519 Tasting Notes

92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

I am experimenting with cooler water on black teas, but for this robust blend, I think a full 100C boil does the best job of bringing out the creamy heft of Assam. The smokier (Keemun?) tea dominated and got a little bitter. Very enjoyable, still, and it gave me a great boost this evening.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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96

5 tsp for 1,000mL water @ 95C, Breville, four minutes 30 seconds, basket cycle on.

Ohhhhh, yes, baby. I’ve been waiting to treat myself with this lovely Keemun in the Breville. Today’s been rough. Tonight means Keemun Hao Ya. (Breville Tea Maker, you are my friend.)

Toasty, winey. Orchids notes. Some smoke. Some grainy/cereal notes I’ve not picked up before, a bit like Grape Nuts; I guess that’s on the toasty end of the spectrum.

Addition: I normally drink my tea bare — no milk or sugar — but this evening I added maybe 2 tsp of 2% milk to this Keemun. The milk mutes the smokiness at first, yet seems to increase the smoke in the finish. Milk als amps up the wineyness. It’s nice, but I don’t enjoy it as much.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yeah, tossing the milky tea. Not for me.

Bonnie

Sounds fenom….some Keemuns adding milk brings out the toasted bread…almost like a basso profundo in music…a very deep note of home milled bread. I can’t say that I’ve had a keemun that’s been winey really yet though. Then, maybe I’ve been spoiled by shu.

gmathis

Oooh—Grape Nuts notes! Sounds excellent!

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96

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped three minutes and thirty seconds.

Oh, oh, OH! I can taste orchids! The slightly cooler water brings out this tea’s sweeter, more floral notes, almost oolong-y. I used cooler water by accident. The oak and smoke and minerals remain but are gentler. So clean. Really special.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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89

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

AHHHHHHH.

Five minutes gives a heavy-bodied, creamy Assam, still with no bitterness, some malt, and a notes of roses in the scent. So, so good.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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96

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes.

A toasty, slightly smoky, slightly winey Keemun. Orchid notes in the scent. Mineral finish. Delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped four minutes.

A very enticing blend. Creamy heft from the Assam, muscat from the Darjeeling, wineyness from Keemun, fruitiness from the oolong, and a hit of jasmine. Drinking my second cup in less than an hour. Soothing and delicious.

I find this one tastes better when made with slightly cooler water.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Marcel Duchamp

I’ve been wanting to try this one.

Michelle Butler Hallett

It’s very good. The jasmine is subtle.

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89

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

An excellent Assam. Bold, not bitter. Notes of freshly baked bread, roses, and sunshine. Medium to heavy body. Drenching Assam taste. Good malty pucker but not so astringent as to tear the mouth off ya. Sweet notes. I prefer it steeped a little longer.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

My favorite unflavored from Stash.

ashmanra

I have been passing through their catalog lusting for all the tea paraphernalia. (I may have purchased a couple of potty teacups but we won’t say for sure.)

ashmanra

GAH! Pretty, not potty! What a horrible autocorrect!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Stash carries gorgeous stuff. They were the first tea company I fell in love with. Back in university, 1989 onwards … the cafeterias had Stash bags, and I fell hard for the Orange Spice and Jasmine Spice. Some of their herbal blends were just plain weird, but I admired the creativity. Some of their teacups — oh, I swoon over them.

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100

1.5 tsp for 330mL water @100C. Steeped 4 minutes. Drunk bare.

Oh my GAWD.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had any Black Needle Yunnan, and this tea from Stash is very, very good. Liquor is dark brass. Notes of honey, musk, pepper and minerals. Clean finish. My favourite Yunnan. I forgot the leaves can be re-steeped and am kicking myself for tossing my leaves after just one cup.

Worth every penny, even shipping.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ approx 82C, steeped 3 minutes first infusion, four minutes second infusion.

So clean.

The jasmine seduces me. Potent but not perfumey. Never soapy. Just gorgeous.

Teagasm.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

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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