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Steepster Freeze 2021 #4: 03/05/21
Happy National Day of Unplugging! Today is the Sipdown Challenge day to drink a favorite tea for relaxing; for me, those mostly fall in the tisane category, which I drink after work. During the work day, I drink caffeinated tea. So, I won’t be posting my tea choice until this evening (and once again Steepster is broken on a prompt day… I swear it is a planned effort at this point…).
So now onto… French Friday! This was the tea I randomly grabbed from the sampler bag from Dustin today. Thanks Dustin! The dry leaf has a very alluring smell of juicy pear, stonefruit (I’m getting a bit of the Mirabelle plum aroma that is present in Lupicia’s “Kotobuki”), and a florality that I can’t distinctly pinpoint. I brewed the full 6.4g to 500ml in 205F water for 3.5 minutes.
Brewed tea is a pretty burnt sienna orange. The aroma smells pretty much spot-on for the dry leaf — a floral/perfumy mix of pear and stonefruit. The mouthfeel is giving me a bit of a strong syrupy/coating feeling, which I remember I had from Marco Polo as well; I’m suspecting I may have either used a bit too much leaf for the amount of water or steeped a little longer than necessary, producing a quite strong cup. My personal preferences on this sort of “perfumy/fragrant” French teas seem to be a softer/more gentle brewing than a heavy-handed cup. It’s also just a tad astringent/drying toward the end of the sip, backing up that theory. Ah well, sometimes you just have a bad-steep day…
That aside, the flavor itself it mostly a sweet, succelent pear note. I’m still tasting a bit of the stonefruit, not as strongly as the pear, though; on the tongue it is reading more as apricot or peach than Mirabelle plum, though. The floral note is really strong, but I don’t know how to describe it… my botanical knowledge is not great. It reminds me of jasmine because it is thick, coating, and strong on the nose, but it doesn’t taste like jasmine. Cheating and looking at the flavor notes from the manufacturer, it appears the floral is lotus… which I really have no experience with, so I’m not surprised I couldn’t peg it (I’ve only had one lotus tea before, and it was so old the scenting wasn’t that potent). It’s a very pretty aroma, even if I can’t describe it. I just don’t like the coating/drying feeling that sticky florality is leaving on my tongue.
I think, if I could brew this again using slightly altered parameters, I’d find a cup in my “perfect” zone and be really into this flavor combination.
Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Floral, Peach, Pear, Perfume, Plums, Stonefruit
Thank you Dustin for this tea as well; and only one remains that I haven’t tried yet.
To be honest, it’s biggest dismal from THEODOR; it smells very nice, but brewed it isn’t that great at all. It’s pretty much basic, although nice green tea base and hints of cherry flavour. That fruit note is though very weak and I haven’t noticed anything from other flavours added nor coconut that should be in. No rhubarb at all. Sad!
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za05HBtGsgU (could I pick anything else? :D)
Received a bag from Dustin, thank you!
It’s quite classical Ceylon tea; pretty much okay, lighter than usual. Not much malty, rather citrusy, lightly on malty + sweet side.
It’s better than MlesnA teas I have in previous days. Somehow more round. I wonder if it is because more quality leaf is used, or what.
Flavors: Citrusy, Malt, Round , Sweet
Thank you Dustin that I could try this French company, from which I wouldn’t order myself otherwise I guess!
I took two teaspoons and big strainer. Accidentaly, I overbrew the water, so I have used rather 90°C water instead of 80°C, and steeped for 3 minutes.
It was still great. I got a cup full of pineapple-yellow melon-peach green tea; which was delicious as well. It was mouthwatering cup and well, here’s regret I haven’t resteeped the leaves. Aroma was peachy, but lovely and not artificial. It wasn’t typical red peach aroma too, rather some lighter variety. In conclusion, it was great fruity green tea. Not overpowering fruits nor base tea. Certainly a tea to gladly have again!
Flavors: Fruity, Melon, Peach, Pineapple
French Friday! This is the sampler packet I pulled out of the sampler bag for today. Thank you for sharing, Dustin!
The dry leaf smells like the Petite Ourse tea by THEODOR that I tried recently; a strong tangerine citrus aroma. Steeped 3.1g of leaf in 350ml 175F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea doesn’t smell so strongly of citrus, though; it’s a very tropical aroma, mostly mango, with a bit of a citrusy undertone. On the sip, the tea takes on more of a lemon citrus flavor than the tangerine I was getting on the nose; it has a slight tanginess at the end of the sip, but is a pleasant fresh lemon flavor, with no abrasive “floor cleaner”-esque qualities. I can taste a mango note too, but it is more subtle and gentle compared to the bright citrusy lemon. There is a hint of a sort of floral-quality sweetness as well, though I couldn’t place any particular floral to it.
