530 Tasting Notes


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.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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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.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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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9 tears for 235mL water @82C, first infusion at 3 minutes. Drunk bare.

So clean. The liquor is almost that of a white tea. Jasmine, jasmine, jasmine. No bitterness, no perfume, no soap. Just jasmine tea perfection.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped til I finish drinking it, drunk bare.

First, I gotta complain: that’s one stingy pinch of leaves in the teabag.

The formulation of Get Relaxed I’ve got contains no kava. Ingredients: organic rooibos (leaf); linden (flowers); passionflower (aerial parts); chamomile (flower); English Lavender (flower); Damask Rose (petals). Chamomile, lavender and passionflower each can help me sleep; together they’re a potent team. Scented with rose, they’re nigh-on irresistible. Sometimes I think of old-lady perfume when I smell this tisane, and that’s fine. It is floral. And it tastes like a blend of rooibos, lavender and rose. But the leaves in the bag are quite stale, and the portion is small. It takes at least eight minutes to steep anything worth tasting. I could do much better making my own blend, but I bought this silly stuff and spent quite a bit of money on it, so now I need to drink it.

It works, it tastes mostly as you’d expect, but it could be fresher. Especially for the price: $14.00 for 36 teabags.

Boiling 8 min or more

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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.)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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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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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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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.


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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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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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.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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