494 Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)