The tea has a very bright and refreshing feel to it; I like lemon teas, and this one is top-notch!
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Mango, Tangy, Tropical
An other idea?
Another tea bag from Dustin, thank you so much! Unfortunately last from those being caffeine-free.
Steeped as suggested; 85°C water (rather closer to 90°C); steeping for 4-5 minutes.
Tastes nice, tropical and mellowed with vanilla, though I have hoped the latter would be more prominent in taste. It’s not creamy vanilla. It’s the sweet vanilla taste. Along with coconut. From tropical fruits there is a load of pineapple, but again… somehow weaker than I have been expecting, like overpowered by the rooibos base?
It’s quite complex, but somehow not my cup of tea. Quite sad; because it sounds so good in ingredients list. What a shame. Especially for that price tag!
Flavors: Coconut, Pineapple, Rooibos, Tropical, Vanilla
French Friday! Randomly pulled this one from the French tea bag of happiness from Dustin! Thanks Dustin!
The dry tea smells just like cola! I love cola teas so that is promising. Brewed 2.5g for 3 minutes in 350ml 205F water. The brewed tea smells even stronger of cola; trying to break it down, it’s a generic spice note (perhaps a little sweet cinnamon forward?) and a citrusy note (smells like lemon-lime).
The tea is smooth and sweet; I get a citrusy note that tastes most closely to lime to me, but rather than having a tart or biting quality a very sweet flavor is left after the sip, like honey or vanilla. Midsip and lingering after the sip is a soft, sweet spice note, warming but not spicy. Mostly I get a sweet cinnamon note; the anise is not coming through with a licorice taste, for those worried about that.
This is described as “mulled wine” by THEODOR but I’m not getting that at all! It’s entirely warm, uncarbonated cola to me, which is one of my favorite flavors in tea. Probably my favorite I’ve had so far!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla
I was in mood for green tea; and why not to try a new one from Dustin? Thank you a lot, I wouldn’t order myself there!
It was random choice from three being sent, and turned out great. While the aroma in pouch wasn’t saying much to me — some floral, perfume like scent, I decided to give it a try anyway.
I have used two teaspoons per 300 ml, while I haven’t checked recommended preparation at all. As a green, I did my best to have water temperature around 80°C. But as it is started to steeping a mellow tropical fruits-floral notes started to waft through all the kitchen where I was preparing my breakfast. After two and half minutes I took the strainer off and took a sniff. Oh my… so wonderfully pineapple scent! With some, again, florals beneath. I coud not wait to take sips of this tea.
In taste it is floral with pineapple notes. They say there should be “Prickly fig” aka Opuntia and while I have very limited experience, I think it’s there! Maybe there are some other tropical fruits in taste too (as it was somehow generic tropical for me, and they say papaya pieces are in).
Lotus? Not sure… but again, very limited experience with this ingredient — only What-cha’s Vietnam West Lake ‘Golden Flower’ Lotus tea.
Hmm… glad I have this tea!
Flavors: Fig, Floral, Pineapple, Tropical
Prepared this tea as it is evening again. Thank you again Dustin sending it my way.
I am thinking about Cameron B. as drinking this tea, as I have just heard in news that Texas is under cover of snow and there are some major blackouts. Hopefully everything will be alright soon!
And now, finally to the tea:
Dry sachet, reminds me strongly Bird and Blend’s Apple Strudel. But this one is to be brewed with 85°C water; 4-6 minutes steep. I did my best for both parameters — 5 minutes steep, temperature above 80°C, but not boiling!
The aroma of steeped tea is unpleasantly apple sour, I am blaming a bit the rooibos aroma combined with apples make it unpleasant. Luckily, in taste it is different, and it is quite bold rooibos base. Surprisingly not musty; and I have to say, I like it. The apple is mellow and I notice hints of caramel sweetness too.
Overall, not a cup I would necessary have again, but I am pleased with it.
Fairytale pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ttfXJZwtxg (it’s about Marabu, and I guess this tea is called after this bird; and yes, there are some songs too. It’s called (literally) Jerboas and Marabou.
Book pairing (I need to finish it quickly, as I need to return it to library this week): CORNWELL, Bernard: Sword Song (translated to Czech) pp. 203-282 (of 311)
Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Rooibos, Sour
Let’s travel to India (on courtesy of Dustin, who sent me among “ordered” teas, 5 tea bag samples, which are going to be great in my collection) when today is a first day of new, and hopefully last semester.
