362 Tasting Notes
Well, I had been warned by Barbara that this was a “delicate” flavour. Which is an euphemism for the flavour being rather weak. And it is, or rather the flavour is rather weak in the middle , in the mouth feel. It smells sublime, like strawberry jam or cheesecake with strawberry jam. And it leaves a wonderful aftertaste. It´s just those middle taste notes which seem surprisingly absent.
Barbara so kindly swapped a huge ammount with me so i have been experimenting with brewing this. This was on my wish list, and if I had smelled it I would have been sure to have bought it. Experimenting with brewing, and torturing this a bit (almost boiling water, long steep times) and like all Theodor teas I have had so far, oh this is nice and smooth, so easy to brew and difficult to spoil. There is a dry-ness (in the sense of dry wine) to the tea I find very appealing and refreshing. I am really enjoying it. I am just continously baffled by those absent middle notes.
My favorite way of brewing this is 1.5 teaspoons of dry leaf, water just short of boiling water and some 5 minutes. It survives that with distinction and very little astringency.
I am usually attracted to trying novelty ideas on flavoured tea (that darjeeling with tomato and courgette, on my watch list!), and sometimes the plain old ideas are not my first pick. Example peach and vanilla tea, this red fruits tea, plain old (but excellent) jasmine tea. And often simple really is best.
This is so far my favorite Dammann tea, very very fruity black tea, noticeable cherry, strawberry and raspberry, just right. And as is the peach-vanilla flavoured black tea a very cheering tea to drink in winter and plan for the summer.
This was an extra sample from a swap with Barbara78, thank you so much, oh it was a lovely surprise. One I had to try at once.
I was in a total chai phase a couple months ago (cappuccino frother included) which seems to be abating – I decided to brew this western style instead in order to judge better.
And it is a great chai while being very different from my till-now definitive chai (Chandernagor). Like it, it has cloves! I love cloves in chai, it can add an extra dimension to all the other spices. Here it is more subtle. I can detect cinnamon as well, and ginger definitely. As well as vanilla. It is a perfectly balanced tea. Barbara found chocolate-like notes on it, I did not but must brew it again.
I am finding a certain quality to Thé-o-dor´s flavoured black teas, something I am struggling to describe but which I find very enjoyable, a certain on-the-exact edge balance of flavours with tea, nothing ever too strong nor too weak, a certain “just right”. And this is another winner!
a sample from a friend (obrigada T) and well this is weird. Meringues (marshmallows?), raisins, cardamom and orange in a green tea base. Unexpected.
The green tea is huge leafed, seems like a chinese sencha to me. The orange and cardamom work well together IMO by putting it in chai territory. But either I screwed up the brewing (? not too hot, not too long) or the base is not too good – it is astringent and slightly bitter. Not an unpleasant experience, but not quite to my taste. Obrigada na mesma, T!
I bought this with a (sadly slight) discount about 2 months ago. Expiration date was March 2013. Even if this tin was just 80 grams, I expected it would last well past the expiration date – but I am not too fussy about that for tins which have been sealed for most of their consume-by date and if it´s not flavoured green teas.
But it seems this tin is not going to last to March! I have given a few samples, and it was just 80 grams, but even making this last by having two steeps, it´s going quite fast indeed (second steep is not as magical. but still better than a lot of my other teas).
I am rationing it a bit, but whenever I crave it and make it, I subconsciously expect it is not as awesome as I remember, but it always is. A really huge favorite of mine and one it is going to my definite to rebuy list (no matter the price!).
About taste notes, this is a multiple personality tea – many different notes, all subtle and evasive (it all works somehow!). Today I am getting a sort of minty tones to the wet leaves and a very buttery silkyness to the tea.
Fig! so that was what the fruit was. I smelled it and was thinking plums or nectarines or something else, but they are right it is fig indeed.
And I got to say this is the weirdest named Mariage Frères tea I ever had. According to them an hommage to America and its pilgrims so they but blue flowers which according to them bloom in the Pacific (! It´s a whole continent away!) rivers and they flavour it with fresh figs and vanilla. Oh dear. Ah, geography.
This was a sample so kindly sent by Ysaurella, thank you so much! I love trying these lesser know Mariage Fréres teas, and often they can be so very good. That is the case this is a very nice smooth black tea base (Ysaurella reports some trickiness while brewing it, I had not read that note yet and was admittedly careless in that first brew but either I got lucky or it just likes my tap water). I do not get much vanilla though I would swear I keep getting a note like plums! Merci, Ysaurella!
Dear reader, I feared this was a gimmick. I can not resist gimmicks even when I identify them correctly and had been craving this for, like ever, and never been on stock or available from any place with reasonable shipping. Till now, when thanks to a friend who spotted the very last one (obrigada!) I got one of my very own! Would it live up to expectations?
By the way this is theoretically Yumchaa´s Magic tea Filter http://www.yumchaa.com/produkty/tea-making-equipment/38/ though the box says this is Magic II by Cha Cult and patented to them though it seems there are tons of different versions of this. It´s a sort of good-plastic mug with a good silicone filter at bottom. You put the tea in, pour the water and after steeping, place over a mug which is smaller in diameter than the bottom of this infuser, the pression at bottom makes the water pour from the bottom. Gimmick or not?
At first, without figuring out how to remove the filter or lid for easier cleaning I very much feared it was a gimmick. Fun but so not easy to clean up. What would be the point of something much more difficult to clean than a regular teapot if it does not brew better than a regular teapot? But then I figured out how to remove the filter and lid for easier rinsing and cleaning, and OK that changes everything. Particularly for rooibos teas or for multiple steeps of the same tea – it really is more convenient while not being any more difficult to clean. I love seeing how the leaves expanded and opened during the infusion. I am pretty happy with it so far!
As drawbacks, well, you got to let the tea leaves cool a bit before removing them to clean the filter – I surprisingly more difficult to remember this than you would think. And for some reason this little .5 liter pot and the transparency of the pot I keep misjudging how much leaf to use – I suspect it will come with practice. But in all, more than a gimmick, a very nice well thought tool I am glad I got. BUT and there is a but, while really very convenient for a few brews (multiple steeps, rooibos), I am not sure this makes better tea than any old regular teapot with loose tea and a strainer.