Alvin’s of San Francisco

Recent Tasting Notes

Sample package label: “Persian Choice Royal Earl Grey”

Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/persian-choice-royal-earl-grey-tea.html
“12oz Box; First Place Winner in the North American Tea Championship. Pungent, Robust, Smooth finish, Very complex body”

Details (See above)

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 205*F / 8oz.
“Steep Time is around 2 minutes. Again, this part is totally up to you. Many people steep for less time and then re-steep a second time.”

Given my wife’s love of Earl Grey tea and the First Place Earl Grey award in the 2011 North American Tea Championship, we were very interested to taste this tea.

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 205*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.

1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

This tea has a fresh Bergamot fragrance perhaps with a hint of licorice.

Dry leaf – blackish brown long leaves

Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, pleasing, balanced, med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: Smooth, medium- to full-bodied with a fresh mild lemon aroma and a lemon flavor at the finish. No hint of bitterness, astringency, or tartness.
4-min: Now nearly full-bodied

Second cup: 1.5 tsp.. / 205*F / 8oz.
2-min: Smooth, full-bodied with a fresh mild lemon aroma and mild lemon tartness. No hint of bitterness or astringency.

Third cup: 1.5 tsp.. / 205*F / 8oz.
3-min.: Smooth, full-bodied with a fresh mild lemon aroma and mild lemon tartness. No hint of bitterness or astringency.

Impression: This EG is a smooth medium- to full-bodied tea with a fresh mild lemon aroma and without any bitterness or astringency. My cup was empty before I knew it. My wife enjoyed this tea but didn’t find it to be “The EG” she’s been seeking. She prefers a strong black tea base with an equally strong Bergamot aroma and flavor.

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

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Sample package label: “Ceylon Black”

Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/tea/black-tea/ceylon-black.html:
“Black Orange Pekoe, Ultra high grade, Extra long leaf size, Fresh floral bouquet with sweet citrus and cucumber notes and a dry finish.

Details
Our Ceylon teas come from the very best sources in Sri Lanka. Grown in the Highlands of Ceylon, this amazing black tea is the finest on the planet. Picked from the Camellia Sinensis plant this high grade Orange Pekoe leaf yields a fresh floral bouquet with sweet citrus tones. Hints of fresh picked grapefruit and cucumber with a dry grainy finish. This is our absolute favorite un-blended black tea leaf. CERTIFIED ORGANIC, FAIR TRADE, KOSHER tea leaves."

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 205*F / 8oz.
“Steep Time is around 2 minutes. Again, this part is totally up to you. Many people steep for less time and then re-steep a second time.”

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 205*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer. Brewed in a closed vessel – teacup w/lid:
1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

This tea has a strong pleasant fragrance that reminds me of licorice.
Dry leaf – blackish brown
Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: Smooth, bright & full-bodied with notes of cucumber, a light floral aroma, and a dry finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

4-min re-steep:
Smooth & a little lighter than the first infusion, but very enjoyable.

Impression: This Ceylon is a smooth full-bodied tea with hints of cucumber and without any bitterness or astringency. My cup was empty before I knew it. Very well done!

This tea changed my perceptions Ceylon tea. Previously, I’ve tasted a few Earl Grey teas that had a Ceylon base and were too astringent to be enjoyable. I guess the makers of these EG teas may have used a lower-grade Ceylon to reduce their cost and hoped the Oil of Bergamot would somehow hide it.

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Ceylons grown at higher altitudes also seem to be more astringent. Kenilworth Ceylon is a very good one, in my opinion, or a blend of some of the lower elevation Ceylons. A Southern Season has a very nice Ceylon Extra Fancy with some of the biggest leaves you have ever seen, but it is smooth and rich, not too lemony or tart.

looseTman

Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll have to try them!

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Sample package label: “Autumn Darjeeling”
Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/tea/specialty-teas-and-blends/seeyok-autumnal-darjeeling.html
“Malty, muscatel, and spicy notes; smooth yet complex flavor, Autumnal 2nd flush. Organic, Fair Trade
Details
Deep in the Mirik Valley of Darjeeling in West Bengal India, comes this autumn harvest 2nd flush Darjeeling tea from the Seeyok plantation. Its has a strong body with a refreshing crisp finish with strong hints of Mustat, malt and spices. A perfect morning or early afternoon tea. Certified Organic and Fair Trade.”

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 195*F / 8oz. / 2 minutes. “To really enjoy the complexity of the tea leaves I personally leave them in for a bit longer though this is totally up to you. (Sometimes I don’t even take them out!)”

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 195*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

The fragrance of this tea is very enticing, but what is it? – A new very pleasing experience.
Dry leaf – blackish brown
Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, light- to med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: med.-bodied
4-min: Smooth, lively & full-bodied with a malty character and a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency

5-min re-steep:
Smooth & a little lighter than the first infusion, but very enjoyable.

2nd cup (same as above, but brewed in a closed vessel – teacup w/lid):
4-min: Smooth, lively & full-bodied with a malty character and a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency. However, I now can appreciate the hints of muscatel. It reminds me of white grapes.

Impression: A very enjoyable Darjeeling – a smooth, full-bodied, malty tea with hints of muscatel and without any bitterness or astringency. Well Done!

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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