359 Tasting Notes

drank Iskandar by Mariage Frères
359 tasting notes

This was another 50 grams of Mariage Freres teas from a recent splurge, and the only one of the small 50 gram packages which really is a a hit! The concept of it is fantastically alluring (to me), it has been on my wishlist for ages: green tea with violet and menthol and named after Alexander the Great. I had sniffed at it before and not been sure I wanted 100 grams of it, but this time I did risk it, and I am glad I did.

I brewed it not too hot (and I must try it as a cold steeped tea, they do sell it as a summer tea), and decided to when smelling it to sweeten it, and I am glad I did. I don´t usually sweeten tea, but it really brings out the violets, like violet candy (or maybe it is just my brain thinking if I am ingesting something which smells of violets it must be sweetened). And I do love it, floral (mainly violet, maybe some unidentifiable others), with menthol very discreet, at the end of it, and in the tongue, if that makes any sense. And I might very well be imagining this but it also seems fruit-y, red berry-ish, to me.

Really lovely tea

Flavors: Menthol, Violet

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec

That sounds really interesting. Violets and mint are not a combination I would have thought of!


It´s actually menthol, like a throat pastille – just a hint, right at the back of the taste so to speak, but indeed very interesting!

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drank Rouge Ruschka by Mariage Frères
359 tasting notes

Thanks to Ysaurella´s guidance I was able to buy this, and a few other MF teas of which I was very unsure, in just 50 grams. And in the two cases I have already tried the tea, I am glad I only got 50 grams.

This is a very pretty rooibos, huge rose petals. The description sounds fantastic. But brewed up, it tastes like an earl grey rooibos – maybe with a bit of orange in the background, but the bergamot is overpowering, I do not get any of the fruits or floral notes. I already got another earl grey rooibos around, and since I am not an earl grey lover, I am also not a big fan of earl grey rooibos.

I think I would like this better as an afternoon non-caffeine tea – earl grey usually feels to me like an afternoon tea, not an evening tea. And I want to try it maybe cold steeped or or at least with water not as hot, I used almost boiling water and I am picky about bergamot and water too hot. But so far, nice enough but not a tea for me to love.

Flavors: Bergamot, Orange

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

Lucky you get only 50 grams of this one Teresa :)


Thanks to you! That was a very nice shop, and it does not show up on google at all. Noted down for next time!

This will get drunk,and it is not bad and I still got to try cold steeping which sometimes totally changes the personality of a tea, particularly rooibos (Rouge Sahara, Lupicia´s Jardin Sauvage). But this and Yuzu Temple are not hits. Iskandar OTOH was weirdly fantastic – I noticed you did not like it much, but maybe I was luckier with some parameter or something, but a very interesting take on the violet tea idea.

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drank CHA THAÏ BOPF by Mariage Frères
359 tasting notes

What a strangely wonderful tea. A recommendation from Excelsior made me very curious to try it, the blender´s description seemed tempting, and it was the very first tea listed on their chart (ah that chart….), I had smelled it before on their breakfast tea shelves, and was on my list for my next Mariage Freres spree. And it´s the first tea of that spree I try and I am a bit in love.

This is a breakfast, morning tea, no way about it. It´s absolutely tiny, dusty (cleaning my infuser is going to be messy), a BOPF tea which sells for 9 euros a 100 grams (and it´s not because it is Mariage Freres, on that chart they have single origin teas starting at half this price). It´s natural, not flavoured smells incredible when dry, like malt and chocolate, yes, maltesers almost, and maybe like honey as well.

And it tastes like it promises, I added milk and sugar and it made a fantastic, traditional morning tea cup.

It reminds me of their American Breakfast blend, but somehow more natural. And possibly with more caffeine as well, I am writing this note as I finish it so too early to tell but I think this is going to have a real punch. What a great black tea.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I’m glad you had a chance to try it. I also like to drink this tea with milk and sugar which enhances the malt/chocolate taste of this tea.

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drank Genmaicha by Mariage Frères
359 tasting notes

I have not had a lot of genmaicha teas. The first one I tried was from a purchase, from probably one of those generic german blenders. I thought it quite strange at first and downgraded it for gardening tea, tea I have while doing some (lazy gardening) on winter weekend mornings (when it´s not raining or TOO dreary. lazy…). And somehow it really worked for that purpose, the toastiness and the green energy, I have been quite fond of it. I was very curious about what a better version of genmaicha would be like, and Ysaurella was kind enough to send me some.

And this is probably going on my shopping list. It really is a different, much more refined, hints of floral genmaicha than the one I had before. Really lovely, I am converted. Though I am also wondering about Lupicia´s genmaicha teas….


I started a comment about how I found the green tea from MF surprisingly weak, then realised that your log is about genmaicha. Then realised I don’t actually know what green tea my partner got — to him, if the tea is green in colour, then it’s ‘green tea’. It’s MF — and that’s all I know!

