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Recent Tasting Notes
Decided to go with a straight assam this morning, because it has been a while. I think I either overleafed or oversteeped this initially, because my first cup had a bit of bitterness. Not enough to make me not drink it, but enough to distract from the other flavours. It improved slightly as it cooled. I took the leaves for a second steep, slightly cooler water and same amount of time. Now it’s smooth, malty, and surprisingly sweet! I’m holding off on rating it until I brew it properly, but I like this.
I’ve decided that I have quite a few black tea samples lying around. Some are company samples, some are tea friend samples, some are the last little bit of something I bought. This week’s mission is to drink up all (most?) of these little bits and pieces – so today at work I drank the last of 3 different teas. This being the first of them.
Not a huge Assam fan, I don’t hate it but it’s not my favorite. I thought this was was a little dry, a little astringent, pretty mild, some fruity notes, nothing really offensive just not my style. I don’t think I need to buy anymore Assam, I’m just going to make the decision that they aren’t for me and only buy the styles that I really love.
And thank you to Ost for sending me a sampling of this tea.
An excellent Assam. Full flavored and robust. This is the kind of tea you want to reach for on the mornings when you can’t shake the sleepy because this will do it for you.
Malty, rich, delicious notes of dark chocolate and honeyed caramel. A really nice, bold tea.
Thank you to Ost for sending me a sampling of this tea!
This is a remarkable Ceylon – very rich and chocolate-y, with notes of caramel. This tastes more like a Fujian Black to me than a Ceylon! It even has that kind of ‘hefty’ quality that I would expect from an Assam or a Nilgiri or a Fujian Black … but not a Ceylon. This is a very surprising tea.
This was one of the teas that I got from Ost’s Stash Sale! She had a few of Capital Teas in small sizes, so I got all three, since I could not decide on which one to get.
I have a couple more Ceylon teas in my cupboard that I have yet to try. I decided to try them all in the next few days to compare and contrast the flavor profiles. I have also been reading up on the history of the region to get some insight. I love doing mini research projects on tea!
Lucky for me that Ost did not like this! It’s my first time trying anything that Capital Tea has to offer, and I like where this is going. I managed to get three good infusions in my Camellia Sinensis porcelain-lined travel tumbler. The dry leaf is black-brown, with short, thin, twisted leaves. I smelled the ho hum woody-ness and malt. But when I brewed this tea up, I got a sweet nectar of pure honey, fresh and ripe stone fruits, with the lightest hint of milk chocolate. I had to make sure that I did not put any sweetener in my mug before steeping!
If you are someone who wants to try many different estate teas from a wide range of areas, give this one a go and check out capital tea! I am really going to have to look up their teas now :D
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Honey, Stonefruits
This Assam casts off scents of baked goods, citrus a hint of sweet potato, cocoa and spice.
It brews to a deep red orange.
The first sip is full of spice over the deeper tones of malt, mixed with cocoa, charred crust and a bit of sweet potato. This opens to a mix of red fruits and citrus blended with molasses, malt and a bit of bread. This one has a dense mouth feel. There is a mild bitterness that tempers the sharp fruit. It is not overly sweet. This is not an Assam that is rich in honey or dried fruit. In fact the fruit references a tart red wine. What it does have is a good blend of malt, spice, tart fruit and grainy bread notes. It reminds me a little of pumpernickel, or a dark crust artisinal brown bread. It’s a little like breakfast in a cup.
Edit. The second steep is a little sweeter with a bit of apricot among the other fruit, spice, bread, cocoa and molasses notes.
Although I like the Lumbini estate tea more, I do have to admit that this Kenilworth is good for when I need something uncomplicated in the mornings. I tend to drink this tea when I make omelets for breakfast, as the maltiness of the tea doesn’t clash with the savouriness of the food.
This morning’s omelet was with cheddar cheese and tomato. A good pairing, overall. Though this is one of the teas I hope to finish off in the coming months.
I’ve had this a few times, but it just does’t have the same warm comfort I remember from Simple Loose Leaf’s Kenilworth tea. Glad I only have 50g of this – I bought 100g and gave my aunt half of it in a special tin for Xmas.
However, it is a good no-fuss tea for the mornings when you’re not sure what you want.
