1620 Tasting Notes
First cup of the day, and the first of my Luhse black tea samples. This one is presumably a blend, although the pouch doesn’t specify exactly which types of black tea have been used. Most of the leaves are fairly small and a uniform black, but there are also some thicker, larger, twistier black leaves, and a few golden, downy leaves. The scent of the dry leaf is sweet and mildly malty. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a fairly dark golden brown, and I added a splash of milk.
To taste, the initial flavour is sweetly malty and fairly bland. I’m picking up some mildly floral, orchid-like notes in the mid sip, and a mild metallic tang that makes me fairly sure there’s some Darjeeling in here somewhere. There’s the tiniest hint of baked bread at the end of the sip. Based on the maltiness alone, I’m pretty sure there’s also Assam in this blend, and maybe a touch of Dian Hong. I’m just guessing really, though, and being guided by both the appearance of the tea and what I can taste. I like how smooth this one is – almost silky.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with this breakfast blend. It’s not hugely unique, but it makes a flavourful cup that’s not too overpowering. Great first thing, for a pleasant, gentle wake up.
Today’s cold brew. I’m still disappointed with this one – it’s just not tangy or sherbet-y enough for my liking, and nothing I do seems to change that. As a very mild lemon cold brew, it’s very refreshing. This is how I’ll be finishing the pouch – it’s good on a hot day, but just not quite as amazing as I wanted it to be.
I feel bad for not having tried this one until today. It’s been waiting hopefully in my desk drawer for a while, but I’ve just never got around to picking it up. Still, better late than never! I used 1 tsp of leaf for today’s cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. I’m stuck by how pretty the dry leaf is – a mixture of black, twisty Keemun leaves, red safflowers, and golden-yellow hops.
The first thing to say about the taste is that I’m really impressed. There’s a strong initial hit of fruitiness, which I initially pegged as raspberry rather than rhubarb. Then comes the almost bittersweet, slightly floral complexity of the hops, rounded off beautifully by a smooth vanilla creaminess at the end of the sip. Although I thought raspberry at first, successive sips proved to me that this is actually rhubarb – it tastes sweet and almost stewed to me, like pie filling. Totally yum. It does seem to get a little bitter as it cools, but I can overlook that because it’s just so tasty.
I might try this cold-brewed towards the end of the week.
I’ve not been drinking many Teapigs teas recently – not because I don’t like them, more that there are so many other teas to try! I placed an order recently for some teaware, though, and took the opportunity to pick up a few samples of their newer teas. I’m a bit of a Darjeeling fan, although typically I prefer first flush because it tends to have less of a “metallic” tang. This one is second flush, but I’m still willing to give it a try. I used 1 bag, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a light golden brown, the scent mildly floral.
To taste, this one’s better than I was expecting. The main flavour is a mild floral, although not perfumey. I’m thinking orchid, perhaps? There’s also a very pleasant grapey, muscatel, flavour. There’s a light metallic tang towards the end of the sip, but thankfully it’s not too overpowering. Darjeelings that taste like tarnished metal are what I’m really trying to avoid when I pass over second flushes. This one is smooth, with no bitterness or astringency. It’s easy to drink, and really good with a mid-afternoon biscuit!
I used the rest of my sample (3 bags) for today’s cold brew, just to get the full effect. Again, it’s smooth, with no astringency, and has a mild floral flavour that’s pleasant and refreshing. More so cold than hot, I think. The muscatel flavour isn’t so noticeable brewed this way, but there’s also very little that tastes metallic, so it’s hard to complain. It’s a much milder prospect brewed cold – not tasteless, but certainly subtle.
I don’t mind this one as an occasional cup, although it’s not a tea I’d look to keep around in quantity. It’s a good everyday kind of Darjeeling – nice to drink but not especially remarkable. I’ll be sticking to my first flushes for “special” Darjeeling occasions, though.
