420 Tasting Notes
The Tea House – Covent Garden are experts in fairly priced decent (and slightly better sometimes) tea, and this is no different. The blurb is a little hmm… but otherwise this is a good, everyday Keemun for a good, everyday price. No sweetening needed, as it isn’t astringent, and it has a slightly woody taste to it that adds a little interest to the brew. Large, mature leaves with nary a bud, but again, for the price and the taste you couldn’t expect much more.
It’s raining here today (enough of a rarity still to get everyone’s attention), so this tea was a just the thing.
An overpriced yunnan tea, but if that’s the only Yunnan that you can get, you could do worse. Very slightly astringent, sweet, slightly boring for a Yunnan black – nothing too offensive about it, but nothing too great. It mostly tastes like a very good Ceylon minus the astringency — nothing of the chocolate, sweet potato richness of a better Yunnan. A filler tea that you can easily share even with non-tea enthusiasts. If the price would have been more reasonable for what it is, it would have gotten a better grade.
Hadn’t had this tea in a while, and actually thought that I’d lost the pouch that I had. To my surprise it toppled out of my tea cupboard at work, so of course I brewed up a batch for my colleagues and myself. No sugar or sweetener needed, and even after all this time, this tea is still a winner.
Having this to warm me up, though I know that it’s too late in the day for it. Brewed western style it is a very dry, astringent tea for a Chinese tea, and I doubt that it will hold up to gong fu brewing. This is a case where the tea’s smell, looks and packaging oversell it. Not a great buy, especially considering the premium price, so I’ll probably allocate it to “in dire need only” corner of my work tea cupboard.
This are gorgeous, although blacker than they look in the photograph. Two of these in a gaiwan, steeped gong fu, saved me after a rough day and a raging headache. There is something about taking the time to steep them thoroughly, watching them unfurl, that is supremely soothing. Sweet, malty, chocolaty and smooth, with no astringency, even on longer steeps (although it can have a dark chocolate bitterness to it), this tea is almost too good to share. Like a piece of chocolate that you sneak when nobody’s looking.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Malt
Had a cup of this yesterday, brewed Western style. This is a sweet, malty tea, with surprisingly little astringency, and much lighter than your garden variety Assam blend. It requires no sweetening, in my opinion, and can be rebrewed 2-3 times easily.
Alas, in typical Fortnum’s fashion, it appears to be no longer available.
And of course, the caddy it came in is absolutely stunning.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Maple Syrup
I’ve been really sick for the past few days, down with what started as a simple cold, but is starting to feel a little bit too comfy, and lingering too long. Buh.
Anyway, I’ve been drinking loads of French Breakfast – with milk, without milk – as find the very gentle vanilla aroma that it has really soothing.
I have a box of these leaves both at work and at home. They are that good.
The wonderful and generous DigniTea sent me this tea as part of a swap, and the only label on the bag was “Golden Moon Tea Sinharaja”. I’ve never heard of Golden Moon Tea, or of Sinharaja before, so when I looked at the medium length, black tightly twisted leaves, I had no idea what I was up for.
But then I opened the bag.
Do you know the wonderful smell a really good Ceylon has? Of juicy plums, and sweet, sweet raisins? This tea has it, abundantly.
So, first for the Ceylon haters among you – yes, it is astringent. But it is a very, very mild astringency – something that you oftentimes get with Assams, Nilgiris, Kenyans or other non-Chinese black teas.
And now for the Ceylon lovers – how is it?
Silky smooth, with a juicy sweetness to it that has a slightly darker twist on the Ceylon flavour profile than more sparkling Ceylons and Ceylon blends have. This is like a Ceylon grown up – no longer playing the trumpet, but taking on a baritone saxophone instead. So there isn’t the bass of an Assam, or the super smoothness of the Nilgiri, but it is leaning in that direction.
An interesting and excellent Ceylon that is probably a must buy if you like Ceylons, and a “yes, you should certainly give this a go” for people who don’t normally go for the Ceylon flavour.
P.S. I wouldn’t couple this with milk, although if the astringency bothers you, sugar will take what little edge there is off.
P.S. 2 – Sipdown!
Flavors: Molasses, Plums, Raisins