Tastes like chlorophyll and toothpaste. Blarghhh!
I conclude its probably because I don’t like spearmint, its probably not the fault of the tea itself. As a result I won’t say NOT recommended because of my biases but simply ‘steep with caution’.
Flavors: Spearmint, Sweet, warm grass
This tea reminds me of orange zest! As someone who hasn’t drank much Western-style tea but more Asian teas, this is the first time I’ve tried Lady Grey. Medium weight tea on the palate, with hints of orange and bergamot. The rose petals and the name make me feel like I should be drinking this in a fancy Royal Doulton teacup and saucer.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Orange Zest
A flavoured black tea, that smells very different dry vs. steeped! I don’t know why, but when dry the leaves reminded me of dried vegetables – the kind usually found in Asian markets. I like that smell, so I don’t mind, but not sure why that came to mind.
When steeped though, the flavour becomes of earthy, fruity dark chocolate. There is a medium weight to the tea, it definitely has some body, not as much as Keemun but noticeable. There is just a hint of astringency at the end, but barely perceptible.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity
Strong vanilla fragrance from dry leaves and steeped.
Good vanilla flavour with creamy mouth feel, bitter chocolate note that gets less bitter as the cup cools. Hot, this lacks a full mouth flavour, but that also improves as the cup cools.
Much less chocolate in this one, than the other vanilla blacks I’ve had recently, but a very nice choice for a straight up vanilla black tea. Thanks Lindsay!
Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Creamy, Vanilla
After finishing the dishes, I wanted to just sit with a cup of tea, and being unsure of what to choose, I reached into my drawer and pulled out the last bit of this from ifjuly. My choice was perfect, as this tea definitely gives you the chance to just sit and enjoy it.
I looked at the dark sky to the north (the sky always looks the best in winter towards the lake…), and took in the chocolate notes of this quite special Assam.
Earthy and sweet…so smooth and not at all bitter.
Halfway through the cup, the bite was building in the aftertaste, but it’s really more of a nip than a bite, as this tea is never overwhelming.
Truly delicious Assam, with the second steep still being smooth and wonderful.
So glad I picked this out for today. : )
I just had to cups of this pleasant tea. I have decided that it would make a nice travelling tea as it did not get bitter when I over steeped it a little and it has very little astringency.
The leaf is mostly dark with scattered greenish gold buds and a few rust coloured leaves scattered here and there.
I steeped one teaspoon in 225ml of 95°C water. The first steep was over three minutes.
The tea brewed to a beautiful orangey red and smelled of sweet potatoes, malt cocoa, honey, soft and spicy sweet floral notes and red clover nectar.
The tea had a denser body than some Nepali teas I have had and a soft flavour. I detected notes of: honey, sweet potato, a spicy complex floral ranging from rose to spicy clover, cocoa, a light hint of muscatel, plum, cream, and malt. As it cooled it developed pastry and cherry notes.
The second steep of 3.45min. Tasted of cream, oatmeal, honey, sweet potato and malt with cherry, hints of cocoa and a spicy floral towards the end of the sip.
Altogether a nice and pleasant tea.
Jay Shree Tea and Industries Ltd which owns the Meleng Tea Estate describes this as a strong and sparkling tea. Having tried this steeped a couple of ways I can agree with this. I can get a delicious cup using only 1 sugar spoon worth of tea (@1.5g ) steeped for only 2.5minutes.
This tea has mid-sized wide dark blades with a very liberal scattering of saffron to gold coloured tips. The dry leaf smells if the sharp upper tones of malt and cocoa.
Once steeped the tea is an orangish red that is approaching the red tone of a Keemun.
The steeped tea smells of currants, barley mash, malt, hints of spicy floral, honey, and hot lemon.
I found that using more leaf and longer steeping times emphasised the tart fruit and malt notes of this tea. Using less leaf and shorter timings resulted in a sweeter and more balanced cup.
1.5 sugar spoons:
@3min.Smooth yet tart, upper tones of malt with the deeper tones underneath supporting the tea. Honey, currants, tart red fruit, grainy notes underneath, hints of cracked wheat, hints of orange and spicy floral notes. Honey and deeper tones become more apparent as it cools with plum and orange mixed with deeper tones of malt and a hint of blackcurrant and cocoa.
