508 Tasting Notes

81

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

I am completely OUT of Assam. How the hell did this happen? The Tiger is not roaring. The Captain is lost at sea. Even the Gingia Estate tin is bare. I have some Kopili Estate Assam on its way to me, but damn it, I need Assam right now.

Scottish Blend will have to do. It’s not got the assertiveness, deep malt or raisin-y notes of some Assams, but for a CTC Kenyan (?) blend, it does very well. Plenty of black tea taste and body, provided it’s not oversteeped — I find at around 5 minutes its get all acidic and dark. Clean and mild finish. Dependable, and always better than I think it’s going to be.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Oh dear!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh dear that I ran out of Assam, or Oh dear that I’m being such a tea snob again? :)

I try never to run out of Assam. It’s something that when I crave it, nothing, absolutely nothing else will do. There’s something precious and irreplacable in those leaves.

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87

1.5 tsp for 300mL @ 100C, steeped 3 minutes, drunk bare.

A creamy Ceylon, lots of body and heft. I like it better at 3 minutes versus my former 5. Bright and brisk, with some pucker, and a very comforting scent.

There is no bergamot in this tea. It’s just straight up blended Ceylon.

This would be lovely cold-brewed for an iced tea. It also cries out for an afternoon tea party, with sandwiches and cookies.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

I’d before I got no copper notes from this tea. That was at a 5-minute steep. At 3 minutes, some copper comes out.

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98

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

Some days, only Assam will do. My body craves Assam, craves something in those leaves that’s not in Darjeeling, let alone any non-India tea. No idea what that is. I still love Yunnans and Darjeelings and Himalayans and Keemuns and oolongs, but nothing can replace a good Assam. Steepsterite Claire recently commented she likes for her black teas to not only wear Doc Martens but kick her with them; a good Assam does that.

This Assam Gingia is a second flush and quite strong. Notes of malt, of course, but not suck-your-mouth-dry malt, molasses, honey, freshly baked bread,and sunshine. No bitterness. On a winter day, with yet more snow coming down, it’s a dire necessity. It’s TEA.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.

I couldn’t get to my strainer right away … the extra 30 seconds makes this tea a little bitter for me. The smoke is starting to dominate, but the smooth malt beneath is still there. Mineral finish, but defintely tending to bitterness.

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 3:30, drunk bare.

A triumph. Gentle orange notes with toasty oolong and a bit of jasmine. Really good.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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92

1.5 tsp for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

I notice the directions suggest 94C water; I’ll try that next time.

Rich without being heavy. Scents of honey and fruit, as the packet copy promises. Enticing and nuanced. And it seems to pack a nice caffeine hit, too. Very happy with this one.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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50

2 teabags for 300mL water @100C, steeped 8+ minutes, drunk bare.

Even two teabags don’t make this taste any better. I smell more roses. That’s it. This could be so much better. Revising the rating down. Will never buy this again.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C. Steeped 3 minutes. Drunk bare.

I like this better on the shorter steep. The Assam (if that’s what I’m tasting) gets to show off its creamy heft without the Keemun (?) dominating with its toast and smoke.

This is a very good blend. At my first sip this evening, I just sighed in bliss.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75

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

Can’t. Wake. Up.

Made this a bit stronger, and it’s great. I can taste red velvet cake, and I can taste black tea. Win.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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86

1 bag for 300 mL water @100C. Steeped two minutes. Drunk bare.

I drank this a lot when I was younger, but then I abandoned it for Stash’s Orange Spice. Stash reformulated, and I find their new Orange Spice way too sharp and strong. In the supermarket before work this morning, buying something for lunch, I saw the Bigelow teas were on sale, and I thought I’d pick up some CC.

I used to steep this to death, leaving the bag in the cup. I’d get a caffeine charge, but the tea could get bitter. I never, ever read the box, never saw the ‘steep 1 to 2 minutes’ recommendation.

Guess what? Steeped for just 2 minutes, this is quite lovely.

It’s not a brilliant black tea base, but the whole effect is one of balance. It’s smooth; it tastes of real oranges and cinnamon and probably cloves; it still tastes of black tea.

It’s easy to turn up your nose at bagged tea like this, but sometimes there are treasures out there. Constant Comment’s been around for decades, so clearly Bigelow is onto something with this blend.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Agreed! I have some of this in my cupboard, and I sent some to my future son-in-law in Ireland. It is a very good bagged tea and really can be a comfort tea.

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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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