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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from yesterday. First time in about two weeks that there were no sirens in Tel Aviv. There’s talk of a ceasefire, but as this is the third time around that there has been talk of a ceasefire, we are weary of hoping. Meanwhile, we are trying to carry on with our lives, but the ugly realities of this conflict keep making their appearance. Sirens keep going off in southern and central Israel. A farmer hand was killed yesterday while gathering crops. Children are afraid of the color red (which is the code name for a rocket warning), and the mounting number of dead and the situation in Gaza makes my stomach lurch. Two friends have sons serving in Gaza now, and I can see the fear in their eyes. Soldiers that go into Gaza must leave their phones behind, as the Hamas uses them to pinpoint the soldiers’ location. It’s for their safety, but I can see their mothers going mad with worry and I feel helpless, because there really is nothing I can do to help.
Drinking tea is now a way to calm our nerves, so we are drinking much more now. Others are eating much more, especially chocolate. But for us it’s tea.
I had to look up what clonal meant before reviewing this tea. It’s a clone!
I’ve had not so great experiences with Margaret Hope Darjeeling in the past, but this one is very good. It’s not as acidic as the Margaret Hope’s that I didn’t like in the past, and there is the wonderful muscatel flavor.
Where there is tea there is hope.
This arrived as a free sample as part of my All the Dajeelings sample pack from Teabox. It is not as smooth as other good Nilgiris, but it still a pleasantly soothing black, with some spicy background and no astringency. It’s too light bodied for milk. All in all a satisfying , solid tea.
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A hearty Assam with a combination of fruitiness and maltiness, and plays fantastically with milk, but tasty without it as well. This was one of the free samples from Teabox, and it is good enough to make me add it to my wish list. One of the tastier and more interesting Assams that I have tasted. Well worth the try.
This was part of my giant sample order from teabox. The leaves are olive green, and are large, although there is a largish amount of twigs included. It’s slightly astringent, and floralish – not overly so, but there are floral hints in the tea. It’s sweet, and light bodied. A nice tea, and an interesting Darjeeling.
After a hectic day in the city with my 5y daughter i really felt the urge for some tea to wind down. My choice fell on this wonderfull autumnflush, been my AF of choice for the last two years.
I used the breakfastpot 450ml ceramic thing with nice glace and stuff that i picked up in beijing some years back. Retains heat very well so i do like to use it for long infusions. Looks nice when serving guests as well, matching cups and all. ;)
Anyways the tea for me really taste AF, somewhat light yet with a bite. There is a good balance between a sweet body and a slight astringent aftertaste full of citrus.
This will be reordered year after year as a sure win. :)
An unusual darjeeling, this is stronger than a normal darj, and has a nutty flavour. There is some astringency, but very little, and the tea is naturally sweet. It rebrews well, with one 3 gram serving good for three-four cups of tea. The tea’s grade is SFTGOP1 but there was a good amount of twigs, and no whole leaves in the bunch. The dry leaves range between olive green, through golden brown, to chocolate brown, and the smell is a wonderful combination of hazelnuts and sugar.
Oooooh. This is a wonderful tea. The smell of the golden tippy dry leaf was biscuit-y and malty…and the liquid was dark red with the same fragrance, but now it was warm malty biscuits! I’m learning that I adore second flush assams as long as they are not too astringent, and this tea is one I could love. The malt and sweet biscuit give this Halmari a nice round mouthfeel and a beautiful smooth flavor profile. A solid citizen among Assams. It because even more wonderful with milk and sugar. Seriously, a tea that can make you forget about eating breakfast is an amazing mouthful of tea. I’m going back for seconds.
Flavors: Grain, Malt
When I stuck my nose into the sample packet of this tea I was very please with the aroma that met my senses…. the leaf of this tea has a gorgeous malty smell that has a deeper aroma than the average malty smell…like malt growing in shaded forest….ooooooooh! In the cup, the smell a bit brighter than dry. Dejoo Second Flush is a medium-light bodied tea with a wonderful malty flavor with a slight roasted nut and a touch of a caramel finish. It’s a bit reminiscent of the peanuts you find in Cracker Jack. There is some astringency in the cup, but not enough to completely dry my tongue after each sip…it’s just enough to make me look forward to my next sip…. of malty goodness.