2nd steep sweeter and spicier with hints of lemon, cherry, along with more apparent deeper malt tones. The flavour is more rounded and balanced. . Mild to medium astringency. A bright, tart tea.
3rd steep 4 min. Similar to second and still very potent with a bit more cocoa and honey. This tea could easily yield another steep.
1 sugar spoon:
Using less leaf and a shorter steep time ( 2.5 minutes) resulted in a less tart and more balanced cup with the base elements more apparent in the flavour and a hint of yam. The natural sweetness of this tea is also note apparent with the cocoa mixing with honey and the floral notes in away that reminds me of some Keemun.
The astringency in this tea does create a texture that may come off as sparkling to some palates or as woodiness to others.
Altogether this is a bright and fruity and spicy Assam with a sweetness lying underneath. It is a very resilient and well made cup.
This was one of the free 20 gram samples that Joel included with my Capital Tea Limited order. Thanks, Joel! The leaves are adorable. They’re jet black and thin, but curled up in a way that reminds me of bi luo chun. Baby snails! Dry scent is hay and honey.
OMG. This tea is so delicious! In fact, it’s reminding me strongly of Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black (aka Waffle Tea), which is wonderful since that one’s not available anymore. There are super strong honey and bread notes in the beginning with perhaps a touch of cinnamon, but near the end of the sip you get a huge punch of waffles-with-maple-syrup flavor. So creamy and rich the entire time. Delish! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Creamy, Honey, Maple Syrup, Pastries, Smooth, Sweet, Thick
This is the last of the teas I actually ordered from Capital Tea (I still have two free samples to try). I believe this is a fairly famous estate, and I’ve had one Kenilworth Ceylon before, I think from Simple Loose Leaf? The leaves are long and thin, though perhaps a touch shorter than the other Ceylons I’ve tried today. Dry scent is musty hay with some dried apricot thrown in there.
First off, I have to say I’m actually getting jittery from drinking all of these high-caffeine black teas. I have a fairly high caffeine tolerance, so this is unusual and strange for me! This one is a bit blah in my opinion, which is unfortunate. It tastes fairly generic and malty. There’s a bit too much mustiness here as well, along with some hay. I think these two flavors make it seem more drying than it actually is. It’s not bad necessarily, just doesn’t measure up to all of the other unique Ceylons I’ve tried today. Can’t win ’em all, I guess!
Flavors: Hay, Malt, Musty
This is my last untried Assam from my Capital Tea order. In fact, I just have one Ceylon and my free samples left after this. I must say, I’ve been quite happy with my purchases so far for the most part (and his prices are so super low!). Anyway, this tea! The leaves look similar to the Boisahabi Assam I tried earlier – they’re dark, long, and thin with some golden tips interspersed. Dry scent is very musty and hay-like, which I find strangely comforting.
Hmm, I must say, I am a fan! This definitely has that strong malt character as well as intensity of flavor that I expect from an Assam. However, it’s not bitter or astringent, and it’s very smooth. All of the flavor notes here are dark and rich, such as tobacco and molasses. There’s also a bit of a musty hay taste along with some mild woody notes, and just a bit of rich cocoa pops out at the end of the sip. Yum, another satisfying tea!
(There’s a tad bit of astringency as it cools, but not enough to be bothersome.)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cocoa, Hay, Malt, Tobacco, Wood
This is a tea that came highly recommended by yyz when I asked her what she likes from Capital Tea. I actually ended up getting four different Ceylons based on recommendations from both yyz and Joel, and they’ve been very different so far. This has similar-looking leaves to the other two – they’re long and thin and quite dark in color, and almost twiggy in appearance. Dry scent is sweet with hay and honey notes.
This is definitely the most mellow and smooth out of the Ceylons I’ve tried so far. What it lacks slightly in complexity, it makes up for in how easy it is to drink. The main flavors I taste are malt, hay, and brown sugar. The brown sugar gives it a nice bottom note and adds depth. I’m not really tasting the cherry that others mentioned, perhaps a tiny bit in the aftertaste. Overall, it’s nice simple and smooth tea without any bitterness or astringency present.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Grain, Hay, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet