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Recent Tasting Notes
I was about to reluctantly settle in for another harrowing session of glaring down Immunology PowerPoint slides, when it occurred to me what would really kick down my brain’s door: I needed a warm, soothing cup of green tea.
But I didn’t have any, so instead I made this Earl Grey Royal by The Ô Dor. I estimated a shabby three teaspoons of leaf to a teapot-sized volume of water, yes that is my answer and I am sticking to it. I don’t know the volume and I don’t think it’s on my Immunology exam, so move along. Anyway, I let it steep for about one Arc-en-Ciel by Polo & Pan. Follow me for more recipes.
Evidently my estimating skills were a little off, or perhaps this tea has lost a little of its luster with age, much like myself. The result is somewhat weak, but I can still sense the majesty this tea must have boasted in its nascence, like oral stories passed on in whispers from the leaves as I chuck them in the trash. The bergamot swells in your mouth, with notes of citrus giving way to an essence that lends itself less easily to description. Then again, my tastes are conditioned to detect only two qualities in food, and those are ‘ice cream’ or ‘other’. This definitely falls under ‘other’, but what’s more: the lingering flavors are what I can only try to describe as woody, with a hint of spice, like chomping into ye olde yule log fresh from the fire on Christmas Eve — as one does.
Flavors: Bergamot, Spices, Wood
Grapefruit isn’t my thing. When I saw it in the ingredients I almost traded it for another this morning, but decided to steep it anyways. It’s actually an alright cup! There is a mix of citrus and I can’t pick out the grapefruit. The tea base adds a nice depth to it that counters the high notes of the citrus, balancing it out nicely. I don’t think I’d buy this, but if I came across it as an option for a single cup while out, I wouldn’t turn it down either.
I love vanilla in baked goods, ice cream and soda. I want to love it in tea as well, but it often times ends up too bland for my preferences. When I sip this tea, it seems very bland and flat. At the start of the finish it changes to a very lovely vanilla flavor that has depth, then it morphs back to flat. There must be a secret to steeping this that I haven’t yet mastered. I can tell that there is potential for an amazing cup in it, I just don’t know how to coax it out.
I first steeped this teabag two nights ago. I noticed the water turning pink and was worried about hibiscus ruining the cup for me. I’m starting to realize that Theodor might know how to do hibiscus in an appropriately moderate amount! I enjoyed the cup. The hib added a slight tartness that went well with the other fruits. I didn’t take any notes on the first steeping, but I did a second steep tonight. The flavors are weaker than the original cup, but still there. The hib is almost non existent. It almost has a pear flavor to it, but I think the fruit in this blend is a berry I’m not very familiar with. I can pick out the papaya which blends right into the pineapple. My mouth is left feeling a little dry, but I actually like this one which surprises me! I’d like to try it again for sure!
This is such a weird savory tea. I was drawn to it because it had such strange ingredients for a tea, very herby. I’m feeling a little under the weather this morning and a cup of this with it’s almost broth like flavors has gotten me part way through. I bet it would be even more broth like if I added salt and I bet it would make a great base for a soup. I’m such a desert tea type that it’s hard to wrap my brain around a tea not having those features, but I’m enjoying the strangeness of this all the same.
Advent day 17. This is a pretty smooth and mellow mint. I’m not sure if it’s the mint, the base or both that contribute to it being a little buttery. It’s missing that minty bite that I find in most mint teas and I really like that bite. Feeling so so about this one.
Advent day 14, Oh La La. I can’t find any info for this tea on Theodor’s website. It is a black base that they suggest steeping at a lower temperature. I can see various spices like anise stars in it. It smells and tastes like it has a hint of cranberry with those spices. It smells very festive and is an interesting blend with a unique taste. The serving of this is extremely generous (they sell sets of teas together in 4 wedge shaped bottles and this tea came in one of those bottles), so I have plenty of chances to get better acquainted with it. Suggested steeping temp is lower than most blacks for this.
Advent day 14. This smells like some citrusy candy from a vague childhood memory. This is such a strange blend of various citrus. I can’t quite name which fruit I’m tasting. It’s bright, crisp and sweet. I added a little cream and sugar, then forgot my cup until it cooled. I’m enjoying it chilled quite a bit now. This would be fantastic iced. Not quite sure if it makes my buying list, but I have two more tea bags to decide.
This calendar was expensive. Maybe around $80? It was a splurge, but I’m delighted to say that the portions and detail put into this are pretty big. Most days have three tea bags when a lot of other brands do only one. I’m already tempted to get one next year.
Advent day 13. Hibiscus. Sigh. I decided to try it anyways and to my surprise it isn’t bad! It isn’t even bright pink when steeped! It smells very peachy with a hint of pear. First part of the sip is flat as the flavors sort out in my brain, then the peach/pear combo kicks in with a touch of the hibby tang. It fades to just the fruit and then the finish has more of the hib tang. I’m not into it, but I’d tolerate it which is a compliment considering my hibiscus aversion.
