Thé des Alizés green blend from Le Palais des Thes

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Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Le Palais Des Thés

Tea Description:

A green tea enlivened by flower petals and delicately scented with pieces of white peach, kiwi and watermelon. The green tea and the juicy freshness of the fruit are wonderfully balanced. Can be drunk hot or iced.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hello tea lovers!

During the UK’s persistent heatwave the craving for fruit tea has gotten the better of me. That’s when I pulled this one from my shelf to try. I adore watermelon and peach in a tea and considering this has both it made for an easy purchase. Plus with this being described as good for ‘hot’ or ‘iced’ tea it makes it all the better. This will be a ‘hot’ review but I plan on steeping it in my iced tea bottle later today to see the outcome. My curiosity is totally piqued!

The raw tea blend has large green tea leaves with yellow flower petals mixed in, if you look close enough you will find small cubes of fruit among the blend.

As I open the packet I am met with a peach scent which is sweet and very natural smelling. Among that is the slight perfume of grass and flowers. Beautiful in every way.

Steeping parameters – 1 tsp of leaf in my ceramic mug with removable filter and lid. (Around 250ml/9oz of water). Temp: 80C for 3 minutes.

Once steeped the tea is fairly dark yellow/green and bares the same beautiful peach scent as it’s raw form.

In flavour this is soft and sweet with buttery, toasted grass notes followed by smooth but sweet peach that feels like it melts in my mouth. Behind that there is another level of fruit and perfume, a little dry but ideally so, blended so well that I cannot distinctly taste the watermelon or kiwi. Not that the peach overpowers per say, it is soft but distinct, more that they are blended so well ie they work well together, that it combines as one.

As it cools the green tea thickens but remains grassy and pleasant, while the flowers also thicken to combine with them.

‘Yet still the peach sings her perfect sweet song on my tongue,

and my taste buds wiggle and dance.

For this blend does each and together belong,

forever to be sipped and enjoyed by chance.’

I’m glad that I pulled this out of my stash this morning. It’s been the perfect start to my day, and I can see myself sipping on this tea a lot in the near future. It tasted better than I expected as I do not usually favour flavoured tea, but the chance was well worth it with this one. The balance was perfect, the strength was refreshing and right, the flavours to me were divine and when I drink fruit tea this had everything I am looking for.

Happy Steeping Everyone!

Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Palais Des Thés

dong-dingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Le Palais des Thés

Tea Description:

Oolong tea lovers consider it one of Taiwan’s best.

Oolong tea with intermediate oxidation (30-40%). Naturally low in caffeine.

The tea is named Ding Dong (“Icy Peak” in Taiwanese) after the mountain that overshadowed the village of Lu Gu and its lake. It is the principal example of tea rolled into large, very dense pearls.

The pearl-shaped leaf is semi-oxidized, giving the liquor a unique yellow-orange color.

Its scent is both silky and intense, and its taste combines the flowery aspects of the less oxidized oolong teas with the fruitier, woodier Fancy teas. This exceptional harvest should be enjoyed according to the rules of Gong Fu Cha. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When it comes to fine Oolong teas like this Dong Ding Oolong from Palais Des Thes – from their Grand Cru collection of teas – it’s important to understand that proper brewing is important.  If you don’t have one already, I’d highly recommend picking up a gaiwan.

I did a quick google search on “Easy Gaiwan” looking for a source for the gaiwan that I use.  I didn’t find what I was looking for within a few minutes (about 15 minutes actually) so I gave up that search and told myself that someday, I’ll do a more in depth search for it.  For now, I will say that as I was searching I found many well thought out blog posts in defense for the use of a gaiwan so I don’t feel like I really need to go into the reasons for a gaiwan in depth here, so instead I’ll just say this:

After having brewed teas in just about any way you can imagine, I’ve found that the best way to steep an Oolong is with a Gaiwan, using short steeps.  I get the best flavor and the most infusions this way.  And really, when I drink tea, I drink it because I enjoy the flavor.  So why not take that extra step and grab the tool that will get the best flavor out of the tea?  Especially when using a gaiwan, especially an “easy gaiwan” like I own – is so easy!

If you want more a more in depth article on why you should be using a gaiwan for your Oolong brewing – google it.  Trust me.  You’ll find more than enough information that will convince you.

Anyway, let’s get back to this review.

To brew this tea, I did use my gaiwan (surprise, surprise) and I added a bamboo scoop of tea to the bowl of the gaiwan and then added just enough hot water (180°F) to cover the leaves for a quick rinse.  I let the tea steep for 15 seconds and strained the liquid, discarding it.  Then I infused the rinsed leaves for 45 seconds for the first infusion, and with each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds to the steep time.

The aroma is sweet, floral and slightly nutty.  These essences translate to the flavor, although I taste more nutty tones than I smell, and there are fewer floral notes than the fragrance led me to think there would be.

The sip begins with a strong honey-like flavor with hints here and there of flower.  Shortly after the start, I pick up on sweet, creamy notes that transform into a stronger nutty presence.  This is a very smooth tea from start to finish, and in this cup (a combination of infusions 1 and 2), I am getting virtually no astringency to speak of.  It is not bitter.  It’s just pleasant and lovely from beginning to end and then an aftertaste that is almost equally as enjoyable with hints of flower and luscious sweetness.

The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) is just as smooth as the first cup.  It’s not quite as creamy as the first cup was, but it’s still quite sweet and pleasantly nutty.  The floral notes are beginning to emerge slowly, but they aren’t sharp or overly aggressive.  They are soft, delicate flowery essences that mingle with the sweet nutty notes.  It’s almost like a sweet corn flavor – only sweeter than any corn I’ve ever tasted.  Like a sweet creamed corn with notes of butter.

