359 Tasting Notes
This was a present from a friend, and a very propitious one – I had just finished a tin of one of my staples, Lady Grey, and finding surprisingly difficult to buy more locally. And this Gout Russe to me smelled a lot like Lady Grey – an earl grey tea with lots of orange.
Supposedly there are 7 citrus on this tea. Obviously the bergamot rules and orange is also very important. The other citrus I am less certain of. It´s somewhat delicate, somewhat astringent. I think I prefer my old staple, but this tin will be finished with pleasure.
Flavors: Bergamot, Orange
This was a sample I got from Lupicia in France, it´s not labelled this, it is instead labelled PECHE BLANCHE OOLONG SUPERIEUR, ref 8231, which I think in english is this precise tea.
The Lupicia sample was an hermetically sealed teabag. I was absolutely dubious about the brewing instructions (boiling water, 90 to 120 seconds) but I checked and decided to follow those just the same, and they are right about the instructions, it did work.
The teabag smelled incredibly true to a real fresh white peach (peche de vigne). It translates well to the liquor which is very smooth. A nice cup of tea, but not something I feel the need to have again. White peaches are not even my own favorite peach, and while I admire the delicateness and purity of the flavour here, I do prefer other peach teas I have had which had more pizzaz like Adele H or Peché Mignon.
I regret having bought this. It´s in no way awful and I will finish it, but having made it hot brewed and iced, in both occasions my overwhelming feeling is that it tastes kind of like strawberry bubble gum. The vanilla and red berries, together, their particular relationship just feels bubble gum-ish. And sadly it is not the flavour I am looking for in a tea. I wish I had restocked on Rouge Sahara or Nil Rouge instead.
Flavors: Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla
This is a tea which I had never paid attention to when seeing the descriptions of teas. Flowery green tea with candied (?) ginger, it never made its way to my enormous wish lists, not even the long list of teas I wanted to smell. But both Paris airports got Mariage Freres shops, and when killing a lot of time, I managed to sniff my way through all the teas one of the shops had (apart from top most row and a couple expensive things they had on canister but not outside). It was an interesting experience, it struck me again how the special edition tin teas seem to almost all (exception to Mousse au Chocolat maybe, which I would buy if the tin was not so expensive and seeming so flimsy for the price as well) all seem so uninspiring compared to the regular range teas. And of all those teas I sampled, besides my old acquaintances I knew already, it was La Route du Temps which absolutely fascinated me . I decided no, that I had enough tea already and then kept thinking of it and then had to backtrack to get some (it was a LOT of time to kill). Also teas with ginger, a lot of ginger do have a place in my kitchen, I find ginger extremely soothing when I have a cold, though so far I have only had caffeine free tisanes.
And surprisingly this impulsive, indulgent buy really worked for me. The flowery note mentioned is jasmine, in my opinion just jasmine. The ginger is extremely strong, a sweet candied ginger which feels spicy piquant in the tongue and somehow it goes incredibly perfect with the tea underneath and the sweetness of the jasmine. This is an unexpected tea flavouring combination but which somehow works extremely well for my palate. The tea underneath is very smooth, very large leafed though with two such strong flavourings difficult to say much more, except it does stand up to the flavours without being overpowered by them. And the blend is just filled with dried ginger and jasmine flowers, be careful to up dosage a little bit to take that into account, and also to mix it well occasionally to make sure you are not overdosing on the flavouring which “floated” to the top.
I have brewed this a few times. Be careful with water temperature, too hot will make it bitter, and make the jasmine taste “cooked” and the ginger overpowers the jasmine. I am using relatively cool water for it, and prefer it like that, it seems to bring out the jasmine in a livelier way which just balances itself. It does seem quite forgiving of being forgotten for a few (many) extra minutes! And a warning I will repeat, because some will love this but not all – this is spicy, the ginger is sharp, and very much there!
A very unexpected addition to my tea stash, but this is one tea I am going to enjoy a lot. A very original tea, totally different from any other I ever had.
Flavors: Ginger, Jasmine
I made this again, this time a cold steep, and this is sadly still not a tea for me.
The cold steep is still quite bitter, as a steepsterite mentioned to me, there is a lot of pith in here somehow. And very strangely maybe there is a touch of cinnamon here? a hint of a spice, lurking in the cold infusion? I sweetened this a lot, iced tea seems to call for it, and it does improve the tea a bit, but still a frustrating tea for me.
