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February 12th.

I brewed with a well-heaped teaspoon steeped for two and a half minutes, boiling water.

It made a clear, medium intensity (I could see to the bottom of the mug), slightly orange, brown infusion with a hint of yellow-green round the surface circumference.

It doesn’t have much aroma. It’s slightly doughy. It also smells ‘wet’. I’m really struggling to explain that: I don’t know if I’m thinking of washing clothes, or of a bath or shower running – it’s making me think of something hot and wet that I just can’t pin down.

In the mouth there’s a satisfying richness – lots of old-fashioned, basic tea flavour. Actually, the basic tea may be just edging towards being a little harsh – as if it’s been steeped too long and got a little stale. I’m really not getting any other flavour notes – even tiny hints.

I made a second infusion, same way.

Strangely, the colour seemed just a little stronger (though I did go a little over the two and a half minutes – say two and three-quarters – another blasted cold-caller – may their socks rot!)

The aroma is just the same as from the first infusion.

In the mouth it no longer has that hint of harshness. This basic tea flavour is a little less and there’s a touch of rather metallic grassiness. There is also a tiny hint reminiscent of the smell of a live fish. I don’t mean the smell you get at the fishmonger or from a piece of fish in your kitchen – not really a ‘fishy’ smell – I mean something quite different. Anyone who’s ever handled a live koi or similar will know what I mean. I suppose I mean the smell of their slime but that’s really not as horrid as it sounds. Having said that, it’s not in any way an enhancement when you find it in the flavour of a tea.

And having said all that, this is really not a dislikable tea. On the other hand, I don’t particularly like it, either – just a so-so cup of tea with nothing standout about it either way.

February 13th.

I’ve made a brew with a well-heaped teaspoon steeped for two and a half minutes in water that had been left to cool for three minutes after the boil.

The colour and clarity is pretty much the same as with yesterday’s brew.

There is still not much of an aroma. This time, though, I’m getting hints of biscuit and vanilla – it reminds me a little of those ‘custard cream’ biscuits.

There’s not a lot of flavour. There is a hint of rather metallic grassiness and not a lot of basic tea; but what basic tea it has is just a little harsh, as if it’s been steeped too long and gone a little stale (as with yesterday’s first infusion). I’m not detecting any other flavour notes.

I made a second infusion, water three minutes off the boil; but I missed the steep time and it was steeped for three and a quarter minutes.

I didn’t look any weaker; but there was definitely less flavour and aroma than with the first infusion. It was rather bland, really.

I’m not sure what to think of all this. The website writes of it so glowingly that I’m wondering if I’m getting the brewing wrong. I only had a small sample, though, so I’m not in a position to experiment.

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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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