552 Tasting Notes
4TB for a 12-cup pot, drunk bare.
Dry leaves: some tips, faint scents of jasmine and Keemun and a lovely comforting hug of Assam.
Steeped: jasmine disappears but resurfaces very subtly in the taste. Oolong aromas. Slight smokiness from the keemun. Winey-ness from the keemun dances with the wine-to-maltiness from the Assam. Aftertaste: Darjeeling, and Yunnan pepper. Some astringency, but I did steep this for 6 minutes; 4 minutes would be better, I think. Medium body. No bitterness. Quite lovely. I feel very relaxed and blessed, drinking this one.
I used water just off the boil out of respect for the oolong and jasmine in the blend.
1 rounded TB for 500mL water, drunk bare.
Nor’easter, day two. Rain and wind just battering us. Some areas have lost electricity. I should make tea in a pot and cozy, just in case.
A perfect day for drinking LOTS of tea. I’m about one cuppa each away from finishing tins of my faves — including this beauty. Robust. An almost creamy mouthfeel. Some malt, some smoke, some wine. Slight astringency. No bitterness. Never boring. Rich.
1 rounded TB for 500mL water, drunk bare.
Mmmm … getting something crisp, sunny and earthy all at once in the foretaste … Darjeeling? Nepal? Mineral notes, too, but that may be my tap water.
Hahahaha — ‘Cup of Brown Joy’ just came up in my iTunes playlist. ‘You could say I’m mad for tea, or just say I’m mad.’
Overall, once more, delicious and sparkling. Cheering. Tends slightly to bitterness, which makes me wonder if something more delicate in the blend mightn’t be happier with water just off the boil. Must try that next.
COMBO: 2/3 TB A&D Damn Fiine Holiday Blend plus 1/3 TB of Stash’s Kopili Assam for 500mL water, drunk bare.
Woke up craving Holiday Blend. And Assam. Ai. Have just ordered more HB and some Captain Assam. Is there opium in the Holiday Blend, or what? Woke. Up. Craving. It.
The addition of the Kopili Assam smooths out the brightness /sharpness (slightly smoky sharpness) of Holiday Blend, adds some depth, sweetens the whole brew a bit, and gives it a heavier body. I like the combo, but Holiday Blend is also damn fine on its own. Can’t wait to introduce HB to Captain Assam.
Now, back to Holiday Blend on its own. Sigh. Bliss. TEA!
1 heaped TB for 500 mL water, drunk bare.
I admit it. The label got me. Sweater-knit Imperial Walkers. A & D could have stuffed the tin with grass clippings and I still would have bought it just for the label.
And today, in the first of a three-day nor’easter, horizontal rain, wind that’s trying to uproot trees: it came! My poor drenched postman brought the Damn Fine Holiday blend! I figured I wouldn’t see it til well after Christmas, as out ferries aren’t running (nor-easter’s affecting the entire island) and so lots of mail is tied up. Worse, lots of people aren’t getting home for Christmas.
I wish I could visit each stranded one and give them a cup of this tea.
Dry leaves are long and tippy. You know how some Assam smells raisiny? I’m sure I’m catching a faint whiff of smoked pears instead. And Yunnan — God, there must be Yunnan in here. Keemun? Pinch o’ lapsang? All an Imperial secret? Dunno, don’t care. What I can say is this: bright but not astringent, assertive but not a bully, deep but not bitter. Truly a happy-making tea. Restorative. Medium body, thick-to-creamy mouthfeel. My brew is a teensy bit bitter, but only because I steeped it six minutes.
And yes, it goes fab with cookies. I noshed a shortbread while sipping.
PS For anyone frightened off by my mentioning lapsang, the smokiness is NOT that strong. More of a Keemuny-smokiness, or a mild, milk Caravan … and that’s only one tasting note in a blend. So Holiday Blend is not a smoky tea.
1 rounded TB for 500 mL water, 1 packet stevia.
My regular nightcap. Now that I’ve shaken up the packet a bit, I get more of the petal-ly bits which seem to put the ‘cream’ in this brew, and that mellows the tartness. Much more balanaced.
I agree with another reviewer: it’s hard to tell there’s rooibos in Lemon Cream Pie. It’s a cheerful tea, provided you like lemon. It’s also mondo refreshing if you don’t finish you tea before falling asleep and wake up later parched and drink it cold.
Upping the rating.
1gently rounded TB for 500mL water, drunk bare.
Steeped 3 minutes to get that creamy mouthfeel.
A lovely Tu Kuan Yin. I’ve only tried one other, so I’m no expert. A haunting tea, faintly mineral, more floral. Medium-bodied, yet delicate, if that makes any sense. Infuses multiple times; I get at least two good long steeps. The less greedy amongst us could probably get three or four.
Love. Gentle, lasting tea love.
1 scant TB for 500mL water, drunk bare.
Dry leabes are long and look like living honeyed brass.
Note to self: heaping TB is the better option. Still, this Yunnan is luxurious without being heinously decadent. Layers and layers of flavour today, including honey, smoke and pepper, earth. Crisp finish. No bitterness. Yes, I abused it again today with a longer-than-approved steep, but hell, I like it. Excellent for a rainy day. I am craving a malty Assam; this Yunnan will make me appreciate the Assam all the more, while at the same time being fab in and of itself.
Le sigh. Le bliss.