358 Tasting Notes

64
drank Eternal Summer by TWG Tea Company
358 tasting notes

If this does not have hibiscus hidden somewhere on it, I will eat my hat. My non-existant hat, but there you have it. A tiny tiny little itty amount of hibiscus but that it does have it, oh I strongly suspect so.

Dry leaf or while steeping this smells divine. Peaches with berries on a rooibos base. LaFleurBleue who sent me this sample would know what I mean when I say this is a fruity rooibos like Berry Berry Nice instead of a blend fruit rooibos like Carpe Diem or Marco Polo Rouge.

But then you taste it and instead of mellow rooibos, the underlying taste is a sharp sour acid hibiscus like tang.I can not get either the peach or berries promised in the scent or the mellowness of the rooibos which should be underneath. Nope, there is something hibiscus and just does not work with my expectations. I will keep trying though.

I got this massive urge to go and separate the rest of the sample and just barely refraining from doing DNA analysis on anything which might be hibiscus to see if it really is. But really, I would swear I can taste the hibiscus right on the middle of my tongue. I have a test where I leave a little bit in a cup overnight and then seeing the color and shape of the residue, will check.

Thank you very much for the sample, LeFleurBleue, this smelled heavenly indeed and I think I am learning somethings about TWG blends!

PS – the overnight cup test hints strongly of hibiscus as well, the residue is blue-ish pink rather than orange-brown as it with most rooibos. Examining the dry leaf, there seems to be rooibos, little tiny pink berries (a filler? they look somewhat like pink peppers used in spice teas and which taste like nothing), rose petals and tiny little pink bits of petals which could be hibiscus. Hmm, enough evidence?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec
LaFleurBleue

I’ll try it again, looking for hibiscus, which I have not identified yet, and neither my hubby who usually hates the coppery feel of blood brought by hibiscus.
Anyway this was also not a real win on our side.
No sloe flavors for you?

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59
drank Surabaya by Mariage Frères
358 tasting notes

This tea was very kindly sent to me in a swap with LaFleurBleue – she is almost scarily a tea twin of mine. Or at least a tea sister, so far it is amazing how our tastes coincide. She was not a huge fan of this, but in her review she mentions a magic word, lychee. I love lychee black teas (while being indifferent towards real lychee fruits), and when we decided to swap I remembered this one and requested it. And while it is interesting, I am not a fan either.

It is a very very pretty rooibos to look at – not saying it is “the” prettiest since I have seen Rouge Provence which might win that beauty pageant. It smells like it tastes – very sultry. A fruity-floral which translates to the liquour and which smells almost perfume-y to me. Description is guava with blackberry and flowers, lafleuerbleue thought it reminded her of lychees and I agree with the lychee comparison, it does indeed remind me of the smell of lychee fruits more than anything else – with a flowery note which maybe reminds me not of real roses but of rose geranium. It´s, to be frank, really really girly and sultry. I find it, despite the smoothness of the base, cloying – but will experiment with the rest of the sample in case I grow fonder or change my opinion.

Lafleuerblue thank you very much for the sample, I would have bought it sooner or later just to try it, am lucky to be able to test it this way!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

Lafleurbleue and you cteresa are “rooibosistas” :)

Angrboda

Isn’t it just great fun to have a taste twin? May you have many fun twinny swaps. :D

cteresa

It is indeed, Angrboda!

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97
drank J.E Oolong Milky by THE O DOR
358 tasting notes

still loving it as much. Just a small note to add that while I can not bear to throw the leaves away after just one steep, the second steep is never as good as the first – maybe tweaking first brew would change that, but I love the first steep so very very much I am not changing it at all. A definite rebuy, getting to the very bottom edges of the tin.

Barbara

I’ve also considered tweaking the 1st steep, but decided against it because the 1st steep is so brilliant. Due to the brilliancy of the first steep I often find it hard to contend myself with the 2nd – although not distastefull – decidedly lesser steep and toss the leaves. It hurts a bit though, as it makes me feel wasteful…

cteresa

I know the feeling. it helps sort of, if you do not have it just after, I save the leaves for the next day (never had a mold problem. I think water at 70-80 C for a few minutes might not sterilize perfectly but sterilizes enough!). But indeed it´s not as magic as the first, no way you could confuse.

Sometimes I think makes the first steep even more magical and which I never skip with this tea is warming the pot or infuser with really hot water, and dump the tea leaves in the damp warm pot while you warm new water. That bit of time in the warm pot seems to open the leaves, do something magical to the scent before the water even arrives!

Barbara

Oh I’m going to be trying that tomorrow!!

