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Recent Tasting Notes
I have been waiting to try this one in part because I’m not a huge chai person, and I wanted to have it at home (as opposed to work) where I have the ability to add milk and sugar, which is how I usually drink chai if I drink it.
Working from home today, so I am hoping to get through a number of sipdowns and such. Unfortunately, I have just realized that I just used the last of milk on cereal this morning, so no milk. Ah well.
I tried it plain first, and I was pleased that it wasn’t an overly spicy or clovey chai. I mean, it is clovey, but not crazy clovey like some chais. The spice blend seems balanced. But as I have found with the other African teas, there is a bit of astringency. I put in a little sugar to smooth that out, and it seems to have worked. I think this would be a really lovely chai if brewed in a traditional chai fashion, even if it’s not a super traditional chai. I have enough of my sample to try that when I do get some milk, so perhaps this weekend.
Thanks again to JusTea for this sample, and as a reminder their crowdfunding campaign is on now at http://www.justea.com
I have had this tea twice so far, once using 1 tsp/225ml and the second time using 1.5 tsp. I enjoyed the tea both times but I think I prefer the later.
Using 1 tsp the tea liquor was a rich copper red and
smelled sweet and spicy, with hint of berries, citrus, roasted sweet potato, cinnamon, malt.
It produced a comforting rich cup with a nice body with malt, cocoa, grain ( almost barley) and a hint of potato notes at first opening up to sweeter berries with citrus fruit, and cinnamon and a hint of chocolate with a light floral notes. The aftertaste was tangy with citrus malt and chocolate cinnamon note. The tea was smooth with little to no astringency.
With 1.5 tsp of tea the liquor smelled of roasted sweet potato, malt berry, spice and a deeper cocoa note
The malt, cocoa, grain with a little sweet potato, notes opened to citrus, with at times faintly peppery berry notes, and a hint of cinnamon that had deeper cocoa notes underneath. There were tangy citrus and deep cocoa bitter notes in the aftertaste.
It re-steeps well with the tea tasting brighter and fruitier with spice elements more prominent, and a new rosemary like element coming out.
This method had a little bit more astringency than the 1 tsp method but had a much richer flavour.
Thanks once again to JusTea for this sample. Definitely one of the nicest Kenyan teas I have tried to this date. Check them out at
Ok, so i’ll be honest, i had to “review” the reviews here to compare the consensus. And i would have to agree – to enjoy the full benefits of miss Kathryne Earl Grey [ nice name, story?], she is a once bitten twice shy. Best to brew with a few than lots, as our culture demands more…Kathryne is less , as it doesn’t take much for the aromatic notes to consume your cup. once brewed yes you can smell the bergamot, but also the rich earth of africa…so perhaps this tea would best to experiment with different milk bases for a distinct taste, otherwise you may think you just drank coffee….which, this is not. Kathryne is a proper Earl Grey and as much be treated delicately. you must gently woo this tea to a proper blend…if you desire to court again in your cup!
Awwwwwhhhh, good ol Kenya Farmers! This tea is as fresh from the ground as IT GETS! believe me you will know by opening their very fashionable tea sachets – you can smell the rich earth of africa it was sown in …but don’t let it fool you…once brewed, it makes a mean cuppa! i had sugar and milk on the side ready, because it’s a strong brew! but for those who work endlessly to satisfy a 5 min experience in a cup deserves more than pennies, they deserve a well lived life. Kudos, JUSTea…keep it brewing and bless Kenya Alive!
I’ve been meaning to do reviews of these for a while, but somewhere between school, work, and getting sick, life beat me down hard this last week or so.
Received this, with many thanks, from the folks of JusTea in conjection with their campaign going on (which you can find at at http://www.justea.com/)
This is a very bright/fresh flavored black tea. It’s like a wake up party in my mouth! It’s also quite robust, with some wondeful balance between stone-fruit sweetness, malt and and fresh woodsy flavors. There’s a slight bit of astringency, but nothing I would call distracting or even unexpected.
The second steep (5 minutes) is similar to the first, though slightly sweeter and perhaps a little softer around the edges.
This is a really solid morning tea, or something to just kick back into and recooperate with later in the day.
This is my last sample for justea. I’m really thanking them for letting try these great Kenyan tea’s. This time around we are tasting the Earl Grey version of the Kenyan Black tea.
The dry leaf got a light bergamot scent to it. Not strong but just noticeable. So thats already a good sign for things to come, because i really don’t like overly strong flavored tea’s.
I brewed this earl grey for 3min and the color of the infusion is almost the same then the black tea base alone. For more info about the tea base check my Kenyan Black tasting note.
The robustness of the Kenyan tea is still in front when drinking this cup of tea. But u can clearly taste the fresh bergamot oil that is used to give this its classic earl grey taste. Its refreshing and its a very good thing the bergamot isn’t taking over the tea.
I’m liking this just like the african chai and the Kenyan black (thats the base for all there tea’s)! Justea u got really amazing tea’s out there, these 3 samples where by far the best samples i had i a long time.
After being in India for 2 month I have to say that this chai tastes nothing like Indian chais. But it’s not supposed to, since it’s an African chai. So it has a bit of a different feel to it than the usual Indian chais I drink, which makes it a nice alternative.
The base of this tea is the Kenyan Black from Justea. See my review there for details of the base tea. I’ll focus more on the spices here.
First of all the spices are very balanced, nothing really sticks out (which I like a lot). Maybe the fennel seeds and the licorice. But all the spices blend in very well with the base tea. This gives a nice complex taste.
The mix of spices and the sweetness of the tea is fantastic. There although the taste is more in direction of fennel and licorice, there is also pepper and cloves, mixed with the maltiness of the base tea.
I tasted the tea just as is with a bit sugar and its good. However, I think the full potential comes out when drinking it with milk. I haven’t tested it simmered in milk, which would probably THE thing to do and its the way that it’s done in Kenya (and India).
The steeping time is a bit longer for me, since some of the spices need a bit of time to develop their full potential. But maybe that’s just my personal taste, I tend to like longer steeping times.
The overall rating of this chai is pretty high, it beat’s most of the chais I have tasted so far. However, I do like the Masala Chai from the tea guy (who also created this chai) a touch better. Therefore not the full 100 points.
If you like your blacks dark, this is probably something for you. The tannins are light, the flavour smooth, yet it still manages to pack to pack a rich dark malty punch.
This is on my permanent collection on teas to keep in the cupboard.
I normally don’t take milk in my tea, other than chai, but I just find it works beautifully with this tea.
It can be brewed darker or lighter, steeped longer or shorter, just depends what you are after. I also will do a re-steep, go for about twice as long as the original steep time.
This isn’t your granny’s earl grey, but she’d like it is you shared with her.
The whole experience is richer, darker and maltier than your average earl grey. The flavouring also sits differently than your average EG. The first flavour you get is the malty tea, followed closely by the citrus flavour, the real earl grey citrus, floral and sweet flavour come near the end of the sip and stay on your palate.
The whole experience is like the first days of fall, the sun and flowers are still around, but the coziness of fall sweaters and reading books by the fire is also present.
I have to admit that I usually don’t like Earl Grey. I just don’t like the bergamotte oil. And I don’t like citrus flavors. And this tea has both. But it is absolutely fantastic! By far the best Earl Grey I’ve had so far.
Let’s start from the beginning. The base of this tea is Justea’s Kenyan Black. See my review notes there for details of the base tea, I won’t get too much into detail here. Just let me remind you that this black tea is absolutely amazing!
Brendan Waye has blended this black tea with organic, cold pressed, mediterranean bergamotte oil, check out his review of this tea here:
I had the pleasure of trying Brendans own Earl grey and he convinced me that Earl Greys can be really amazing. He is really a master of blending tea! And this one is IMO his masterpiece in the Earl Grey section.
The citrussy, fruity notes blend in fantastically with the base notes of the tea (malty, “green”, green grass and fresh sprouts of trees come to mind for me). This makes the tea absolutely rich and flavorful on the full palatte. The “sweetness” of the black base teas (that others have described as well) works so amazing with the fuitiness of the citrus notes coming from the bergamotte oil. Absolutely fantastic. You have the feeling of fresh lemons and limes combined with a nice robust Assam like tea. Amazing, this one is definitely going to have a permanent spot in my shelf!
Preface: If you are wanting an Indian chai, this tea is not that.
It is, however, an exciting twist on conventional chai with new spices (not cardamom, ginger or cinnamon based) in different quantities than you are used to. The blend is a really great mix of spice to tea ratio, with no argument for dominance. The spices harmonize really well with the Kenyan black tea base flavour.
One of the best black teas I’ve come across. I usually love full bodied, malty Assam teas. But this Kenyan black tea is definitely in my top 3.
It is full bodied with a rich maltiness. Compared to strong Assams the color is a bit lighter. A nice wooden smell with a hint of “greenness” in it.
The taste is so full, rich and fresh! The Assam typical maltiness is complemented by a fresh, grassy taste with a note that reminds me of fresh shoots of wood in the spring. This makes the taste bright, brisk and pungent. In the aftertaste you feel only a slight hint of tannins, if you brew it strong and long. But opposed to Assams, where steeping it 1min too long can lead to a furry, feltlike feeling on the tongue, this tea can’t really be over steeped. So you don’t need exact timing, you can steep it a bit longer and you can even give it a second steep without problems.
As a scientist I drink a lot of tea during work. When I work I usually shut everything out, focus fully on what I am doing. But a sip of this tea makes me stop working, brings me back to earth, makes me sit back, savor the moment and relax. For me that’s the strongest indicator of a really great tea.
My second sample from this Kenyan tea this time in a chai version. Dry it looks very beautiful loads of color from the clove, the fennel seeds, and rose petals. This smells very great to, a very very spicy oder. U just want to try it when u open the package.
Because i really was surprised with the regular kenyan black tea i’m not going deeper into the base of this tea. If u want to read more about the base just go to the other tasting note i made.
