11 Tasting Notes
The experience of purchasing tea from Fortnum & Masons in London is fun – its poured from a large antiquated looking cannisters into a sealed sachets to take away. There is a lot to choose from and some of the blends probably would not suit my tastes – but they do have a very interesting selection of single estate teas.
I discovered their Castleton Moonlight Darjeeling Oolong – which is wonderful. To me this is the ultimate refreshing tea – its delicate and mellow yet flavourful – and gently uplifting – no hints of bitterness and very elegant. It uses the natural flavour of the leaf with no enhancement and has a soft honey aftertaste and light amber golden colour. It needs no enhancements – no milk or sugar. Even though its not cheap – the leaves can be used up to three times successfully. Its a good daytime or evening tea. Sometimes I use a teapot and strain leaves, but mostly I just add a teaspoon of tea to water in a glass or china cup and watch the leaves swirl.
My favourite smoky tea – this has a punchy smoke aroma – but the taste of the tea is pleasantly subtle. Good with a dash of milk, with or without sugar – I prefer without. Pairs well with meaty and hearty foods – such as english breakfasts and bacon sandwiches. Also the best tea for making tea-smoked duck (from an Annie Bell book, ‘More Taste Than Time’ – but similar recipes exist online).
Comforting, refreshing, peaceful, mysterious – all at once. Pricey but worth it. This powdered green tea is really very special and easy to drink. Full of antioxidants its healthy too – and goes well with food – especially oriental, cakes, fish dishes. Brilliant!
The vanilla note is very subtle, overpowered by the lavender. I might need to try serving this in different ways and it might grow on me more – although it reminds me of spa facials as the lavender is quite pronounced. I’m going to try it as an iced tea – which will probably suit it.
This is a glamorous earl grey with its pretty blue flowers. I love to lift the lid of the tin and take a big sniff – it has an exhilerating, yet delicate scent and makes a refreshing and uplifting drink – good first thing in the morning or mid afternoon with cake or other light foods. I have mine with semi-skimmed milk, no sugar or sweetener. Thirst-quenching and fragrant. Delightful.
The descriptions on the Mariage Freres website are almost too mysterious to make any sense of what they taste like. I bought this because it is one of their most popular teas – and to me it tastes like strawberries and cream. It is quite delicious and one of the Mariage Freres books has a recipe for cooking duck in MarcoPolo tea – which I tried and can also recommend – I also made my own tea jelly using this tea – although you can buy the tea jelly from them online. This aroma from this tea in the cup is beautiful – reminiscent of summertime. Lovely.
The smell when you open a new pot of Wedding Imperial is such an amazing burst of caramel. I thought the tea might be too sickly to drink on a regular basis – but I was wrong – the caramel aroma is more subtle when the tea is in the cup – this is delicious and especially good with cakes or anything nutty or chocolatey – and equally good on its own. Delicious.