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494 Tasting Notes

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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29

1 scant TB for 450mL water, no milk or sweetener.

On my second attemot with the Chocolare Chili Chai. I expected to like this one, but I’m underwhelmed.

Lots of really good chocolate aroma, but very little tea aroma. I think the base is a China black. I dunno, I can’t help thinking an India black would have been a better choice. No real heat, just a minor nibble from the chilis on the aftertaste. Except for the Chai Guarana, I’ve found anything labelled ‘chai’ from David’s Tea to be a bit dull. No true heat, no singing marriage of hot and sweet spices. Not for me.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
heatherwassing

Without going back, I can’t see if you’ve tried/rated their Cinnamon Chai rooibos.
IT has heat and sweet. I recon you should give it a whirl, if you want satisfying spiciness from David’s.

heatherwassing

PS: I am desperately sad that you didn’t like this. I will remember to maybe amp up the tea:water? I generally do with David’s Tea teas. I need more slap-in-the-mouth than they generally offer.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I have tried David’s Cinnamon Chai Rooibos and LOVED it. Thanks for reminding me. I have some left in a packet; must brew some today.

I’m gonna try the Chocolate Chai one more time today. I think you’re right about amping up the tea:water ratio. I might add a pinch of Assam, too.

katgolik

Couldn’t agree more with your assessment!

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84

1.5 Tablespoons per 450mL water. (David’sTea recommends 2 teaspoons for 250mL water. I brew my tea pretty strong. This tisane needs the extra amount, too,)

A beautiful tisane just to look at. I’ve given serious thought to buying some just to have out in a bowl as potpourri, or in a clear jar for display.

Lovely chunks of apple and extremely fresh and fragrant cinnamon stick. A few peppercorns and four gorgeous green pods — caradmom? I brewed this completely loose, no bag or filter, as I wanted to watch it steep.

At 5 min, most of the tisane is still floating. Liquor is cloudy and pale. The aroma, my mother-in-law assures me, IS baked apples. Just like her mother made on cold days, with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. This tisane has, in fact, scented the entire top floor of my house and beats even my good Pumpkin Spice Colonial Candle.

The taste? Red apples. You can even taste the peel. Red apples and sweet spices. (And no hibiscus! Yay!) Delicious. A very special tisane.

If you opt not to use a filter, you will have to sip around/through the ingredients floating on top. Just so ya know. The frugal amongst us may even scoop out the steeped tisane to mix into oatmeal later.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, forgot to add: drunk without milk or sweetener. This tisane is quite sweet on its own, but not sickeningly so.

Michelle Butler Hallett

After about 8 min, the apple pieces are soft enough to eat. I highly recommend you do so — it would be such a waste to just throw them out.

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99

Drunk bare (no milk or sugar), 1 TB to 500mL water, 4-minute steep.

The Captain’s a bit more mellow at four minutes. Still a very fine Assam, but I do prefer the bit of atringency I get with a 6-minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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66

Bright and feisty. Little tiny leaf steeps quickly and gets bitter fast. This will wake you up.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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23

Confused. I could neither taste nor smell the lavender, though I did see it. A very minty and woody rooibos. Not for me,

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec
Dorothy

Ever try Lavender Zen? It is loaded with lavender.

Michelle Butler Hallett

No, I haven’t. Must add that to my next order. Thnaks.

Rabby

I agree completely; I got this because of the lavender as a gift from someone who knows I love lavender – and I can’t really taste it or smell it at ALL. T_T;

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94

Drunk bare — no milk or sweetener.

I did not think this tea would live up to the hype. I adore a good smokey tea, but too often, the smoke dominates.

So, I was wrong.

Caravan gives off a very strong smoke scent, but the steeped tea is almost sweet. The smoke is an accent, not a bully. There’s a wine-iness too, as you find in some Keemuns. (Keemun in blend?) Also something savoury, almost salty, that excites the sides of the tongue. Finishes clean, though smoke lingers in the mouth.

Damn fine.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Another one to binge on, not hoard. Drat these limited editions!

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99

Drunk without milk or sugar — ‘bare tea,’ in Newfoundland English.

My heart deeply wounded by the absence — rather, by my never getting to try — Thomas Sampson (though he did send me a lovely note), I thought to ring up the Captain, who, surely, cannot be as harsh and hard as he’d like everyone to think. After all, he seeks a mermaid.

I’m sorry. I just love the writing round the teas from A&D.

Received my order in the storm of a very bad day. Couldn’t even properly welcome the Captain, just showed him his berth.

This morning: dry long leaves with plenty of golden tips, smelling raisin-y, as others have noted. Sweet. Brewed for 6 minutes by mistake, 1 TB for 500mL of boiling water.

Oh.

My.

First those high sweet notes of a really good Assam. Then strength and heft. A heavier mouthfeel to this one, but it’s lovely - creamy, silky. A bit malty on the sides of the tongue, a slight bit of astringency in the aftertaste- but I did overbrew by two minutes; A&D recommend a four-minute steep. But these are characteristics of Assam that I love and desire. A clean finish, but you know you’re drinking TEA. ‘Proper tea’, as my English war-bride grandmother would call it, that will get you through a storm and help you recover afterwards. The sort of tea George Orwell meant when discussing the virtues of Indian tea: ‘First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ’a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.’ (_Evening Standard, 12 Jan 1946).

Not at all a harsh Assam. But a very strong one. Ideal.

And Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixir is, of course, a limited edition. I don’t know whether to hoard or binge. Probably binge. Then it won’t go stale.

(For the record, I do not despise China black tea; in fact, sometimes nothing else will do. But I do agree with Orwell that it doesn’t pack the same punch as India black yea.)

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Not sure how I got the overstike in there, sorry.

Michelle Butler Hallett

WoooHOOOO! The Captain is mondo caffeineated! Or whatever the magic stimulating substance in tea is. Captain Assam’s got it by the shipload. My eyes are wide open and my writin muscles are twitchin!

As the brew cooled off, it remained sweet and malty. No bitterness.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, what is that goregous tasting note, almost like the winey-ness in Keemun?

Michelle Butler Hallett

Second batch (bare) at 6 minutes again … yeah, I don’t think I want to go back to four. Deliciously heavy mouthfeel. Is this what some Steepsterites mean by ‘chewy’?

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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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