Tea Primer Part 1 : Black and Oolong Teas

If you are a fragrance  enthusiast, even a brief introduction to tea will reveal that the line between fragrance and tea is a fine one.  The enjoyment of tea begins before you even take a sip. As you inhale the aromas rising above a steaming cup, you can imagine the taste: smoky, leafy, fruity, leathery or even floral. When I recently wrote about white teas, many of you mentioned in the comments that you were interested in learning more about tea, but weren’t sure where to start. Today I’m happy to present the first installment in a series of articles about tea. In this tea primer, I’ll detail types of tea, selecting and brewing tea, and other information about enjoying tea to its fullest. For all of those who are seasoned tea enthusiasts, I hope to offer some new insights and to learn from all that you have to share.

Part 2 : Green, White and Herbal Teas

Part 3 : Tea Brewing Basics

Part 4 : How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Tea

Part 5 : A Guide to Buying Quality Tea

Tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world after water–it’s simple to make, and the taste is refreshing. Tea originated in China over 4,000 years ago, and today it is easier than ever to find high quality tea from around the world. There are various types of tea, but all share a common origin, coming from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Where the Camellia sinensis leaves are grown and how they are processed determines the differences between the various types of tea produced from this plant. I will start by describing the scent and taste differences between different teas by focusing on the dark and rich varieties–black and oolong.

Black Tea

When tea made its way to the western world in the 16th century, it was black tea that became famous as a mainstay. Black tea was easier to ship, and it was less sensitive to the sorts of unfavorable conditions that might make it lose flavor during long sea journeys. It continues to be one of the most easily recognizable types of tea, and is a good starting point for those new to the world of tea. Of all types of tea, black tea also undergoes the most intense processing; after the fresh tea leaves are picked, they are allowed to wilt before being crushed and then allowed to sit and fully oxidize.

“Oxidization” is a term you encounter frequently in literature on tea. What does it mean? Oxidization for tea leaves is very similar to what happens when a slice of apple turns brown after being left to sit in the air–this is called enzymatic browning. It is the oxidization process that gives black tea its rich, dark aroma, flavor, and color. Once the tea leaves have fully oxidized, they are rolled into a more compact shape before being dried, at which point the tea is ready for consumption.

Black teas are primarily produced in China, Sri Lanka, and India. Black teas are characterized by a dark-colored infusion with a full, roasted, woodsy flavor and an astringent quality brought about by tannins, bitter-tasting compounds that form during the oxidization process. In perfume, black tea notes, or rather the accords inspired by tea, are used for their roasted, smoky accent. You can discover in L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for TwoComme des Garçons TeaBulgari Black, and with a light touch in Hermès Osmanthe Yunnan.

Some of my favorite black teas: Assam, Keemun Hao Ya (I love all Keemun teas), Art of Tea Biodynamic Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong Superior, Le Palais des Thés Grand Yunnan Imperial.

Oolong Tea

For me, oolong teas carry a certain poetry that is unmatched by other teas; watching the twisted leaves unfurl and dance as the tea infuses into hot water is both mesmerizing and makes me feel as if the leaves are revealing some sort of deep, hidden secret. The real secret of oolong lies in its production; after picking, the leaves are allowed to wilt and are lightly bruised before sitting and oxidizing. The leaves are not, however, allowed to fully oxidize so they are often considered only “semi-oxidized.” In order to halt the oxidation process, the leaves are baked, and then rolled, and finally dried. The partially oxidized state of oolong leaves puts them somewhere in between a black tea and a green tea, and since the amount of oxidization varies from tea to tea (usually from about 10-80% oxidized), the flavor is also highly variable. Oolongs that are less oxidized tend to have a brighter, fresher flavor, like a green tea, while oolongs that are more oxidized have a dark, woody flavor more similar to a black tea.

Oolongs are mostly cultivated in China and Taiwan. These varieties exhibit some of the most interesting flavor subtleties of all types of tea—fruity and floral notes of peach, plum, lilac, orchid, and pear are typical of many oolongs and make each tea a unique flavorful journey. If you’re interested to try oolong on your skin, Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini and Providence Perfume Co Osmanthus Oolong offer elegant renditions on this note in perfume.

