Whittard of Chelsea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m fast running out of this tea. I’m a little sad, because every time I drink this tea I love it a little bit more.
I notice a slightly fruity aroma both before and after steeping. The tea produces a lovely reddish-gold liquid it looks really nice in my favourite teacup.
I used to love this tea, but having it again today – I’m very disappointed. I prepared this the same way as every other time, but the jasmine seems to be overpowering and I can no longer taste the actual tea. I’m bringing down the points a bit because I’m so disappointed with this cup. It’s not really bad, just not very good either.
I’m disappointed to say I really didn’t like this. It’s not that it’s objectively a horrible tea or anything, but I just don’t really drink sweet hot drinks like hot chocolate or tea with sugar. The smell is powerful and disgusting but the taste is better. Still not really to my taste – I’ll have to see whether any of my friends like it
I’m trying to get some writing done at the moment. The goal is 500 words total and I’m nearly halfway there, so I’m giving myself a short break. I have joined up with a group of like-minded writerly types elsewhere for a motivational project. 500 words, five days a week, 12 weeks with a weekly check-in. Week 2, doing well so far.
Point is, I was looking for an inspirational tea. It seems I don’t currently have one in my collection. At least not one that seemed inspirational today. Next solution then was to find one that might be interesting because it had been untouched for a while, while at the same time one that wasn’t so good that I would be distracted by paying attention to it while drinking.
Something out of the ordinary that I didn’t have to focus on. I believe that would be this tea, because honestly it’s probably the only way I’ll ever get through the tin. Then, when I’ve got my 500 words, I can reward myself with something nommy or something new.
I’m not a fan. I bought it in the UK because the name combined with the fact that I was IN England at the time felt like an obvious combination to the point where it even negated my natural sceptism of floral scented tea. I think I could have dealt with the flowers alone though. The fact that it is also heavily flavoured with jackfruit completely blindsided me. So heavily flavoured actually, that it’s really just a jackfruit tea decorated with some rose petals. That’s how it seems.
And you know, I’ve never tasted jackfruit in any other way than this, but I rather think I wouldn’t like it much, which totally doesn’t help here at all either.
At least it’s something to drink while writing. It’s better than eating biscuits or crisps or whatever. Health-wise, not flavour-wise.
I’m going to adjust the rating downwards a bit. Again.
I revisited this one today, and once again got a little disappointed by the fact that it’s quite fruitish in flavour and not at all roseish.
How can they make a tea named after an english rose and not have it be a black tea + rose, period?
How can they make a tea flavoured very distinctively with fruit and call it english rose? A very tropical fruit, even?
Sure, the british empire stretched well and truly into some very tropical areas, but still!
This is really bothering my OCD something awful!
That said, though, the tropical fruitness of it, was a pretty good choice to follow my evening meal which had many many nectarines and strawberries in it. So I was sort of adhering to a theme there. Or something. It took away a great deal of the initial disappointment of it not being what I expected (even though I’ve had it before), and made a quite enjoyable cup anyway.
Yes, I had dessert for dinner. I am such a grown-up!
(And if you are interested, this was dessert: http://www.formerchef.com/2010/09/15/strawberry-and-nectarine-crisp/ FormerChef has tons of awesome and easy to follow(!) recipes, you should totally check it out)
The last of my three England teas. A perfect example of how my choice of tea is easily influenced. I’m not particularly interested in rose teas and I only have a little experience with them, but I was in England. It’s called English Rose. How could I not buy it? Seriously?
The dry leaves smell surprisingly fruity and sweet. Like there’s some kind of berry in it. It prompted me to take a closer look at the box. It is indeed a Ceylon and Keemun blend with rose petals in it, but it also has flavouring by something called ‘jackfruit’. I’ve never heard of that before. Turns out it’s the fruit from a tree of the mulberry family and it’s native to southern and southeast Asia.
Excuse me, but that doesn’t strike me as very English sounding. I’m just saying!
Anyway, that would account for the fruity sweet aroma. It’s present after brewing as well, but not as cloyingly sweet. It reminds me a little of an average tropical fruit flavoured black, which makes me wonder how often it’s actually used in tea flavouring. It would definitely count as a tropical fruit.
Hm. Not the best tea I’ve ever had, I have to say. It does have a good deal of rose on the back-end of the sip, but the stuff in between is just tropically flavoured black. Wikipedia tells me that jackfruit is supposed to taste sort of like a tart banana (how odd!), but I find neither tartness nor bananananess in this.
