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Recent Tasting Notes
Not only is this a fairly bold ceylon tea its a bold bagged ceylon tea. I had a bag last week and forgot to log and am having another one now. It has a semi-malty texture – not really a malty or bready or bakey type flavor tho but the texture is reminiscent.
I didn’t find it overly astringent but that is completely fine by me for this specific tea.
Pretty impressive! Thanks for this one, Liberteas
Nabbed a couple somewhat random samples from my box of teas from LiberTEAS to try out this evening. I really need to make some progress on samples I have! The goal was to get through as much as I can prior to Christmas… we’ll see how that goes… (it’s helpful that my roommate likes tea though, and is willing to share a cup or two with me each evening!)
So, this is my first darjeeling ever. Well, as far as I’m aware. The aroma makes me think boring black tea… it smells like a bagged Lipton, or other generic tea brand. Not that smell necessarily dictates anything, but it can be a bit of a warning sign sometimes!
The flavour… is definitely unexpected. I was expecting boring black tea flavour, instead I’m getting a kind of winey-ish, possibly muscatel flavour, with a black base. A bit floral, almost? Or, that’s how it’s coming off to darjeeling newbie me. Weirdly, I’m also getting a “rotten” note in here which is… rather unpleasant. Like, a decaying vegetal matter sort of note. Although it doesn’t seem to be appearing with every sip.
Hrm. I’m not going to write off darjeelings just because of this one, but as I’m not a fan of black teas in general (minus Laoshan Black and other similar ones), I’m not surprised that this one isn’t doing it for me. Oh well! Thanks for the tea education, LiberTEAS!
I did a whole pot of this tea this morning. It’s a mid-bodied yet burly low-altitude Ceylon – meaning a “flowers-with-chest-hair” feel. I can’t say I paid attention to the brewing specifics, but it held up rather nicely to my abuse and neglect. More-than-passable morning cup.
This one’s a sample from LiberTEAS! Trying to get through a couple straight blacks tonight that I’ve yet to try so I can leave them for my aunt and uncle to drink, since I’m done my vacation in a few hours, and am headed home. Tear.
Aroma is reminiscent of bagged teas… of course, it then occurs to me that CTC nilgiri for iced tea is… common? I don’t know, those kind of associate in my head. Either way, a bit light (my fault), but no astringency, and really not too bad. It has that sort of fruity quality I associate with say, Lipton bagged tea, but is really quite a bit better.
I could drink this again, but instead I’ll leave it to see if the aunt and uncle may enjoy it more!
A member of my local tea group, San Antonio Tea & Herb Enthusiasts, recently recommended East Frisian black tea to us. That brought to mind the package of East Frisian Blend from K-Teas, as yet untried, sitting in my basket of new aquisitions. Ah, an excuse to have a cup with cream and sugar, after weeks of drinking Chinese single origin leaves in their plain glory. Not only did I have a lovely rich cup of this black tea, I took the opportunity to have a couple of wedges of buttery shortbread, too.
For those who are unfamiliar with East Frisian black tea, here’s some background information from the Tee Gschwendner website: “It may be somewhat daring to call East Frisia (A region of northwest Germany bordering the Netherlands and the North Sea) a ‘Nation’ and its tea the ‘“National Drink’ but East Frisians are avid tea drinkers and the whole process of brewing and drinking tea can take on the dimension of a sacred ritual. All East Frisian blends have a strong Second Flush Assam content, mixed with quite small amounts of teas from Sumatra, Java, and Ceylon. These blends, peculiar to East Frisia, are drunk with the addition of a lump of kluntje (a large white rock candy sugar) and a small spoonful of cream in each cup. The locals refer to tea made this way with the trilling alliteration ‘n lekker Koppke Tee’ (a delicious cup of tea). The flavor is malty, strong, spicy, and highly aromatic. Protocol demands that the tea must never be stirred in the cup, because the true sensory experience comes in three layers: First the cream (sky), then the tea infusion (water) and finally the sweetness of the sugar (land).”