Some of my favorite oolong teas: Art of Tea Jasmine Ancient Beauty and Orchid Oolong, Ten Ren Alishan Oolong, Rishi Tea Wuyi Rare Orchid.

Do you have favorite black teas or fragrances with tea notes?

Photography by Andy Gerber (top photo by Bois de Jasmin)

Tea shopping links: Art of Tea, Ten Ren, Le Palais des ThésRishi Tea



  • eminere: Love drinking tea! Never managed to find any tea-note fragrances suitable for men. Any suggestions? 😀 November 27, 2012 at 8:18am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure Andy will have some of his own suggestions, but have you tried Parfum d’Empire Eau de Gloire, Cartier Declaration Cologne version by Mathilde Laurent or Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate? Also, Comme des Garcons Tea is definitely wearable for a man. November 27, 2012 at 10:59am Reply

    • Andy: I really haven’t sampled enough tea scents to have a very complete answer, but I recently sampled Oolang Infini from Atelier Cologne (thanks to Victoria!) and I found it to be very wearable. Its suggestion of tea is very subtle, but I still liked it. Since bergamot and leather are prominent notes in the fragrance, it definitely has a masculine edge.

      It might just be me, but vetiver notes often smell a lot like black tea to my nose, so you might be able to find a more masculine “tea” fragrance by looking for a soft, airy vetiver scent. November 27, 2012 at 3:54pm Reply

    • eminere: Thanks for the suggestions! I think the Cartier may be the easiest to find here. 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 3:54am Reply

  • ChrisinNY: I got a descant of Eau Parfumee au The Vert Bvlgari and really appreciated the tea flavor it had on me. It wasn’t a winner (enough to buy a full bottle) but definitely a nice scent. November 27, 2012 at 9:31am Reply

    • Nikki: Bulgari’s Eau Parfumee au The Vert is a great fragrance by Ellena! Unfortunately, everybody wore it at one time which is why I didn’t, but the time may be right to start using it again. The pale green, frosted flacon is gorgeous, too. November 27, 2012 at 10:46am Reply

      • Victoria: My husband wears it, and if I could, I would ask him to wear it exclusively (my husband, however, prefers to rotate his fragrances). It has such a beautiful sillage–soft and elegant, refreshing and alluring. November 27, 2012 at 10:49am Reply

  • smellslikeroses: I love English breakfast tea and now I’m curious how you would describe the flavor. What’s English Breakfast anyway? A special blend? November 27, 2012 at 9:36am Reply

    • Andy: You’re right, English Breakfast is a blend of black teas. Usually it contains teas like Assam, Keemun, and Ceylon black tea, but the exact contents of the blend vary from company to company. I would describe English Breakfast tea as having a full-bodied, roasted and woody flavor, though blends with Assam also tend to have a malty edge. I also love English Breakfast tea, it can really hit the spot on a drowsy morning! November 27, 2012 at 4:05pm Reply

  • maja: I love Assam, too, although it’s less highly regarded (maybe?) and I love your picture above. It looks like there is a cloud in your cup and a bit of a blue sky 🙂 November 27, 2012 at 9:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Maja, oh, yes, you’re right! I took that picture on the veranda, and it was an uncharacteristically sunny day of blue skies and soft, fluffy clouds 🙂

      And I love Andy’s picture, which gives such a different mood–another tea cup, another type of ambiance. November 27, 2012 at 10:52am Reply

      • maja: Oh, yes, love the swirl of smoke captured 🙂 November 27, 2012 at 10:56am Reply

    • Andy: Maja, I agree and, I feel like there is never as wide a selection of different Assam teas as there is for other teas like Darjeeling. I love Assam tea too, and now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m curious why the selection always seems a bit lesser.

