On the road this week, staying at a Fairmont Hotel for the first time, which features a line of teas in their own name. They do a great afternoon tea at this particular hotel, and I chose the Kenmare Ceylon to go with the little sandwiches and cakes. It came in a good-size pot with a moderate amount of leaf; the first cup had only been steeped about a minute, but by the time I got to the end of the pot the leaves had been sitting in the water for a long time. This was an interesting way to go about it because it let me examine the flavors that came out over the course of more and more steeping.
At the beginning there was a mild toastiness and a little bit of ripe fruit. Over the next couple cups the toastiness developed more fully, and the fruit gave way to more tannins and astringency. The final cup was very “leafy” – it really reminded me of fall. It was dry leaves, and the light smell of smoke in the air, warmth by the fireside. Up to this point I’d been drinking it straight, but added some milk and sugar at the very end and really liked it that way as well.