362 Tasting Notes
Now this finally a sample whose donor I can identify – thank you Ysaurella.
I liked the oolong-quality of this a lot, the base was lovely and smooth. I think I must have kept it too long, the caramel notes were there but somewhat subdued, and that was not necessarily a problem, I enjoyed it very much just as it was.
I got to confess, this was a sample I got in a swap and it was so long ago i forgot who i got it from – sorry! The package was fantastically hermetically sealed and this was in great condition, but still finally giving this a try.
Rooibos with cinnamon, or spices in general is right up my alley and this time of the year, I am always putting the kettle on, but mid-afternoon I got to swap to rooibos or tisanes, so this sample was a nice re-discovery. There is a right time of the day/year for every tea for me.
This is interesting, because it´s a perfect example of how americans and europeans (or the rest of the world?) call cinnamon to different spices. This is the sharp, almost hot, cassia taste, which I confess reminds me inevitably of cinnamon chewing gum. I am used to Ceylan cinnamon, which is rounder somehow. But cassia does work really well as a flavouring, I added some sweetener and milk and it´s very pleasant. Just, and I knew about it, could not help expecting a different cinnamon because of the name.
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.