Imperial Teas of Lincoln

Recent Tasting Notes

I made my first mug of this with a moderately-heaped teaspoon and brewed (as per the instructions) for two minutes. It’s an orange brew in the mug but I found it quite bland – a touch of butter, perhaps a hint of vanilla, but not much else.

So I made a second mug with a heavily-heaped teaspoon – right up on the handle – probably a heaped teaspoon and a half-teaspoon; two minutes again. It smells of cut grass and rust. It has a much stronger flavour, with an element verging on the harsh element I described in my notes on Imperial Teas’ Superior Breakfast – liquorice without any hint of sweetness. There is just the tiniest hint of orange peel (not sweet orange, I mean the bitter juice that sprays from the peel itself,) and a hint of cut grass.

I didn’t enjoy this very much but I’m not rating it because I don’t yet think I’ve properly got to grips with brewing it.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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80

Found a bit of this sample left yesterday, and made a brilliant batch of tea brewed up with osmanthus blossoms. Fruity delight.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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75

I found this worked best with a well-heaped teaspoon to the mug or three of the same to the pot and brewed for three minutes.

It had a good proper tea flavour with a hint of ‘firmness’ or ‘hardness’ to it, plus a touch of butter, giving a smoothness to it. I bought this in the same order as the Ceylon Lovers Leap Broken Orange Pekoe, which was a little cheaper, and – to me – it suffers a little by the comparison to that one – though pleasant enough, the flavour has less complexity and interest. If I’d had to guess on tasting alone I’d have said this was the cheaper tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

This is another of those difficult-to-brew teas: it is very easy to make it either bland and boring or over-strong and harsh.

When I get it right it is with a moderately-heaped teaspoon to the mug or three such to the pot, and brewed for three minutes.

It has plenty of the proper generic tea taste with the tiniest touch of ‘firmness’ or ‘hardness’ to it – I don’t mean anything like staleness; plus it has a touch of pear (imagine a pear nicely in the middle between the quite sweet ones and the quite dry ones), plus the tiniest touches of toffee and a ‘brightness’ – difficult to describe this last but it’s slightly reminiscent of the ‘bite’ you get from sparkling wines – as I said, it’s just the tiniest touch.

Not a big favourite but it is quite pleasant.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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10

I have to say that I plain dislike this.

There’s a hard, firm edge to the taste that I find quite difficult to describe but that I find unpleasant. It’s not something different, it’s a version of the generic tea taste. I thought I’d brewed my first pot a bit too long and it had got stale but, though it’s slightly similar to staleness, it’s not really that taste. Perhaps if one could imagine what liquorice would taste like devoid of any hint whatsoever of sweetness, that would be something like it. I’ve tried decreasing the quantity of loose tea and the brewing time but it’s always there underneath.

In its defence, I have to say that the instructions recommend the addition of full-cream milk, so perhaps it’s just not intended for drinking ‘black’ – but I don’t take milk.

ETA – I should have mentioned other elements to the flavour: I get a hint of freshly-cut grass, the tiniest, faintest ‘bite’ – something like the smell of black peppercorns and not in any way unpleasant, and, strangely enough, a hint of beef.

Edited again for lousy punctuation.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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92

This makes a very pleasant cup of tea at its best. I get a good balance of a proper tea flavour and a ‘mild bite’ (if that makes sense) of something like orange or orange peel, a touch of fresh, sweet hay and, underneath, the tiniest perfume or flowery hint.

I say ‘at its best’ in this case because I’m finding it the devil’s own job to make a decent mug of tea with it. Making it exactly the same way twice doesn’t seem to necessarily mean identical cups of tea, and neither does increasing the amount of tea or length of brewing time seem to necessarily mean increasing the flavours. One of my best brews was one heaped teaspoon to the pot, steeped for two and a half minutes, but the next time I did that I found it bland and flavourless.

When I get it right it strikes me as a quite ‘delicate and refined’ tea (it makes me feel a little guilty about my mugs, feeling it really belongs with delicate cups and saucers – and probably with the company of elegant ladies in hats) and I suspect that my tastebuds are not always in the right mood to receive it. Also, I’ve found I can’t pile in the sweeteners as I normally do; it really demands I use less to appreciate it properly.

So, an excellent tea at its best, but I suspect this one is demanding I give it special treatment – keep it well away from mealtimes and sit down with it and give it my full attention – just sit and ‘savour it’, as it were (and buy some cups and saucers!).

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75

At its best, this was a reasonable tea. It’s another of these teas with touches of chocolate and fresh, sweet, hay; but also with the tiniest hint of dry cider. What I didn’t get very strongly was the basic, generic tea taste.

I say ‘at its best’ as it was quite difficult to get right. First of all, it seems a very weak tea – I used more and more until I ended up using two heaped teaspoons to the mug. And it was difficult getting the timing right. I settled on three minutes brewing – trying to get more flavour by brewing for four minutes turned the dry cider element into the roughest scrumpy – the kind that makes your leg twitch when you’re drinking it – not what I appreciate in a cup of tea. Less tea or less brewing and it was bland.

It’s nice enough at its best but not a favourite.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

A proper basic tea taste plus touches of malt and chocolate and the tiniest hint of the lovely, black, crusty bits you get on the outside of a good roast joint of beef. The seller’s tasting notes mention Turkish Delight – I think I can taste what they mean but I don’t think I’d have picked it up if I hadn’t read about it – I think it’s noticeable in the aroma rather than the flavour. A smooth, soothing sort of cuppa.

