Hampstead Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

65

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.

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

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81
drank Green Tea by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

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.

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89
drank Earl Grey by Hampstead Tea
974 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!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Ian

I love Downton Abbey! I know what you mean, though. I’m stuck watching it on Netflix while my friends are raving about it on Twitter

gmathis

Been following second season, but haven’t seen the first yet. Soon to be rectified.

teawing

As good as Cranford? I have been at a loss since we finished Return…

Ian

Hmm… I’ve never seen Cranford but I just read about it on IMDb and it sounds kind of similar. It’s more recent (the first episode takes place shortly after the Titanic sank). It’s soooo good though.

teawing

Thanks, I will have to check it out.
Cranford is very good, tons of cultural and historical references, excellent acting, and characters you would like to meet someday…much earlier, 1840’s and a time of major change for Britain. Fun to compare the same issues in the US another 25 years or so down the road.

gmathis

Just reread the comment about spending hours watching the upholstery … ditto on the costumes!

SimplyJenW

Oh yes, the costumes, too!

@teawing….I must check out this Cranford, too!

Uniquity

I watch the Saturday afternoon cooking shows on PBS obsessively and they advertise Downtown Abbey quite regularly. I feel like I’m really missing out by not watching it!

teaNsympathy

This decides it. I’ve been meaning to start watching for what seems like months now, I feel like there’s so much buzz around it, and I keep hearing about it everywhere. It seems like something that would be up my alley, so I think I’m going to have to cave.

ashmanra

I love Downton Abbey, too! When hubby gave me a ring for our anniversary last year, I told him not to resize it because I was going to wear it on the middle finger of my right hand like Lady Mary! :)

gmathis

Lord Grantham, I believe, was the ne’er-do-well stockbroker in Notting Hill (another favorite) … there was one little teeny piece where he cocked his head and said, “Well done!” and I suddenly had a craving to watch the brownie scene.

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82

I’m not a big Earl Grey fan, but this tea was surprisingly good. Well balanced with a distinct but not overwhelming note of bergamot.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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41

From: http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2478/tea-review-hampstead-tea-black-saffron-2/

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!”

Janefan

I was just reading about saffron earlier – it is supposed to boost your mood http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/mind_body_spirit/saffron_to_boost_your_mood

gmathis

Ditto on your asterisk,* except mine runs toward scrapbook paper, trimmers, stickers, etc. If you put two sheets of specialty paper in a storage bin and leave it unsupervised, they mate and multiply. I suspect the same happens with yarn and fabric.

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75
drank Ginger green by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

This is tasty. The ginger is there, but it doesn’t overwhelm. It has a gentle, warming presence without being too peppery or spicy. Very soothing and gentle and warm. Nice!

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87
drank Organic Biochai by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

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/

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87
drank Organic Biochai by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

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.

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88
drank Darjeeling by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

This is a very nice afternoon tea. Crisp and light. The muscatel tone to this tea is outstanding. I love the fruit tones to this tea, it finishes with a sweet yet tart taste of currant. Delicious.

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78
drank Lemon Ginger by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

Backlog: I had a cup of this earlier. It was pleasant, not quite as peppery as I thought it would be. It has a very mellow, smooth taste, with a nice aftertaste that is both slightly ginger-spicy and sweet-yet-tart. A very nice combination of flavors, this tisane.

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87

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/

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87

This is a very robust English Breakfast – some of the English Breakfast blends I’ve encountered as of late were rather ho-hum. Not bad, just not quite as powerful as this. Good, strong tea – just what I needed this morning.

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77
drank ROYAL CAMOMILE by Hampstead Tea
4421 tasting notes

Enjoying a cup of this before I sign off for the night. I’m really quite surprised at how much I am enjoying this tisane. It is not at all pollen-like, it is light and sweet and apple-y. Very nice, soothing, and I can feel it start to work at calming my tensions from the day.

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86

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!

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86

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.

Michelle Butler Hallett

SAFFRON? IN TEA? (blissful swoon, with apologies for the enthusiastic caps-shouting)

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86

I brewed this double strength. It’s very strong and a little bitter, so rather than rate it at this time, I’m going to hold off until I’ve tried it steeped at regular strength. It’s still pretty tasty though.

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71

Lime baby:) who knew this would be a good combo!
I can hear the ocean waves as they hit the beach…peaceful, a perfect end to a dreadful day.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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62

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.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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61
drank Ginger green by Hampstead Tea
304 tasting notes

Mild green tea with a hint of ginger lingering on the palette.
I will try to steep the next cup at 2 minutes and see what I think…the last few sips of the 3 minute brew time were bitter:(

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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79

This is very nice! It’s delicious and refreshing. Soothing and restorative.

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88

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!

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88

This is an impressive bagged Assam. It has a very bold flavor with a nice malty tone. A hint of bitter at the tail end of the sip. Astringent. Sweet undertone. A very good Assam that is great for when you gotta get up and go, and have no time to fuss about with measuring loose leaf tea.

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74

Fennel in tea scares me. Licorice in tea scares me…together it would normally give me the hee-bee-gee-bees! There’s something that works about this tisane! It’s light on the scary stuff and just right on the minty-goodness for a nice combo of flavors that create a taste of its own. Pretty surprising! Pretty good!

K S

I am fine with fennel and licorice. It is the mint that freaks me out. Its like drinking tea with gum in your mouth. I just can’t learn to like it. This sounds good though.

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84

A delicious bagged tea. The lime does not overwhelm the green tea. It tastes fresh and vibrant, with a pleasing lime flavor that is tart but not pucker-y. It reminds me of my gramma’s backyard when the citrus trees were in bloom. Lovely!

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