82 Tasting Notes
I’d say “I’m back!” but really I’ve been here all this time, and forcing myself not to buy extra teas while I use up what’s already in my cupboard… Alas! I went to Aachen for a day and immediately found its tea shops, where I bought some cute-sounding fruit and rooibos teas, then some friends moved away and left me their Dutch-branded flavoured teas, and then I brought some more from home when moving back to this flat… Safe to say, the collection is growing, but I’m in denial about how quickly I can use it all up!
This tea really grabbed my attention when I bought it in the summer because of the ingredients list. Tea from Vietnam? I’d never tried that, and the ingredients are things I’d never seen added in a tea (other than the lychee). This is the second brew I’m having, because the first time I misjudged amount (due to the large, twisted leaves), water temperature (because they’re quite dark in colour, almost blacker than your regular green tea if you’re not looking closely enough – mea culpa. . .), and time to brew (I was doing something else). All the steps you need to ruin a perfectly good first cup.
First thing I notice after its deep marigold-orange colour is its incredibly mellow scent, which the flavour follows through on. So many lychee-scented teas are intensely flavoured to the point of being over-floral where the tea base becomes an annoyance… or perhaps I’ve had so many lychee-and-rose cocktails that I’ve forgotten what the original flavour is like! Nonetheless the lychee in this tea is the least aggressive lychee flavour I’ve ever come across.
However there’s another floral element here, light and more of a bouquet than a syrupy-sweet flavour… I think this must be the banana blossoms and bamboo flowers. None of these hang pungently in the mouth, either; more of a brief, delicate taste that washes away quite quickly with the follow-through of the tea base which I have to say is really pleasant! Slightly roasted like sencha without the boldness, but a nice savoury aftertaste to follow the gentle hit of astringency at the end of a sip.
Since the website says it has a taste of “nature after the rain”… Well, I’d give it that it has barely any dryness at all. Overall I’m really enjoying it; such a lightly-flavoured tea is new to me!
Is this what they call a sipdown? In any case, this is my final cup of my stash of Peché Mignon for breakfast, and I will miss it! The soft, mellow cantaloupe flavour complemented by rounded peach notes, the adorable blue cornflowers that always stuck to the strainer, I’ll miss it all.
All I noticed was how considerably little you need of the leaves and how little time is needed to brew it to perfection: too long and the tea becomes bitter and makes the fruit flavours sour.
I told myself I wouldn’t buy any more teas when I moved abroad, and yet here I am, tea shopping as always… Normally I’m not a fan of Ceylons but I tried a Nuwara Eliya teabag once (!) which was absolutely marvellous, so when I saw it loose-leaf in Simon Lévelt, I snapped it up immediately.
What can I say? I think I’m brewing it a little too strong! Yesterday I made it with possibly too big a spoonful, because it really was very dry in the mouth, but when I added milk the flavour seemed to disappear completely… Maybe it’s a very precarious tea.
It’s a beautiful deep, woody amber colour, and the aroma is rich, fragrant… slightly savoury, but in a liqueur kind of sense rather than a savoury cooked food sense! It keeps this savoury flavour in every sip, as well, which isn’t bad, but it really is very dry and astringent. Once you get past the initial strength of this rather robust flavour, there are the usual floral, slightly roast-vegetable notes, maybe a hint of citrus at the end – but it’s lacking that usual zest-and-malt combo that makes Ceylon that little bit unpleasant for me.
I feel a little like I’m drinking a dark beer rather than a Ceylon tea… Not a bad thing!
The first time I heard of this was in the THE O DOR shop in Paris, near the Eiffel tower — gobsmacked that one of my favourite tea companies would make a tea based off my favourite dessert, a pistachio macaron, I snapped it up in an instant.
The first time I brewed this was with @Carianin, who came over for a little tea-party. Possibly I was so overwhelmed and surprised by the taste sensation that arose from adding almond milk – almonds, yes, the base of macarons! – to this brew that it completely slipped my mind to ever make a tasting note. (I really recommend a hint of almond milk, you won’t regret it)
Even brewed strong, you can find all the lighter pistachio notes AND the stronger marzipan flavour. Strangely enough the black tea base always seems to marry the added flavours perfectly, for me, so that I can’t taste “ceylon” or “china black tea”, but a rich, woody-scented, marzipan and nut dessert. The dry leaves and the brew have such a strong candied scent but don’t let that put you off – it evens out when it’s brewed!
Finally, after lots and lots of internet-scouring and mistakes, I found this tea in a DF stockist! I was so excited, I absolutely adore macarons, so to hear that macarons can inspire tea flavours as well always makes me so happy. Plus, I got on so well with THE O DOR’s “Je T’aime” pistachio macaron black tea, that I thought I would love this just as much.
It’s very very different, however… For one, it’s a green tea, which I thought was a better choice considering the mango and jasmine scent – it’s lighter and won’t clash with a black tea base flavour. When brewing it, the tea gave off a wonderful aroma of jasmine blossoms and… cake, funnily enough, and slowly became more fruity until I removed the leaves. The liquor was a deep yellow and strongly scented, so I suspected having brewed it a little too long.
