142 Tasting Notes
I’m a big fan of Earl Grey tea. The fruity bergamot flavor is a terrific complement to both black and green teas. This particular Earl Grey black tea by Wissotzky seems to be hiding both the tea and bergamot flavors under a bushel. I am doubtful that I would have pinpointed the presence of bergamot if I hadn’t first read the list of ingredients on the package. It isn’t just the low level of bergamot that is disappointing here. I also struggled to cull any identifiable tea flavor at all. The flavor that is present is not bad, there just isn’t enough of it.
The flavor of most of the English Breakfast varieties I have tried and reviewed are nice and pleasant but normally nothing to get over-excited about. English Breakfast tea figures prominently in my morning lineup as the first cup of the day. This is my “business cup” because it provides a high caffeine shock to my metabolism that gets me charged up and motivated to start my daily task list. My “pleasure cup” of tea is always reserved for the second cup of the morning. That is the more delightful, fruity, and bold cup that I anxiously anticipate to chase down the usually standard tea taste of English Breakfast. However, all of that changed this morning when I sampled Wissotzky English Breakfast Tea for the first time. I knew something different was afoot when I saw the bright amber color that this tea possessed. With my first curious sip, I immediately noticed a purity to the flavor that I hadn’t experienced with other English Breakfast formulas. Its bright robust quality sends the essence of great tea taste straight to your tastebuds. It is definitely English Breakfast tea flavor, but amplified to astounding heights. The best illustration I could make would be to compare this tea to the appearance of the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz after he was buffed, polished, and shined to meet the Wizard. He was still the Tin Man but he was now one cool and buff dude. After I finish all of the other English Breakfast teas in my stash, this Wissotzky tea will be my Numero Uno of this variety.
By now, you are beginning to surmise one thing about me based on my tea tasting notes: I am willing to try just about anything. I neither fear nor discriminate against any tea. This selection was another one of the flavors that came in my Wissotzky Tea gift box that was a surprise gift from me to me (I did try to act surprised but I saw through me immediately). The Nana Tea was another title that I greeted with skepticism. I wondered if this flavor was designed for sweet little grandmothers to sip from their rockers while knitting scarves and sweaters for the grandchildren. However, once again my first thoughts were far from the truth. This tea has a very light and refreshing spearmint flavor. For Southern teetotalers, it would be the perfect replacement for the mint julep. The Nana Tea is a tad too light and easy for my morning rotation. My first cups of the day need to jump-start me like a defibrillator. I will gladly call on this tea again in the afternoon or early evening, though, when I’m just looking for a nice refreshing break from my day.
This morning I was introduced to Wissotzky tea. I received eight flavors in a gift box that was a gift from me to me. For my first voyage, I chose the Cherry Tea. It is exactly as advertised, a bright rich flavor with the taste of fresh red cherries. This tea would also be great iced. There is no hint of bitterness whatsover. This selection would be enjoyable morning, noon, and night, hot or cold.
I received this tea as one of the flavors included in a Twinings variety pack. I like my tea as bold as possible. I was not excited about trying this flavor as I thought the title implied that it was a much tamer version of the macho Earl Grey tea. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, the flavor is lighter than Earl Grey but not in a weak way. There is nothing “sissified” about this tea at all. The flavor is mellow and fruity and strong enough after five minutes of steeping to push aside my first cup of English Breakfast tea. I am keeping this tea in my morning rotation.
I’ve been trying a lot of English Breakfast teas as I strive to find the one that will give me the biggest jolt in the morning for my first cup of the day. The Stash English Breakfast tea has a solid, strong flavor after five minutes of steeping. There is nothing in the flavor to set it apart from some of the other popular brands that I’ve tried, but I do like its higher intensity.
Of the several Earl Grey teas that I have sampled so far, the Stash Earl Grey has the most prominent Bergamot flavor. It has a bright taste that I enjoy as my second cup of the morning, after my first cup of a stronger and more awakening breakfast tea. Although the Bergamot presence will not be denied in this tea, it is not strong enough to mask the very pleasant tea flavor beneath it. Believe it or not, Stash also offers a DOUBLE Bergamot tea formula! I am curious to try it to see if you have to be a Bergamot addict to enjoy it.
When it’s early in the morning and you’re not quite ready for loud noises or shocks to your system, this tea is a nice quiet selection. It’s a very mild breakfast tea, even after a full five minutes of steeping. There is a twinge of malt to the flavor and a slight non-offensive aftertaste. I find it to be a good choice on those sensitive mornings to rev up my metabolism for my next, more daring, cup of tea.
Right now, this is my absolute favorite tea in the world. As it steeps, an intoxicating fragrance reminiscent of fine chocolate cherry cordials or cherry pipe tobacco fills the room. The flavor is equally impressive. The light cherry and chocolate essence lingers on your tongue for minutes after your final sip. The color of the steeped tea has an elegant light reddish hue. My only complaint about this tea is that it is a limited World Market exclusive offering. It is only available In World Market stores from about January through Valentine’s Day. Next January I intend to buy as many containers of this tea as possible so I can enjoy it throughout the year.
When I returned to the land of hot tea drinkers about two years ago, I began by drinking the free Flavia teas provided in the office machine at my workplace. It had been so long since I imbibed hot tea (being a Southerner, I primarily drank my tea ice cold), that I actually thought this tea was great stuff. I guess I was then naive and tea-ignorant. After branching out considerably since those young and foolish days, and drinking several of the finer teas in life, I now find this Flavia tea to be bitter, muddy, and unenjoyable. If it weren’t free for me to drink, I might even use the word, “nasty”.