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In my last tasting note for this, I noted that I absent-mindedly used less than half the recommended amount of dry tea. This time I used the correct amount, about two and a half times what I used last time. I brewed it for two minutes, again – boiling water.

It made a dark brown, very slightly yellowish infusion, intense enough in colour to be pretty much opaque.

This is seriously weird. I’m not getting anything much in the way of aroma and little more in the way of variety of flavour: in the mouth there’s the basic tea element, which is now very slightly bitter – I think I’ve brewed it too strong – and just the tiniest hint of chocolate. And that’s it – a real disappointment after last time’s absolutely heavenly brew of this stuff.

I’m just baffled by this – I’ve even gone to the length of going outside to breath fresh air deeply through the nose for a minute or so, to make sure my head is quite clear, but it makes no difference.

I’m making a second infusion, two minutes again.

It’s a little less intense in colour and I get a faint metallic hint and touch of the pizza dough in the nose.

In the mouth there’s now possibly a little grass and a little butter, and that bitterness is no longer noticeable. As the tea is cooling, there may be the tiniest hint of vanilla coming in. It’s pleasant enough, but nothing special, still.

I’m quite bemused about this – how can 1g of tea taste so much better than 2.5g? The dry tea is so distinctive in appearance that it’s quite impossible for me to have got the wrong tea today or last time – they’re definitely both the same tea.

Well, I’m even less ready to rate this. I now, of course, have to make another brew with the lesser amount; to be sure that it’s the tea and not, somehow, me. I shall do that later – I’m tea-full at the moment.

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Bio

Happily retired male.

Started exploring ‘proper’ tea in March, 2010 after decades of PG Tips teabags. I was initially looking for ‘the perfect tea’; now I don’t want to find one – I’m so much more enjoying exploring the variety.

A confession: I take my tea with four sweeteners to a half-pint mug.
28/05/2012 – I’ve decided to wean myself off the sweeteners, starting this morning, so, three per mug instead of four (I’m getting a growing feeling that I’m failing to get the best out of some of the oolongs and greens I try and I intend getting a gaiwan and the appropriate little cups, and sweeteners don’t seem to be appropriate, there). 16/02/2013 – since New Year’s Day I’ve only been using two sweeteners. I’m struggling to get used to it, to be honest – some teas are more difficult than others.

How I make tea: either in a traditional teapot which holds enough for three half-pint mugs and has a removable infuser (London Teapot Company); or in a half-pint mug with an Agatha’s Bester filter. Sometimes I vaguely think about getting some nice, genteel cups and saucers …

Important: I measure the tea with plastic kitchen measuring spoons – teaspoon and half-teaspoon sizes – so when I say a ‘heaped teaspoon’, as the correct measure is a levelled one, I should probably be calling it ‘two teaspoons’!

Location

Derbyshire/Staffordshire, UK.

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