Tag Archives: Loose Leaf

Fragranced Organic Teas by Aftelier Perfumes

After I shared a surprisingly popular post about tea a couple of weeks ago, the wonderful indie perfumer Mandy Aftel kindly sent me samples from her own tea collection. I was thrilled and had a fine time trying each one.




I drank them without milk and without sugar (on my first cup at least) to get the true taste. All four teas are organic and use edible essential oils and absolutes on a base of premium tea leaves. Depending on what method of infusion you use, on the first steeping you can watch the leaves unfurl in the water. You can also re-infuse them several times, which is great. Below are my impressions of each variety.tea-roseginger-2tOolong Tea Rose & Ginger 

This organic Tieguanyin oolong tea from Taiwan is infused with Mandy’s Chef Essences of Turkish Rose and Fresh Ginger. I thought I didn’t like floral teas, however either rose is an exception or this tea is so subtly flavoured/scented it’s a joy. I was also concerned the ginger might be overpowering but it added a lovely gingerbread background warmth. I think I might struggle with straight-up oolong but this combination of flavours gives it body and make it work beautifully for me. Now I’m looking forward to trying more rose flavoured teas.

Black Tea Cardamom & Orange

I love the scent of black tea, cardamom and orange so it’s no surprise that this turned out to be a hit with me. The cardamom comes through more than the orange but it’s a gentle backnote to the tea itself which is full, rounded and satisfying in the way black tea usually is for me. According to the website this is “Organic Red Pearls Black Tea, a rare tea from Fujian, is fully-oxidized Mao Feng tea leaves that have been rolled into small black pearls. They are then pan-fired where they develop a burnished sheen, toasty caramel-like aroma, and spicy, assertive — yet wonderfully sweet — flavor.”

Oolong Tea Frankincense GABA

An incense tea! I love incense so this was a novel and fun experience for me. The scent is fantastically resinous, rather than smoky and it’s the fullest oolong tea I can imagine.  The oolong tea from Taiwan has fruit and honey notes and is infused with hojary incense. GABA is a natural enzyme that calms and relaxes which is a definite plus. You’d think it might feel strange drinking incense but doesn’t. It’s perfect for de-stressing after work on a cold winter’s evening.

Aged Pu’erh in Tangerine Peel

Until late last year I hadn’t even heard of Pu’erh. It’s actually a fermented tea from Yunnan, China. Here, the leaves are packed into the rind of a whole tangerine.and aged for four years. They take on the flavour of the tangerine and the citrus is enhanced further by the addition of Mandy’s Yellow Mandarin Chef’s Essence. I found the unique scent very comforting.  It’s earthy and rubbery and laced delicately with citrus. Perhaps surprisingly, this tea is really refreshing and I found it easy to drink without sugar, which is rare. I also love that it comes in the tangerine peel.




Each tea composition is expertly balanced with essences and absolutes that complement and enhance the leaves; never overwhelming them.  They are clearly created with the same care and artistry as the Aftelier perfumes. They’ve brought home to me just how closely smell and taste are connected and how making a cup of tea can become, in Mandy’s own words, “a time-stopping pleasure” during a demanding day.


Do you like the sound of any of Mandy’s teas? Are there any scented teas you currently enjoy?


Filed under Food & Drink

Fancy A Cuppa?

I’m a tea person. I’ve never liked coffee (although I like the aroma) and since giving up squash and fruit juice, I now only drink water, green juice and tea. You can imagine which one of these I enjoy the most.

The narrowing down of my beverage options has motivated me to look into improving my daily tea experience.  I’ve long been aware that tea-bags contain little more than the sweepings from the factory floor, but now I’m finally investigating loose leaf tea for the first time.

Just before Christmas my sister bought me a lovely little tea pot with a built-in infuser and so I needed something to put in it. I bought a cannister of Gold Leaf Tea from M&S thinking this would be a good start. Sadly, it’s very powdery and is very strong, so I decided to look online. I searched for organic teas (considering I’m trying to go in that direction with my food) and came across TeaLyra.

After suffering from duodenal ulcers about ten years ago, I was advised to avoid black tea early in the day, so I drink at lot of Rooibos (or Red Bush) tea from South Africa. It is caffeine-free and is said to contain a number of minerals and is a high source of calcium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium and zinc  I don’t think it tastes as good as black tea but I can drink it with half a sugar and no milk. Unfortunately I can’t abide herbal or fruit teas.

I ordered some Organic Rooibos Pure from the website as well as a small amount of Organic Orange Pekeo Ceylon.  I wanted a “proper” tea to have around 4.30pm (tea-time!) and really liked the softness of the Ceylon tea-bags a work colleague brought me back from Sri Lanka. It turns out Orange Pekeo doesn’t mean it has an orange flavour but that the young leaves are picked when the tips first open. Not unlike perfume, tea is a whole world of its own with its accompanying jargon, varieties and of course, connoisseurs.

Obviously I have a lot to learn, so tell me…




Do you have a love of loose leaf tea? What are your favourite varieties and where do you purchase them from? Have you tried any of the teas by Aftelier Perfumes? What equipment do you use and do you drink it from china or glass?

Let’s talk tea in the comments.








Filed under Uncategorized