519 Tasting Notes
1 bag for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes.
A huge box of these teabags came to me from a friend in England. In North America, PG Tips is a pleasant, if dull, supermarket black tea, mostly Ceylon, I think. The English version is quite different.
The liquor is almost red, like a decent Keemun. I wonder of there’s some Keemun in the blend, as there’s a faint – very faint- smokiness and bitterness. Some Assam, I think, giving heft, and something lighter, giving some astringency to the finish. Delicious and full, without coating the mouth as some Assams and Kenyans might. A very pleasant surprise. It reminds me of how Twinings English Breakfast used to taste, many years ago, only much better.
1,5 tsp plus a punch for 300mL water @10C, steeped four minutes.
This is a second infusion, from leaves I steeped yesterday morning for three minutes. I meant to steep the leaves a a second time yesterday in a travel mug and take it to work, but, as usual, I got distracted. I was a but concerned this morning about re-steeping damp leaves left in a strainer 24 hours in some heat and humidity, but this tea is too good to waste. I added a pinch of fresh leaf and poured the water.
The second infusion was identical to the first. The pu-erh darkness mellowed slightly, but only slightly. A potent and nuanced blend, and a joy to drink.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes Western style.
Yeah, don’t do what I just did. I got distracted — damn it, I need a timer in my study for when I make tea — and my precious sample Laoshan Black is bitter. Cocoa-bitter. It’s still a lovely tea, and I can handle some bitterness, but this expensive error reminds me that good tea is often delicate tea and needed careful treatment.
As it cools, some of the sweeter notes are coming out. Still, it’s over-steeped, and it’s my own fault.
2 tsp for 300mL @100C, steeped four minutes Western style, drunk bare.
Oh, oh, oh.
Liquor is quite dark, letting me know there’s pu-erh in the blend. I can smell the pu-erh, too, and it’s a type of tea I generally don’t care for, but it’s giving heft and depth to this blend. Bready and toasty — roasted grains, and a winey finish that reminds me of some good Keemuns. Some faint Yunnan pepper, stronger in the aftertaste, and some honey notes. Florals in the finish, too. Deep notes of cocoa and sweet potato and minerals. Wow. I’ve never tasted a blend like this.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped four minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.
Steeped a little longer than usual today … getting a heavier body. No bitterness. Smooth. Many Yunnan characteristics and a bite of Himalayan. Deep honey notes. A good choice for the hot-tea-on-a-hot-day approach to summer heat.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
The scent reminds me of Super Chocolate. Lots of good cinnamon. The liquor is cloudy and gritty, with globs of fat on the surface from the chocolate and coconut. Visually, this is not appealing at all. Mouthfeel is very smooth, thanks to the melted chocolate, and the cinnamon, clove, and chipotle chile give a pleasant bite. I cannot taste vanilla, or chocolate, or coconut. I pick up some weak back tea. I want to like this, and at my first sip I wanted to spit it out, but I can’t make up my mind. I might appreciate this more on a cold day.
1.5 tsp for 300mL wter @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, sweetened with a DavidsTea Lemon Honey stick.
This delicious black tea, the result of planting Yunnan cuttings in Nepal soil — brilliant idea — already gives off honey notes, so I thought the lemon honey might be okay in here. I don’t like sweet tea; I always want to taste the tea, so I hesitated, only adding one-third of the stick. Eventually I added the whole thing; it’s not very much honey; it IS an excellent amount for bringing out any honey and fruit notes in a black tea.
The honey sticks are quite expensive, when you figure out just how much, or rather, how little, honey you’re getting, but they are very convenient. The lemon oil is excellent.