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Recent Tasting Notes
40 degree temperature drop overnight plus the first day back at work after a lovely week-and-change off…need the heavy stuff today.
As preferences and tolerances change, I don’t consider this to be the strongest tea in my cupboard these days—there are others with more boot and more bite. But it’s sturdy and black; takes milk well and warms your reluctant bones. Who could ask for more.
This is actually my pick two days ago. Normally, it’s a go-to tea when I have a migraine that digs in and doesn’t want to die, for the caffeine and because it’s so consistent. I don’t like to waste better blacks when I don’t have a clear enough state of mind in order to actually enjoy and appreciate them. The beastie marauding in my skull was scoffing at any meds, so I grabbed PG Tips for good, strong comfort to get me through the school day.
Tuesday’s mug, though, was not delightful. It seemed to have an odd undercurrent of taste that was off-putting. I know it wasn’t some kind of carryover from my mug, because I just royally cleaned it to sparkling, and straight water had no carryover taste. After a few swallows, I pitched it.
This morning I’m starting to think the tea was fine, and it was me. I had an odd smell plaguing me yesterday all day, which I finally placed last night…eau de dead bird. I am starting to suspect I’ve got an infection brewing in my sinus, and not a migraine. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m sticking with non-malty blacks, because they taste truer than PG Tips is.
This isn’t a subtle tea, or a nuanced one. It doesn’t taste like sweet potato or chocolate or freshly baked bread. It just tastes like tea. As others have noted, PG Tips really is England’s Lipton—albeit a bolder, deeper version. It really is quite strong—my general stance is the more kick the better, but this one can be a bit much even for me if steeped too long. This has been my wakeup beverage of choice lately, and it’s just the thing for those fuzzy early mornings (and really, when are early mornings any other way?) when you’re not aware enough to appreciate a more refined (or pricey) tea and just need a serious caffeine infusion ASAP.
I overdid it with the puerh yesterday. After I steeped my chenpi to extinction, I moved on to another shou, which was extremely delicious right up until I discovered from first-hand experience that ‘tea-drunk’ skips right over the pleasant intoxication of, say, ‘merlot-drunk’ and goes straight to the hangover.
I’m not even going to review yesterday’s second shou experience, but it did make me go to the corner shop and get a load of digestive biscuits and croissants to fill the snack-cupboard with, lest I encounter puerh on an empty stomach ever again.
This morning I tried to seek comfort and solace in my favourite, gentle, softly-murmuring Oolong, but yesterday’s dizzying memory still haunts me, so I’m settling myself with PG Tips decaf, with a big splash of milk to cool it down and temper any lingering and vicious shards of caffeine, tannins, polyphenols and whatnot.
It’s quite nice, though to get any tea-taste at all, it has to be brewed for a good couple of minutes in a mug of boiling water, whilst poking at the teabag then squeezing it against the side of the mug with a teaspoon.
I’m rating this highly for a mass-market decaf with a watery taste. 65 I think, because although I once opened up a teabag of it and tried to brew the ‘leaves’ in a jug, like loose-leaf, and watched the tiny particles turn to an unhealthy-looking brownish sludge, sometimes it’s exactly what I need.
It’s like the fizzy-fizzy-make-feel-nice of Alka-Seltzer for merlot-lovers, but for intemperate tea drinkers.