99

Drunk without milk or sugar — ‘bare tea,’ in Newfoundland English.

My heart deeply wounded by the absence — rather, by my never getting to try — Thomas Sampson (though he did send me a lovely note), I thought to ring up the Captain, who, surely, cannot be as harsh and hard as he’d like everyone to think. After all, he seeks a mermaid.

I’m sorry. I just love the writing round the teas from A&D.

Received my order in the storm of a very bad day. Couldn’t even properly welcome the Captain, just showed him his berth.

This morning: dry long leaves with plenty of golden tips, smelling raisin-y, as others have noted. Sweet. Brewed for 6 minutes by mistake, 1 TB for 500mL of boiling water.

Oh.

My.

First those high sweet notes of a really good Assam. Then strength and heft. A heavier mouthfeel to this one, but it’s lovely - creamy, silky. A bit malty on the sides of the tongue, a slight bit of astringency in the aftertaste- but I did overbrew by two minutes; A&D recommend a four-minute steep. But these are characteristics of Assam that I love and desire. A clean finish, but you know you’re drinking TEA. ‘Proper tea’, as my English war-bride grandmother would call it, that will get you through a storm and help you recover afterwards. The sort of tea George Orwell meant when discussing the virtues of Indian tea: ‘First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ’a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.’ (_Evening Standard, 12 Jan 1946).

Not at all a harsh Assam. But a very strong one. Ideal.

And Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixir is, of course, a limited edition. I don’t know whether to hoard or binge. Probably binge. Then it won’t go stale.

(For the record, I do not despise China black tea; in fact, sometimes nothing else will do. But I do agree with Orwell that it doesn’t pack the same punch as India black yea.)

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Not sure how I got the overstike in there, sorry.

Michelle Butler Hallett

WoooHOOOO! The Captain is mondo caffeineated! Or whatever the magic stimulating substance in tea is. Captain Assam’s got it by the shipload. My eyes are wide open and my writin muscles are twitchin!

As the brew cooled off, it remained sweet and malty. No bitterness.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, what is that goregous tasting note, almost like the winey-ness in Keemun?

Michelle Butler Hallett

Second batch (bare) at 6 minutes again … yeah, I don’t think I want to go back to four. Deliciously heavy mouthfeel. Is this what some Steepsterites mean by ‘chewy’?

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Michelle Butler Hallett

Not sure how I got the overstike in there, sorry.

Michelle Butler Hallett

WoooHOOOO! The Captain is mondo caffeineated! Or whatever the magic stimulating substance in tea is. Captain Assam’s got it by the shipload. My eyes are wide open and my writin muscles are twitchin!

As the brew cooled off, it remained sweet and malty. No bitterness.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, what is that goregous tasting note, almost like the winey-ness in Keemun?

Michelle Butler Hallett

Second batch (bare) at 6 minutes again … yeah, I don’t think I want to go back to four. Deliciously heavy mouthfeel. Is this what some Steepsterites mean by ‘chewy’?

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Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Oolongs and blacks are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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