Another tea I picked up on my trip to St. Louis!
The leaf is so weird…. They are little balls. Tiny little balls. It reminds me of coffee grounds, but a little rounder. The wet leaves remind me of a mix of wet coffee grounds and something mostly digested that my cat would hork up.
All of which brings to mind the question – is there GOOD CTC leaf? Because if there is, this would probably be it. But isn’t that a bit like saying it was a good tax audit?
It brews up into a actually very pretty cup. Clear and a dark reddish brown. I see why they say it is like Assam – the smell is very similar. A bit of me fears the taste with such small leaves PLUS a similarity to Assam. But I will attempt it first with no milk or sugar (mostly because there is no room in the cup).
Okay, this isn’t bad! It’s got the cardboard taste I now know is ‘malty’. But when thinking about the quality of the malt taste, I still have to bring out the cardboard comparisons. This one isn’t gourmet but it isn’t a dirty, used Amazon box that’s been half way around the country and has little dings in the corners. This is a fresh cardboard box. Clean and shiny with a nice smooth outside yet to be roughed up by indelicate postal workers. The taste hits right in the middle of my tongue and sort of settles in, lingering after each sip, creating just a hint of dryness right there (but no where else).
There is a spiciness in the scent that I don’t really get in the tea until it starts cooling just a bit. It makes me wonder if a tiny bit of milk and sugar would bring that spice forward more. I might have to try that next time. This doesn’t seems as stout as the Kenyan tea from yesterday, but it isn’t a wimp by any means. It would hold up well to milk.
So this seems like a good solid tea. Not overly special but nice. Smoothish but malty (cardboard-y). I imagine for a stouter extending the steep time would work. I didn’t taste any bitterness at 3:30 so I’m not sure when (or if) that would show up… Anyway, good stuff but nothing I’ll be tempted to buy once my 2oz are gone. Probably.
ETA: Did a 2nd steep at 4:00 and it is still nice, clean cardboard. A little thin this time so I could have gone 4:30 probably but was just nervous with the small leaf size.
(Also, not as review-y but as an aside – this tea has seriously stained my teacup! I’m sure it will wash out but there’s a little ring around the top and everything!)