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80
drank Violette by Dammann Freres
358 tasting notes

The last of Ysaurella´s sample and upping the rating a bit as well as putting this on my definite to buy list (one day! If i ever get to order from dammann or go to Paris anytime soon).
Violet tea, so pleasant, so smooth, a very good one and a type of tea i crave sometimes.
To buy for sure.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Sil

I found Dammans freres in. Rockery store here in Beijing!!! I’m so excited to pick one to bring home haha yes…French tea from china :)

Dinosara

I bought a box of Dammann in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia!

Sil

Haha. Awesome!

cteresa

oh wow, am so impressed! much more exotic than place des vosges (lovely though it is!)

Funny how a lot of the high end teas are french and selling their teas to Asia. Mariage Freres seems to focus very much on the japanese market for example.

Ysaurella

Violette is nice as well with milk and sugar.Plain is perfect too.

Dinosara

Yeah, they need to start selling them in the North American markets more! I was shocked at the selection I could get at a grocery store in Ulaanbaatar, but you can’t find it at all in any store here.

FYI, if you look for this one on the Dammann site, it doesn’t come up when you are looking at the english site, though you can find it by searching for violet. There are actually quite a lot of teas that don’t show up on their english site, but you can still find by searching!

Sil

dino – i agree! you can find them a bit in ontario at high end stores, but they cost like twice the price as it would be to buy them in europe. it’s stupid. I managed to find all the teas on the damman freres site that were in the store here in china, and the prices are only maybe a dollar more than if i were to buy them in europe. since i don’t have to pay for shipping, i’m ok with that, so likely some of them will be coming home with me. Also there were some betjeman and jason? teas…

Ysaurella

Betjeman & Barton teas, this is a French brand as well.
they have fantastic teas : http://www.betjemanandbarton.com/

Barbara

Oh good to know. They also have a Dutch website, hoeray! In fact, at first I thought they were Dutch. Esp. Betjeman sounds rather Dutch…

Ysaurella

you’re right Barbara it sounds definitively Dutch, cannot find anything about the creators of the brand…Barton sounds British …but they are Marchand de thés à Paris depuis 1919 …who are they ?

Ysaurella

ok reading in Dutch :S (thanks google translate !) it seems they were both English but decided to associate themselves in France (maybe a much open market in 1919 for teas !) no idea why the French website doesn’t mention the origins & history of the brand, it’s a pity.

Barbara

Hahaha, French people reading Dutch, albeit through Google translate. It’s a world upside down (don’t know if you can say taht in English, it’s actually a Dutch saying.). In the Netherlands in most schools French is obligatory for a number of years (at least when I attended).

cteresa

Those frenchies and their monopoly of truly great tea :p (it is weird. The english for all their love can not compete at really high end tea!).

Ysaurella

Fortnum & Mason are really nice, we should ask the opinion of Meliorate and Kittylovestea, sure they have a lot of lovely brands we don’t even know

cteresa

Yes, and I have been drooling over Postcard teas – next time I go to London will budget for it!

Sil

postcard teas are really neat! I have a list of teas i want to try whenever i can make it to europe sometime.

Barbara

Never heard of them. Nice, something to check out :-)

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66
drank Alfonso by TWG Tea Company
358 tasting notes

No rating, because I think I screwed up somehow this.

A sample, so kindly sent by LaFleurBleue and my very first TWG tea (first singaporean tea as well). I am very fond of mangoes, am pretty fond of a green tea with Mango I have and love a black tea with peach and vanilla I own. And somehow mangoes and peaches have a certain similarity in my mind.

But something went wrong. The dry leaf smells like mangoes with a hint of sharpness I can not define. I brewed it up hot but not too much leaf and there was a pine quality to the tea which baffled me. Mango yes, but peculiar. As the tea got colder definite bourbon vanilla notes as well. Peculiar! Must experiment, I think it was probably too hot, will try much colder water and for longer.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec
LaFleurBleue

I haven’t tried this one yet, but have also been baffled by some other of their blends for which the brew was different from what I expected. I’ll have to try it soon…

cteresa

There was a very pine-resin like note and some hibiscus-like tartness. Very very weird – I think I brew it wrong but even on the dry leaf there is a note, maybe hibiscus like? not hibiscus but something tart. but as I said, i got to experiment!

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73

I coveted this tin and the others of the same series, or just about almost all of Mariage Fréres special edition tins. I always resist due to prices and so far, when I have had a chance to try those teas I am glad I have resisted the impulse. This is nice, but not quite dazzling enough for that sort of prices (unless you think the tin worth it, and from what I have seen it just might be).