I don’t find this a particularly strong tea and went up to a heaped teaspoon plus a heaped half-teaspoon per mug to get a reasonably-flavoured brew. I brewed this one for three and a half minutes but it doesn’t seem critical and there doesn’t seem any difference in flavour between three and four minutes’ brewing.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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95

I’m on my second mug of this and knew as soon as the first was cool enough to taste properly that this is really special.

I used a heaped teaspoon for each mug – which, as it’s a fine, granular sort of tea, means heaped as far as it would allow – and steeped for three minutes.

In the mug it’s extremely dark and opaque and I fancied I got an aroma of nettles. In the mouth it’s yet another of these teas with touches of chocolate and toffee – more towards the toffee, I think, but plenty of generic ‘tea’ taste and with the smoothness of the toffee nicely balanced with a clean, bright edge – possibly the flavour equivalent of that smell of nettles.

I’d describe this as quite a ‘robust’ sort of tea and it has everything – richness, smoothness and ‘bite’ – but all well balanced together. I’m quite surprised to note that this is one of the cheapest teas I’ve bought as – of the teas I’ve had so far, at least – I think this is going to be my ‘go to’ Assam.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82

I’ve noticed that I’ve sometimes come to appreciate a tea more after I have drunk it a few times and I’ve come to the conclusion that, sometimes, my taste-buds have to ‘learn’ a new tea. This one is a case in point: at first I thought it was bland and boring, but now it’s become a current favourite.

In the packet, it’s one of those long, straggly teas: difficult to get the spoon into and, when you do, you get a miniature haystack on it and have to shake some off to get a typical spoonful – difficult to measure the amount I use.

The flavour has hints of chocolate and toffee, fresh, sweet hay (this especially noticeable in the aroma) and a smooth butteriness (or buttery smoothness – I mean a hint of butter that gives a definite element of smoothness to the flavour). To be a bit less specific, I’d describe it as a ‘mild and gentle’ sort of tea – but not bland – and very enjoyable.

ETA – I should have mentioned that I’m using a generous teaspoonful to a half-pint mug.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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81

A colleague has been telling me that he drinks Earl Grey at home, so I brought him a sample of this to try. He was impressed! It’s a very good Earl Grey, noticably different (and in my opinion better) to most other earl greys and he agreed with me.

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81

Fast becoming one of my favourite teas, I think it tastes of an old wooden box or chest. Kind of dusty and old and woody and full of old things. I could have had a cigar in it once, and it probably had treasure, or at least an old silver sixpence or two. Nowadays it’s probably only got a few buttons and a key that doesn’t fit anything any more, but at least it still smells incredible.

That’s what this tea tastes like

LENA

I love your descriptions. Great post!

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81

Personally, I think this is a delicious blend, with a good balance of bergamot and tea. It has a lovely sharp edge to it. Unfortunately, my housemate tells me he doesn’t like the balance of it. He’s not as enthusiastic about tea as I am, but I am surprised he didn’t like it, I thought it’d be right up his street!

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81

Gosh I love this tea. I’ve had it twice before and have now taken the plunge and got some for myself. I love the cooked taste to it

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80

Got a sample of this in a tea swap, and compared it to another Taiwan black tea here:

http://www.well.com/user/debunix/recipes/TwoBlacksTaiwan7.10.html

This was a nice sweet fruity black tea, not bitter, but if the brewed tea sits, it may develop bitterness.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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93

This is an incredibly tasty oolong, possibly the best oolong I’ve ever had. It’s lovely and subtle, reminds me a bit of a first flush darjeeling in its subtle sweet taste, but then it has the lovely characteristic smoky oolong flavour to it as well. It’s pretty expensive so I’ve only got a taster, but it is absolutely incredible and I will be rebrewing this pot for the rest of the day. What a wonderful day I have ahead!

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

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81

I was told that this would be a suitable Earl Grey to have either with or without milk and they are quite right. The tea is strong and the bergamot is strong and fresh. It’s a lovely spicy blend that will keep you interested right through the cup. Recommended!

Preparation
Boiling

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80

I admit the one thing I don’t need in the pantry is more tea. Actually I think filling it with more food would be most appropriate. But its a guilty pleasure, and as I was visiting a friend in Lincoln today, I braved my shyness of entering the mecca of tea and went inside (well I couldn’t really chicken out since Jo was the one opening the door).

Lovely place with tea cannisters lining the walls and the most amazing tea pots known to the human eye. The gentleman working behind the counter was fab (esp. when I asked if its ok to smell the tea ;) ). He opened all the cannisters that had caught my fancy and I wandered away tea dazed with 3 news teas to try.

First is the Cherry Banana. Jo thought I was kidding about this being a tea flavor. I don’t kid. Well not about cool sounding teas. And this one had piqued my interest from the start. The base is black tea, so rest assured that it isn’t another mouth rotting sweet tea (which to be honest if you liquized candy floss, I could probably drink it…maybe even add sugar to it) but the gentleman did defend some sugar usage, if only to accentuate the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Cherry Banana Black Tea.
Oh, I feel too amateur to really review this tea the way it should be. Its mellow and full bodied and has a sweetness from the cherry/banana pieces that astound the mind. I think it actually blew my mind and reconstructed it from the bottom back up again.

Needless to say, damn good tea. :)

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