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Recent Tasting Notes
Got this as a sample from ToiToi
I got so excited about my new loose-tea interest that I almost forgot how convenient a teabag is. This wasn’t a fantastic tea, but it wasn’t bad. It was strangely comforting in the same way generic coffee is during a long road trip. I prefer gourmet any day, but sometimes I won’t turn down a less-spectacular option.
Got this in my trade from ToiToi, which is convenient because Lolita has just asked for empty tea wrappers on the discussion boards and I really don’t have many bagged teas in my stash to give her.
It’s still too hot to drink, but it’s got a nice smell, though slightly artificial.
The taste is okay too, a little artificial tasting, but plenty juicy. Not terrible for a bagged tea, from what I can tell. Peach is a hard flavour to do well.
Anyone who knows me would tell you that I’m a Ceylon black tea fanatic. I found a 250g tin of this at a local World market and figured it to be a good $10 sacrifice because it says PURE CEYLON TEA on the front of the damn thing. I got home, popped it open and was instantly disappointed. I have no doubt that it is indeed pure Ceylon, but it’s soaked in bergamot. It doesn’t say that anywhere on the package, but being a Brit, I should have guessed that if the word “royal” is part of the product that it would be doused in bergamot. Anyway, the tea is magnificent as an Earl Grey, but that’s not why I bought it. The rating here is based on the drink itself and NOT my purchasing experience and my overall disapproval of the product description.
**UPDATE: Impra is sending me a fresh tin of Ceylon black tea. What great customer service!
UPDATE: Impra has yet to send the tea as promised. It’s been two months now and I have made up my mind that I will NOT be buying from them again in the future. Ever.
This teabag was included in my parcel from ToiToi.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this one will be making my shopping list. The peach is decent and bears a familiar fuzzy quality but it comes off rather artificial and “splenda-fied” midway through. Although it isn’t bad, the base doesn’t seem as “filled out” or brisk as the Dilmah bags either- and they’re both supposed to have a Ceylon black base.
My peach Ceylon from Silk Road has this one beat by a long mile, as far as the peach taste goes, but I appreciate getting the chance to try this!
Brrr it is so cold and snowy. I’m pretty sure it’s been snowing all day… at least, it’s always snowing when I go outside. This is possibly the most winter I’ve had all year!
A nice cup of tea is definitely what I need to warm up. Thankfully my hostel is also warm and cozy. At this steep time the pomegranate gets almost grenadine-like (real grenadine, not fake food-color grenadine), which is to say kind of sweet and syrupy without of course actually being sweet. I am still left wonder what happened to the rose here. Did they just show the tea to a rose and then package it up? Yup, a tasty pomegranate tea but not a rosey one!
It snoooowed last night! Just barely, but it did. Oh it’s going to be cold outside, which it hasn’t been for the last couple of days. Guess I better bundle up today.
I now steep this tea at 5 minutes, which is something I never, ever do for black teas. Crazy! What did they do to this tea to inhibit oversteeping like this? It is truly mind blowing.
I am the only person staying in this part of the hostel right now (there is another separate apartment on a different floor, and another separate building), which happens to also include the main office. I guess partly because of this, no one is staffing the hostel between 9pm and 9am. At night no one comes around so it’s not a big deal, but this morning I was woken up several times by endlessly ringing phones (seriously who lets the phone ring for 5 minutes straight??). Finally I got up after some vigorous door pounding (I’m in a room at the back of the hostel, too, so that I almost didn’t hear), but by the time I got out there the person was gone. So I got up earlier than I wanted and now I’m hoping my tea will help me out. I only used one sachet for my cup this time but I steeped for 5 minutes. It is much the same as it has been! I have to say, this is perfectly drinkable but one of the first things I want when I get back is a big cup of Double Bergamot. MMmm.
Argh, the internet ate my post! Or actually, the stupid, inconstant internet at this hostel ate my post… I didn’t realize my connection had dropped until I pushed “save changes”, and then it took the post and gave me back a “no internet connection” page. :P
Anyway, I steeped this one at 4 minutes this time and there is still not a hint of bitterness or astringency. I get the feeling this one could go much longer even! It is still a very mellow cup… though I think perhaps I have gotten used to the mega bergamot in my new favorite Earl, Todd & Holland Double Bergamot, so everything else seems weak. This is just overall not super robust, though. I will have to try it with actually rolling boil water when I get home, though, because I am sure the water machine in the hostel does not really get there in temp.
