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As I brewed this as a black last time, I’m making another tasting note brewing it as an oolong; so I’m making a brew with water several minutes off the boil, steeping for two minutes.

The aroma is still quite strong. It’s hot green vegetables, mixed with the smell I get when I’m ironing shirts and trousers.

In the mouth I get green vegetation, freshly-turned soil and chcolate. It’s not quite the same as when I was brewing it as a black tea, though. The notes are a little less intense and a little less sharply defined – more blended together. The soil and chocolate become dominant over the greenery in the lingering aftertaste.

It’s still a pretty good cup of tea, though; but a little more subtle and rather less ‘in-your-face’ than the black-tea-stroke-boiling-water version.

I made a second infusion same way.

The aroma is noticeably different. It’s somewhere between green vegetation and liquorice – not two notes, but a strange hybrid between.

In the mouth, it’s a bit of a disappointment. There’s a rather firm – though not bitter – note reminiscent of boiled cabbage but leaning slightly towards liquorice. Again, it’s one note not two. I’m not getting anything else.

I made a third infusion, same way.

In the nose this is difficult. One sniff I get boiled cabbage, another I’m doing my ironing, another I get a hint of nettles.

In the mouth I’m not getting anything much immediately, but then I get a rather firm note, not bitter but edging towards it, that I can only describe as similar to spearmint but without any sweetness. There’s almost a tingle to it. Also, beneath that, I’m getting a touch of that thyme or rosemary, herb thing I mentioned in my previous tasting note.

It seems to be trying to make up its mind to go somewhere, so I’m trying a fourth infusion, same way.

The aroma is starting to get a bit weaker, now. It seems changeable like the last infusion, though. One sniff it’s ironing and one cabbage and one the herbs and one the not-sweet spearmint. I’m not sure if I don’t detect the faintest hint of warm butter.

Now, this is a bit of a surprise, again. There’s chocolate and warm butter, with that tingle I mentioned for the last infusion underpinning it. The herbs are definitely there, too. I think there’s just a hint of liquorice.

This is as enjoyable as the first infusion, I think.

I’ve actually been throwing this stuff away after I’ve had a good taste, to make way for the next infusion (got to get one of those gaiwans); but I’m very loath to part with this one – it’s intriguing. But I’m equally curious to see what happens next, so, infusion number five, made the same way:

Oops! I’m really not getting anything in the nose with this one. Unless it’s the faintest hint of a heavy-duty shirt being ironed. This may be an infusion too far. Actually, aftre taking a few sips I’m getting the herbs in the nose, too – perhaps because it’s cooled a bit.

And the flavour surprises me again. In the mouth I’m getting vanilla and aromatic herbs. I’d don’t know if anyone’s ever tried to make thyme and rosemary flavour ice cream, but this is what it would taste like. The green vegetation is there as well, but subdued and in the background. There is almost a pepperiness to it – very faint.

Obviously, I’ve got to try a sixth infusion.

I don’t know what I’m smelling now. I thought for a moment I was picking up the smell of something else and not the cup in my hand. What surprised me were fleeting little hints of a floral perfume. But now it seems to have disappeared. There’s a hint of chocolate, too,

I think I’ve broken the back of it now. Surpisingly, I’m not getting anything floral or chocolate in the mouth. I’m not getting the herbs or the vanilla, either. There’s a faintly buttery, biscuity note, and possibly the tiniest hint of that unsweet spearmint bite; but, though it’s pleasant enough, it’s rather bland and uninteresting and doesn’t stand comparision with the last two infusions.

I can’t help wondering if more surpises would turn up with further infusions, but I really can’t face any more tea, despite the stuff I’ve thrown away, so I’ll call a halt. I have to say this has been quite an eye-opener to me. This is an excellent and really remarkable tea.

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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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