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Recent Tasting Notes
I picked this up a while ago at Winners when they were selling some Fauchon teas. The box was pretty. This is a tea I could easily drink at work. I read the box (I thought anyway) and decided to pick it up.
So I am at work, I open the first individually sealed packet and there. Is. A. Smell. Hmmmm. What is going on. I put the bag into my cup and flip over the packet to read it. Oh no! My beloved Earl Grey has been…(dramatic pause)…Darjeeled!!!!
I am no fan of Darjeeling. I don’t know why. I have never ever like it. In taste and smell it reminds me of cheap cigarette ash. No matter what kind of Darjeeling I have tried, I just don’t like it. I find it worse when it is in a blend because that is usually the first and only ting I can taste.
Well…proceed with tainted tasting note, I guess. Even though I don’t prefer Darjeeling, I think I will be able to finish off this box of 20 tea bags. There is some bergamot in there. It is super light, all trampled and beaten up from the Darjeeling. Not as much as the package makes it out to be (“the zing of the bergamot oil…”), but it is just a work tea. I often don’t even taste the teas I drink when I am at work, I just quickly gulp and move on.
Upon closer inspection of the box, it does say this is a Darjeeling Earl grey, but it is kind of buried under all of the cute graphics and fancy writing. No wonder I missed it. Damn marketing…
I have the loose tea version.Smooth ,fresh,grassy,a little fruity(reminds me of soft,juicy fruit like plum and dried prune at the same time ),flavorful and mild. The green flavor is actually strong,but in a very gentle and subtle way so it’s easy to accept.My first sip is bitter ,but all I get from then on is fresh sweetness of herbs itself.
Of the many teas that I’ve tried from Hampstead … this one was the one big disappointment. I love Jasmine tea … but the ingredient list not only suggested that this tea was flavored with jasmine oil (rather than naturally scented with jasmine blossoms) but it TASTED like it was flavored with jasmine oil rather than naturally scented with jasmine blossoms too. And when it tastes like that … I’d rather not taste it at all, if you know what I mean.
Just horrible. Tasted like perfume.
This week was just odd. My medical condition seems to be playing up, so I’ve spent a good part of this week at home on the couch, with my giant box of stargate keeping my company.
I steeped this one a few times on Friday, around 4 1min steeps. A lovely sweet oolong, with a generous amber colour in each steep. Very enjoyable.
I like this because the green tea dominates over the flavor of the peppermint, and it seems that with almost all peppermint green teas, the opposite is true. I like that the peppermint is delicate here. I do agree with TeaEqualsBliss, though, this does have a grassy taste, but I’m not hating it. It falls somewhere between grass and vegetable for me, and I notice the light buttery tones. It’s very enjoyable and relaxing this evening.
From TeaEqualsBliss. Sorry I forgot to let you know when the envelope arrived. With all the stress of late, I forgot my manners.
Now on to the tea. Unfortunately I think this is a little past its expiration date. I can taste what I think is sencha and I can taste lime sort of but really it is more the shadow of what this once was :( I can tell by the way it plumped up and the fact I can see lime zest through the bag, it had great potential.
So my first crack at this one wasn’t overly scientific or well planned, but it was yummy!
I did 2 steeps of around 2mins 30secs each with 1.5 teaspoons of tea. Water was about 85oC. The colour was a caramelly amber for both steeps, slightly lighter on the first. A gorgeous colour!
The taste was soft and oolongy, with almost sweet notes. Really nice to drink. Absolutely no hints of astringency or an odd oolong aftertaste I’ve had elsewhere with teas like vanilla oolong or qhangzhou milk oolong from DavidsTea.
A very nice, easy to drink oolong.
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for this morning tea!
Mike asked me for a good morning tea, so today was definitely an English Breakfast day. Bliss sent me enough for at least 3 little pots – thank you thank you! It’s always good to have some EB on hand.
This EB definitely has some darjeeling notes to it – there’s something fruity in the smell and kind of harsh in the taste that is different from my usual EBs (the ones I have on hand are pretty smooth with no kick) – but the kick meant it would hold up to some cream and sugar! Yes indeed – a great way to start the day!
So I followed the directions as I now I’m not a big fan of this type of tea. I will tell you it smells fantastic, a little flowery. Which is interesting to me as I’ve never noticed that with any other Darjeeling teas I’ve tried. The first sip went straight to bitter town. Which did not make me a happy tea drinker. I’m already having a bitter day (lots to do at work).
So I added a little milk and sweetener and that seemed to do the trick to cure the bitters. Now I’m getting more of a sweet (not all from the sugar) taste to this tea! Which turned my frown around. :)
Third sample from LiberTEAS… at which point I will now be switching to my new samples from Mercuryhime! Canada Post has been giving me lots of love these past couple months… it’s great! And luckily the rain stopped long enough for me to go out and retrieve the soggy newspaper and the non-soggy box of tea, otherwise I wouldn’t have had it until tomorrow! The horror!
Anyhow, this is the tea of today’s three that I’m least excited about. Straight blacks still aren’t really my thing, other than a couple amazing ones from Verdant, so I’m a little apprehensive.
The aroma is… fruitily pungent? I don’t know how one would describe the flavour of a fairly standard black tea, which is how this smells to me. (Really, I should try a bunch of straight teas so I can associate flavours with say, yunnan, fujian, assam like Angrboda and other people do, but I have yet to bother with something like that).
The flavour follows, although is actually better than I had expected. There’s that round sort of fruitiness and only the slightest bit of astringency (which I’m finding is expected in black teas to some degree, so I’ll deal with it as long as it’s bearable). Really not bad at all. Not something I would choose to drink as I need more interesting flavours to drink a black tea straight, but I suspect those who like black tea would quite enjoy this, with breakfast or otherwise. I imagine it takes milk and sugar well too, although I don’t feel the need to try that.
