545 Tasting Notes

95

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89

1 TB for 500 mL water, drunk bare.

Yes, at the Kopili Assam again. Tasting bitterness for the first time — only because I ate some ice cream before sipping the tea. Silly mbh.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Teeth cleabed. Tea tastes much better. I think this tea would go great with cookies.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Cleabed? Lord. Cleaned.

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100

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.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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91

2 bags for a 500mL travel mug, drunk bare.

Another delight for a rainy morning drive. A dependable, really tasty ginger black tea that takes the chill out of the pouring rain. Practically screams to be simmered in milk on the stove with from cinammon black tea. Forgives a long steep — really good black tea base.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Meghann M

I haven’t seen this variety in stores, I’ll have to check it out. I love their ginger peach black and green, so this is one I would have to try!

Michelle Butler Hallett

As far as I know, the Ginger Breakfast is only available online, where it’s a bestseller. I order this in batches of 240 bags. Man, I wish it came loose, but for a bagged tea, it’s excellent. http://www.stashtea.com/products/products.aspx?sku=030035

Michelle Butler Hallett

Sorry — here’s a better link that lets you choose the quantity. http://www.stashtea.com/products/Ginger+Breakfast+Black+Tea.aspx

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95

1 rounded TB for 500mL water, drunk bare (nothing added).

As others have noted, jasmine does a cheery ‘Ta-da!’ when you open the tin. And that’s great.

I set the timer but couldn’t repond right away and ended up with more of a 4-minute steep. With that length of a steep, a new scent wafts up from the brew: line-dried white shirts. That incredibly clean scent you only get in summer when you, that’s right, hand white shirts on the line to dry in the sun and the wind. I love that.

The longer steep thickens the body a bit; any longer and it might get soapy. I’ll probably water this cuppa down a bit. But oh, that clean, irreplacable lovely jasmine. I can taste more of the green tea base today, too: a sweet green, as others have pointed out, thank goodnes, not grassy and not briny.

Jasmine fabness. One of the best I’ve tried. Up there with some of the jasmine pearls.

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100

1 heaping TB for 500mL water, drunk bare (no milk or sweetener).

Left the leaves steeping merrily in the travel mug in this morning, as I needed to do the morning driving …

The faint peppery scent of mad hot Yunnan wafting up from a travel cup as I naviagte traffic on a rainsoaked morning — now THAT is a blessing to count. It got strong, of course, but not bitter, just very, very rich. One caveat: I wouldn’t dare drink it this strong on an empty stomach. Same goes for super-steeped Assam.

Rich and mysterious, like dark silk in winter: you wouldn’t think something normally so delicate and fine could keep you warm, but it does. The peppery notes seem to mute as the steeps past 6 minutes, but they fight back on the aftertaste. The honey and, well, Yunnan tea notes deepen. Gets a tiny bit smoky when it’s this strong, too.

A super-steep gives this normally light (not thin) bodied tea more of a medium body that drenches the taste buds.

Auggy

This makes me want to bust out a yunnan RIGHT NOW!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yunnan rocks. It’s an expensive little habit, though. (rolls eyes at self)

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91

3 bags for a 1L pot, drunk bare (no milk of sweetener).

A really smooth and deliciously gingery black tea blend. Very resilient, too; today’s cup was re-heated in the microwave but still tasted fresh. Three bags is a little light for the volume of water, but my mom-in-law and I leave the bags in. This tea does not get bitter, even when the bags are left in overnight and the tea heated up again in the morning. Wish it came loose.

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95

1 TB for 500mL water, drunk bare.

Second go with the Earl. Another lousy working day; the Earl gives solace. Whispers to me of sunny citrus groves in Italy while outside fog coalesces into a sparkling wall. Smooth black tea base, really, really fruit bergamot — none of that dish-soap garbage happening here.

Tonight I steeped for 6 minutes instead of the recommended 5. (Started slurpting at 4 min, though.) The tea did not turn bitter. Not sure how much further I want to push a steep of this, as I don’t want to waste any. Overall flavour has deepened, become more complex: is that a bit of Indian tea I taste in the blend? Just a bit?

Has surpassed Stash as my second-favorite EG ever. Only Numi’s Aged Earl Grey stands in the way. Wish I could Numi and Damn Fine side-by-side and make a final decision.

A cheering tea.

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89

1 heaping TB for 500mL water, no milk, no sweetener.

Ya know, you could simmer this chai blend on the stove for potpourri. The citrus and clove oils are strong and sharp and rich. This morning’s brew tastes almost mulled — very festive. No woodiness from the red rooibos, either. And its sooooo good for you, especially in a stressful time of year. Pleasant heat but nothing to burn the mouth off ya.

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74

1 TB for 500mL water, half a packet of stevia (equivalent to 1 tsp sugar)

Love Electric Lemon when it’s bone-rotting cold and damp outside. I’ve commented on the deliicous sharp heat below. If you don’t like ginger or lemon, you will not like this tea. It’s straight ahead, REAL ginger. No icing or sweet little men with gumdrop buttons here.

I sweetened the brew a bit today, and I’m surprised to find the stevia mellows the heat. I guess it’s because it takes the tart edge off the lemon. Slightly sweetened, Electric Lemon tastes less medicinal, but I definitely prefer it naked. Ahem. This tea, I mean. The stevia also mutes the green tea base.

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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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