For an authentic two-minute visual primer on the subject, check out this video on You Tube:
The dry leaf of K-Teas’ East Frisian Blend is lightly peppered with golden tips, an indication of the presence of young buds. It’s aroma is sweet, rich and toasty, with a faint note of tobacco. I weighed out three grams (two teaspoons) and prepared it according to package instructions: steeped for five minutes in eight ounces of boiling water. The resulting liquor was deep amber in color, but not as dark as I thought it might be.
Tasting the tea, the malt aspect was prominent, as expected, and the tobacco aspects noted in the aroma were nicely echoed in the flavor. I didn’t find anything strongly fruity to comment upon, but rather more earthy influences such as walnut, cinnamon and carob pod. The Indonesian tea contributed sweetness with a bit of citrus sparkle.
What surprised me was the smoothness of the blend. From the description, I’d expected a fair amount of pungency and even some tannic bite, but it just wasn’t there. Elements of bitterness and astringency were nowhere to be found. This blend is quite drinkable on its own, without additives of any sort.
Not having the heavy cream and rock sugar to finish my cup in the traditional manner, I substituted a big dose of non-dairy creamer and a squirt of light agave syrup. It really had to be stirred, alas, so the experience of “sky, water and land” eluded me. I can envision it being really wonderful, though, and hope to try it in the Frisian style one day. As it was, the additives did nearly overwhelm the tea, since it lacked the tannin and spice to cut through the fat and sugar. To get a decidedly strong tea from this particular batch, more leaf and a longer steep would be in order. This tea came from 2011 crops. The rains that year were plentiful in India and thereabouts, which may help to explain why the leaf turned out milder than expected. The caffeine content seemed to be adequate, though, as it did it’s job of launching me for the day pretty well.
I did a second steep on my three grams of leaf. I poured hot water into the mug to pre-heat it before dumping it out, popping in the brew basket and pouring the boiling water on for a second time. I set a saucer over the cup to hold in the heat, and furthered the process by draping a towel over the whole setup. I let the second steeping go for eight minutes. The resulting second cup was not quite as tasty as the first, of course, but it was plenty good enough to drink. Despite the long steep, it was not bitter or astringent, continuing to be as good-natured as the first time around. This time, I opted to add only a large dollop of apricot jam, as one might do when drinking a Russian black tea blend. This added a bright, fruity flavor and a thick, slippery texture along with its innate sweetness.
Examining the steeped leaf revealed that it consists predominantly of small leaves and tips, so it may have been hand-picked, for the most part. The pickings have been chopped into small pieces, indicative of a CTC (chop, tear, curl) manufacturing process rather than an orthodox (whole leaf) one. The presence of stems is not necessarily bad. I’m a “tea muncher” (try it yourself) and I can testify that often the stems are the juciest, sweetest components. This is most true when the stems come from the newly-grown tips of the tea bush. The older stems, further down, are woody and less desirable.
Although this tea is rich, smooth, and of good quality, I lowered its rating because it didn’t live up to its name. It lacked the punch, flavor-wise I was expecting from it, and if I were an East Frisian, that would be disappointing.
See the slide show which goes with this review, here:
Tea of the morning…. (SRP#7)
This one is from my foodzie box from LiberTEAS.
Oh man. This is fantastic. The leaves are a little shiny, twisted, and thicker than most black teas, but when they brew up, they are huge. My infuser basket is almost overflowing! The resulting tea is a dark, thick, reddish brown. It has a heavy mouthfeel. It is malty, roasty, woodsy and complex. There is a slight bit of astringency at the end, and a very slight hint of briskness. Really, a fabulous breakfast tea. (Fabulous even for the serious tea drinker in me! :D)
I did take some time to check out this company online. It looks as though they offer some very unique things (I am eyeing those Hawaiian teas…..) I am putting this on the shopping list.
Usual teapot method. I think I am going to try a resteep, too.
Thank you, LiberTEAS!
