The husband left absurdly early today, necessitating separate tea brewing for the two of us. Usually I made a big pot of one tea and split it but today I went ahead and made two different types of tea so that I could experiment a little without the potential of torturing the husband (and so that my tea wouldn’t be room temperature by the time I left the house).
The experiment that I wanted to try was using one of my ‘teacup teas’ and see how they did as ‘travel tumbler’ teas. To me, teas that I enjoy in a teacup – which allows me to smell the tea as I drink it – tend to fall a little short when put in a travel tumbler with a lid. Keemuns are especially unhappy for me in something that prevents smelling the tea while I sip – changes the entire taste. So most of the time for my tumbler, I have to go for flavored teas (which, frankly, I am getting a little tired of) or a breakfast blend, English-style. English-style because the addition of milk and sugar makes the experience more forgiving if the tea gets too bitter sitting in my tumbler for my 40+ minute drive to work.
So today I wanted to try a smoother black tea ‘teacup tea’ that would hopefully not require sugar or milk and still be a pleasant drinking experience. So I grabbed this and crossed my fingers.
It still had that Assam-turning-into-Yunnan-as-it-cools front flavor and it still had a nice, bright Darjeeling end taste. So that’s good. There was no bitterness, even at the end of my 12oz, though the closer I got to the bottom of the tumbler, the more it moved from a Darjeeling ‘bright’ to a Darjeeling ‘tart’. The tea and I never entered Tartness-Land, but we got close enough to see the border guards in the distance. If I had done a 5 minute brew, I imagine we would have gotten our passport stamped if not seen some of the local sites.
So overall, the basics of what made this tea interesting were still there. Starchy front taste when hot, smoothing out as it cooled just a bit and turning earthy. And then, if I took a big swallow, the earthy would throw out some strong cocoa notes. And always finishing with the bright, citrus-or-muscadine end that always screams ‘DARJEELING!’ to me. But even though all the pieces were there, it just wasn’t as… happy as it was out of a cup where I could smell the lovely scents as I drank. Not a huge difference but if this was the first time I had had this tea, I would have given it a lower rating (probably somewhere in the low or mid 70s). But as it is, I’ll leave the rating where it is and just consider this tea a teacup tea that can be put in a tumbler if needed.