Dejoo Second Flush Assam holds a bit more than the average malty cup of assam does. If you are exploring Assams, this should be on your wish list.
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Nuts
On a sweltering 4th of July morning, this was the perfect tea to pull out of my samples that I purchased from Teabox. Assam Anandabag is lovely tea to see in the teaspoon…malty tippy goodness was my expectation and malty tippy goodness is exactly what I got! Anandabag isn’t a weighty assam tea, it is a middleweight assam with the lovely smell and taste of malt, cocoa and a touch of grain and a weeny bit if citrus. There was very little astringency which paired really well with the medium mouthfeel this tea created. It ended up being the perfect tea for a hot summer morning when you have that craving for a strong breakfast tea, but don’t want the heaviness that sometimes comes with Assams. Recommended.
Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Grain, Malt
This is not a typical English Breakfast tasting tea. The dry leaf smelled a bit sweet and biscuity/malty. Wet, the leaf produced a very malty fragrance with a touch of sweetness. But now that I’m drinking it, I’m not only getting sweet maltiness, but I’m also getting a cannabis note from the tea. Anyone that’s ever gone to a concert knows what that smells like. It was a surprising note for me in an English Breakfast tea. Perhaps it has something to do with this is probably the freshest tea I’ve ever had….it’s a 2014. There is a bit more than “a little” astringency to this tea as well, as my tongue felt dry after each sip. The maltiness and cannibisness (ha!) lead to a nicely balanced medium mouthfeel breakfast tea. I would not turn this away at a breakfast table, but with the cannabis note, perhaps for me it is better relegated to an aprés concert cuppa.
Flavors: Cannabis, Malt, Sweet
Teabox offers 15 different types of assam…. 15. and I just got samples of all of them. (Hey, free shipping! Gets me every time!) Assams are my first true love (via British/Irish tea bagged tea) and so I return to them, adding them into my rotation of black teas that I’m exploring. But where to begin with 15 samples staring me in the face…..Aha! something I recognize!
I’ve started with this tea because I have something to compare it to in Butiki’s upgrade version of this tea. The Teabox version of this tea isn’t as whole-leafed or as tippy as the upgrade version I have in my tea stash, but the leaf smells of malt and apricot like the other Hattialli assam. The liquid was a gorgeous dark red….exactly what I expect from assams. The taste? This tea has a medium mouthfeel and a slight astringency to it. It is nice and round tasting. When the tea was hot I got more of a malty flavor, but as it cooled, the apricot note came to the top…quite a lovely morph, if you ask me! I will have to revisit the premium version of this tea again after having this, but I am quite happy with this tea. All comparisons aside, it is a nice medium bodied assam that would please most palates. Hattialli Estate obviously creates some lovely assams!
Flavors: Apricot, Malt
Second attempt @ this tea.
Hm recommended steeptime is 10 minutes@85-90C
First try i used a sado red clay teapot, result was bloody awesome! this time around i used a glaspot and the result is somewhat paler. Somewhat spicy with more than a hint of astringancy mixed with an almost green floral note with hints of burnt butter.
Still this tea sure packs a punch for a white tea, although the taste is more like a first flush darjeeling oolong. Got enough for another try!
Cup of morning assam.
This assam is less malty less body with more sweetness to it. Since i prefer powerful assams this was not what i would consider a breakfast tea. However it has a very pleasant taste.
A hint of spices, perhaps some citrus with a very slight astingancy.
Ah, early morning cup of assam!
It has become somewhat of a habit drinking assam in the morning, especially after i drank the last of the New Vithankande. Will have to restock!
Anyways this tea is woody with some malt and a sweet honeylike finish. It does have a small bite of astringancy. All in all a good cup.
Finally made my first order of 2014 tea. First out was the springteas of yunnan from none other than yunnan sourcing. Will be interesting to try some new varietals and restock the favorites.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Wood
Ah a nice cup of tea in the evening. Ah been to active this past week, hardly any time to just stop and relax. Today at last i have some time for myself :)
I decided to try one of the samples from teabox. The choice fell on an autumn blend.
Brewed in mumyoi pot.
Surprisingly sweet brew! hints of honey mixed with a very low astringancy for autumnflush darjeeling. The classic darjeeling flavour is present although not as prominent. Superb blend!
