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Recent Tasting Notes
Very even, short, finely twisted wiry strands of tea – since I’m using my black Korean strainer cup, these are the only appearance remarks I’ll bother with for now.
The aroma of the dry leaf has a pronounced sweetness suggesting orange blossoms, vanilla, and rosewater. There are some subtler spice notes as well, hinting at pipe tobacco or even nutmeg. Unique and inviting.
Aromas largely dissipate in the infusion, though their signature remains coherent.
The flavor is very smooth, faintly malty; clean, yet rich. Arguably the platonic ideal of a Medarata Ceylon, where you get a wonderful natural balance between the nuance of Udarata teas and the strength of Pahatha teas. Slightly tannic woodsy finish.
Fairly creamy mouth-feel, this would likely take a splash of milk, and isn’t subject to excessive bitterness when brewed for longer than recommended. In my strainer cup, it yields at least two solid re-infusions when I increased the brew time by a minute each time.
Brewed in my Korean infuser cup, roughly following the directions from Upton.
Auburn liquor has a delicate fall aroma, though I struggle to pick out individual scents. The flavors are likewise subdued – with vague river-stone and floral notes – though the finish is distinctly nutty, bringing to mind walnuts, apricot pits, almonds, or pecans. Muscatel presence throughout reminds you this is indeed a Darjeeling. Velvety mouth-feel, with just enough astringency to dry out the finish (though I’m not sure I’d call this a “brisk” tea).
While this has the delicacy I’d expect from a first flush, it is interesting to note how different in appearance it is, not only to other AV-2 clonal teas, but even to previous incarnations of Castleton Moonlight (e.g. the 2014 first flush, available from JAS-eTea, which is substantially greener).
Made at work, boiled water in microwave. 8 oz water, 1 tsp of tea, 3.5 min brew.
At first I really enjoyed this tea. Had a malty, cocoa-ish vanilla thing going on. Tasted comforting, which is what I’m looking for in tea! Then it started to either become kind of astringent tasting, or I started picking up on the mineral flavor that’s listed as one of it’s flavors on its Steepster page. I don’t think I’m capable of telling the difference between those yet.
Second steep I boiled water in the microwave again, then brewed for 4.5 minutes. I’m getting more of the astringent flavor.
I don’t want to count this tea out because I liked it so much at first taste, and my work set up is pretty crappy. I think I’ll bring it home and use with better water boiled in an actual kettle and see how that goes!
Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Malt, Mineral, Vanilla
I’ve had this the last several mornings. I like it, but nothing about it leaps out to me. Yesterday I used 1.5 tsp with a 4 min steep and felt like it ended up a bit astringent. Today I used 1 tsp with a 4 min steep and was much happier with it. For a second steep I did 5 min, which I think I would increase to 5.5 or 6 min next time.
I have been trying to find a loose-leaf version of Constant Comment that isn’t ACTUALLY Constant Comment.
This isn’t it, but it’s close.
It’s a little too heavy on the orange, tipping into the range where I can taste that it’s been added in artificially. It’s also missing the blend of spices I prefer, hitting clove and mostly leaving out nutmeg or cinnamon. Milk definitely helps with this one but it’s not one I’ll be getting again.
Flavors: Clove, Orange
I have enjoyed Earl Grey for years. For ages, I would take it ‘british’, with ample sugar and cream. Once I started traveling more often, I started seeking a way to keep the soft creme notes in the tea without having to actually keep dairy around since it was getting very wasteful.
This tea is, by far, the best way to enjoy that same sort of flavor without needing creamer of any type.
Flavors: Bergamot, Cream, Vanilla
Upton included a free sample of this with an order that was given to me as a Christmas gift. As others who have reviewed it have noted, the strong scent and dark color of this tea left me surprised at its mild flavor. For me, that was a good thing—I’m not a big fan of strong black teas. Nonetheless, although it was enjoyable enough, there was nothing about this tea that would compel me to want to buy it. In the past, I have been able to significantly improve my ratings of some black teas by adjusting steeping time and/or temperature. In this particular case, I feel like I hit a decent balance in the first steeping, and there’s probably not much I can do to extract more flavor without making the result overly astringent.
I made this twice this morning. The first time I messed it up big time. Too much tea, too long of a steep, regular ole tap water (I had just woken up and was stupid). It was extremely bitter. D’oh. Re-made according to Upton’s directions and liked it quite a bit. I still picked up on a slightly bitter aftertaste, but I felt that it actually became less bitter as it cooled, which sounds like it might be unusual?
Made with Crystal Geyser water in a Bodum Tea for One. Added half and half.
Really enjoying this. I made it the other day at work and felt it was meh, but today I actually took the temperature of the water coming out of our ‘boiling’ water spigot and discovered it’s only getting up to 160 degrees. So I stuck my mug in the microwave to get to around 212, which took much longer than I would have thought. I think I will get a cheap kettle for work.
Edit: I made this in the For Life tea infuser that came in my Whispering Pines set and lots of bits got into the actual tea. Should I not make a non-leafy tea like this in an infuser? What do people use for making this kind of tea?
I abuse tea… I have to come to grips with that. Especially work tea, so work tea has special requirements that need to be meet.
1. Must be hardy and not get astringent with over brewing – a common occurrence
2. Must be drinkable hot all the way to room temp/cold (as it cools in the cup)
So first off.. I over brewed this while emailing. oops? It’s not too bitter, yay! Chocolate, tobacco, nice solid cup with a brightness to it… unfortunately, as it cooled, the brightness turned sour. I will have to taste this again when I can be fair and pay more attn to the brew times, but unfortunately for work this one won’t do. I’ll stick with my Upton Hunan Mao Feng which was restocked after I picked up this sample.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Sour, Tobacco