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The instructions are for ‘2 – 5 mins’ so I split the difference and brewed for three and a half minutes with boiling water. This is one of those awkward-to-spoon, long-stranded teas, but I used a near-as-I-could-judge heaped teaspoon. Actually, as this is quite light in weight, I’m now wondering if I should have used two.

It made a quite dark, slightly orange, brown brew, clear, but intense enough in colour to be almost opaque.

In the nose: there is a very subtle, but rich, fragrance which is difficult to pin down – it seems to differ with different sniffs. I get a good, clean, basic tea, a roast beef or Oxo note, uncooked pastry dough and, sometimes, just a hint of flowers or perfume. As it cools and the level falls, I’m noting a ‘herby’ hint – possibly somewhere between thyme and sage, but just a hint.

In the mouth I get the good, clean basic tea (I should explain that: when I used cheap teabags, as far as I remember I got a single, basic tea note but it had a rather diffuse or ‘muddy’ taste which contrasted with the ‘cleaner’ or more ‘pure’ flavour of the best of the loose tea we used to have when I was a youngster, before teabags were so widespread – I taste the teas I have now as varying between these two extremes). The roast beef or Oxo note of the smell is not so noticeable. I’m getting a good, smooth butteriness rather than the dough thing. There’s a note that is somewhere between cut grass and the thyme-sage thing I noted for the aroma.

I made a second infusion, same way.

In appearance, the colour didn’t look any less intense than the first time, but there were oily spots on the surface.

There was less aroma: I think I could detect a very faint and fleeting butteriness and an equally faint grassy-metallic element.

In the mouth it was definitely less interesting than the first infusion – I didn’t get much apart from a faint, doughy butteriness and a little basic tea flavour.

This is a pretty good brew – the first infusion, at least; but I think that when I make a fresh one I’ll try two heaped teaspoons.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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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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