      And I agree, Victoria’s picture is beautiful! November 27, 2012 at 4:14pm Reply

  • JessicaD: Love this new series on teas, thank you! I very much look forward to the next posts. November 27, 2012 at 9:37am Reply

    • Andy: I’m glad to hear that! Thank you, Jessica! I can’t wait to share more in this series. November 27, 2012 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Anna Minis: I am a coffeedrinker and don’t like tea, but that beautiful picture of black tea makes me almost change my mind! November 27, 2012 at 10:02am Reply

    • Andy: I know, doesn’t that cup look delicious? One type of tea not mentioned in this post, Pu-erh, is often recommended to coffee drinkers because its flavor is particularly dark and earthy, somewhat similar to coffee. It is a lot like black tea, but goes through a complex fermentation process that gives the leaves a unique flavor. November 27, 2012 at 4:22pm Reply

  • Barbara: Great series! I want to learn more too. I visited Ten Ren once but I left a bit confused. The teas ranged in price and the names were new to me. I had no idea where to start. Now I will have to go back and ask for Alishan Oolong. November 27, 2012 at 10:12am Reply

    • Andy: Thanks, Barbara! When I first started getting into loose leaf tea, I found the many names and choices to be absolutely bewildering! My friend got me the Alishan Oolong while she was in Taiwan, and it is great! It is lightly oxidized, so it is actually very similar to a green tea, but this particular oolong has a strong, green marigold note and a nice, gentle fruitiness. November 27, 2012 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Austenfan: Thanks for your post. As a tealover I was familiar with most of it but I always enjoy reading about tea. I read the other day that in Assam they use/cultivate a different shrub from the Cam. Sin. in China. It is Cam.Sin. var. Assamica.
    My favourite black tea by far is Yunnan, especially the more expensive ones. Betjeman and Barton has my absolute favourite ( so far) which is called Yunnan Jin Meo. Poetry in a cup.
    I like to drink Assam in the mornings; it packs more of a punch than Chinese black teas.
    As I live in Europe I get my tea from Le Palais des Thés, Betjeman&Barton and Mariage Frères.

    A great Lapsang Souchong perfume has been discontinued unfortunately. I don’t know if you have ever smelled Eau du Fier by Goutal? The opening notes are just like a very tarry Lapsang! November 27, 2012 at 10:36am Reply

    • Andy: Yes, I too have read that there are quite a few different varieties of Camellia sinensis used for tea production. It’s great to hear some of your favorite teas, and your description of that Yunnan makes it sound especially appealing. I’ve never heard of Betjeman & Barton, but I’ll have to check this company out—it sounds interesting.

      I’ve never smelled Eau du Fier, but that top note sounds beautiful! It’s funny you mention smoked tea aroma as a top note, because I just started using a Lapsang Souchong tincture in some fragrance blends I’ve been making, and it adds that same smoky edge to the top notes of my blends. November 27, 2012 at 5:11pm Reply

  • Nikki: I love Oolong tea. In Chicago’s Chinatown was a beautiful teashop and they had the most amazing jasmin tea which was terribly expensive. I used to drink Oolong tea while eating dimsum there as it really helps to digest well, which is why Oolong tea is highly recommended when losing weight. My other favorite is Earl Grey, just the scent alone is wonderful. I like Darjeeling as well. I remember drinking gunpowder tea while gowing up, but my taste has changed. I don’t like breakfast teas as they are too strong and I am not fond of tea with milk at all, either lemon or nothing is best for me. The only tea with milk for me is Chai, well spiced. There was a craze of black cherry tea in Germany 40 years ago…and vanilla teas. The newer teas like Roiboos from South Africa are good as well, but they are not teas strictly speaking. Mate from Argentina is very uplifiting (if that can be considered tea? probably not). I love drinking tea out of very thin cups or porcelain mugs. It does make a difference in the taste I find. I had a fabulous Russian trainer in Chicago, Fima, who introduced me to drinking Russian black tea in beautiful silver and crystal mugs with blackcurrant jam. He brewed the tea and used a samovar as well. We had tea and caviar and lox instead of sweets like in Germany. High tea is fabulous, of course, with thin cucumber sandwiches and champagne and devonshire cream and scones! November 27, 2012 at 10:43am Reply

