542 Tasting Notes

98

1.25 tsp for 300mL water @ 90C, steeped four minutes.

Tea Campaign Canada is the Canadian branch of Teekampagne in Germany. Teekampange sells only Darjeelings. They’e also invested in improving life for tea workers for decades now. The teas are organic and tested for “486 possible chemical residues.” Tea Campaign Canada works by mail-order, and the pricing for Darjeeling tea is very reasonable.

So, the First Flush 2014 Blend. Dry leaf shows some green and brown and a few twigs and gives some scent of Muscatel. Wet leaves are almost all green and bright. Liquor is light bronze. The flavour is closer to good Chinese green tea, true Dragonwell, that sort of sweetness, with an undercurrent of classic Darjeeling astringence and muscatel. I think this blend benefits from a lower water temp. I expect water at 100C, or even 98, might singe the leaves.

This is a gorgeous tea. I love Darjeelings. I usually prefer second flush, but this first flush is teaching me things. It also has a slight peppery bite, as you find in some Yunnans.

All of the Darjeeling sold by Tea Campaign is certified as Darjeeling by The Tea Board of India.

Flavors: Astringent, Black Pepper, Dry Grass, Green, Muscatel

Michelle Butler Hallett

For Canadians, with a link in the upper right corner for the US site: http://www.teacampaign.ca

Michelle Butler Hallett

I made a second cup of this with water at 95C. Yeah, don’t do that. The leaves scald and yield up bitterness and brine. 90C at most for this delicate leaf.

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

A blend of Assam and Ceylon teas. Dry leaf smells of raisins and honey— that’s the Assam, I expect. Dry leaves are long, tight, and dark brown, with some amber leaves. Wet leaf smells of brilliant sunshine — even of laundry dried on the clothesline — and, faintly, of copper: that’s the Dimbulla Ceylon. Wet leaf is uniformly coppery-brown. Liquor is dark copper with a little foam on top, that puckering froth some Ceylons deliver. As the tea steeps, the aroma develops notes of dark honey and bread.

At four minutes, this tea is malty and strong and just tending towards bitterness; I wouldn’t steep it much longer. Plenty of malty pucker. Its not a subtle tea, but then it doesn’t claim to be. A very good blend, living up to its packet copy, and priced low. In fact, I’d call this one a steal.

‘Irish Breakfast’ is, like ‘English Breakfast,’ an almost meaningless label. There is no one recipe for either ‘Breakfast’ blend, though those labelled ‘Irish’ usually have some Assam in them, and often some Kenyan. Those labelled ‘English’ often had some Keemun in them, but that’s getting rare. It’s always worth trying different brands of Irish and English Breakfast.

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1.25 tsp for 250mL water @85C, steeped two minutes.

Yuck.

I thought Dragonwell was a light, slightly sweet green tea. All other Dragonwells I’ve tried are light, and a bit sweet, perhaps a bit vegetal. Heavy and thick mouthfeel.

This one, I am afraid, joins several other greens and oolongs from DavidsTea which are distinctly fishy. Scallop soup. Brine brine brine. Scallops are great — I just don’t care for them in tea.

Flavors: Fish Broth, Fishy, Garden Peas, Iodine, Seaweed, Thick

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1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes.

Good lavender aroma, with a much sweeter flavour than I expected. The tulsi is almost minty, and almost a bit like licorice. this might get soapy is steeped too long. Lovely — provided you like lavender.

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75

1 bag for 300mL water @100C, steeped 3 minutes.

I found a box of these in the English imports section of my supermarket. The PG Tips normally sold here in Canada is a flat and dull Ceylon blend. This blend, while not quite what I remember from my last UK box — damn it, I was SURE there was Keemun in this once — is decent. Lots of heft from Assams and Kenyans, with an astringency I don’t normally seek out in tea but don’t really mind — the Kenyan tea, I think, that dry pucker. I’m sick as a poisoned dog here this morning, and a cup of tea like this is absolutely medicinal.

gmathis

Rest and be well! I am hoarding my last bit of PG Tip loose leaf, which is no longer available locally at all. Wonder if the two (bagged vs. loose) are a little different.

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, rinsed, then steeped three minutes and drunk bare. Second infusion: steeped four minutes.

A very serviceable tie kwan yin. I’ve had far better from Verdant Tea, but this one from DavidsTea is lovely. Floral, sometimes a bit sharp. The second infusion can get very green-tasting, a bit too vegetal for me. (The better ones from Verdant are good for many infusions.) It’s also an example of what’s becoming a rarity at DavidsTea: a decent straight tea.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 85C, steeped seven minute, drunk bare.

Heavy body after a long steep, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Nothing creamy in the taste, which is vegetal, a birth earthy, and sweet. Slight bit of earth and smoke in the aftertaste. Serious stimulant lift. Like yerba mate, though — and unlike coffee — I find it does not interfere with sleep once the initial buzz wears off. A most pleasant hot drink.

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70

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped 6 minutes, drunk bare.

This blend has been tweaked since I last drank it, and I think it’s better. You get a sweet and smooth coffee-flavoured tisane with notes of white chocolate in the aftertaste. Watch the water temp — anything higher than 85 will probably scald things and bring out bitterness. Mate gives a nice lift. Because this tisane is very like dessert, a coffe-tinged dessert, I wouldn’t be drinking it all throughout the day.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped 3 minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.

Mmmm, lemon and ginger … one of those winning combinations. if you’re not fond of lemon and ginger, you won’t like this tisane.

Liquor is pale yellow and quite cloudy, and it leaves a rim on the cup. I figure that’s the matcha and guarana powder. Aroma is very strong on the lemon, and you can smell both lemon oil and lemongrass, which are very similar yet subtly different. I don’t taste any apple in this. I think I’m picking up some quince, but its very distant. The little bit of liquorice reminds me of some of Stash Teas more adventurous herbal blends. Yeah, lemon and ginger do dominate here. So what you’ve got is a decent stimulant wrapped up in lemon and ginger, and the ginger’s got a little bite and heat. I imagine this tisane would be helpful for fighting off the foggy stuffed head of a cold. Either way, this one should wake you up. Don’t drink this within a few hours of bedtime, for sure. Oh, and ginger — did I mention the lemon and ginger?

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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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