However, rather than the light cakey flavour I was expecting, the dominating flavour in this seems to be almonds! Obviously since it’s inspired by the almond meal-based macaron, it would make sense to have some kind of almond perfume, but it’s overpowering! The jasmine and mango are definitely there, no doubt about it, yet I get the impression the jasmine lent some of its strength to the almond, and I had an amaretto-like aftertaste… not amazing, I’m afraid, I’m not a fan of amaretto at all. Sadly it dominated the green tea entirely… A very aromatic tea, and certainly something I would recommend to those who love a unique flavour combination (the maltiness of the almond and the fruity perfume is quite something), but it didn’t hit the “macaron” spot for me, unfortunately. Next time I have this to hand I will brew it a little lighter.
Being a fan of milky oolongs I so, so dearly wanted to try the THE O DOR one… such a pity it’s so expensive, but I imagine that’s only representative of the quality! I managed to purchase 25g of this from a lovely tearoom in Perpignan (the only amount I could afford at the time!) which I’m hoping will last me a little while.
First off, it’s a lovely vibrant light gold, and the leaves seem more… folded, than crushed, in comparison to other milky oolongs I’ve tried. They’ve expanded, yes, but a little limp when I think of the oolong leaves of Whittard, which turned out to be artificially flavoured. I wonder if these tender, smaller leaves are indicative of not being artificially flavoured. The aroma is different, too, more softly aromatic like vanilla or cream than a rich buttery scent.
And it certainly has a beautiful flavour! It’s light (perhaps due to the brewing time) and somewhat reminiscent of a dessert. Instead of a heavy dairy-like flavour, like butter, I’m getting light vanilla notes, even slightly biscuit or cake-ish, in between the overall fresh and mild flavour. There’s only the very slightest hint of astringency that builds up after each sip, and it’s so pleasant.. rather than getting addicted to the flavour I’m feeling more like this will make one good round cup of tea.
Next time I’ll change the brewing time or amount of leaves, I think!
Hello hello! I spent part of the summer in France with family, and have just moved into a new flat. Since there was no wi-fi at the house in France I made tasting notes on the teas I tried there.
I picked this tea up at a market stall, the name really grabbed me, and the ingredients list sounded divine. Of course it’s always difficult to flavour black tea so it tastes more like the promised aroma than pure black tea, but I had my hopes. The dry leaves smell enticing and just like apple crumble, and after infusing it fairly lightly, the aroma only got stronger – really apple-y, with lots of cinnamon! That’s the way I make apple crumble too!
…Sadly, black, it didn’t taste anywhere near as strong as it smells. Although the ingredients list states China black tea it gives more of a Ceylon woody kind of tone (perhaps this is just because so many other flavoured teas have a Ceylon base, I’m too used to that?), and the apple becomes more sharp than the soft fruity smell. On the other hand, though, when I’m cooking apples for a crumble they do have a sharp smell because I use lots of spices and citrus… Sadly I couldn’t taste the Speculoos at all! Maybe it was lost in the slightly overpowering black tea flavour.
I’ve also tried this tea brewed much more strongly (a heaped teaspoonful, 5 mins brewing time) and with added milk, and somehow the speculoos and spices come through better that way, with the apple still strong and sharp but not clashing with the milk. It isn’t the most apple crumble-y tea I’ve ever had (Yumchaa’s Wanderlust is the winner there) but the fact that it can take milk and still have a fragrant, sweet flavour will make this one of my favourites this winter, I think!
Normally this one works very well for me but I think cold-steeping it might have been a bad decision – black tea doesn’t seem to take too kindly to being drunk iced with no sugar, for me, and this was no exception. Overly perfumey when cold, even slightly artificial! Sorry, Rose Garden, I’ll have to continue drinking you hot ):
Fortunately the family members I visited F&M with were very happy with my tea-enthusiasm and were so kind as to let me try all their teas as well!! I didn’t order this one, though I suggested it.
The very first tea I ever tried with ‘orchid’ in the name was a Mighty Leaf ‘orchid oolong’ years ago that tasted absolutely foul to me. It had artificial orchid flavouring AND malt in it after close inspection, horribly artificially sweet and over-rich, so I was skeptical of this even though I was so excited to try a single estate tea of such high quality. Thankfully the scent confirmed the taste and my goodness, what a pleasure to drink.
This brew came out light amber in the cup with an unmistakeable scent of roast chestnuts. Now I have an oolong flavoured with roast chestnuts that doesn’t even match up to this! The flavours were nuts: literally, nuts. Pecans, more roast chestnuts, with a honeyed tinge, like the name, although I couldn’t possibly say where the orchid came from. The liquor was impeccably smooth and rich but the end was so astringent and left my mouth so dry that it seemed to beg me to drink more. I hadn’t expected such strong astringency with the light body of the tea, to be honest. This was an absolute treat.