Four minutes steeping this time resulted in a cup just as smooth and lovely as the first one, but with a bit more intense pomegranate flavors. I can get a hint of rose in the scent if I really take a deep sniff, and I think there is a little hint of it in the flavor now as well. If I were at home I would mix this with a bit of rose black just to up the rose factor.
Mm, I had a long sleep last night, and it was the kind of thing where you were so exhausted and you wake up feeling refreshed but also all your joints still remind you of how exhausted they were. Usually I only have that kind of sleep after getting back from a long trip (it’s definitely a post-jet lag sleep as well), so it’s kind of funny to get it in the middle (well, toward the end) of such a trip.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a nice cup of Earl Grey, which I haven’t had in 3 weeks. This one I boiled some fresh water for in the little water-boiler-thing, so the temperature should be about boiling. Like the Pomegranate Rose from this company, the tea base on this is nice and smooth. I do love a Ceylon-based Earl. This one is kind of middling-bergamotty… it’s not very strong, but it’s not too weak, either. It is probably the minimum acceptable amount of bergamot for me. :) I like mallow blossoms in Earls because they often add a slight richness and sometimes almost a sweetness. This tea could almost be a little stronger, so maybe I will steep it for 4 minutes next time. It’s still tasty and definitely a good, solid Earl. I won’t have any problems drinking up the sachets I bought.
This morning I woke up in my Mongolian hostel and went to have the free provided breakfast, that is, toast, jam, and chocolate hazelnut spread. Works for me! They also provide tea, but I found out that the only tea in the cupboard was a box of Lipton tea bags. Blech. I have a lot of loose tea right now, and I have all kinds of pots and gaiwans and such to brew it in, but now it’s all packed up in boxes and bags and I didn’t want to deal with it, so I thought I would see what the grocery store had for tea and maybe buy a box of something more palatable.
Let me just say that the supermarkets in Ulaanbaatar seem to carry a ton of imported European products in general, and that definitely applies to tea. The tea row had a huge selection, from Chinese imports to American and European. First I was going to grab a box of Ahmad Earl Grey because of KS’s good reviews of that one. Then I saw the Earl Grey by this company, with mallow blossoms and in a pyramid infuser. I prefer pyramids to teabags, so I picked up that tea plus this one, which sounded up my alley. Then I was stunned to see a small selection of loose Dammann Freres teas in tins, plus a couple of boxes of their “cristal” sachets. Let me tell you, I almost bought a box of Goût Russe, but in the end my thriftiness won over. The two boxes from this company together were about a quarter of the price of the box of Dammann Freres, and I didn’t know if the price for the Dammann box was high or usual (now I know it was higher than the price on their website, but only slightly). This tea seems to be a direct Sri Lankan export. This particular blend doesn’t show up anywhere on their website, so I don’t know what the story is with it. The labels on the box are in English and Mongolian.
I am totally exhausted but I need to do some work tonight, plus I wanted some tea, so I decided to have a cup even though I normally wouldn’t have a black tea this late at night. My goodness, it’s not working and I want to fall asleep right now. :P I brewed this with water from this kind of odd hot water gizmo that boils water then keeps it hot in a big tank. I mean, it’s not like one of those hot water dispensers that kind of heats up the water before it gives it to you, it’s different. I don’t know how long that water’s been in there or how hot it was, but I’m guessing reasonably hot.
The tea smells very pomegranate-y but not very rosey. That’s pretty much how it tastes, too. The ceylon base is smooth, pleasant and not a hint bitter. The pomegranate flavor is nice and juicy but I definitely wish there was more rose to this one. I don’t really get it as a distinct flavor, just perhaps as something slightly floral? I don’t know I’ll have to try this one again and pay more attention. I’m just so tired tonight! And it’s only 8:30pm, what am I, 90 years old? I definitely got a slight sweetness from this one as well that was very nice. Overall a perfectly lovely, if not mind-blowing, tea. I look forward to trying the Earl Grey tomorrow morning.