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Recent Tasting Notes
Sheherazade shared a couple of bags of this with me, and my immediate thought was that it came from Cameroon! That was a new one, I didn’t even know they grew tea there. (Truth be told, I’m barely certain where Cameroon even is apart from Africa. I think the West coast, in that corner there…) Turns out that this wasn’t actually from Africa at all. It’s so called because it’s grown in a place called the Cameron Highlands and that is in Malaysia. Still a new one, then! I don’t think I’ve had tea from Malaysia before. I did think it was strange that it said Kuala Lumpur on the bag if it came from Cameroon. While I may not be entirely up on African geography, I do know that Kuala Lumpur is not in Africa.
Now, let’s see. I am a bit concerned about the whole ‘highlands’ part. As we know, I’m not super fond of high grown teas, and this does indeed have that grassy, slightly spicy aroma to it.
It tastes grassy and a bit flower-y as well, but to my pleasant surprise it appears to be entirely or almost entirely without that sour aftertaste that puts me off in Darjeelings especially. There isn’t really all that much else to this. It’s a bit of a one-note tea.
Not super impressive, but not awful either. Interestingly I happened to see this brand in a grocery shop recently. Not our usual shop, but the posh one in town that has a lot of specialty products.
Almost forgot this one! It’s a backlog from Saturday morning.
Anyway, I picked up a few of these in tea bag form as a freebie from work. Our Malaysian International Officer brought them back from a trip, and invited us all to share. Never one to turn down tea, I did just that!
I didn’t have the highest hopes for this one. It’s a plain, bagged black, after all. It’s pretty nice, though. I drank it with milk, because that’s generally how I roll with this type of tea, although I can actually imagine it being okay without — I have another bag in my cupboard, so maybe I’ll give that a try. For some reason, I expected this to be a little rough and astringent. It’s not at all, though. I wouldn’t say it has a great deal in the way of flavour, but it’s silky smooth and very, very easy to drink. This would be an excellent everyday tea for those times when I don’t want anything heavily flavoured. It’s relatively sweet, with a something slightly citrussy about it. Not remarkable, but pleasant all the same. An excellent freebie!
I have the chance to drink this blend thanks to LaFleurBleue who sent me a generous sample.
It is a nice and qualitative tea.
The dry leaves are amazing, very long but curved and very dry.
Once steeped, the leaves are very large almost entire.
The scent is not very strong but steeped, the aromas are there.
The tea base is a very good black one.
I really like it without being absolutely in love but maybe because I mainly drink flavoured teas and this one is not.
I bought this tea at the same time as Garden Teas Palas Suprem, directly at the plantation in the middle of Cameron Highlands.
I started with the other one, thinking it would be more citrus-flavored than this one. I had already find the explanation behind my complete misunderstanding of Orange Pekoe and Pekoe tea, when I decided to open this box (see rating for Garden Teas Palas Suprem). I did not expect a citrus tangy flavor but just full nice leaves.
I realized that the box despite being the same thing as Palas Suprem only contained 75g of tea while the other had 100g inside. As soon as it was opened, I realized why : the dry leaves were slightly twisted, looked quite big and if there had been more, they would have been broken.
I steeped it in a gaiwan, as I anticipated that the leaves should require space in the water to really expand. That was a great idea, as I found it really nice to look at the leaves opening and expanding completely within the cup. After steeping, all leaves were entire and were all between 5 to 7 cm, I had never before seen any so large and unbroken in any tea.
The taste was rather nice for a black tea; to my opinion, a bit nicer than Palas Supreme. If you like unflavored black tea, you should probably try this.
I resteeped a few times without getting anything close to watery, proof that the tea is indeed quite potent. It did not seem to get bitter at all, which I also liked.
I will probably not buy it again as I usually prefer flavored tea, but I may try to flavor it myself (starting with the Palas Supreme tea) as the tea base would then be exceptional and much better than that usually used in the black tea blends, even from Mariage Frères.
I’m really glad I bought those two teas as they helped me get to know better what is a good quality black tea.
Boh is the Lipton/Twinings of Malaysian highlands. Most of its tea being sold bagged in supermarket, with even 2 in 1 (tea+sugar) or 3 in 2 (tea+sugar+cream) mix available, that makes me cringe each time I see them.
While visiting the plantation, I decided to give a chance to the highest quality teas offered and chose 2 out of the 3, based on the look at the leaves and quick smell.
The leaves are quite long and actually look like dried and partly rolled leaves from a tree. At each opening of the box, I smell it and come back with this only feeling : nice black tea, but…
After the steeping, the tea color is golden honey like, clear.
The taste is quite nice and reminds me of a forest, starting with a green taste like grass or green leaves and switching to a more earthy aftertaste. To my opinion, it seems like the taste of a perfect black tea, completely pure and excluding any kind of flavour.
Now come the ridiculous part, which shows how far I still am from knowing much about tea. On the box I had read flowery pekoe; I remembered having drunk orange pekoe long ago. I wrongly assumed this tea would be flavoured with the flowers of a citrus tree;) Therefore I was surprised not to notice any tangy smell on the leaves, neither on the tea while/after steeping, nor any taste while drinking it.
I then decided to research a bit and understood that flowery pekoe just relates to the quality of the leaves selected for making the tea; flowery pekoe being either the highest or second highest quality range, according to this British classification used throughout India and former British colonies (such as Malaysia).
So this is probably the explanation to my good but not excellent rating to this tea. Despite my conviction this tea is probably a very fine unflavored black tea, but I’ll probably never know for sure as I’m not so keen on black teas, especially when unflavored. At least, this tea helped me understanding that.
My favorite blend in the ‘flavored’ departmant of blacks.
The leafs look very moist and juicy. The odor of this blend is fascinating from the moment of opening the tin until putting the tea cup to one’s lips.
Obviously very warm spices were used for this fine blend. Very comforting in winter time and rather cooling during summer. Suppose one might get a excellent ice tea out of it (although I never did and probably never will).
By the way, a handful of dried plums go great with that tea.
None of the spicy chai blends I tried before got close to the excitement of drinking this BOH blend…my palate gets confused with all this ginger, sandalwood, cinnamon and endless other notes that get thrown in common chai blends nowadays. Therfore: two thumbs up for BOH.