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491 Tasting Notes

99

Drunk bare, no milk or sweetener.

I steep around. An intense affair with Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixir now just a happy memory, I come back to my old standby, this particular organic and fair trade English Breakfast blend from my local teashop, Britannia Teas and Gifts.

This tea will gently but definitely wake you up. Pretty sure Assam’s in the blend, but I taste much more Keemun this morning, and that beautiful winey-ness is so civilized, almost decadent on a lazy Sunday morning. I ate too much salt and sugar yesterday, and I’m sure I can feel the tea (and my rooibos chaser) balancing out my electrolytes. I did steep this morning’s brew maybe a minute too long — somewhere around 6 minutes, I recalled I hadn’t set the time — and it’s slightly bitter on the aftertaste. But that’s okay. My own fault. This tea can do no wrong, so long as you treat it right.

This is a full leaf blend that is also a real reat to watch infuse through clear glass.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Ai. ‘reat’ should be ‘treat.’

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84

2.5 TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.

I let this steep too long — made it while getting supper on the table — and now an apple flavour dominates.

Before I forgot it, I liked it much better, though I’d definitely not call it nutty. Someone else compared it to an oatmeal cookie; I can go with that.

A sweet, if weak and thin, tisane. I like my brews fairly strong, so I loaded up … which may be another reason I got too much apple. And it’s apple peel I’m tasting, with all its tang and sharpness.

Not what I expected, and a quite thin-bodied, but still a very pleasant tisane.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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90

Mondo impressed by this one. It’s pricey, especially when you figure in shipping to Canada, so I don’t know when I’ll be ordering it … but you get what you pay for.

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100

Drunk bare, mo nilk or sweetener.

At it again … trying varied steep times today. Three minutes: like hearing the voice of a beloved round the corner. Five minutes: Yunna bliss, as I’ve noted before.

Also drinking this from my Royal Albert china cup and saucer. Don’t know why, but tea always tastes best to me in a fine china cup. Next best is a clear glass mug.

Michelle Butler Hallett

The peppery taste I love so much kicks in around 5 minutes.

gmathis

Sounds yummy!

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74

Brew this one strong and long enough and a fine sweat will break out on your forehead. However, steeped more than 4 minutes, the ginger dominates, and you lose any green tea taste. Still very tasty, but caveat steepsterite.

Chases away a chill.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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99

1.5TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.

My last, my very last, serving of Captain Assam. He’s moving on after too short a stay. (I finished off that 2 oz tin in 9 days.) This morning’s steep: very long, a good 15 minutes. Major puckery-astringency now but also a lovely new mouth-feel, very winey. Still no bitterness. Very refreshing. Captain Assam, I wish you the best on you the nest on your journeys, and I shall sorely miss you.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I miss the Captain.

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90

Just got a bit of this from TeaEqualsBliss … thank you, oh, thank you …

2TB for 500mL water, lightly sweetened with stevia, no milk.

From the aroma, I expected a thin-bodied, faintly cocoa-tinged woody rooibos. Which can be just fine, so I happily set it steeping. For quite a while in a covered mug — hey, it’s rooibos, and I also had a cup of Assam brewed.

Instead, I’ve got a heaven-is-chocolate-scented silky, medium-bodied cup of bliss. Tastes a lot like a properly-made cocoa, but no powdery mouth-feel. So smooth, almost creamy, and I haven’t added milk. The vanilla is an inspired touch and smooths everything out.

I’m astonished at how good this is. No caffeine. No calories! A puntload of antioxidants! One of the tisanes, and one of the best cocoa-based drinks I’ve ever drunk. The rooibos itself is a tiny bit woody on the aftertaste, but then I did steep it for 15 minutes. Highly recommend.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
vanilla_bookworm

Mmmm… This one is delicious! Might have to have some later now… Lol! :-)

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89

1 bag, 275mL water, no milk or sweetener.

For a bagged Assam, really decent. Stash also carries a looseleaf Kopili Assam, and I think those leaves are a higher grade than the ones in the bag — that tea is one of the best I’ve ever tried. I’m enjoying the bagged Kopili more than I did the first time I tried it some years ago; I think I just didn’t steep it long enough last time.

A good Assam. Decent maltiness. Will develop some bitterness if steeped over 7 minues (yes, I steep that long sometmes). Undeniably more convenient for the office than the loose version, but I find it difficult to get the richness of flavour I crave.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
gmathis

One of my favorites loose.

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66

2 TB for 450mL water, lightly sweetened with stevia, no milk.

And up goes the rating. I can taste much more creme brulee flavour with a stronger infusion. Two tablespoons is a lot, yes, but the liquor comes out a beautiful light russet. The flavour is deeper and more pronounced — no woodiness this time — and the mouthfeel is lovely: silk and cream. Even my cheeks are happy.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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66

1scant TB for 450mL water, lightly sweetened with stevia, no milk.

I am having a Very Bad Day. Almost four weeks of assorted nuisances have blended, entwined and swollen to create my grotesque today. I am ready to scream. Or cry. But what did the posters in WW2 England say? ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ And what would my war-bride English grandmother say? ‘Cup of tea.’

My nerves are shot, so I figure I need rooibos. Then I remember the new packet of Creme Brulee from David’sTea I thought I might keep on hand for a gift. I, um, opened it. Steeped some.

Mmmmmm, yes, that’s better.

The green rooibos base tastes bright, but not minty or woody as some red rooibos can get, and not dull and grassy like some crappy green rooibos I’ve had. The liquor is a lovely pale brass. The scent is caramelly but not overpoweringly so. The aftertaste is a slight bit woody, but I don’t mind it. Soothing. Very mild. Silky mouth-feel.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Sorry about the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad. A co-worker of mine used to say “Even bad days are only 24 hours long.” To which I would reply, “Yeah, but some 24 hours are longer than others.”

Michelle Butler Hallett

Thank you. Yep, only 24 hours … and decidedly looking up. A whole pile of problems got solved within the same hour.

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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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