472 Tasting Notes
1.25 tsp for 250mL water @100C. Drunk bare.
I have no idea if my city’s water is hard or soft. I can tell you it comes directly from a lake, with minimal treatment. The City might up the chlorine in summer, but otherwise my tap water tastes very clean: a bit reedy, with some faint mineral notes. So far, it’s never let me down when making tea, so I don’t bother with expensive and, frankly, bothersome 18.l L jugs pf springwater.
So I can’t say if Scottish Blend is any good for hard or soft water.
I can say it’s a very acceptable black tea blend, lighter than I expected, and one I would serve to my late Geordie grandmother without fear. I got a 250g package of it from a friend in Edinburgh, along with some Scottish sweets. Am I spoilt, or what? Scottish Blend smells malty and a bready, but the liquor is a medium reddish brown and quite clear. It’s more confident than assertive, and not bitter, even with a long steep. The body is light, which surprised me. There is a malty pucker at the end of a sip, but I’m thinking this is more Kenyan tea than Assam. The leaves are tiny, little CTC pinheads,and they don’t expand much. This tea would totally stand up to milk. I like it much more than I thought I would. Scottish Blend 1, Tea Snob 0.
1.5 tsp for 350mL water @ 100C. Steeped 2 minutes.
Two minutes is a very short steep on a black tea for me. I sipped this at the 2-minute mark and thought Whoa, even better! There is not even a hint of bitterness, and much more, well, floral creaminess. Longer steeps will introduce oak notes.
Ye gods, I love a good Yunnan.
1 bag for 250mL water @98C, steeped 4 minutes.
A good Darjeeling, especially for a bagged tea. I’ve said before it forgives a long steep, but it can get bitter if left too long. Coddled with water just off the boil, it rewards you with lots of Muscatel, a bit of spice and a pleasant atringency. No woody notes. Dependable and not expensive.
1.5 tsp for 350mL water @ 80C. Steeped 3 minutes. Drunk bare.
An old favourite. I drank this blend a lot while in university. The individual bags came wrapped in purple foil, and it was the purple foil that got my attention.
Jasmine green with orange peel, cassia, and natural cardamom and clove flavouring — it sounds like a circus. It is. This is an old-school Stash fusion, strong and assertive and a bit strange, but I find the spices and the jasmine are reasonably well-balanced. Steep much beyond three minutes and the spices will dominate, which is also okay, if you like orange peel and cardamom. Not a brilliant jasmine tea base. This one’s a love it or hate it blend, I expect. It can get bitter and soapy of the water’s too hot. Stash only sells it loose these days, and in a 100g bag at that.
1.5 tsp for 350mL water @ 100C. Steeped 5 minutes. Drunk bare.
Layers. Each layer tastes slightly different, until you’ve gone from oak to honey. Some Yunnan notes. Some faint bergamot sharpness. Some Darjeeling-y taste, too, but Nepal Black is a distinct tea. These leaves come from Yunnan cuttings planted in Nepalese soil, if I understand correctly, and the result is quite pleasant. Light in colour and body. No malt. Very easy to drink.
1.5 tsp for 325mL water @85C. First steep 4 minutes. Second steep 7 minutes.
Yes, I am steeping these leaves to death. I am making tea by the cup and not by the pot today, and I keep getting distracted.
The second steep really interests me today. Most of the Quangzhou creaminess is gone, soaking out in the first steep. I am left with a liquor almost as sweet and delicate as a Dung Ti but with the creamy scent of a Quangzhou: a lovely surprise after cheating on the first steep and getting extra creaminess.
Much longer a steep and I’d get that bitter leafiness an abused oolong gives up. Second steep liquor is greenish gold. I shouldn’t play like this with such a precious and expensive oolong, but how else do you find out things?
2tsp for 325 mL water @ 98C. Steeped 5 minutes.
I need strong tea today. Chronic illness and a thoroughly unproductive writing session last night shoved me into a dim little cave. I slept poorly, and then overslept. Weh weh weh.
And what will improve my outlook? Tea will definitely help.
This Monkey Picked Golden Hunan lives up to the packet copy. I should point out that I made it strong and steeped it long, yet it’s not bitter. Oddly, the scent does have bitter notes: oak and a very faint smoke. It’s nowhere near as smoky as a Keemun. The flavour is assertive, but the body is light. The liquor is a murky brown. The leaves remind me of a tippy Yunnan, being long and needle-shaped, a bit fluffy, and morphing from brown to bronze. It’s got more of a caffeine punch than I’ve come to expect from Chinese black tea, and the finish is sweet. Some agreeable leathery notes with a cup this strong. Make me long for some good Yunnan, which I haven’t had in several months.
This tea is on the more expensive side — $13.50 for 50 grams — but is worth it, if you like Chinese black tea.
Scant 1 tsp for 250mL water @93C, with 1/2 tsp Dung Ti Oolong added. Steeped 4 minutes. Drunk bare.
Perils of the sipdown. I didn’t have enough of this left to make a cup, so I made up the slack with some Dung Ti Oolong.
I find David’s Organic Breakfast to be very batch specific. I had some last winter that was brilliantly complex, while the next packet was bitter and harsh. This batch was quite acceptable, though not as interesting as the first one I ever tried — less good Yunnan, I think.
I thought last night of adding a small bit of Quangzhou Milk Oolong to some Assam Gingia, which I’ll try this evening. At work I only (hahaha) had Dung Ti. The sweetness took the edge off the David’s Organic Breakfast and made it richer. I will totally try this again.
Mde for me at a DavidsTea location. Steeped 4 minutes. Some agave nectar added, because I’d never tried agave,
I love guayusa and how sweet it is — sweet without getting sickly. That said, Jungle Ju Ju can develop an earthy, herbal bitterness, so I thought I’d try to offset that with agave nectar. The agave blends really well with Jungle Ju Ju; I forgot I’d sweetened the tisane. It’s easy to forget this blend is a stimulant as you enjoy the fruitiness. Good and potent, but I do find mate better when I need a boost.
1.25 tsp for 250mL water @ 98 C. Loooooong steep; I left the bag in while drinking. Mate can do that. Drunk bare.
Sipdown, and some air got into the packet, so this blend is neither as fresh-tasting nor as fragrnt as it was .. but manohmanohman, is ever potent. Lots of roasted mate notes but very little chocolate or raspberry when this gets stale. However, I feel like I am ready to take off — without the edgy jitters that can come from coffee. Remembering now why I liked mate so much; gonna get me some Jumpy Monkey later today. Vroom vroom.