1638 Tasting Notes

75

From the EU TTB

This tea is actually older than me, so I knew I had to try it when I found it in the EU TTB. It reminds me of a pu’erh in both scent and appearance, having that clumpy leafed look like it’s been broken off a cake, plus a mildly dank scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium red brown, and the scent again more reminiscent of a pu’erh than a black tea. It’s kind of woodsy and damp smelling, like a walk through a forest after a rain shower.

To taste, the main flavours are wet wood and damp earth. The initial sip is, again, very reminiscent of a pu’erh, with that almost characteristic note of decay. It’s quite a gentle flavour, though, and very smooth, and ultimately I found myself not noticing its rougher edges as much. A hint of beetroot like sweetness comes out in the mid-sip, which is a pleasant counterpoint to the initially more savoury flavours. It’s a rich tasting tea with a real depth of flavour, very loamy and autumnal, and perfect for this time of year.

I’m not usually a fan of pu’erh or ages teas, but this one’s sitting okay with me. I’ll definitely have to explore Taiwan Tea Crafts a little more once I’ve got my cupboard back under control!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

From the EU TTB

I’ve tried this one before, but I just had to give it another go when I saw it lurking in the EU TTB. It was one of my all-time favourite winter teas, and it makes me sad to think I can’t ever buy any more. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. It was rich and fruit-cake like, with an almost thick-tasting “pudding” like quality. Christmas in a cup, basically, and the best plum pudding tea there will ever be. I’m going to hang on to the rest of this sample for finishing up nearer Christmas itself, but I just had to sneak a cup today for old time’s sake. It’s as much of a delight as it ever was, and I’m pleased to be unexpectedly reacquainted.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95

From the EU TTB

I love both pumpkin and cheesecake, so this one was an easy steal from the EU TTB for me. The dry leaf smells amazing – very squashy and a little sweet. It actually reminds me a bit of some of the Della Terra teas I was drinking a little while back (I’m thinking Carrot Cake particularly) – it has the same desserty vibe going on, and it’s the kind of tea that makes the whole kitchen smell amazing. It was a winner before I took the first sip. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty dark, so I added a splash of milk.

Fortunately, it’s just as good to taste. As with many pumpkin teas, it’s more spicy than squashy initially. The spice blend in this one is pretty good – mostly cinnamon and a touch of ginger. The pumpkin emerges in the mid-sip, and it’s pretty true to life as far as I can tell. The reason I’m struggling is because the mid-sip is also where the sweet, creamy, white chocolatey, biscuity, maple syrupy, cream cheesey CHEESECAKE flavour comes out. It’s pretty strong, and it more or less overwhelms both the spice and the pumpkin flavours once it gets going. Still, it’s cheesecake and I can’t really complain about that. A break between sips restores some of the initial flavour, and stops the sweetness becoming cloying.

I’m really enjoying this one. I can’t get David’s easily in the UK, but this would be one I’d look to purchase if I could. Along with many others, obviously. One day I’ll get over to America and bring back my bodyweight in tea, and this is a fact.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
KittyLovesTea

I have quite a bit of this tea which was from a previous trade. I’m always happy to pass this one onto you :)

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75
drank Organic Black Tea by Arum Tea
1638 tasting notes

I don’t think I’ve come across a black tea quite like this before. For starters, it’s appearance reminds me more of an oolong. The leaves are black/brown in colour, but they’ve been rolled into oolong-like pellets, complete with leaf stem! The scent also puts me in mind of a dark roasted oolong – it’s rich and kind of earthy, with a metallic tang. I guess these characteristics could describe a black tea too, but I personally associate them a lot more with darker oolongs, as I do the leaf preparation. Still – we shall see! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a medium golden-brown, so I made no additions.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/20/organic-black-tea-arum-tea/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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65

When I think of “Gold” in relation to “Assam”, I’m usually thinking of “Golden Lion” varieties where the leaves really are golden-brown in colour, frequently accompanied by what I think of as “lots of golden dust”, a little like the grey/white dust that white tea sometimes exudes. This Assam clearly isn’t one of those – the leaves here are mostly a black/brown colour, with the odd golden-tipped leaf.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/21/assam-gold-black-tea-persimmon-tree/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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65
drank Kenyan Gold by Ringtons
1638 tasting notes

Kenyan Gold Black is a bagged tea from Ringtons, a UK tea company. At first glance, it looks like a typical bagged black tea.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/22/ringtons-kenyan-gold-tea-ringtons-premium-english-teas/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Traditional Black by Ringtons
1638 tasting notes

Traditional Black is a bagged tea from Ringtons, a UK tea company. At first glance, it looks like a typical bagged black tea. It’s in a square paper bag, and is about half full with finely shredded leaf. The scent is typical “black tea”. I used one bag for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up to a fairly dark golden-brown, so I added a splash of milk.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/19/traditional-black-tea-ringtons-premium-english-teas-2/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Breakfast Blend by Ringtons
1638 tasting notes

The first thing I have to say about this one is that it really surprised me. I don’t drink a lot of bagged tea at the moment, but it generally seems much of a muchness to me when I do. At least in the UK, the flavour profiles of “breakfast blend” style black teas seem very similar – sweet, malty, strong, and otherwise fairly nondescript. Until now.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/17/breakfast-blend-black-tea-ringtons-premium-english-teas/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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90

One of my colleagues is drinking Irish Cream flavoured coffee, which smells DIVINE, but I must not let myself be tempted over to the dark side. I’m countering with Cherry Bakewell tea, which is equally amazing, and which looks a lot nicer to boot. Who doesn’t want whole cherries with their tea? It’s so PINK!

I totally get frangipane, cherry jam, and water icing from this one. It’s an amazing concoction, and I fortunately I have plenty more left. Yay for tea!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Fjellrev

What a yummy-sounding counter attack! I hope the coffee drinker was jealous.

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75

Last night’s early evening cup, to accompany the Great British Bake-Off on TV. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty dark (darker than I was expecting given that this one seems to be pretty much 50/50 assam to rooibos), so I added a splash of milk.

To taste, I’m mostly getting the sweet maltiness of the Assam followed by the even sweeter creaminess of caramel. I know there’s supposed to be sesame in this one, and that’s one of the reasons why I was excited to try it. Sadly, I didn’t even get a whiff of sesame – I guess it was overpowered by the assam/caramel, which are pretty strong flavours in their own right, or maybe the milk drowned it out. Either that, or I need to shake my tin up a bit. I think next time I’ll maybe try it without milk (maybe a shorter brew time), and see if that changes things at all.

If it doesn’t, I won’t be too sad. I mean, it’s a pretty good caramel tea as it is at the moment, and I like caramel tea. It’s not the best one I’ve ever tried, but it’s rich and creamy and sweet, with a decent base, and not at all thin tasting. That in itself is all right with me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Nattie

Proportion of leaf really does seem to change the taste of this one! For me it’s been different almost every time I’ve had it

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

In addition to Steepster, I also write for the SororiTea Sisters. My reviews there will typically be posted here also, although typically in a shorter format. Any teas I’m sent specifically for review will only appear in full on the SororiTea Sisters website, with only a short introduction and link to my review here.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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