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I had another free sample of this (NBT were very generous last year – many thanks to them), so I thought I’d do another note and try to properly get to grips with it. As with the last one, I made this brew with a heaped teaspoon, boiling water and three minutes’ steeping. Didn’t work though – it’s just as elusive and challenging as last time.

In the nose I – at different sniffs – got all the same stuff as last time – good basic tea, grass, pizza dough, butter, boiled cabbage. I even, at least once, got a definite hint of Christmas pudding! But they’re always the olfactory equivalent of fleeting glimpses – at one point I was leaning over the cup and got a strong whiff of good, old-fashioned basic tea; picked up the cup and held it to my nose and got something quite different. It’s a very, very elusive aroma to try to describe.

The flavour is the same. On the first couple of sips I had a touch of buttery, sweet biscuits and that seems to be the one constant note; but, other than that, again there are the fleeting little hints coming and going – just the tiniest hints, but – dried fruit, green vegetation or grass, a spicy hint, even a touch reminscent of the smell of hand-rolling tobacco.

I made a second infusion the same way and, just like the last tasting note, I couldn’t detect any difference to the first one.

On the one hand, as someone wanting to write a tasting note, it’s rather frustrating not being able to pin down a handful of definite and constant flavour-notes. On the other hand, turning my brain off, as it were, and just sitting back and drinking it, it’s a rather enjoyable 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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