516 Tasting Notes

96

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

I love this tea.

Light body, mineral and crisp, good hit of Caravan smoke, an elusive sweet note, smokey finish but not heavily so. I would guess this blend had some Keemun in it. Solid performance tonight. (Ahem. From the tea.)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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93

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

I love this Assam. I don’t know which estates it comes from, or how many different offerings are blended in here, and I don’t care. Shiny brown leaves with lots of tips. Good body and heft, maltiness without bitterness and some really good nuances. Wakes me up nicely, too, especially during tedious office work. I may have two servings left in my tin. I could easily see keeping Tiger around all the time. This tea is well worth the price, and Andrews and Dunham are a joy to do business with.

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81

1.5 tsp for 300mL. First infusion at 90 for 6 minutes, second infusion at 85C for 5 minutes.

I used to make this with hotter water. (The packet copy says to use boiling water — yuck, I didn’t care for that at all.) Tonight, I cooled it down a bit.

First infusion: Formosa oolong from Britannia: A darker oolong. Toasted. Smells like tobacco flowers and stonefruit. A strong taste that’s nuanced with oak, peaches, minerals, and distant smoke.

Second infusion: More stonefruit and some creaminess. Toast and oak in the scent but none in the taste. Upping the rating from an 80 to a 90.

Packs a caffeine punch, too.

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99

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

Assam bliss.

And it’s gone. All High Seas sets have been sold. I have maybe 3 servings left. I am weeping into my pillow, clutching my last love letter from the Captain, not caring that many other tea-lovers in various port are likely doing the same.

LiberTEAS

Have you tried their tiger? I love the tiger. :)

Michelle Butler Hallett

The Tiger is gooood. My tin of Tiger is nearly gone. But that batch of Captain Assam was special.

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81

1.5 tsp for 300mL, 5 minutes, drunk bare.

I over-steeped, and the tea got bitter and murky and acidic. Steep carefully. Treated well, this tea is a great basic black. Pretty sure there’s a lot of Kenyan in there.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I know, I said before this one would forgive a long steep … apparently it has a breaking point. At least, it does for me. I find the more oolong I drink, the less tolerance I have for bitterness in a black tea.

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92

1.5 tsp for 350mL water @ 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Got a BIG mug as a Christmas gift at the office: snowman’s face, with a hat … a lid. Hot tea!

I steeped a little extra on this one because the mug takes so much water. As ever, a good hit of Keemun. Some days I say on Facebook that I’m ‘powered by Keemun’. Love love love.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

The 4-minute steep is my new sweet spot with many black teas.

This Keemun has yet to disappoint. Robust in the oakiness with a winey, smokey finish. Light body. Beautiful dark copper liquor, no murkiness. Mineral, stone fruit, and honey notes. Superbly refreshing. Could get bitter if steeped too long.

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

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95

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped five minutes, drunk bare.

I know, 5 minutes is long for oolong, but it works.

After a heavy supper, my body cried out for oolong. This is floral and crisp, with an exceptionally clean mineral finish. One of my favourite oolongs ever.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Liquor is very dark, almost like coffee, and a bit murky. Pu-erh and I have not gotten along; I am trying to change that.

No horrible fishy smell you get with some pu-erhs. I catch a scent and taste of rocks — this is very mineral. I also smell snow. It’s got that clean finish I pick up in Yunnan black tea. Still not sure if I like it.

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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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