408 Tasting Notes
I bought this tea on my last trip to London in F&M’s shop in Piccadilly. They have rearranged all of their tea selections, redesigning the boxes (I preferred the old ones, in general. They were more subdued), and taking a lot of their old and good staples off the shelves. My favourite blend, Piccadilly Blend, is no longer, as are the Afternoon tea, Fountain blend and many others. They were replaced not by new and interesting blends, but by… nothing. They just cut down the number of tea blends that they offer.
Anyway, I got this tea from behind the counter, and they now allow you to buy only 100g or more in weight, which is infuriating, since they WEIGH the tea anyway, so why should they mind if I want only 50g? This only meant that I bought less kinds of tea.
On to the tea: the leaves are long and dark and twisted when dry, with a faint fruity scent to them. They vastly expand and turn a dark green in the pot. I brewed them Gongfu style in a relatively new Yixing teapot (which may have stolen some of the tea’s flavour) for three brewings: 20, 30, 40 seconds each.The soup is a very pale golden green, and the tea has tangy, only slightly floral notes. It had something of a lemon tart in it, and something elusive that I haven’t quite nailed down, but was quite pleasant. It’s a gentle tea, that looks unassuming, but unfolds charmingly once you take the time to get to know it.
Running rather low on this tea, which is dismaying, because Whittard’s have stopped making it (or so it seems). A big bold tea that was a welcome mid-morning pick-me-up today, especially since I’ve been coming down with something today. So vitamin C, tea, chicken soup and throat lozenges have been the order of the day.
Yes! This tea is wonderful when iced! All the fruity notes and the complexity survive to make a cup of iced tea the likes of which you can only get when brewing good quality tea at home. My dad, not a tea drinker at all, came in on Sunday to help me build a cabinet (for teapots, cups, gaiwans,etc if you are asking :) ), and he loved it. It doesn’t need any sweetening in my opinion, and adding mint, lemon and other “tea additives” will just take the edge off the wonderful depth of this tea. I’m so, so, sorry that Norbu no longer stocks it regularly (they are willing to special order it, but only in large amounts). Solidly one of my favourite teas.
A new batch – this is notedly less astringent, and this smooth and rather light bodied tea is becoming an office favourite for an afternoon pick-me-up. A well-mannered, slightly shy tea, that is immediately likeable.
Takes milk admirably, but take care to brew it much stronger, and it tends to brew on the lighter side of Indian black teas.
Drinking this iced (made in a Takeya flash chill tea maker – a great purchase!) – very, very refreshing. This is hands down my most versatile tea, and a staple must in my cupboard. Light, smooth, brisk and refreshing.
Something to drink lounged in a beautiful, summer garden.