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I made a brew with a well-heaped teaspoon, water several minutes off the boil, steeped for two minutes forty seconds – I’d meant two and a half, but …

In the mug it’s a quite dense colour – dark brown, opaque in its intensity and with a touch of brown-yellow round the surface circumference. Which is quite different to yesterday’s brew.

In the nose I get a rusty, ‘brown’ aroma, perhaps a touch of raw dough. As I get to the last inch or so in the mug and it’s quite cool, I get a hint of toffee.

In the mouth I’m not getting a lot, perhaps a hint of freshly-turned soil, perhaps a hint of ripped cardboard, and I get a hint of chocolate when I swallow (sometimes). As with the aroma, when I get towards the bottom of the mug and it’s quite cool, there might be the tiniest hint of toffee. I’m having to ‘search’ for all this – it really doesn’t have much flavour. That’s a disappointment: going on the colour and aroma I was expecting a little more flavour than yesterday; instead, there seems a little less.

I decided to scrap that one and made a fresh brew with two well-heaped teaspoons; steeped for two and a half minutes with water several minutes off the boil.

The colour is similar to last time but even more opaque.

The aroma is great: I’m strongly getting good basic tea with touches of rust and dough. There’s possibly a hint of chocolate.

Damn! Again, the flavour doesn’t live up to the smell. The basic tea is there – it’s actually the tiny-tiniest touch harsh – and there’s a tiny hint of chocolate. And that’s about it. It might be a better cup of tea than for the single-teaspoonful brews, but it’s very much ‘supermarket teabag’

One last point: I forgot about the last third of this and it got cold. I drank it anyway and was suprised to get a distinct, ‘herby’ note in the mouth, giving an invigorating bite. I’ve just been sniffing the dried basil, rosemary and thyme in the kitchen. It isn’t any of them but it’s similar, possibly similar to what a mixture of the three would be like. If I could add that note to the warm tea I’d consider it reasonably good stuff.

I made a second infusion: water off the boil for several minutes, three minutes steeping (forgot I was doing two and a half – my mind doesn’t seem to be on the job, today).

It’s still the intense colour.

In the nose and the mouth I’m getting garden soil and ripped cardboard. What I’m searching for but not getting is that herby note. I’m not even getting that hint of chocolate.

I deliberately let the last inch or so go cold, to see if that herby note came back. There may be just a hint of it, and of grass. It all adds to the feeling that there are potential flavour notes in there that I’m somehow not getting out.

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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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