Ysaurella very kindly sent me a sample in a swap and rereading her taste notes I pretty much agree with everything. Wonderful fruity smell, rich juicy goji berries, a grassy slightly astringent green tea, a very refreshing tea. I think this would make a great iced tea! But somehow not quite a great blend for my taste.

And I can not help but wonder, are they going to make a tea called Rat when it cames time for it?

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Kittenna

Ahahaha, you bring up a good point! Sure, a “dragon” tea sounds alluring, and everyone would want that. Rooster? I imagine that could garner some interest as well. But yes, rat…. and perhaps a few others… sound somewhat less-than-appealing!

Ysaurella

snake is this year sign and the name is serpent charmeur …et non pas charmeur de serpent :)
Rat is my sign !!! :( they may call the tea Rat des Villes and Rat des Champs for a dedicace to Jean de La Fontaine (however good marketing ! 2 series of teas to sell :) )

cteresa

Ok, city mouse and country mouse, that would be very cute!Maybe. Wonder what flavours they would use for a rat themed tea (tastes like chicken?) LOL.

Kittenna, Dragon and even Serpent, or Tiger (it is on the chinese zodiac), all chic, but not all indeed!

Ysaurella

I would say lapsang souchong would fit very well with the rat sign…for the dark side of the tea :)

LaFleurBleue

Pu-erh was my first thinking for the rat year.

cteresa

Oh, those are nice guesses, I was thinking hazelnut or something (not very chinese!).

Smoke would have been awesome for dragons though. Pu-ehr, trying to learn to like it (not much luck so far, but still got samples to try ;) )

charab

But then again Ox would need something with a decent rough edge…hmm. Maybe a very rough, smoky blend made of lapsang tarry, pu’erh and maybe even some slightly pungent Russian samovar tea.. or to throw people completely off the scent something with mellow grassy sencha.

Ysaurella

sounds nice yes !

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79
drank Place Saint Marc by THE O DOR
358 tasting notes

Well, I had been warned by Barbara that this was a “delicate” flavour. Which is an euphemism for the flavour being rather weak. And it is, or rather the flavour is rather weak in the middle , in the mouth feel. It smells sublime, like strawberry jam or cheesecake with strawberry jam. And it leaves a wonderful aftertaste. It´s just those middle taste notes which seem surprisingly absent.

Barbara so kindly swapped a huge ammount with me so i have been experimenting with brewing this. This was on my wish list, and if I had smelled it I would have been sure to have bought it. Experimenting with brewing, and torturing this a bit (almost boiling water, long steep times) and like all Theodor teas I have had so far, oh this is nice and smooth, so easy to brew and difficult to spoil. There is a dry-ness (in the sense of dry wine) to the tea I find very appealing and refreshing. I am really enjoying it. I am just continously baffled by those absent middle notes.

My favorite way of brewing this is 1.5 teaspoons of dry leaf, water just short of boiling water and some 5 minutes. It survives that with distinction and very little astringency.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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83

having the rest of the sample Mel sent me and even better than I remembered. Very nice fruity rooibos

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec

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85
drank 4 Fruits Rouges by Dammann Freres
358 tasting notes

I am usually attracted to trying novelty ideas on flavoured tea (that darjeeling with tomato and courgette, on my watch list!), and sometimes the plain old ideas are not my first pick. Example peach and vanilla tea, this red fruits tea, plain old (but excellent) jasmine tea. And often simple really is best.

This is so far my favorite Dammann tea, very very fruity black tea, noticeable cherry, strawberry and raspberry, just right. And as is the peach-vanilla flavoured black tea a very cheering tea to drink in winter and plan for the summer.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C
Sil

ooh this sounds like something i’d enjoy!

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68
drank Spicy Chocolate by Kusmi Tea
358 tasting notes

Another Kusmi which I did not hate. In fact sort of liked. It is not going to my top 3 or even top 5 of best chocolate-flavoured teas but not damning with faint praise, this is nice enough.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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Profile

Bio

Inconstant tea drinker – I mostly drink tea when not too hot. I hang around steepster much more frequently in (northern hemisphere) cold season. Experimenting with cold steeping, for summer.

- Teas -

I like all sorts of tea, flavoured and unflavoured, though I am picky.

I am one of those people who actually loves Lapsang Souchong. I am not crazy about Earl Grey, in general. I don´t quite get Darjeeling teas, but I am exploring.

I like rooibos, though not all bases. I loathe hibiscus. I do not like fennel/liquorice/anise in blends or teas with chicory. I am picky about what I consider true cinnamon.

As you can probably tell from my cupboard, the brands I find more interesting right now are Mariage Fréres and Thé-o-Dor.

I am always willing to try anything new. I am now particularly interested in single origins.

Location

Portugal

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