Im almost sure to grab a pouch of this. :)
Yea gods this tea is good! I swear that if you’d told me that this is a Darj I would have laughed.
It’s a 2nd flush (my favorite!) Darjeeling, and being only FOP, you’d think that it wouldn’t be great, but it is!
Imagine the best of Assam joined with the best of Darjeeling, and this will be it. And no, this is not a blend. There is something of the etherealness and light body of the Darj, coupled with the bassiness and nutty, earthy sweetness of Assam in this tea.
The only minus to be found is that it is astringent, and it’s not shy about it. I used a bit of sugar (less than a spoon) to tone it down, otherwise it would have been unpleasant. As it was, it was just a faint puckering of the mouth after every sip.
A unique tea experience, and something that I will buy more of.
Part of the Teabox all the Darjeelings sample.
This is a white tea, so if you don’t enjoy white teas, move along, move along home (I wonder who will get the reference…).
If you, like me, enjoy white teas, then this tea is definitely not for you. You will be disappointed.
The leaves of this tea are very light olive green, with a lot of white interspersed. They look impressive – large, whole leaves, that look to have been meticulously picked.
Teabox recommends that you brew this at 85-90C. I tried it at 70C at first (standard white tea setting, because I wasn’t paying attention to the package), and brewed it for about 7 minutes, because it looked like the tea needed more time in the water. I have a feeling that I could have left it there for an hour at that temperature and I’d still would have gotten the same result: very lightly tinted warm water. No taste worth mentioning. Fail.
Next try was as Teabox directed – 90C, for 5 minutes. I got some flavor!!! I wish that I hadn’t!!!!
Take a cucumber. Squeeze out all of its juice into a glass. Fill the glass with water – and there you have it. This is what this tea tastes like. Very diluted cucumber juice.
Now I love white tea, and I love cucumber-y white tea, but this is the first time ever that I’ve tasted a white tea that actually tasted like thinned out cucumber juice, and didn’t just have subtle hints of cucumber. It wasn’t pleasant, and to the sink went the cup.
I hate giving up on a tea without giving it a fair chance, so I chucked it into my Takaya pitcher, and stuck it in the fridge overnight, to cold brew. After tasting it in the morning I was not impressed. Added some lemon and mint leaves, and left it to settle for a while longer in the fridge. If it’s not good by tomorrow, then I’m chucking it out and writing this tea off as a failure. For now, I DO NOT RECOMMEND!
I’ve already written about Teabox’s wonderful customer service. Well the box of tea samples arrived today and it is AMAZING!!!!! I’ve never seen anything like it.
You get dozens and dozens and dozens of beautiful tiny black tea pouches, each with zip lock closure, each with an individual label with everything you need to know about the tea, as well as steeping instructions. What more do you need?
The samples that I got (in the “all the Darjeelings” sample pack) included mostly black teas, but also several white teas, green teas and oolongs. There were also three free samples with the pack – two Assams and a Nilgiri.
Each sample is 10g, which is enough for 2-3 servings (at least), and a very generous amount indeed. If you have a tea loving friend nearby, you could easily buy a sample pack, and split it between you.
Now off to the review:
Dry leaves are dark, large sized (for a black tea. They are medium sized compared to oolongs), with an occasional greenish silver leaf or a golden brown tip tucked between them. They, strangely enough, smell of raw dark chocolate.
Followed the brewing recommendations: boiling water, 1 tsp of tea for a 200 ml cup (using a Finum brew basket), infused for 3 minutes.
The liquor is a clear light golden red, between the color of amber and of maple leaves in the fall. It smells fruity.
The tea is medium bodied, with a medium-low caffeine content,with no astringency. It won’t take milk well, like all the Darjeelings that I’ve encountered. It is a tad bitter when brewed without sweeteners, but not to a point of being undrinkable. Just a little kick at the edge of each sip. If that’s not your “cup of tea,” a bit of sugar removes the bitterness and enhances the fruity tastes of this tea.
This is a fruity tea (stone fruit, raisins), and has a bit of the famous “muscatel” flavor, that adds spiciness and depth to the cup.
A great introduction to Darjeeling tea for people venturing into it for the first time, particularly if they’ve only experienced Chinese teas before.
A tasty brew to “share with friends”, as teabox recommends.
Flavors: Raisins, Stonefruits