    • Andy: Your comment made me smile, thank you for sharing so many interesting memories! I find it especially fascinating to read about all of the trends and traditions associated with tea in Germany that you mentioned. I had no idea! November 27, 2012 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Shaney: Thank you for this series! I can’t wait to read the rest…now I’m off to look up Keemun tea 🙂 November 27, 2012 at 10:55am Reply

    • Andy: You’re welcome, Shaney! I love Keemun tea so much, I highly recommend it! November 27, 2012 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Hi Andy,

    As the seasons change here on the East Coast I tend towards a heartwarming midday cup of tea, but my mornings always lend themselves to an aromatic cup of coffee. And not unlike actress Judi Dench, I favor Assam. A good Darjeeling, too. Your share of knowledge proves your love for the beverage and while I’ve been told tea holds more caffeine than coffee, somehow it doesn’t profoundly affect me. It’s fun to switch things up! November 27, 2012 at 11:00am Reply

    • Nikki: I really have to try Assam, thank you for the suggestion. November 27, 2012 at 11:11am Reply

    • Andy: I like to switch things up too, and I also find myself drinking tea at different times of day during different times of the year. Both Assam and Darjeeling are in my rotation for this time of the year. Like you, I find variety to be very important in my tea drinking! November 27, 2012 at 5:28pm Reply

  • Liz K: Thank you for this series. I knew that the differences were in the processing but it is great to have it explained. Looking forward to more. November 27, 2012 at 11:24am Reply

    • Andy: Thanks, Liz! I’m glad you enjoy this series! November 27, 2012 at 5:30pm Reply

  • iodine: Now I’ll head to my kitchen and brew a nice cup of tea- Yunnan is one of my favourite- in this dark and rainy afternoon.
    Regarding tea notes in perfumes I generally can’t recognize them as “tea”, I always find them a bit fake, or the tea vibe is rather suggested by other notes, such as bergamot or jasmine… The only exception is maybe L’Artisan Coeur de Vetiver Sacré. November 27, 2012 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Andy: I agree about tea notes—they never seem to evoke the spirit of tea for me either, and like you, I tend to find some vetiver scents to be most reminiscent of tea. It would be great to find a really true tea note out there, wouldn’t it? November 27, 2012 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Bela: I live in England so a ‘nice cup of tea’ is part of everyday life.

    My favourite teas are Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong (nothing is as thirst-quenching as LS). I dislike Earl Grey: it’s so fake. I think of it as tea for people who don’t really like tea.

    One of the best cups of tea I’ve ever had was a Mariage Frères Orange Pekoe (at the Café de Flore in Paris). Absolutely wonderful. I can’t afford MF, but I can recommend Teapigs. They have very good teas. November 27, 2012 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Andy: I adore Lapsang Souchong! I think I’ll go make a cup…

      Anyway, I can’t afford MF either, but I’d love to try their teas at some point. I’ll have to check out Teapigs, I’m not familiar with this brand. November 27, 2012 at 5:56pm Reply

  • Joanna: This tea enthusiast is loving this introductory post on tea. Great idea!

    I’ve been drinking a lot of keemun black tea lately. It has a subtle graham cracker or biscuit quality to it that perfectly suits these chilly days leading up to winter. Cozy! November 27, 2012 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Andy: Glad to hear you enjoy this topic as much as I do! I know that same toasty quality you describe of Keemun very well, and I too have been drinking it a lot recently. November 27, 2012 at 5:59pm Reply

  • Mel: I’m learning so much on this blog! I love it! I wish you had an e-mail icon so I could forward to friends! A few months ago you shared a reader’s preference for steeping darjeeling w/ rosewater, lemon peel, and just a splash of vanilla sweetened w/ apricot preserves – which is now in heavy rotation in my house! There was a French-owned Kusmi Tea emporium slash organic chocolate and make-up shop w/in a five minute walk from where I live in Venice and it recently closed. I had started experimenting with the Kusmi collection. Can’t wait for your next installment! Thanks! November 27, 2012 at 1:31pm Reply