Marketing in transport is a lecture I am taking while writing this note. But the tea indeed delivers me to some warmer environment than this winter wonderland.
Anyway, to describe this tea. It’s somehow sweet (probably vanilla) and mostly thick. Cloves are somehow most prominent flavour, but overall it is mellow, but as well somehow boring in tastes. Like my sender wrote, it is like murmur of those flavours. I would like the spices a bit more pronounced.
Flavors: Cloves, Thick, Vanilla
French Friday! From the depths of the sampler bag from Dustin… thank you, Dustin! Steeped 2.5g of leaf in 350ml 175F water for 2 minutes.
Dry leaf has a fresh and bright orange aroma. Steeped tea is a pretty marigold color and smells more akin to tangerines, particularly the pithy zest of the peel. The flavor, too, is making me think more of tangerine than orange; there is something very crisp, bright, pithy, and tangy about it, with a mild citrusy tartness. There is apparently ginger also in the profile, but it is extremely mild against the bright citrus flavor; there is a subtle warming quality to the flavor, but I don’t really get a distinct gingery taste and certainly no heat. I do feel like I taste a bit of lemon peel along with the citrusy elements, which may just be my brain’s association of pairing lemon with ginger. I don’t really taste the base against the flavoring, but it provides a light mouthfeel and there is a hint of a hot hay note waxing underneath. Mostly, it is a very bright and slightly tangy tangerine-flavored tea. There is a very refreshing quality about it, and I bet it would make a very nice cold brew.
Flavors: Citrus, Hot Hay, Lemon Zest, Orange, Orange Zest, Spices, Tangy
French Friday! Pulled my first French tea sampler out of the stash Dustin sent me to try. The dry leaf has a soft, candied strawberry sort of aroma. Steeped 2.6g to 350ml 205F water for 3 minutes. The aroma is even more pronounced from the wet leaf, though rather than smelling of strawberries, it has more of a candied tropical fruits note.
The aroma on my cooling thermos is still sweet/candied, and just a little floral, like a wildflower honey. I smell strawberry, grape, pineapple, mango, and even a subtle melon aroma. But the way the sweetness and fruity aromas are colliding, it makes me feel as if I’m sticking my nose into a bag of multi-fruit flavored candies, like Skittles, and attempting to smell individual fruits, when really they just smell… like Skittles. Sweet and fruity.
Since I don’t like my black teas bitey and tend to use a lot less leaf than pretty much anyone recommends, I have a very smooth cup; my experiences with Marco Polo, even using the same leaf-to-water ratio and steeping parameters, brought out a lot more astrigency/drying in the cup. The black tea itself has a bit of a bready quality, as well as some minerality, but mostly I taste the fruit, which still has that sort of perfumy quality. It doesn’t feel oily or waxy on my tongue like Marco Polo did, though (which makes me wonder if perhaps the age of that sample had done something weird with the flavoring oils). I taste that soft, candy-like strawberry note, and sometimes I taste purple grape (like the kind found in candies/drinks) left on my tongue. Sometimes rather than getting strawberry in a sip, I get a sort of mixed tropical fruit flavor. It’s a very strange experience, since my nose or tongue seem to read different fruit notes on different sips!
I am enjoying this cuppa and will be working on it throughout the day, with a top-off during my lunch break. Thanks Dustin!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Candy, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Mango, Melon, Mineral, Perfume, Pineapple, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Tropical
I can’t figure out what I think of this! It starts out as a deep rich strawberry flavor, reflecting the scent. The finish is that same flavor. Some of the sips are great while others fall flat. When the cup cools it’s all flat as well. It’s like that alkaline mineral taste creeps in there, but it isn’t consistent. I wonder if a shorter steeping time would help. I’ll have to play around with this one!
Hmmm… not sure about this one. It smells very fruity. It doesn’t make me think of fresh bright peaches, but maybe it’s more of a deeper dried peach. When I sip it I get a bland fruitish flavor that goes a little tart/sour on the sides of my tongue near the back of the sip and then there is that alkaline flatness to it at the end. If I hold the tea in my mouth I can kind of get dried peaches. The finish is dried peach for sure. It leaves my mouth with that dry feeling. I’m not liking this and that surprises me because I’m usually such a huge fan of Theodor teas! I’m not giving up though. I’ll play around with the steeping parameters and also try a cold steep too. There may be hope yet!
Thank you Dustin for sending this across the bay! This might be my favorite of the three Laponic teas I’ve tried.