With the last cup (infusions 5 and 6), I started to pick up on a light astringency.  This cup was lighter – not as creamy.  The nutty flavors are still present and it’s still a pleasantly sweet cuppa.  I found the aforementioned sweet creamed corn notes still present although it wasn’t as “creamy” as creamed corn this time, it tasted more like corn on the cob that had been roasted and then very lightly buttered.  The floral notes have emerged in a more prominent way now and I can taste distinct notes of orchid and even hints of jasmine.

A really enjoyable Dong Ding!  Recommended to all tea lovers!

Infusion des Marmottes Tisane from Les 2 Marmottes

Les2MarmottsTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Tisane

Where to Buy:  Les 2 Marmottes

Tisane Description:

Created in 1976, this is the first composition of two marmots.  This herbal tea to ruby and tangy taste is the sweetest and most mysterious of all.  Seven plants were found, but the dosage is one that will remain well buried in a hidden family secret terrier gallery . . .  

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I think that this is the blend that started the company (or so I’ve been led to believe by the above description).  It is a combination of linden, verbena, peppermint, hibiscus, chamomile, rosehip and orange blossoms.

To steep this blend, I heated the kettle to 195°F and used about 6 ounces of water to 1 teabag and left it to steep for 8 minutes.  It’s a little longer than I typically steep a blend with hibiscus in it (usually I steep it for 6 minutes, tops!) but because I didn’t see a lot of ruby colored leaves through the teabag, I hoped that I wouldn’t be left with a cup of tisane where the hibiscus completely took over.

Fortunately for me, there doesn’t seem to be a heavy amount of hibiscus to this blend.  The color of the brewed liquid is lightly “rosy” but not ruby red the way that heavily hibiscus-ed blends often are.  It also doesn’t have the thick texture (or pucker-y tartness) of a heavily hibiscus-ed blend.

This is a surprisingly balanced combination of the eight ingredients.  The two ingredients that I expected to overpower the others – the aforementioned hibiscus and the peppermint – do not knock out the other components of this blend.  Peppermint can often be a rather strong presence in a blend when added with too heavy a hand.  Here, the peppermint tastes light.  It is crisp and adds a cool flavor to the cup without overwhelming the other flavors of the cup.

The linden, chamomile and orange blossom add just a whisper of floral essence to the cup while the verbena adds a hint of citrus.

The overall flavor of the cup is subtle and herbaceous.  Do I like it?  It’s alright.  Not the best tisane I’ve ever tasted but certainly not the worst either.  I think I rather prefer some of the other tisanes that I’ve tried from Les 2 Marmottes, but this isn’t terrible.  It’s a gentle cuppa, nice for later in the evening when you’re wanting to wind down and relax.  I think it’s best served with a little drizzle of honey to the cup – it makes this a very soothing and calming drink.

Thé Des Songes from Le Palais de Thés

the-des-songesTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Le Palais de Thés

Tea Description:

A delicious Oolong tea scented with flowers and exotic fruits. Low in caffeine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Thé Des Songes from Le Palais de Thés is a very fruity Oolong tea!  I taste notes of flower, certainly, but, I’m tasting more fruit than flower … and I’m tasting more fruit than I am Oolong tea.

That last part is just a wee bit disappointing, because when I opened the little tin tube of this tea and saw that this is a dark Oolong, I was looking forward to more complexity from the Oolong than what I’m getting because the fruit flavors tend to mask the Oolong just a wee bit.

I am still getting Oolong flavor, I guess I was just hoping for a little more tea flavor and a little less fruity flavor.  I think most of what I’m getting from the Oolong here is the texture … that smooth … almost buttery mouthfeel from the Oolong and I do like how it melds with the sweetness of the fruit notes and the hints of flower.

I think that some of my disappointment stems from the fact that the fruit notes are so jumbled together that it’s difficult to discern just what fruit flavors I’m tasting. I taste notes of lush stone fruit … like peach and possibly nectarine.  Every once in a while, I also taste a tropical note that is somewhere between papaya and mango.  And it would seem that every once in a while I recognize a brightness that tastes distinctly citrus-y to me.

The floral notes are softer than the fruit … but I am appreciating those because they offer an interesting contrast to the sweetness of the fruit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating this cup of tea.  It’s actually quite flavorful and very tasty.  The fruit is sweet and a little bit tart, and the flowery notes come in like a whispering wisp of flavor across the palate.  The Oolong has a beautifully soft texture and offers a pleasing backdrop of flavor … I just find myself wishing there was more Oolong flavor and a bit less of the fruit flavor.  All in all not a bad cup of tea … it just could be better!

Thé Des Concubines from Le Palais de Thés


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & Green Teas

Where to Buy:  Le Palais de Thés

Tea Description:

Recreate the unique, welcoming atmosphere of a Chinese tea house. This rare tea is a refined, delicate blend of green and black teas from China with rich, fruity notes of cherry, mango and vanilla. Contains rose petals and fruit pieces.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

Really tasty!  I like that the cherry flavor in this tea – Thé Des Concubines from Le Palais de Thés – does not come off tasting like cough syrup, and that the mango and cherry are nicely balanced.

The overall flavor is sweet.  The cherry has notes of tartness that offer contrast, but, mostly, what I taste is the sweet notes of the cherry, the mango, and the creamy tones of the vanilla.  This would make a nice dessert type tea.

Because it is a blend of black and green teas, I opted for a lower brew temperature (185°F) and steeped it for 2 1/2 minutes.  The result is a cuppa that has notes of both black and green teas – earthy, vegetative, and smooth – but it is a mild tasting background.  It is nicely round, and finishes slightly dry and sweet.

I enjoyed this tea – and it tastes great hot or iced.  I found that I preferred it iced, the sweet, fruity notes really came forward with the chilled drink.