The dry leaf looks just as good as in the photo …. generously studded with golden tips. I used 2 tsp of this to 12 ounces of water, steeped 5 min, for a very effective wake-up potion. Long before any caffeine effect, the brisk, piquant flavor had focused my attention. If it weren’t for the full body and plenty of malty sweetness, the bitter kick would have been overwhelming. It was a perfect foil for buttery biscuits and sweet jam. Later, I made a second mug quite sweet and milky for sipping solo. This is a good example of distinctive “Assam black” qualities, and the price was reasonable enough that I can make some sample packets for my tea meetup group.
I didn’t realize I had yet another of the Morawaka estate Ceylon teas to try. It must have gotten misplaced in my stash… not a difficult thing to do, but as I have been sorting through my stash to get it under some semblance of order, I came across it the other day and decided it was high time to try it.
A very pleasant single estate Ceylon, mild and bright. A fair amount of astringency that imparts a tangy note that lingers in the aftertaste. Fairly smooth and quite enjoyable.
Dry – this didn’t have much of a scent to it. Once infused I could smell a woodsy-floral-citrus type aroma plow thru! It was very different from anything I have smelled and anything I ever expected from this one!
OH!!! Special Thanks to LIBERTEAS for this one!
Some of the leaves resemble dried (yet rolled) bay leaves and others look like a greener oolong in near gunpowder form if that makes sense.
The post-infused tea liquid color is a soothing light brown.
The taste is wonderful! Honey yet fruity. Towards the end of the sip I could pick up on a sweet/sour woodsy flavor…very interesting…but it fades away and goes back to the fruity flavors and lingers as a fruity-floral pair.
Neat tea! Great offering!
I’m LOVING this!!!
I am very VERY excited to sample these Tea Hawaii Teas!!! Woot!
Dry – this really DOES smell like Sweet Potatoes! Neat!
This ‘infuses’ very light in color a very faded yellow/brown/with slight orange hue.
Post infusion the aroma is a little less of a sweet potato but still a little bit there with a barley-veggie soup partner that comes in to play! It’s very unique!
Yum. The flavor is very tasty but quite…meek…not that THAT is a bad thing…just that it isn’t a strong flavored nor a bold or brash black tea!
It says it’s grown in the Hakalau area and processed in Volcano Growing elevation…is it weird that I associate this fact with this flavor? I has a bit of a charcoal-likeness to it like you would find in charcoal oolongs, for example, more specifically with the Life In Teacup Charcoal Oolongs which I very much enjoy!
As this cools at room temperature it gets naturally sweeter and sweeter and I think it’s just FAB! Neat tea!
Backlogging this as I am now finishing up my final cup after six infusions.
The flavor of this is so interesting. It starts out rather intense with a sweet and sour fruit note, and the sour dissipates with each subsequent infusion, and the sweetness that is quite honey-like emerges stronger. It starts with a resinous pine note, and this eventually subsides and becomes more of a woodier kind of flavor. With the sixth cup, I recognize a papaya-like flavor that becomes clearer as I near the bottom of the cup.
A really intriguing Oolong. I enjoyed it very much.
Awesome! I just noticed that this tea was picked on my birthday!
And it is a fantastic 2nd flush. Reminds me quite a bit of my first Darjeeling I ever tasted … and fell completely in love with. It has those same strong fruity tones – beautiful muscatel. A very pleasant astringency to this … not what I would categorize as a dry astringency or as a tangy astringency… this is really rather smooth … but with a slight tingly effect on the tongue toward the finish.
Light, but not quite as light as some other Darjeeling teas that I’ve tried, this one has some body to it, and even a hint of malt. There is a toasty quality to it in the background as well. It is as though this Darjeeling wants to be an Assam … not quite as bold or thick as an Assam, but with some intriguingly similar qualities. Nice, very nice!
PS: KTeas is currently having a Birthday Sale now through December 11 (20% off subtotal!) Check out their homepage for details. http://www.kteasonline.com/ (not affiliated with KTeas – although at one time I contemplated selling them my Breakfast in Bed Recipe but that’s another story – I’m just a very happy customer)