Recent Tasting Notes
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds.
I’m experimenting with slightly cooler water for black tea. I am finding that Assams and Ceylons seem better with the full rolling boil at 100C. So does Scottish Blend, a CTC that seems heavy on the Kenyan tea. The 95C water doesn’t make the tea and sweeter, as happens with some China black, just duller. Live and learn.
1.5 tsp for 300mL @ 100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.
I am completely OUT of Assam. How the hell did this happen? The Tiger is not roaring. The Captain is lost at sea. Even the Gingia Estate tin is bare. I have some Kopili Estate Assam on its way to me, but damn it, I need Assam right now.
Scottish Blend will have to do. It’s not got the assertiveness, deep malt or raisin-y notes of some Assams, but for a CTC Kenyan (?) blend, it does very well. Plenty of black tea taste and body, provided it’s not oversteeped — I find at around 5 minutes its get all acidic and dark. Clean and mild finish. Dependable, and always better than I think it’s going to be.
1.25 tsp for 250mL water @100C. Drunk bare.
I have no idea if my city’s water is hard or soft. I can tell you it comes directly from a lake, with minimal treatment. The City might up the chlorine in summer, but otherwise my tap water tastes very clean: a bit reedy, with some faint mineral notes. So far, it’s never let me down when making tea, so I don’t bother with expensive and, frankly, bothersome 18.l L jugs pf springwater.
So I can’t say if Scottish Blend is any good for hard or soft water.
I can say it’s a very acceptable black tea blend, lighter than I expected, and one I would serve to my late Geordie grandmother without fear. I got a 250g package of it from a friend in Edinburgh, along with some Scottish sweets. Am I spoilt, or what? Scottish Blend smells malty and a bready, but the liquor is a medium reddish brown and quite clear. It’s more confident than assertive, and not bitter, even with a long steep. The body is light, which surprised me. There is a malty pucker at the end of a sip, but I’m thinking this is more Kenyan tea than Assam. The leaves are tiny, little CTC pinheads,and they don’t expand much. This tea would totally stand up to milk. I like it much more than I thought I would. Scottish Blend 1, Tea Snob 0.