Advent day 12. I’m not super familiar with Ceylans, so it’s hard for me to compare with the average. This is nice. It has this almost green hint to it for a second at the start of the sip before it turns malty for most of the sip, then has a slight sweetness as the flavors fade. It’s the kind of tea I can imagine going great with cream, so I might try that.
Cream was definitely the right choice! The cream goes so well with the malt and there is almost a fruity quality to it. Now that I taste this, it must have been a Ceylan that I had at the Dickens fair a couple weeks ago at their tea service. It was so busy I didn’t get a chance to ask what tea we were drinking!
Advent day 11. With this being herbal, I saved it for the end of the day and drank my caffeinated teas earlier. This has a nice blend of chamomile and verbena with a hint of fennel to sweeten it a touch. It’s nice, but nothing special. I feel like there are a ton of blends from other companies that are similar.
This was day 7 of the Theodor advent, but I wasn’t feeling well and the thought of a smoky tea was nauseating. I’m glad I held off because this is a really nice cup that I’d hate to have a bad association with. This has a super strong smokey scent and flavor, but it is balanced so well which isn’t something I’ve found in other laps. The sip is perfect and the finish is the same. It has a depth to it that I can’t quite put into proper words. Smokey, leathery, slight bit of tobacco. I now regret not getting some of this while in Paris or in my order when I returned home. It will have to be on my next order for sure.
Advent day 6. It’s a rooibos, so I get that woodsy soapy taste. On top of that taste is a pleasant red fruit flavor, which is nice. It reminds me of many red fruit green teas that I’ve had, but I can’t put a name on the exact fruit. I’m sure if I had this flavor on another type of tea base I’d like it, but rooibos is a no go for me.
Advent day 3! Three bags of this tea are in the 3 slot, another plentiful sample. I’m not usually a fan of oolongs, so I’m always surprised when I find one I like and doesn’t have that flat taste I associate with them. When opening this bag I was struck by how fruity and juicy it smelled. It’s just as delightful steeped. The pear and peach are the dominating flavors, but there is a slight sweetness that rounds out the fruit flavors. I’d guess this would be delicious cold steeped and might take a little cream well. This is a tea I’d totally buy!
Day 2 of the advent contained three teabags of this! It smells rich like liquor and raisins. The steeping suggestions say 90c which is around 198F, lower than I usually steep my black teas, but I tried it anyways. My first cup was on the light side and the second at a higher temp was a little richer, but I think a hotter first steep may be a better way to go. It still had that depth to it, but the flavors on top of that seemed muted. I could taste a chai mix, but it was more of a murmur. Luckily, with Theodor being so generous with their advent servings, I have two more bags to test steeping parameters on!
This tea was day 1 for the Theodor advent calendar! It came in one of those silky tea bags along with a card to make tasting notes through the month and a description of a game with a single prize for the winner. It’s a clever way to engage with the customers who bought an advent!
This is a verbena tisane, but the flavor was more like light chamomile and a hint of mint. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t try to dress this up a bit and blend it with other flavors to make it more complex. It was nice, but I wasn’t taken by it.
I don’t recall what dragon fruit tastes like, but I remember liking it. Goji berry on the other hand I have a distinct impression of being really gross. Somehow the two of these combined taste very cola like! I have had several cups of this since acquiring it this summer, but I’ve been doing my default black tea parameters which haven’t resulted in an optimal cup. Today I was careful to follow the instructions on the bag and I feel like that gave a much better flavor. The start of the sip is a little confusing to me, like the flavors need time to sort themselves out, but partway through the sip I get that cola flavor that lasts into the finish. I’m not able to pick out the black tea behind the flavors, it kind of just blends right in there. I didn’t expect cola to be a flavor I’d enjoy in tea, but I’m liking this. Cola tastes pretty good when it’s not drowning in sugar!
I have had this tea for at least ten months. I don’t know quite what to say. It is….weird.
I LOVE most The O Dor teas, with some of the blends being right at the top of my list, but this one baffles me. I don’t hate it. I wish the tin was empty and I will be relieved when it is. It just tastes weird to me.
In spite of the ingredient list, it does not taste fruity to me. I don’t even know what it does taste like to me. Besides weird.
I tried it hot again a few days ago to see if maybe the first pot I made had been a fluke. Nope, still weird. So I decided to ice it and add sugar and while I WILL drink it just to be not wasteful, I groan when I open the fridge and see it. My husband says it is odd but he doesn’t mind it and is fine with drinking it iced until it is gone.
Yes, life is short and it would probably be better to just throw it away, but we really are not wasteful and try to use, mend, repair, redo, recycle….you get the idea. And as I said, it isn’t vile, it is just super weird tasting to me. I think I have enough leaf for about two gallons. That should use it all up within a week or two. We will see.
This was a sample I was given with my purchase. I really liked it the first time I had it, but didn’t make any notes. It is a really interesting blend. I can taste the mate, which adds a bit of an ashy taste, which blends well with the chocolate, which blends well with the light chili kick. The flavors merge together well! The licorice is very subtle adding a touch of sweetness, lingering a little in the finish. It’s hearty, yet light and slightly spicy. I’m not usually into mates, but I’d think about ordering some of this!