Anyways, drink and garden on!


Green teas from MF, ah, it can be all kinds of different. Some of the flavoured ones are really light (I just got yuzu temple and I am sure I am brewing it wrong somehow), but a few are not weak – Fuji-yama maybe as an example.

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A sample from a swap, which has been languishing for a while – it´s winter, and I am craving tea and new teas but trying to watch caffeine intake which is annoying.

This was a perfectly nice earl grey, just the right level of bergamot for me. I can not particularly noticed the vanilla, but I was absentmindedly enjoying it.

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drank Coconut Cream Pie by Butiki Teas
359 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella, and a great idea for a rooibos team.

The dry tea smells just heavenly, like coconut yes and cookies and maybe a bit of vanilla. The rooibos itself was a bit smaller than I expected, but it turned out to be a very smooth rooibos base. Good for those who do not love plain rooibos. And full of beautiful whole coconut shavings.

The brewed tea, makes for a very pleasant cup. I don´t know how long ago the tea was blended is, but coconut oxidizes and I think I got a hint of that in the background here – not going to rate this because of it. In all a very good idea for a blended tea, a beautiful balance of flavours.


one rooibos I’ve been able to like …a little :)

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drank Lapsang Souchong by THE O DOR
359 tasting notes

I love Lapsang Souchong teas. Theodor is probably the tea company I find more interesting currently. When Ysaurella offered to share her Theodor Lapsang Souchong with me, I jumped at it, and was the very first tea of the very tempting package I tried.

Much as I love LS, I wish I was more educated about the differences regarding those, to understand better the (very obvious) difference s. My inevitable comparison of this Lapsang Souchong was with my current favorite, Mariage Freres´s Lapsang Souchong Imperial and the dry leaf of both smells unmistakably different. Like totally different tree smokes – the MF is sharper, maybe more piney. This reminds me of something else, something almost eucalyptus like or oak (not the same at all, but I truly can not describe better), a smell almost umami-rich. It was so different from what I expected I was sure at first sniff I was not going to like it! But no fear, that old magic of lapsang souchong tea, the ability to taste so very different was at work – this is just wonderful, extremely smooth. And now the first shock of not recognizing the smoke smell, I love the smell at least as much as the other Lapsangs in my collection.

A very lovely tea and perfect for a rainy afternoon…




Today is a good day for lapsang souchong. I thought so, too. :)


Glad you loved it ! I did too. yay for The O dor

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I was interested in rooibos earl grey last year, at the Thé-o-dor shop, while smelling all of their sublime rooibos blends. With limited luggage space, I ended up restocking a few other favorite blends, thinking this simpler idea might be easier to find, and test, from other blenders. And did find this one. It was a bit cheaper, a reasonable around 5 euros per 100 grams. And that kind of shows – the rooibos is not as smooth as from some other brands, the bergamot is a bit too-much. It still makes for a very nice cup of tea, if I am careful to not brew it too hot (bergamot goes bitter) nor too weak. It´s just perfect for a late afternoon cup of tea, when I am already weary of too much caffeine but want something more tea-like than a mere tisane.

Flavors: Bergamot

175 °F / 79 °C 6 min, 15 sec

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drank Tzar Alexandre by Mariage Frères
359 tasting notes

This is the last, the little bits at the bottom of the tin – am clearing a lot of teas, I have a totally unprecedented number of available tins. Weirdly with no compunction to have a large mega order yet, almost as if I am not really sure what teas I would really love to have. I have been trying so many flavoured things, I might have tired from the concept a bit, at least in general. So for now, am just happy to be drinking what i got at home.

This is one which is no chore to finish and might be a rebuy though I need to see how much I will miss it now I have finished it . There is something so perfectly civilized, so elegant and smooth about it, the smoke I love so much, the bergamot just a hint.

Terri HarpLady

I also have a bunch of used tins, which have been languishing in boxes/bags for quite some time. A few weeks ago I washed all of them in soapy water, then rinsed them repeatedly, then soaked them in vinegar water, then rinsed repeatedly, then soaked them in Baking Soda water, then rinsed, then left them to dry. They are still empty, although I’m pretty sure they are completely dry by now :)
One of these days I’ll make cute labels for them & refill them with teas that I love…


Terri, I do that, any tin, I wrap in italian paper for reuse. I don´t wash the tins though, because of rust, but I steam them, put them upside down for an hour or so over a vessel of boiling (cooling) water and wipe it down and then store them open for a while – all smells really disappear, though I am kind of wary of smoked teas


thanks to you and the sample you sent me I have now bought a 100g of Tzar Alexandre- this is a very lovely and smart tea.


Thanks for letting me know, this is one which I will rebuy as well!

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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.



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