I didn’t get to open my tea advent calendar until nearly 3 in the afternoon today, having been out of the house from within half an hour of my awakening just short of 2pm. Upon finding a breakfast tea behind the door, I promptly wondered aloud if I was allowed to drink breakfast teas after breakfast time.
I was promptly answered with “no”.
I decided, however, to be a rebel and drank it anyways.
This is the first straight tea that I’ve had the chance to review so far. (It only took me around 1/125 of the way to make it to one!) Straight teas are very interesting to review, in my opinion, because the lack of flavouring means you get to concentrate on just how the tea alone tastes. You may think that black tea is black tea is black tea and green tea is green tea is green tea and so on and so forth, but that’s not true at all. Even the little bit of experimentation I’ve done in the past has definitely shown me first-hand how different one can be from another. The method in which the tea is processed, how it’s finished, where it’s from, and several other factors really allow for a large variety of flavours to come out of different varieties and blends of teas that fall under the same general category (such as “black tea”).
Of course, as you’ll see, in order to best describe these different teas, I may need to work on my vocabulary a bit, but that’s a task I shall indeed relish!
Steeped: 1tbsp in my 2-cup pot. Brewed with freshly boiled water.
First Cup: Steeped 5 minutes. Clear.
One easy way to tell that I need to expand my vocabulary: I’m having problems describing the taste of this black tea in ways that go far beyond tea-y, but I’ll do my best. Although the brewing time is well within the suggested time limit, I’m still finding it a little bitter. There’s a bit of strength to it, which I like, but there is a bit of an off-putting bitterness. I assume it would taste better with milk and/or sugar… which is more or less the standard way to drink a good breakfast tea, in my humble opinion. (That being said, the best black teas can be really enjoyed clear, and I’ve had a few which I’d never put anything in.) It’s enjoyable as it cools, with a bit of a flowery taste.
Second cup: Same steep. Steeped approx 1 hour. Added milk.
Ok, I got majorly sidetracked between cup 1 and cup 2. But such is life, and I’m glad to have my second cup now. I’m really noticing the earthy and slightly floral scent of the tea. The bitterness is very much cut by the milk, though it still could do with a bit of sweetness. However, I think it would be better paired with something sweet rather than have the sweetness directly added. Just a hunch.
Third cup: Resteep. Steeped 10 minutes. Clear.
I think I like the milder resteep better than the original steep in all honesty, at least as far as flavour depth goes. Although there’s some bitterness to the scent, there’s not much in the taste at all. The tea is milder overall, but the distinctive flavour still really comes through.
Fourth cup: Same resteep. Steeped for around an hour (again). Clear.
Despite the long steep, due to it being a resteep, it’s really not that bitter. Actually, the flavour is strong, but less powerful than the initial steep, making it really enjoyable despite (or even due to) the long steep time.
I’m actually tempted to try a third steep and see how that works out, but I don’t think I could handle it right now, so leaving it at two steeps it is.
Overall impression: Not bad. Not the greatest cup of black tea that I’ve ever had, but I can see this being good in the morning as well. I wish it were a little less bitter, but I think that paired with something sweet like a pastry (this and a Danish? mmmm…), it would be perfect. Especially with a bit of milk in the tea itself to cut the bitterness.
As I said, my ideal cup of black tea would not require any milk to be at its best, so for me, this one is out for that purpose, but I can still see it holding up quite well in the right context for sure.
My rating: 75. B. Not a bad breakfast tea, but not the ideal cup of black tea either.