524 Tasting Notes

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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92

4.5 tsp for 750mL water @ 90C, steeped 4 minutes, Breville basket cycle on. Drunk bare.

I’ve made this a tiny bit too strong, but that doesn’t matter. The blend of toasty oolong, mild black (China?) tea, jasmine and orange is astonishing. First scent is quite exotic, with citrus and jasmine notes. Some black tea fullness and a really toasty oolong that makes me think of Formosa oolong … oh, just soooo good. Really special. I tried this blend one years ago, before I knew different teas needed different water temps, and I scalded the hell out of it, getting only a bitter black tea taste. Not this time. Gentle fruit and flowers and oolong, with a Keemun-like body and finish. Lovely.

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

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71

4.5 tsp for 750mL water @ 90C, steeped 4 minutes in a Breville One Touch with the basket cycle on.

I wasn’t crazy about this blend. Tonight I made it as much to scent my study with lemon and jasmine as to drink it. I’ve eaten a lot of sweet and heavy food over the past few days, so lemony-oolong seemed the way to go.

I like this better than the last time I tried it. Maybe making in by the pot, versus by the cup, helps. I might even use cooler water next time, maybe 82 instead of 90, because the citrus in this is slightly bitter. The jasmine is very difficult to pick up — no taste or scent of jasmine at all. I still don’t think this is a brilliant blend, but the oolong base is light. Much of the bag is filled with some sort of blossom; I’m not sure how much actual oolong is here.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 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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