    • Andy: Mel, that recipe for rose tea was from me, so I’m happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed it! I haven’t tried anything from Kusmi tea yet, but I’ve seen the brand mentioned, so I will have to explore it further. I can’t wait for the next post either, I’ve been learning so much from everyone! November 27, 2012 at 6:05pm Reply

      • Mel: I apologize, Andy – I realized after I hit “submit” that YOU were responsible for bringing us the tea series. Thank you! And thanks again for the lovely darjeeling doctoring tips you passed on. I have it that way at least three times a week. So looking forward to your next post! November 27, 2012 at 8:25pm Reply

        • Andy: No worries, Mel! I’m looking forward to sharing next week’s post too! November 27, 2012 at 10:28pm Reply

    • Annikky: I’ll add my thanks to Mel’s. Inspired by Andy, I made darjeeling flavoured with cardamom, rose water and fresh orange peel and loved it. November 28, 2012 at 3:49am Reply

      • Andy: That variation sounds delicious! What a great idea! November 28, 2012 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Mel: Oh, and in further bad timing, I had just fallen madly in love with Tea for Two only to discover that it has now been discontinued. Any chance L’Artisan will bring it back? November 27, 2012 at 1:33pm Reply

    • Andy: How disappointing! It surprised me that this was discontinued—I had been under the impression that Tea for Two was fairly popular. November 27, 2012 at 6:15pm Reply

  • sara: My every time favourite tea is the well-known black tea “Earl Grey” , lots of bergamot oil; in any case I love “orange flower oolong” tea too. November 27, 2012 at 2:45pm Reply

    • sara: I love drinking tea so much but I don’t like perfumes based on green tea scents. November 27, 2012 at 2:47pm Reply

    • Andy: There is something very soothing about Earl Grey, isn’t there? I am not a huge fan of bergamot as a fragrance note, but I love it in the context of Earl Grey tea. Orange flower oolong also sounds really delicious and unique—where did you find this tea? November 27, 2012 at 6:09pm Reply

      • sara: I buy it in to Tea shop of East West Company (www.teashop.es is the Spanish website). They have so many excellent references and the best Earl Grey range I’ve ever seen. I suppose there are some shops in your country. Best Regards. Sara November 28, 2012 at 5:41am Reply

        • Andy: Thanks for your recommedation, Sara. I think I saw an orange flower scented tea somewhere in passing here in the U.S., I will have to see if I can find it again… November 28, 2012 at 3:40pm Reply

  • Jennifer: This post is making me want to stop and get some tea on the way home. I have mostly herbal teas and not much black tea, and I’ve been wanting to rectify that. I have Republic of Tea Lapsang Souchong. I had never had Lapsang before. Not bad, but not something I want all the time. It did help me understand why Bulgari Black is the way it is, though. It has a similar smoky/rubbery smell. While I was drinking it, I wondered if I mixed the Lapsang with a vanilla tea and sweetened it a bit, if it would be like Bulgari Black in a drink. Might be fun to try. I have Thé du Hammam by Le Palais des Thés as well.. it has a distinct date note to it, and it’s probably the best green tea I’ve ever had. November 27, 2012 at 7:24pm Reply

    • Andy: I love Lapsang Souchong, but I definitely agree it’s a tea that I need to be in the right mood to drink. I also am curious about blending flavors when it comes to my tea, and in my opinion, the addition of a vanilla flavor to the smokiness of Lapsang Souchong would be delicious. I haven’t yet tried the more well-known flavored teas from Le Palais des Thés, like Thé du Hammam, but with all of the good things I’ve heard from you and others. they are at the top of my to-try list. November 27, 2012 at 10:36pm Reply

      • charlotte: Omg yes, vanilla lapsang would definetly do it for me. November 28, 2012 at 4:54am Reply

        • Andy: Just thought I’d mention that I just tried this combination—about 8oz of brewed Lapsang Souchong, with 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract added. The vanilla adds a really pretty undertone that lingers after every sip! November 28, 2012 at 8:41pm Reply

          • Charlotte: So trying that! November 29, 2012 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Erin T: Great post, Andy! Oolong is the most poetic tea for me, too. Real milk oolong, high mountain, sometimes rather hard to find around here (Toronto), is my favorite. But I love the more floral Chinese orchid oolongs, too.