Second assam of the day, and the last of my Golden Tips samples. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. This one is another second flush single estate variety, this time from Lokwah. It was picked on 26th June 2014. The dry leaf is fairly short and straight, and predominantly a uniform black-brown, escept for the odd golden-tipped leaf.
The first sip of this one reminds me instantly of maltesers. It has a malted chocolate sort of flavour, very smooth and creamy. There are light raisiny notes in the background, but the main flavour is definitely milk chocolate, maybe with a touch of caramel richness. Chocolate isn’t a flavour I typically associate with assams, so I’m quite surprised (and pleased!) to have found it here. This is definitely one of the more unusual, unique assams I’ve tried, and a potential repurchase with my next Golden Tips order. Yummy!
First cup of the morning; 1 tsp of leaf, 3 minutes in boiling water, plus a splash of milk. This particular assam is a second flush single estate variety from Borpatra, picked on 25th March 2014. The dry leaf is short, a little twisted, and a pretty uniform black. There’s the odd golden-tinged leaf scattered throughout, but no more than that. To taste, though, this is such a sweet, malty assam. It has strong raisin notes, which I love, and which are reminding me a little of some of my favourite Taiwanese assams. It’s faintly reminiscent of fruit cake, although nowhere near as intense. It’s smooth and not especially tannic, so a good choice for a morning cup. I’m impressed with this one.
Also at work with me today, the wonderful Ten! Ten is a chocolate blend on a base of irish breakfast, and it’s probably the most chocolatey tea I’ve tried in a good long time. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown. The dry leaf looks fairly ordinary – relatively short black tea leaves, a scattering of chocolate chips and marigold petals, and a few cocoa shells. The scent is out-of-this-world chocolatey, though, and that’s what gave me hope for this one!
Fortunately, it lives up to its promise. The chocolate flavouring is smooth and rich, almost like melted dark and milk chocolate mixed together and poured into a cup, only thinner. The black tea base adds a lovely malty sweetness that really works well with the chocolate, and which helps to stop it becoming too cloying. This is a really wonderful chocolate tea, and it’s not often that I say that. It’s the goldilocks of chocolate teas for me – just right!
Continuing through my sampler of Dr Who fandom teas, the next from the box is Nine! Nine is one of those green/black blends that I’m always a little scared of. I never know whether to use water to suit the green, the black, or somewhere in between. I threw caution to the wind for my first couple of cups, and used boiling water, 1 tsp of leaf, and a 2.5 minute brew time. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown.
As flavoured blends go, this is one of the more intriguing ones I’ve tried. It contains quite a lot of flavours I probably wouldn’t have put together – chestnut, aniseed and cinnamon, on a base of irish breakfast and gunpowder. The resulting flavour is quite complex – I get the aniseed fairly prominently, followed by the rich roastiness of the chestnut, rounded off with the mild spice of the cinnamon. It makes me think of Christmas in some small way! The base is smooth and clean-tasting – irish breakfast was a good choice here, and there’s just the slightest hint of dank, vegetal green.
I’m a bit stumped on the fandom aspect again with this one, but it’s certainly a tasty, unusual tea. The flavours work together a lot better that I ever would have expected, and this is one I’d consider repurchasing if I buy from Adagio in the future.
I received this bag as a sample with my recent Teapigs order. It’s been a long time since I tried these – apparently my last order with them before this one was in 2012! How time flies. I’m not the greatest fan of jasmine tea, which is why I don’t really bother with it these days. It’s always good to challenge preconceptions, though, so I’m giving this another go anyway.
I actually don’t mind this one as much as I used to. It’s not too strong or too heavily floral, and there’s a pleasant sweetness from the green tea base. It’s perfumey, and it’s unmistakably jasmine, but it’s not horrible. I can drink it, even though it still wouldn’t be my first choice. This one wouldn’t be a re-purchase for me, but the occasional cup is fine.
I started this morning in my favourite way – with a matcha latte! Grace & Green kindly sent me a sample of their Morning Organic Matcha to try, and as a matcha fan, I was very keen to give it a try!
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/07/13/morning-organic-matcha-grace-green/