I cold steeped this, and it works very well also (as it should from something they sell as a French Summer Tea) – smooth, intense and floral. But too floral for me to love it – the menthol is more noticeable in the hot version and it really does balance it the floral. On this iced tea, it´s violets and I think roses (why is it roses always feel stronger on cold steeped teas?) coming through and it is too much, like drinking perfume almost. Not my cup of (iced) tea, will save it for hot brewing.
This is a weird tea to judge. I have no experience with real yuzu so just judging the tea on its own. Very scented sour japanese citrus, sounded like a great idea. (I love sour candy….). And it smelled fantastic when I ordered some, but now I have it and brewed it 3 times I still do not quite know what to make of it. It does smell fantastic, like sour citrus chewing gum.
It´s s finicky to brew, I made it Ok (but a bit too cold for my taste) the first time, I scalded it to bitterness the second, this time there is a definite bitterness which I do not know if it´s from the yuzu or the tea, but it´s a bit more intense than the first time. But it´s still not very intense. It does smell, the liquor, fantastic (as I keep repeating), but the taste it´s a bit like that chewing gum after having already been chewed for a while – there is some taste and texture, but not a lot.
A sample, from a pre packaged set of 3 teabags, which I shamelessly requested at Lupicia in Paris. And wow, I really doubt the translation in the package. BOILING water for this, as well as for an oolong and a darjeeling earl grey for 5 minutes? Seriously, you guys?
I also got their tea catalogue which has much more sensible temperatures and steeping times. I ignored the sample packaging instructions and while I could not measure the water temperature it should have been around 80-85 at most.
I have a problem with this tea, which is I do not much like grapefruit, nor the fruit not grapefruit flavours. Maybe it is a geographic thing, but coming from a place where citrus grows very easily almost wildly, there is so much better citrus than grapefruit. No, grapefruit is not a first, or even second, choice citrus for me. It´s so overpowering, so sharp. Not a favorite flavouring.
The teabag cames in a hermetical sealed envelope (I like Lupicia packaging very much) and it smells very intense, very grapefruit when opened. Thankfully for me the taste is much milder, very balanced in the liquor and there is a very nice, very smooth, Japanese (? seaweedy?) green tea underneath. Drunk with pleasure and a tea I would not mind repeating though not enough to include it in my shopping list.
I bought this in France, labelled as “Bambino”, number 9202. I do think it is the same tea.
I drink a lot of rooibos, after a certain hour, caffeine gives me insomnia, and rooibos is the tisane I feel closer to drinking real tea. I find it really digestive as well. Rooibos is something I keep needing to renew my stock of, and which I was looking for in my first Lupicia visit. The rooibos on offer did not seem too inspiring but this was the most appealing.
And at first brew it does not disappoint. It smells dry, very much of strawberry, vanilla and apricot. The apricot taste disappears in the liquour which is mostly berry -vanilla like (I sweetened this with honey, because I had a cold so don´t know how honey like it is without real honey added), but as it cools down it reemerges in the background again. The flavour is very intense. The rooibos base is pretty quiet underneath it all, nothing much to say about it in this first time.
A note, I really really like this hermetic packaging of theirs. It´s very tough and squashable (I bought a LOT of stuff in this visit), no smell cross contamination, and the tea is incredibly fresh when you open the package. 50 grams will probably be drunk fast enough to not get stale. I think we pay more for this packaging (I paid 5 euros for 50 grams, which would aka 10 euros for 100 grams, a bit more than Mariage Freres or The o Dor rooibos), but if we discount this type of packaging is expensive it might be worth it, for the extra freshness. More packaging to recycle, and maybe harder to recycle though, but to keep tea fresh, I can not resist.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Strawberry, Vanilla
I think this is Cookie. My package is actually called Biscuit Gourmand and labelled in French, since I did get it in France. And it makes sense that they translate their original japanese names for teas into both English or French, as the place of sale. Their catalogue number seems to be 5537 which googling leads to Cookie.It fits marvelously all other descriptions of this tea on steepster, black tea, marvelous cookie, bakery type of smell, like sugar and almond and butter. My first attempt at making it, quite carelessly, because I wanted something to drink with lunch (yes, this is a weird choice, but I could not resist and it worked) and I loved it. I was struck also by how smooth the base was.