Cooked cranberry aroma that’s mellow and deep with a tangy high tone, a bit of rosemary. The tea is full-bodied, brothy and lightly brisk. The heft of the flavor is from the black teas, contributing oak wood and a touch of earth. Equal measures cranberry and rosemary are layered seamlessly throughout. Using cranberry flavor I can understand but also rosemary flavor instead of the leaf? Maybe the leaf is naturally too overpowering to create the desired effect. There is also another layer to the tea that takes me a moment to notice, an airy quality maybe contributed by the oak moss flavoring, maybe also by the elderflowers and dried poppy petals. The airiness carries through into the aftertaste with subtle minerals and a bit of cool rosemary, leaving a gentle feeling of being refreshed.
I’ve really enjoyed sampling the Laponic white, green and black teas. They’re very focused on the essence of northern environments — very natural woodsy aromas and tastes.
Flavors: Broth, Cranberry, Earth, Herbs, Mineral, Oak, Smooth, Tangy, Wet Moss, Wet Wood
I’ve had this tea for a while and decided to do a restock on this recent order. I’m puzzled why I haven’t written a tasting note before and why it gets a thumbs down in so many reviews. It’s lemony for sure. I don’t know that I get a bright lemon, more of a baked or defanged lemon with deeper caramel like notes behind it. I get a little tartness in the sip on top of the deeper flavors of the tea base. Towards the end of the sip the lemon starts to come out and lingers into the finish. I suppose it could have a little more going on in it, but I enjoy it as is.
From my Theodor splurge, I am trying a few new things, including a few I had tried in tired samples.
This came on an hermetically sealed pack and it smelt absolutely heavenly when first tried. Vanilla-ish, and like Irish Cream maybe a bit? Very very decadent. According to site, the notes are biscuit, and it has does have these buttery-caramel-vanilla notes. Also vaguely boozy, like Irish Cream or rum. And a very very smooth rooibos underneath and the flavouring is there, but feels natural and not over the top artificial. I think it has staple and rebuy potential.
Carrot?! Really?! Huh! Okay. You know how some companies call their flavored teas perfumed teas? Well it seems really fitting for this tea. The flavors are very light and aromatic, but have a depth that balances them. Theodor is so good at blending. It’s fruity, but I can’t pinpoint what fruit. It’s not berries and I’m not familiar enough with yuzu to know what that flavor is. I’m reminded of the flavors in Theodor’s Cours Mirabeau. Maybe I can cross reference the ingredients in that to figure out what I’m tasting here. This cup was good hot and it’s also just as nice as it has cooled.
I had mentioned I wanted to try this and Derk kindly offered to send me the rest of a tin to try! Thanks so much, Derk!
This has the strangest steeping directions I’ve seen yet. 80C for 10-11 minutes! It’s very lightly flavored. The scent is a wisp of my spice cabinet, a faint mixture of many herbs (must be the dried basil in the mix). I think the strongest bit that I’m getting is the blackberry leaf sweetness, but it’s not over powering. It almost has a minty coolness. Hard to pick out anything in the sip aside from the light mix of herbs I mentioned smelling, but the finish has a faint perfume to it. I can’t say I can taste the sandalwood, which is what caught my interest in this blend in the first place. I’m not taken by this tea and I really appreciate the chance to try it without having to commit to a 125g purchase. That would have been a disappointment especially after liking two other Laponics that Theodor has.
What is Laponic? I don’t know. A made-up French word?
Here’s a tin of tea, the last from a long-ago swap with ashmanra. Why did I not try this last holiday season?
This tea evokes many memories of my first job at 15, a wrap we made, specifically the pinto beans we put in it. The tea’s not at all beany, though. Basil is the strongest note for me, dried, savory. Cedar flavor provides a cool, woodsy tone. The blackberry leaf is very mellow in its flavor and sweetness. The base white tea is also mellow and slightly vegetal. There’s a very light tang I think provided by the berries.
Gentle tea, rejuvenating like a light broth. I like it. It reminds me also of Ohio and hiking in late fall through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Forest understory, maybe? Hemlock growing in secret locations atop sandstone ledges, narrow, silvery waterfalls disappearing down beech ravines, brambles lining meadows. God, Ohio has some modest beauty.
Whatever Laponic means, it’s a comforting, gentle tea to have on Christmas day as the rain falls in straight lines from the low, grey sky.
Merry Christmas :)
Flavors: Broth, Cedar, Forest Floor, Herbaceous, Herbs, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal, Wet Rocks