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I Love You Macaron Tea – Theodor Paris

I didn’t think I’d actually fall in love with tea. Can you imagine a tea with scents of macarons and pistachios? Heaven. On top of it, this unique brew is called “I Love You” – Je t’aime.

Macaron tea Je t'aime by Theodor Paris Teatime

The teas of Theodor Paris have been a very recent discovery of mine thanks to my friend, Francis for introducing me to Monsieur Leleu’s new creation, the Absolu Oolong.  And when I say discovery, it’s not just that his speciality teas are so different to anything else I’ve ever tasted; like drinking good wine, they’ve helped me learn to appreciate teas’ deliciously complex aromas; take the time and pleasure with my cuppa; (I know, I know –  this sounds corny but it’s true…) even evoke a smile.

I’m so glad I popped in to the original boutique where Theodor started in the 16th arrondissement. It’s just a few minutes walk from Trocadero and I thoroughly recommend a visit with the charming Sylvie. Previously a creamery, the decor is still testament to such a location with the ceiling and wall panels by Anselm in Rue du Roi Doré (golden king street) in the 7th.

Theodor Tea Paris

Guillaume Leleu started up this first shop here in 2002 and since then has been taking the tea world by storm with his Theodor creations, now in 30 different countries. Each year about 100 tons of teas personally selected from around the world (mostly from Asia) are transformed in his zen-like laboratory in the previous Singer factory in Bonnières sur Seine, within rowing-boat distance from Monet’s gardens at Giverny.

Calling himself the Insolent Parisian, Theodor’s founder has us travel with him  – whether it’s through the descriptions of his teas or online – finding beauty in everyday things through his poetic words, embodying the art of tea.

The inspiration of the Impertinent Parisian is embodied in sixteen essences that form the aromatic tea palette in an impertinent and poetic way. Impertinent, because it tempts us to take a shortcut and welcome the unexpected. Poetic, because it makes us discover shifting horizons and jostles our view and senses, provoking us to a game of desire and astonishment in disguise, while inviting us to marvel in front of the revisited daily Parisian routine.

Theodor Paris Tea

Such impertinent essences are represented by 16 colourful satin ribbons that make a statement around each of the characteristic tea tins containing teas of origin, black flavoured teas, green flavoured teas, infusions named “weeds” or herbal teas.

Je t’aime belongs to the “Teas of the Gallantry” essence, represented with a fuchsia pink ribbon. Gallantry expresses “pastry flavours tasting like fruit and candy. They will offer a flattering and indulging pleasure while remaining light and refined.”

The day I visited, Marìa, also from the talented Theodor team, made a pot of this rather special brew.

Theodor Tea Paris - macaron pistachio tea

I Love You‘s pronounced fragrances are indeed pistachio and macaron. Like an alchemist in the kitchen or in a perfumery, Monsieur Leleu creates the macaron flavour by adding ingredients such as pink peony petals (clearly visible), bitter almond, coconut, chocolate, chopped almond pieces, and coconut shavings.

Just as with tasting wine, when the tea was finished I loved swirling around the end of the tea to gather all of the wonderful aromas around the empty, fragranced teacup.

empty teacup of macaron tea at Theodor Paris

This macaron tea has a loving green tea sister, J’aime, flavoured with notes of macaron and strawberry.

As more gigantic tea containers were opened, it was intriguing to sniff revel in the different tea leaves’ bouquets with their added surprises which make up each and every creation.

Theodor tea shop in Paris Trocadero

Jour J (meaning “The Big Day”) is aptly named, as this dreamy white tea (Bai Mu Dan) has astonishing notes to resemble the flavour and sensation of rosé Champagne. Monsieur Leleu cleverly concocts this sensation by adding bits of strawberry, helianthus (or sunflower) petals and jasmine flowers, just to name a few of the magical ingredients.

Likewise, ingredients are added to create a black tea, Sans Complexe (no complex), with lemon and vanilla to arrive at a lemon meringue pie. Tribute, conjures up the most amazing flavours of frangipane, while Oolong Milky conjures up the most buttery and milk fragrances. This list goes on …

Rooibos tea: carpe diem Theodor Paris

This Carpe Diem is red rooibos tea, with “greedy” (that’s another of the 16 essences) notes of red fruits, toasted and sugar-coated almonds. Marìa suggested using this tea to perfume rice by placing just a couple of teaspoons in it while cooking.  Try it.  It’s genius!

Try making this fragranced green tea-infused rice pudding recipe and see what I mean.

