The friendly people from Nina’s Paris Tea Store U.S. team were kind enough to send me three samples of their flavored tea blends. Although I certainly have a preference for unflavored and unblended teas, I do admit that the three blends that I chose had rather attractive descriptions on Nina’s Paris website, available here. In addition to tea, Nina’s Paris also produces high quality fruit jams, and other gourmet foods.
The history of Nina’s Paris dates back to France in 1672, when it created fragrances under the original name “La Distillerie Freres.” The creator, Mr. Pierre Diaz, even supplied fragrances to the Court of Versailles, King Louis XIV, and Marie Antoinette. Today, this artistry for creating intoxicating aromas is applied to their loose leaf tea products. Among the three samples I chose were the Tigre Blanc Oolong, the Nina’s Japon green tea, and the Grand Amour black tea. I am most interested in the Tigre Blanc Oolong, which is flavored with 100% pure natural peach essential oils.
The sample pack is opened, and the tea leaves look similar to a Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) oolong, which should be a nice balance with the sweet peach flavoring. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a light to dark brown color. The leaves are small to medium size fragments. They are rolled, and are higher on the oxidation scale. The leaves appear to be a smaller grade of Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) or similarly processed Chinese oolong. There are also orange blossom petals mixed in, and a few small stem twigs. The aroma has a strong scent of fresh, ripe peaches, with lighter floral and citrus scents. There is also a slightly roasted, earthy scent from the oolong tea leaves.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a 5 ounce (150 ml) ceramic tasting infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.
The first infusion produced a dark orange color with a red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had a strong scent of ripe peaches, slight citrus and floral scents, and a mineral, earthy scent. The body was medium, with a mouth filling, smooth feel. The taste had strong notes of ripe peaches, and an earthy (mineral), lightly floral taste consistent with a Da Hong Pao style of oolong tea. There was a mild astringency. The aftertaste had a dominant peach character.
The second infusion produced a significantly lighter bright golden-orange color. The aroma remains dominantly peachy. The body has lightened some, but remains medium. The taste has lightened some on the peach, and the natural taste of the oolong tea is more noticeable. The mineral taste and effect have strengthened. Although significantly lighter, this is still a very good tasting infusion.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a golden-yellow color, lighter than the second infusion. The aroma maintains the peachy character. The aroma, body, and taste have lightened significantly. The taste remains peachy with an earthy, mineral note.
The infused leaves have a fairly uniform brown to dark brown color. All leaves are small to medium sized fragments. The aroma is mostly peachy, with a touch of earth and mineral.
I thought the natural earthy and mineral flavors of the oolong tea provided a very nice balance to the sweet peach flavoring oil. The smaller grade of tea leaf caused the second and third infusions to lose significant amounts of character from infusion to infusion. However, the all three infusions had an acceptable flavor. Now that I think about it, I have not had a flavored tea like this in quite a while. I certainly enjoyed the detour from the unflavored tea path. Thank you to Nina’s Paris for providing these samples. I look forward to trying the other samples. Cheers!