519 Tasting Notes

One of my favourite teas. This batch at DavidsTea is a little harsh, just a little grassy for this sort of oolong, but nothing else will do when you want this stuff. Cream and butter and mineral notes. I rinsed the leaves before a first short steep. A delight.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 6 minus, drunk bare.

Bright and sunny and just what I need in these thousand days of winter in Newfoundland. I noticed the ingredients now list sulphites, on the dried fruit, I presume. Yuck. I’m also concerned about just what the “natural flavouring” is, which smells and tastes most convincingly of oranges, without the acid. The mate packs a lovely caffeine lift.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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85

2 bags for 500mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

I scored a box of this at the office this morning, and I’m quite pleased. Numi Tea is very hard to find in my city; one coffee shop stocks it, but not this one.

A decent Yunnan. Honey and malt notes but no astringency. Livelier than the Wild Black Yunnan from DavidsTea. Yum.

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85

1 bag for 250 to 300mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

Yes, the loose version is better. Loose almost always is. But I had a bag of this at a restaurant not long ago, when I was expecting stale Tetley from a left-open box on a plate next to a little tin pot of tepid water. Instead, I got a bag of this, steeping merrily in proper boiling water: so fragrant … I’d forgotten how good this one is, especially for a bagged tea you can get at the supermarket. There’s Keemun in this blend, which makes it special … not a whole lot of Keemun, but enough to make me go —Hey. this is good.

I always wish the tea bag held a slightly larger amount — loose leaf is the answer, of course — but the price and convenience (at my local supermarket) is hard to beat. A solid black tea, unusual for the Keemun: a little bit special. If you like black tea and you’re unable to afford fancier ones for the moment, this can make a great stopgap. Who knows, you might even like it for its own sake.

Starfevre

Stash is hard to beat for convenience. Maybe 2 bags, shorter steep?

Michelle Butler Hallett

Sounds good. I’ll try that.

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80

1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

I spotted Red Rocket in the supermarket last night and yes, fell in love with the red tin … and the cheeky note on the bottom of the tin asking “Why are you reading the bottom when all the good information is one the sides?”

The tea itself is a “small leaf” Ceylon. I took that to mean tea dust, but it’s way better than that. The liquor is dark copper, with typical floral Ceylon notes in the scent. Soft mouthfeel, which is lovely, medium body, mild pucker. I found the tea very soothing, and it seems to pack a caffeine punch.

Red Rocket is a member of the ethical tea partnership, and they also work with Nyota, a children’s organzation, in Kenya.

For supermarket tea: excellent. This is a dependable, refreshing, classic Ceylon.

(The bags don’t have tags, staples, and strings, but come in sets of two, sealed in a foil pouch within a really cute red tin.)

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42

1 “single steep” sachet for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

This is re-packaged as “Reflect Vanilla Black Tea” in a collection of single steep packets sold in Chapters/Indigo stores in Canada. I bought such a box this evening. So far, the Lemongrass Ginger is great; the “Revitalize Cherry Black Tea” is the equivalent of drinking melted cough drops; now it’s Reflect’s turn.

I can really smell the coconut, like in DavidsTea Buttered Rum. My study smells lovely, in fact; vanilla and coconut go well together. In a candle, say, or soap. They’re not going well with what tastes like low grade astringent Ceylon. The entire tea is soapy: taste and mouthfeel, probably from the coconut. Like the Revitalize Cherry before it, this is, for me, undrinkable.

caile

oh no, sounds not good at all…except for your study smelling nice I guess!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Even that didn’t last.

A disappointing tea all round.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Oops — steeped a little too long there. Getting lots of vegetal in this cup, and that lovely creme brûlée thing. Floral, too — orchids, I guess. Lots of down in the liquor, giving that velvety mouth-feel. Delicious. I’ve not had this for a long time, and I got about 138 grams for a Christmas present. Mmmmm.

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60

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @80C, steeped three minutes, drunk bare.

I tried a sample of this earlier today at a DavidsTea and quite liked it. Fresh China green tea with a slight fruitiness and a buttery mouthfeel. The pineapple in the ingredients had always turned me off, but here it works, quiet an subtle in the background. I adore walnuts, though you can barely taste them; it’s more of a mouthfeel, a slightly biter silkiness. I’ll go with a shorter steep next time; the pineapple is more pronounced here at home, and the liquor is quite cloudy.

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91

3 tsp for 500mL eater @100C, steeped 3 minutes, drunk bare.

Earthy and astringent Darjeeling, with lots of green leaf in with the black. Crisp, with lots of muscat. Feels and tastes like a lot of second flush is in here, which suits me fine. It does tend towards being bitter; I think next time I’ll use cooler water. (Teavana recommends 90C.) I got this as a gift; I haveno idea how much it costs; if it’s reasonable, I’d order it to keep on hand.

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90

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.

In a sample. A pale liquor for a black tea, a light bronze. Some honey and dark fruit notes that remind of me the Nepal black from the Jun Chiyabi estate. A slight astringency that’s like a very, very subtle bergamot. Light body. Lovely, but I’m not paying $45.00 for 50 grams of it.

TeaBrat

that’s a little nuts

Michelle Butler Hallett

I’ve paid steep money for tea, but it’s been for much better tea. This is really good, just not worth the asking price.

Bonnie

That’s crazy! Nepali Tea Trader’s Himalayan Gold is really good and way less! ($8 or$9 an oz. I think)

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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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