Thanks for the sample of this one, LiberTEAS!
Ginger flavored tea bags sometimes scare me! That’s why I waited a long time before tasting this one. It’s usually stale-tasting or over the top or too hard to handle.
This one isn’t bad. It smells like there is more ginger than lemon in it but the taste reveals there is more lemon than ginger.
The more I sip on this one the more pleasantly surprised I am. This doesn’t have intense flavor, by any means, but it’s comforting yet energizing at the same time and it’s please to the tongue.
Some of the best teas that I’ve tried, I’ve stumbled upon accidentally. Hampstead’s Darjeeling is another nice surprise that I just happened to notice on the shelf at our local Earth Fare market.
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for three minutes. A reddish orange brew was the result.
There was no aroma to speak of so I didn’t have my hopes up for an explosion of flavor. However, at first sip, I was instantly struck by the mild but very pleasant and sweet taste of this blend.
Although the flavor is a tad lighter than I prefer my black teas to have in the morning, this blend left a delightful sweet and almost fruity taste on my tongue. Bitterness was nowhere to be found. It was also a perfect partner to chase down a couple of Scottish oatcakes.
I’ve only tried one other Darjeeling tea and that was in bagged form. It wasn’t bad but it didn’t pack enough punch for me to seek out other variations of the same theme. Now that I’ve tasted one of the finer loose leaf blends, I’m looking forward to the next Darjeeling discovery!
This is one of the teabag selections from the selection that I ordered from LiberTEAS. I get kinda lazy at night, and so I go for a bagged tea sometimes. As I said, I’ve been on a spicy/chai kick and so I decided to finally try this one. It’s just okay. I would like to try again with the other teabag I got. This wasn’t nearly as strong or spicy as I’d like. It was okay, but it didn’t really scream chai to me.
Manyous Thanks to Tegan Again for this tea-bag-alicious sample!
Redemption! After the last review which was blech-y, I rushed to find the next tea to review in my “TO BE REVIEWED” box, next to another “NEW TEAS” also to be reviewed box and so on. Never ends does it?! Well, Tegan had saved the evening with this tea bag sample…this Organic exotic (which I myself also am) spiced Chai! Horray! Besides black tea the ingredients say ginger, cardamom, pepper, lemon-grass, cloves. I like those things. So, I steeped the bag 5 minutes, added milk and agave which worked perfectly with the brew. Here’s what I liked about this Chai compared to others I’ve had. This Chai doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a spice market in India ready to dance as a Bollywood extra (and I LOVE to dance to Bollywood music myself and I love to bellydance too…but that’s another story…) because this Chai is subtle. There is more of a peppery feel on the tongue and a lite spiciness. The cardamom, ginger and clove is restrained so that you can’t pick out the individual flavors. That’s not easy to do with such aggressive spices. Many people avoid Chai because they are so pronounced and assertive. This one is relaxing which would particularly be nice when the weather is hot. I can see why the reviews have been so positive.
This tea has possibly one of the most well-described packages I have ever seen. The single teabag package reads: “Hamstead Tea, London. Organic Fairtrade Earl Grey with aromatic bergamot. 1 staple-free teabag.”
Wow, that is quite a mouthful. I personally do not know anyone who buys teabags who is also concerned about saving some metal, but by the look of the string attached to the teabag, it makes me wonder why more teabag-producers do not follow this. It seems that Hamstead has implemented an easy way to do away with stables entirely. But how about the tea itself?!
The packaging recommends 3-5 minutes for steeping. The last earl grey that I tried oversteeped even with low steep times, so I boil some water and decide to go for the lower end here with 3 minutes of infusion. While I will admit that I am not big on bagged tea, this tea smells quite good, dry in the bag. A hint of orange provides a nice aroma. The steeping tea gives off a pleasant bergamot aroma. The first sip confirms that 3 minutes was a perfect amount of steeping, unless you prefer your tea stronger. For a bagged tea, this is pretty smooth, but it lacks a bit in the flavor profile and strength. This is definitely a quality bagged tea. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 65/100.
My usual response to a bagged tea is “ugh” … and generally, I procrastinate trying it because of that automatic response. But, this is really a very pleasing green tea … surprisingly good, especially considering it’s a bagged tea.
It has a strong green flavor – that is, strongly vegetative, with grassy undertones and an overtone that resembles mild steamed vegetables that have been lightly buttered. A hint or two of kelp in there too, but, only a hint, nothing that I find to be overpowering or off-putting.
I’m actually quite enjoying this, it has a smooth, relaxing kind of flavor that gently restores as I sip it. Then again, I’ve been quite impressed thus far with the tea offerings from Hampstead Tea, this tea just reaffirms that opinion.
Second tea of the morning along with a spot of Downton Abbey…….
Downton Abbey on PBS is my television indulgence of the moment. I am always late to the parade for most great shows, so I am still stuck in Season 1 while most fans are eagerly awaiting Season 3. However, I thought a lovely pot of Earl Grey would be the perfect accompaniment to this fun show. A friend of mine actually noted that she could spend hours just watching the upholstery on the show, and I quite agree.
This tea was perfect. It seems to have a base of at least some Darjeeling. Definitely a bright Earl Grey kind of like Harney’s Viennese Earl Grey. This one was included in my Foodzie Box from LiberTEAs. Luckily, I requested Earl Grey teas be included, so I am set to have a different EG for every episode. Bliss!
Usual pot method, and it was gone very fast!