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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
This is a really good Assam. I am especially impressed by it as it is a bagged tea. It is very strong, lovely amount of malt. So very good and rich and just what I needed to help me shake off the residual sleepeeeeee feeling that I have. Yes, I know it’s 12:40 in the afternoon, but, I am a night owl, so this is still quite early for me.
Fortunately, this helps!
First, my humble and apologetic thanks to the donor of this one…I think it was teaequalsbliss, but if it wasn’t, the rest of you know l love you anyway, yes?
Second, I am a Midwestern farm kid with a very plebian spice repertoire. I will publicly admit I don’t have a clue what saffron’s supposed to taste like.
And finally, the tea itself (you were just holding your collective breath waiting for my pronouncement, I’m sure): It was bitter. I hit exactly the middle range on time (2:30), with water boiling as advised, and it put wrinkles in my tongue. But—and you may have experienced this—I still got a sense that the base itself was pretty good black tea. Dropped in a sugar cube and re-evaluated. Improved marginally to “formerly bitter black tea that now has a little bit of a metallic thing going on.”
I hate not having wonderful things to say about a tea, but that’s what this whole forum experience is about.
Enjoying a latte tonight, and it is quite yummy. Here is my full-length review of this chai: http://sororiteasisters.com/2011/08/26/biochai-from-hampstead-tea/
I may have mentioned this before, but one of my ever increasing number of hobbies* is researching and recreating Medieval cooking. Much like today, medieval people were very into conspicious consumption. They liked using expensive pricy ingredients to show off to their guests – “See! Look how much money I can spend – just on dinner!” Spices were always one of the most popular ways to show off wealth. They were very expensive and very highly valued, and saffron was one of the more popular spices.
In the cooking I do saffron is mostly a coloring agent, as it turns the food a lovely golden color, and not used for flavor. I find the flavor very light and subtle. So I was very curious about what affect it would have on the tea.
The teabag smelled like generic tea. Pouring water over the bag, it did turn bright yellow for a moment – then turned into a normal tea color. The brewed aroma again smelled like a normal tea. In drinking, I’m getting a bitter high note – like I over-brewed the tea, but it didn’t have the tannic drying effect that normally goes along with the bitterness. I prefer my tea sweetened, so after a few sips of the tea unsweetened, I added my favorite sweetening agent. It toned down the bitterness, and turned it into a very bright flavor.
Either way, I don’t think I like the addition of the saffron. The tea behind the saffron tastes quite nice, and would have likely been a very nice cuppa on it’s own. But as it is, it’s not really for me.
*My craft room is crying from from too much stuff and too many projects. You can almost hear it crying from the street, “no more stuff, take the yarn away! I don’t need any more embroidery floss!”
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this. I had tried this in teabag form, but, I am very happy to be trying it loose leaf. Thanks!
A lovely English Breakfast blend – I still stand by what I said about this being one of the best that I’ve tried. It has a full-bodied, robust flavor and a lot of gusto. Here is my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2011/06/02/english-breakfast-from-hampstead-tea/
Backlog: I had this chai this morning for my wake-up. It was delicious. I liked the lemongrass in this, it added a nice citrus-y backnote. The pepper and ginger were the strongest components, and I really noticed the clove in this chai. Perhaps that is because there is no cinnamon in this blend, so the cloves had the opportunity to really shine.
Either way, it was a very enjoyable chai.
OK, I think I have nailed this one this time. It is important not to over-steep or to steep it too strong. Before, in a larger mug, I used 2 teabags instead of one (because with most teas, it ends up just right that way with this mug), but not with this tea… I used a regular sized mug (8 oz) and 1 teabag and pulled the kettle just before boiling. Steep it for just 2 1/2 minutes.
While this is probably one of the most temperamental teas I’ve encountered, it is worth the effort to get it right, because I am loving what is in my teacup right now. The saffron flavor is strong in its delivery from start to finish. The black tea is brisk and bold and delicious. A very nice cup, indeed!
Having a cup of this… I could smell hints of the saffron before I infused, but they were very faint. Flavor wise, the saffron doesn’t present itself until the near the end of the sip. This does have a bitter tone to it, I think I over-steeped… still want to play around with this one a bit and see if I can do better next time. Overall, it’s a bold, strong black tea with hints of sweetness and a bitterness that hits at mid-sip with the saffron coming through at the tail.
Tea bag one:
First sip: dirt, was that dirt I tasted? second sip, no not dirt, mint? Really?
As I empty my cup, definitely mint of some sort. Not what I expected from an EB tea.
Tea bag two:
My second cup of this tea was better than my first. I still taste the mint, but I do see what others are saying about this tasting like a Darjeeling.
Drinkable, just not my cuppa.