Once brewed this Chai still smells good and the color is a bit different then the ruby red from the tea without the spices. Taste wise the malty flavors come true and then the warming spices kick in. This one does not go bitter even with a bit of over steeping and thats a wonderful aspect!
Overall a very warming malty tea with a smooth finish, its really soft in the mouth!
Only one left to try is the Earl Grey, this is coming soon in my tasting note’s.
I’m thinking that i really need to start looking to buy some big packs of this tea, its a surprise i didn’t expected it to be that good!
I was lucky enough to get 3 samples from JusTea and I can’t stop loving this tea! The first one I tried was the Kenyan Black tea and it’s been my favorite ever since. It’s full bodied, strong and everything I love in a black tea.
For the average tea drinker, I would suggest not steeping it as long as I did, I like my black teas strong so I tend to use a little extra tea and steep a bit longer.
This also re-steeps well! So don’t throw out those leaves, you’ll be missing out on a nice second cup.
Read my full review here – http://www.notimeliketeatime.com/justea-kenyan-black-tea-review/
So I skipped the Matchaccino although I really should get into the habit of drinking it regularly, but not today. I also switched the next two teas as they appeared in my cupboard, but close enough? I am calling this one #60.
I keep this one at home so I have a nice EG to drink on the weekends, but I rarely drink tea on the weekends. I am reminding myself to do so today so I can have these teas that live at home! I enjoy this tea a lot, but it does need a gentle hand to avoid getting bitter. I think I am remembering now that I used to use less leaf too (of course I didn’t check before brewing), but I gave it a short, cool steep so it seems to have worked out all right. Lots of bergamot (YUM), a nice malty base. Definitely need to remember to make this one more often (although I have a feeling it will age well).
I keep my (very large) tin of this tea at home for all of my weekend Earl Grey needs. I really should bust it open more often.
This was a very tasty Earl for the morning. It has enough heft to stand up to breakfast but still remains smooth and easy to drink without additions. It’s a nice, very bergamotty Earl that is pretty simple, but sometimes you just need a simple Earl. I’m sure I will be drinking this tin for years to come, but I have a feeling it will age well.
I totally did not look at my previous tasting notes for this one and I was convinced that I was going to have a bitter cup… I remembered to underleaf it (relative to what I normally would add) but I definitely brewed it hotter and I initially set my timer for longer. I pulled it a bit early, and it turned out great! Lots of crisp, citrusy bergamot and a substantial (but not too robust) tea base. A good cup to start my (late) morning off. :)
Sipdown, 140. I overleafed this one a tad, but it still turned out pretty well. If anything the bergamot was a bit overly strong (and if I’m saying that, you know it must be way strong), but it mellowed as it cooled. Not too sad because I ordered more of this through the crowd funding campaign. A nice, well balanced Earl.
Thanks again to Justea for this sample. I was excited to find out that one of the samples that they were including was an Earl Grey, since as many of you know I love Earl Greys and have tried many of them. I am a lover of a well-bergamotted Earl; no light scenting here, please.
Based on some comments from K S I tried this one with a bit less leaf, 1.5 tsp for 12oz. Of course I don’t know whether due to that or if the bergamot is serving to cover up some of the astringency that I found in the base tea, but this tea was DELICIOUS. What a fantastic Earl Grey.
It reminds me a bit of my fave Earl, Lupicia’s. The bergamot is strong but never gets that citrus pith-y bitterness. Instead, it hits all the good-beramot notes: citrusy, slightly floral, bright and crisp. Here, the base is smooth and slightly sweet, which I love in an Earl. A rich, malty base pairs perfectly with bright citrusy bergamot. I didn’t find this astringent or bitter at all, just extremely tasty. This is a tea that I definitely want more of. Guess I better get in on their latest crowdsourcing campaign so I can get more of this tea: http://www.justea.com
I have no idea if this is good chai. I rarely drink it. I don’t hate chai. I just don’t get it. That being said, the leaf is interesting to look at. The dry leaf is clove and pepper scented. Hot and no additives this tasted like spicy apple cider to me. I like that. As the cup cooled I added a splash of milk and now it tastes like chai.
Not a very good review but you got to work with what you got. I loved the earl grey and the black tea so I assume the quality level is the same.
Thank you Justea for the sample. By now you all know of their campaign to build a processing kitchen in Kenya. If somehow you missed it check them out on Facebook.
thanks for sharing more of this with me Cavo! I’m still undecided as to whether i need this in my cupboard full time. it’s a lovely black tea that isn’t bitter, has a bit of a sweet note to it depending on how long you steep it and overall i really like drinking it. I also really like what the company is trying to do. On the other hand, there are a large number of blacks that i prefer over this one simply because i have had a great many types of black teas haha. I think, this will be a rotation in to my cupboard from time to time though, because i’d really like to continue supporting the work the company is doing. :)
i had this first thing in the morning which seems so long ago that i can’t even think. I was hoping to get some tea in to me today but it’s been one thing after another with work today. I did however get to enjoy this cup again courtesy of Cavocorax this morning with my bagel, the only thing i’ve managed to eat today! soo tasty! and i still have another cup to enjoy later :) thanks cavo!