294 Tasting Notes
Advent calender Cupper #7
So, finally a Xmas -y blend! The typical spices of a chai come through from the start, and even now my empty mug smells nicely of them. I normally associate chai to black tea based blends, so this is a bit of a change. But, yours truly isn´t a chai tea lover, so in taste I notice – positive point – that the spices don´t overpower you, as in most of the chistmas teas; however, cinnamon ruins a lot for me.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Spices
Advent calendar Cupper #6
Keep Calm consists almost half of chamomile, so it´s really surprising that I kind of liked this infusion…but I did. Is it because of the honeybush, as I didn´t notice the cinnamon (which I´m even a lesser fan of!).
Flavors: Herbal, Herbs
In october my parents celebrated their 65 years of marriage, so I travelled – already for the second time this year as in March my mother celebrated her 90th birthday – all the way by car from Spain to Belgium. I´ve learnt during the 20odd years of living abroad that I better spread my trip over at least 2 days if I don´t want to spend at least a day completely exhausted and unable to do anything. However, this time, enjoying the nice weather, we took a scenic route ;-) and drove 3 days stopping at a friend´s place in the Lot (France) as well, for instance. We booked small B&Bs (chambres d´hôte) for the rest of the trip. In one of these, there was even a coffee and tea tray…it must be that a lot of British people stop here, as it´s not at all common to find that in continental B&Bs.
No black tea, only this “tisane” from a traditional French brand.
Yes, Martin, nowadays l´Eléphant is part of Unilever (since 1975) but the company dates back to 1892. And researching the matter, I found a great story : in 2010 Unilever wanted to close down the plant near Marseille (called Fralib then) where the l´Eléphant teabags are made, and the workers fought 1336 days to get control of the factory, which they finally managed with help of the département (who bought the land on which the factory stands). It´s a cooperative now and I read they mainly focus on teas based on natural and local plants. Their brand name is 1336, and they managed to realise profits in 2020. Originally, they had another claim, that of maintaining the brand name, but unilever refused and took the production to Poland although they sold the entire tea division at the end of 2021 to an investment fund, and I don´t know what consequences that had or will have, but it seems the Marseille employee owned Scop-Ti (current name of the company) will continue trying getting the l´éléphant brand name back.
Back to this tisane though…I had a “nuit tranquille” (quiet night), so that was OK ;-) As I´m not a fan nor an expert in herbal teas I cannot really judge but I thought this tisane lacked taste overall. Next time in France, I´ll look for the 1336 brand, only to support the workers I think it´s already worthwhile buying it.
As my advent calendar is (bio) infusion based, which is not at all what I normally drink – and even less what I usually enjoy drinking – I have been picking from my cupboard to drink the rest of the day. I´m slowly finishing this EG tea, and an updated tasting note is due.
As Martin suggested 2 years ago, I´ve been crushing the juniper berries in a mini mortar before steeping, and this really makes a difference : the juniper comes also through in the final taste, even in the 2nd brew. Nice. I might even buy more of this blend, although I need to finish a lot more teas (they currently don´t all fit in the dedicated cupboard!) before I do so.
Flavors: Bergamot, Floral
Advent Calendar Cupper #5.
This morning I decided to taste this infusion blind, and you know what? I was convinced this was a herbal blend with honey…although this last note I couldn´t identify anymore after the first sips. When I look at the list of ingredients (this infusion beats all the other teas included in this tea advent calendar) I see the lemony notes come from citronella, lemon verbena, lemon peel and added aroma´s, and it´s true it never offends. What I thought could be honey must be the orange in the blend, although licorice and rosehip can contribute some sweet notes. Not a bad blend, but a bit unbalanced when considering its name ;-) Maybe, as others indicated, better to drink cold?
Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Lemon
Advent calender Cupper #4.
Like day2´s infusion this one also is very aromatic, with a complete strawberry plantation opening up in your nose, but it being almost absent in mouth. Hibiscus and rosehip do what they normally do, and even overwhelm the rooibos in this blend. A shame really.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Rosehips, Strawberry
Advent calendar Cupper #3.
As the name of this blend was indicated directly in English, it was easy to find the Clipper reference. According to the box, the blend consists of 43% citronella, 23% Yerba Mate and 15% lemon verbena.
I´m not a mate drinker, and even less a mate fan, so it was quite a nice surprise to be able to enjoy this infusion ;-) Verbena and citronella join forces to add a nice citrusy ting to the more herbal backbone. It makes me think of a fresh chamomile infusion, in a good way (chamomile isn´t much appreciated by my stomach), so I should give this infusion a try whenever I´ve overeaten. Balanced blend, “rise and shine” to get going in the morning in a gentle way.
Flavors: Citrusy, Herbaceous, Herbal
Advent calendar Cupper #2.
It was difficult to identify this precise infusion, as it seems that every language (Italian and Spanish on box) uses a different name, and therefore berry (the generic berry in E, blueberry in It) to define the cranberry, as it shows on the picture I found when looking for the blend online (Spanish shop). I therefore created this infusion on steepster linking list of ingredients of box to name as shown on picture.
The teabag is very aromatic, where raspberry dominates. In taste it´s clear hibiscus and rosehip take the lead, but it stays quite balanced, and even better : not overly sweet. Definitely an enjoyable red fruits infusion.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Raspberry, Rosehips
This year I really didn´t want to spend a fortune on an advent calendar, so I bought a cute one – the size of a normal 20 teabag box – from “Cupper”. All ingredients are mentioned in Italian and Spanish, but the list of ingredients says UK and non-UK agriculture so I imagine in UK a similar advent calendar is brought to you by Clipper ;-) !
All teas and infusions are bio, and there are 24 teabags of 12 different varieties.
This lemon and ginger infusion is #1.
In general, i´m not a huge ginger fan, not because I don´t like it, but because it often overtakes all the other ingredients, a bit like hibiscus in fruit infusions. This infusion however is balanced with the lemon being quite discrete and natural while the ginger takes over later on and provides a very long finish at the back of the throat. Nice.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon
One of the things I really appreciate when buying teas from The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co is that trying out teas from lesser known tea regions doesn´t break the bank. This black tea from Nepal for instance.
From K&S ´s website : “Nepal Himshikhar Black Tea Organic consists of beautifully-worked, olive-coloured leaves with green inserts and a high proportion of silver tips. Its finer qualities transcend upon brewing, whereby it offers a flowery, fresh, complex taste rounded off with muscatel undertones.
Casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike are bound to fall in love with this infusion. We pack this leaf tea fresh to order here at our Kent-based factory.
It’s worth noting, too, that the caffeine content of Nepal Himshikhar Black Tea Organic is significant. This, of course, makes it a great choice for those needing an extra boost.”
And indeed, it´s a very robust tea. I tried steeping it twice, which can be done perfectly : the first brew is a bit more floral, even herbal in nose, the second one has subtle malty tones; in mouth the tea has body, the muscatel undertones gain strength in finish.
Not as elegant as a Darjeeling, but quite a bit cheaper as well, so very enjoyable overall.
Flavors: Floral, Muscatel, Tea