    I love iced tea, too, though, and while some of more oxidized oolongs stand up well to icing, I tend to do more flavoured black teas for cold consumption. It’s where I get frivolous and fruity. Right now I’m doing Mariage Frères Bolero and Parisian Breakfast tea. November 27, 2012 at 8:20pm Reply

    • Andy: I love your use of flavored teas for making iced tea. I am not generally a fan of flavored tea, but iced tea might be a good way for me to try some of the flavored teas I’ve been looking at trying recently. Great idea! November 28, 2012 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Gretchen: Oddly enough, I became more addicted to various perfumes shortly after recommitting myself to drinking tea over coffee. As I cannot stand bad tea (or mediocre perfume!) it has been a fun quest in both forms. Always was a huge oolong fan, but never one for white teas, so I’m very pleased you and Andy are expanding the discussion. Everyone raves about Mariage Freres, but I prefer Kusmi loose teas. Interesting how tea manufacturers are much like perfumiers, and one creator’s style may appeal more than another’s does, isn’t it? November 27, 2012 at 8:34pm Reply

    • Andy: Really, it is a very natural progression to love both tea and perfume—in so many ways, they are very similar. And I couldn’t agree more that preference for tea brands is a lot like preference for a particular perfumer. So very true. November 28, 2012 at 5:02pm Reply

  • Brontski: Someone should develope a perfume based on Roiibos tea. It has a lovely fragrance… November 27, 2012 at 10:42pm Reply

    • Andy: I haven’t smelled it, but I think I read that Bulgari Thé Rouge is partly based on a rooibos concept. From the descriptions I remember, it sounds like it features more of a fantasy accord, rather than a true to life rooibos note. You’re right though, it would be a beautiful note in a fragrance. November 28, 2012 at 5:10pm Reply

      • Ariadne: I adore Bulgari The Rouge and it smells of fresh tea to me. It is a soft perfume with not a lot of staying power but it is a curl-up-with-a-kitten-and-cashmere-watch-big-flakes-of-snow-fall-just-outside-the-window kind of scent to wear. I get asked what is is every time I wear it. November 28, 2012 at 7:10pm Reply

  • charlotte: So great with a series on tea!
    I love me some lapsang! Bulgari black was hence an instant crush, even though people have commented on it being more of a fireside place, Im suspecting they are not lapsang drinkers 🙂
    My husband works in China now and then, so I have a great channel for my teas. Especially love those balls of tea that slowly develops into a flower, for a visual to complete the experience!
    I wish I drank more white teas,which I like but somehow I feel One needs some quiet sitting down time to enjoy the delicate flavour, and I never seem to find it and go for the boom flavour.Stupid 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 4:51am Reply

    • Andy: How lucky to have that way of getting some of your tea! It must be so fresh and flavorful, coming directly from China. I have never actually used a flowering tea ball myself, but they are extremely pretty. November 28, 2012 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Rowanhill: I like almost any kind of tea, black, white, green, fine jasmine teas in particular but I love Earl Grey with passion and have a pot every morning. My absolute favourites are Thé des Lords from Le Palais de Thés and Earl Grey Finest from Betjemans & Barton. As I like a full bodied bergamot in an Earl Grey the Mariage Frère left me lacking. A new delightful acquintance is Eden Japon’s Earl Grey Darjeeling. November 28, 2012 at 5:27am Reply

    • Rowanhill: That was the Mariage Frère Earl Grey Impérial. November 28, 2012 at 5:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I meant to ask you, where do you shop for tea in Brussels? I know that there is a Le Palais des Thes store, but I haven’t visited yet. November 28, 2012 at 5:50am Reply