Lotus flowers used for making tea

Blue Oolong Lotus is a green tea from Vietnam and the lotus flower is used to impart a scent to the tea leaves by placing them inside the flower just before it closes at night to take on the fragrance of this very special flower. How’s that for creativity?

Theodor Tea Paris

Theodor Tea Paris

The perfect “tea gourmet”: a cup or two of I Love You, rose and chocolate macarons and some almond financier teacakes (the recipes are all in Teatime in Paris).

teatime in paris with macarons financiers and pistachio tea

The only way to have a cup of tea, is by loving it.

I’ll drink to that, Monsieur Leleu. Cheers to discovering the unexpected, new views and senses, and revisiting daily Parisian routine.

THEODOR TEA PARIS
28 Rue des Sablons
75016 Paris

Metro: Trocadéro

Teatime with Theodor Launch of Absolu Oolong Tea

As a Brit, I am used to my classic and familiar, comforting teas. English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Ceylon, Rooibos and Earl Grey are no strangers to my teapot and dare I say, I love to add a tiny little nuage or cloud of milk to my cuppa, which probably has tea connoisseurs throwing their hands up in horror.  More French in style, the evenings call for lighter, calming infusions such as verbena and a widening range in my cupboard of fragrant green teas.

Oolong green tea Theodor Paris

So when I heard from my sweet friend, Francis, about an exciting launch last week of a tea made by creator, Guillaume Leleu (aka l’Insolent Parisian) of Theodor Tea, I had to see what the fuss was about and headed with a strong umbrella to face the Parisian downpour to join him for the tasting at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Tokyo Paris

The launch was all about Theodor’s new J.C. Absolu Oolong.  For a start, I loved the name and was intrigued…

Theodor tea Paris absolu oolong

Before the tasting, Monsieur Leleu took us on passionately guided “voyage in the garden of creation” of his Chinese Oolong green tea.

Tea voyage with Mr Leleu of Theodor Paris

Theodor has been around in Paris since 2002 and within just a few years it now exports to over 30 countries. It has been three years since the Impertinent Parisian created a new tea for Theodor and creating such a tea like this doesn’t just happen overnight. It took 20 months to create this perfumed oolong, needing 230 versions to arrive at the final result.

tea voyage discovery of Absolu Oolong

These lotus flowers give an added “je ne sais quoi” to the taste (although I’ve never tasted lotus flower so have to try this experience) and there are strong natural aromas of both white peach and pear in there too. The addition of goji berries and carthame flowers add to the magic.

The addition of the white cornflowers (bottom right test tube below) were purely for blending the tea naturally together, as there is absolutely no fragrance in white cornflowers. Who knew?

Tea making process at Theodor Paris

The tasting!  According to the instructions on the packet, the water should be at 75°-85°C and the tea infused for 2.5 to 4 minutes. On tasting at first, the peach came bursting through but gradually I got the pear (some tea tasters mentioned that the pear became more pronounced as the tea cooled) – and the aftertaste?  Knock out!

tea tasting game of Theodor Absolu Oolong

If I had a stop-watch, I’d say it lasted a couple of minutes on the palate. Oh, and Francis reminded me that Oolong tea is a Tieguanyin tea from China from the region of Fujian.

Oolong green tea with French cheese

Say “Teas”! Try cheese with this green tea and see how it works!

Surprised?  I was when cheeses were served with the tea. As a wine lover, I was expecting them to overpower the tea but no, it was a wonderful combination.  François (pictured below) explained that it’s quite the thing in Belgium and in Holland, Betty Koster is quite a cheese and tea guru. The brie came stuffed with truffles from the Maison de la Truffe. Woah! The tea was still sensational.

Picorette's tea salon staff from Granville, Normandy France

What a fabulous team at Theodor.  Cheers to the lovely staff who came from Normandy to serve tea for the occasion, away from Picorette, their legendary restaurant and tea salon in Granville.  Many thanks to Maria and Sylvie for a most warming welcome and to Guillaume Leleu for the discovery of this rather special teatime tipple. I look forward to serving it with the Parisian pastries in Teatime in Paris!

Guillaume Leleu Theodor Paris Jill Colonna

Yabsolutely Absolu Oolong!

I wonder what Monsieur Leleu is dreaming up for his next tea creation?

Guillaume Leleu of Theodor Paris

In the meantime, pop in to the Theodor boutique at 28 rue des Sablons in the 16th, near Trocadéro. I shall also discover and show you what the other teas are about next time and what pastries from the book will accompany them best.

Note: This was a free tasting open to the public at the Palais Tokyo in Paris on 30 April 2015.