being quite deep, and it pairs well with the roasty oolong base. There were a lot of cocoa nibs in the leaf, and it’s definitely that more natural, ‘raw’ chocolate flavour I’m getting, which I think is probably the way to go with chocolate in teas. I don’t think I would call it an éclair necessarily, nor do I feel the need to pick up another tin this instant, but it’s a chocolate tea done well and I’m pleasantly surprised.
Sipdown of the day! 191/397
I saw that this was a Darjeeling so steeped it at a lower temperature than I usually would, but there is still some bitterness coming through and a drying feeling at the back of my throat, unfortunately. Like others have noted, I am picking up on rose notes most prominently, and when combined with the floral Darj it’s just a bit more overpowering than I would have liked. I’m also noticing some violet notes which are adding to the perfumed aroma. The raspberry is present, and in fact my very first sip was dominated by the raspberry note, but since then it has faded and been overpowered by the floral bouquet which is very loud, only allowing the raspberry to peek through as a background note. I don’t seem to be picking up on the almond, or anything that reminds me of a macaron. It’s a very typical ‘French style’ perfumed tea, I would say, with a hint of raspberry. Thank you for the sample, Marzipan, but unfortunately this one was not for me.
Problem with having a home studio is that I’m home and my entire household knows where I am. They have access to me for every little question, need, meandering moment or argument they have. It’s Sunday and my hopes of unwinding this morning with a cup of tea IN SILENCE after a week or more of poor sleep is dwindling with every interruption. I want to shrink down and climb into this tea, floating like I’m Gary Oldman as Beethoven floating in the water with the night sky reflected into my cup listening to Moonlight Sonata in my head. There is such a comforting caramel orange flavor to this tea that I could sink into at the moment. There is an almost chocolate/burnt sugar note to the finish. I don’t think I was crazy about this tea when I first got it, but I’m growing to love it. Good impulse buy, 2019 Dustin.
Having my daily cup of quaranTEA. So glad right now that I’m a tea hoarder. I’m set for a while while cooped up in my house waiting for the worst of this virus to pass through my community.
I know this has oranges and all sorts of other flavors in it, but what I really get is a caramel like flavor and it’s pretty nice. Drank this cup mindlessly while making waffles, getting one kid set up with a classroom video chat and the other set up to video call with her physical therapist. I never thought I’d be so busy during the apocalypse, but here I am!
I finished off the sample I got of this from Cameron B.
Brewed in hot water (~350 mL) with 2 tbs leaf, with a fair bit of soymilk added.
I’m glad I tried a sample because I don’t think I would want an entire tin. It was a pleasant cup, but was your typical Chinese black tea base with a distinctly fruity flavour. I could pull out the orange peel and stonefruit flavours, but it was in a dried fruit sort-of-way and not a fresh juicy fruit way. The base is unremarkable. It would have been nice to get some cocoa notes like in Laoshan teas.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Stonefruit, Tannin, Tea
I steeped this then had to walk away from it for 40 minutes. When it was still hot I took a few sips. The main flavor then was caramel, which is likely what I was drawn to when smelling it in the store. There was a little orange mixed in on the sip at that point. Now that I come back to it cooled I get orange at the start of the sip that lingers until the finish when a hint of cherry and something else (the pineapple?) appear. I can’t pick out the caramel once it has cooled. Strange how much it changes with the temperature!
When I was visiting the Fauchon store in Paris, they had out little samples of the dry tea to smell. Since I can’t read French, I was relying on scent to make my choices. The scent is very heavy on the caramel when it’s dry with a hint of the fruit, mostly orange, behind it. I likely would have avoided it if I knew pineapple was involved, but I’m glad I didn’t know because I’m enjoying this one so far.
Edit* Second steeping goes right into orange flavors even when freshly steeped. It has good flavors, but I think I prefer the first steep with caramel.
Another really lovely cup with equal balance of peach and thyme. And again I am shocked that the flavours are coming through despite this full-blown cold or flu.
This is the end of this baggie, sadly, so I am calling it a sip down, but I suspect that there’s another wee bit of this in another squirrelled away pouch from Sil.
Thank you, Sil! Really enjoying this one, especially today.
And it’s a sip down!
(14 of 2019)
A long neglected sample from the GCTTB or maybe from a swap with Sil—
Still sick here and still in bed. This is—to use derk’s expression—an old ass tea. But shockingly, despite its age and despite the fact that I am sick and my tastebuds should likely not be a 100%, here I have peach and thyme in lovely well-balanced amounts. Enjoying this muchly.
Thank you, Sil.
Alas, this tasty tea meets a brutal end it did not deserve. Unwittingly brewed in an infuser contaminated with garlic or onion. Each sip is a delight as always, but the aftertaste is strongly savoury and oh no. I’m still going to finish the cup, though, because the initial sip is good enough to push through the aftertaste. And if that’s not praise, I don’t know what is.
Thank you for the sample, Marzipan!
So, this is going on my order list. I think I’m going to keep a spot in my cupboard for an uncomplicated caramel tea, and when I’m back to buying new teas it’ll likely be this one. It’s not an artificial or overly sweet caramel, but an authentic slightly burnt caramel note which adds some depth and dimension while still making an incredible dessert tea. Sometimes you want all-singing-all-dancing bells-and-whistles-galore tea, but sometimes you want a good solid tea with one main flavour note, a good base and the ability to take additives or drink plain equally. This is a tea for those days, and as I’m frantically packing for my holiday to Rome (which I leave for in two days!) I need a good solid tea, which has my back and is tasty without demanding too much attention.
This was actually pretty tasty. The thyme was not overwhelming, as I thought it might be, and the peach flavour was realistic and not overwhelming. The base was fairly neutral, which is typical of French blacks IMO. The baggie suggests I should try it iced; perhaps that’s what I’ll do with the last cup’s worth?