      • Rowanhill: Le Palais de Thés is on Chaussée de Charleroi just a hop and a skip from Pl. Stephanie. Betjemans & Barton I buy from the Tea & Eat Deli from the other side of Pl. Stephanie, go up the little stretch of street and it is on the corner on the left. Mariage Frère from La Vache Qui Regarde Passer les Trains on one of the two small side street of Av. Louise between Pl. Louise and Pl. Stephanie. Eden Japon is on rue du Page just off of Place du Chatelain. There are also a couple of nice tea shops along rue du Bailli. So just start from Av. Louise and work your way to rue du Page. 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 7:01am Reply

        • Victoria: I really must explore more in that area. Thank you so much for these great recommendations! 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 7:08am Reply

          • Austenfan: I didn’t even know there were two Palais des Thés in Brussels. I always use the one near the Grote Markt. It’s on the Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés ( no. 45).
            I once had lunch at the Betjeman&Barton you mentioned which was very pleasant. November 28, 2012 at 9:56am Reply

            • Rowanhill: Now I know there is another shop as well. 🙂 Thank you Austenfan. November 29, 2012 at 4:47am Reply

              • Austenfan: And I have to visit La Vache qui Regarde Passer les Trains, thanks for that tip. It’s the best name for a shop/restaurant ever. Plus I really like Mariage Frères for their flavoured teas. November 29, 2012 at 6:32am Reply

              • Austenfan: I don’t know whether you will ever read this but your comments have made me discover a truly lovely teashop in the Louise area. La 7me Tasse. A delight, so thank you. February 23, 2013 at 2:06pm Reply

                • Victoria: Me too! I love that place. Thank you, Rowanhill. February 23, 2013 at 2:19pm Reply

    • Andy: What a nice tradition, to drink a pot of earl grey each morning! I try to make sure and leave enough time every day to savor a cup of tea before leaving the house in the morning, and I always find that my day seems to go more smoothly when I do. I’m planning on exploring more from Le Palais des Thés soon, and with your recommendation in mind, I think I will try Thé des Lords. Thanks. November 28, 2012 at 5:20pm Reply

  • Rose D: I adore black and oolong teas mixed with chocolate flavour. The impression you get form chocolate is completely different; not like a confectionery, but like a spice. I would love to find a strong, spicy chocolate note in a fragrance. November 28, 2012 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Andy: I’m intrigued by the idea of a tea lightly flavored with chocolate. Some black and oolong teas have a bitter, earthy edge that seems reminiscent of chocolate to me, so I can imagine how tasty that might be. November 28, 2012 at 5:23pm Reply

      • Rowanhill: If Earl Grey is your cup of tea then you might also like the L’heure du Thé scented candle from Flamant. November 29, 2012 at 5:57am Reply

  • Claire: What a wonderful installment, I just came across this. I’m a big tea fanatic and always eager to learn more. My favorite oolong is Tieguanyin, it is the only oolong I drink regularly. I love its tannic taste, and I think it is perfect with a particularly fatty breakfast. Another favorite is darjeeling. I’m yet to find a reputable & consistent supplier/brand for darjeeling. If anyone has any recommendation, I’d like to hear it. As for black tea, I love Earl Grey and English Breakfast, both from Mariage Frères, or recently, from a shop called Merchie’s in Victoria B.C.

    L’Artisan Tea for Two is also one of my fave fragrance, sadly, I only have a decant. December 1, 2012 at 11:35pm Reply

  • Jordi: Go figure, tea and perfumes in the same blog. Now I do feel like at home!! I got into tea world much earlier than to perfumes but it is curious to see how both worlds arent that far from each other. It wasn’t until I learned about perfumes that bergamot, the defining element of one of my fav teas is a citrus family fruit. For some reason I always thought it was some kind of spice. My other favourite black tea is Darjeeling, I love the floral subtleties the first flush has, or the strength of second flush. October 18, 2014 at 1:13pm Reply

    • Andy: Jordi, your comment makes me smile, because I too entered the world of perfume long after (and likely in part because) of my love of tea. I just finished up an excellent sample of first flush darjeeling from Upton Tea Imports, and just as you say, its floralcy is sublime. October 18, 2014 at 4:05pm Reply

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