1603 Tasting Notes
Oh dear lord it’s cold! A big storm came in while I was at work and I had to walk home in the middle of blizzard …wearing a jacket with a broken zipper. Needless to say I was absolutely chilled when I got home and promptly put on a pot of tea to warm me up.
This tea was a good choice – I’m pretty sure it came from the Traveling Teabox (rip) originally. It’s a good, solid black tea that does the trick without being unpalatably harsh. The flavour is bold with hints of smoke and a bit of astringency, and there’s also something about it that almost tastes metallic – I know that probably sounds unpleasant but it really isn’t. This would make an excellent morning go-to tea.
I wasn’t really paying attention to the instructions so as a result the 1st infusion was steeped for 1.5 min rather than 1 min. I gave the leaves a bit of a rinse first to open them up, which I normally do with rolled oolongs. The first steep was alright, perhaps a bit too woodsy for my tastes and it had a distinct roasted, almost charcoal-like taste – more like your typical dark Formosa oolong than a Tie Guan Yin. The second steep was better with more of the smooth, buttery flavours I usually associate with green oolongs and with the roasted notes more subduded. The tea seems to lack sweetness though – I know Tie Guan Yins aren’t heavily perfumed teas, but they usually have some honey notes that appear as the tea cools – but I’m not getting any of that.
Another sipdown. This has served me well as a wake-up breakfast tea (I work 5am these days). No matter how I steeped it I still couldn’t get rid of that weird grape-like note which I’m pretty sure is some contamination of some sort. Ah well, I enjoyed this blend all the same.
Yum, the tea smells like one of those vanilla nut lattés that they used to serve at Starbucks before they got all cheap and crappy. With teas that are a mix of more than one kind (in this case black tea and oolong) it’s hard to determine what the steeping parameters should be (Adagio’s are always vague at best) so to be on the safe side I went with what I’d usually do for the lighter tea (it’s a dark oolong so about 90°C).
The flavour is nice and quite bold with the hazelnut being especially noticeable. The oolong gives it a bit of sweetness as the tea cools and the vanilla smooths out some of the harsher notes from the Irish Breakfast, so it all works together pretty well.