Sunday, January 5, 2014

Palais des Thés: Thé du Hammam

J'aime bien la France. Immediately following my college graduation, I moved to France to teach English in a lycée.  The weather turned cold and dreary, and I spent a lot of time defrosting in salon des thés, or tea houses. Choosing une tasse from the large selection of herbal loose leaf teas soon became one of my favorite activities to do when escaping the frigid temperatures.

A few days ago I was feeling nostalgic for my time in France, and decided to attempt to relive it by drinking a warm cup of flower-infused liquid. Reading the tea ingredients was when my walk down memory lane turned sour. Rosehips. Magnifique! Hibiscus. Génial! Orange peel. Merveilleux! Soy lecithin. What the oh la la?! Oui, soy lecithin is commonly used as a binding agent in herbal teas. Quelle horreur!

Luckily, I bought a tin of flavored tea from the French tea house, +Palais des Thés , on a recent trip abroad. The tea is soy free, but how does the Palais des Thés green tea, Thé du Hammam, perform in the Sans Soy test?

Product: Palais des Thés green tea: Thé du Hammam

Quality: The tea is a simple blend of green tea, rose, green date, berry and orange flower water. A blossomy aroma first hits the nose with notes of rose and orange. Individual dried rose petals are prevalent throughout the blend. Once combined with hot water, the tea turns the liquid a light brown color with warm green undertones.

Taste: Slightly sweet and floral, the flavor is delicate much like a diluted aromatherapy candle. A sip warms the belly while tasting like an edible flower. A steep time of three to four minutes is all that is needed to make the floral notes sing, and any longer creates a bitter taste.

Price: Purchase loose leaf or sachets of the tea from the Palais des Thés Web site. Prices range between $13 and $19. This may sound pricey, but one tin of loose leaf tea lasts months, and the quality is top-notch.

Overall grade:  A. I have many good memories with not just the Thé du Hammam flavor, but with many other Palais des Thés teas. The teas are some of the most flavorful filled with quality ingredients to make pleasurable tea-drinking experience. My only criticism is that I wish Palais des Thés was sold in the United States. Does anyone know of any place where I can find this brand in the U.S.? Maybe I will have to move back to France.

**Update: Palais des Thés has informed me that there are two shops selling the tea in New York.

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