It’s drinkable. It’s even a kind of interesting flavour. But I wouldn’t buy it again. I think I’ll need a little experimentation with leaf dosage on this one.
Second of my english holiday teas, a mix of Keemun and Assam. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? I haven’t yet found my perfect Assam but I have very few bad experiences with chinese blacks in general. On top of that, I have this funny weakness for teas that are named for a particular year for some reason, although this is the first time that I remember actually having one. I just kinda like the concept, you know?
First sip had me do a double take. It was NOT at all what I was expecting. Imagine eating strawberry jam all your life and then suddenly without realising it you get some raspberry jam instead. You like it, it’s lovely. But not expected.
It’s got that particular Indian astringency from the Assam and all evened out by the Keemun into something much smoother. The Keemun has lost a lot of the smoky though. It only shows up in the aftertaste, but that said, it has a VERY nice aftertaste. Underneath it all we’ve got the Assam showing up again with that sweet honey-y note.
All in all, a nice basic black. Strong but not too strong, full bodied and with plenty of life in it. Not half bad!
You know what I’m beginning to think? My perfect Assam does not exist outside of blends.
And there are now 2 tins and 6 samples to go before I’m allowed to get new orders in. I’ve decided which companies I think I want to shop with and what I think I’ll want to buy. I think. Maybe.
There’s a race on now. Can I finish these requirements before my new Visa/debitcard arrives or will the card get here first? Yeah, following the theft of the phone the other day a colleague told us to have our cards closed as well, because all the thief would have to do was write down the information on the card and then they could abuse it online. So I’m now not only phoneless, I’m also penniless. I’ve got money. I just can’t get to it. The boyfriend is providing me with cash for the next few days until I get a new card, but GOSH it’s irritating. And limiting!
So we’re still sticking to really good teas, because I’m still in a foul mood. I’m glad I’ve got another vanilla tea in stock though. It took me a while to really come round to it, but I have reached a point where I must have something black and vanilla flavoured in the house. It’s just a question now of finding the perfect brand as well. The Chi of Tea vanilla Nilgiri famously briefly held the spot, but since that has now been out of stock since, it seems, the dawn of time, I’ll just have to look elsewhere. I’ve got a few different ones planned for ‘auditioning’ and if all else fails, I believe I might be able to blend my way to perfection. What I really want is a vanilla black, vanilla primarily and then just a touch of coconut. Just enough coconut to add depth, but not enough to necessarily be immediately recognisable as such. As a variation, also in combination with a sort of fruit, like the strawberry zabaglione 52teas had at one point.
Damn my Whittards tins and their bloody similar looking labels! And damn me too for not looking more closely at them.
This wasn’t the one I was aiming for. I thought I was taking the English Rose just to check if I might be able to get over the fruity issue of it. It wasn’t until after I had added a heaping amount of leaves to the pot, a little extra to get rid of it quicker, that I realised the mistake. I was under the obviously wrong impression at the time that the English Rose was the last Whittard tea I had. (Not sure why I thought that, actually.)
So now I’ve spent rather more leaf on this cup than I would have had I know which tin I had actually opened.
I’ve certainly got me a strong and fortifying cup here now. Surprisingly though it’s neither astringent nor bitter. The flavouring has turned a bit less vanilla-like, but that’s okay too, because if it hadn’t at this strenght I suspect it would have been unbearably sweet.
(Also in the ongoing saga of the missing Kusmi package, Kusmi has now also tried to put in a search request for it. And this made Post Danmark send me a form to sign stating that I hadn’t received the package. Now why would they do that now when Kusmi put in a search request but not when I did? I’m currently under the impression that Post Danmark isn’t really taking search requests for missing packages from the recipient all that seriously…)
Back at last from my holiday! I’m not even going to contemplate attempting to catch up with 10ish days worth of posts, so I’m just going to jump back into the dashboard from this post forward. If anybody posted anything that you would like me to see while I was away, please drop me a comment.
One of three teas I bought while in England. In York I was taken to a Whittard of Chelsea shop and they had this 3 for 2 deal, so I picked some. I hadn’t planned for anything in advance, I was just taken there and uh… left more or less to my own devices for a few minutes, sorta.
I’m not sure how the brand sits on the quality scale, but I think it should be something above supermarket brands. (Lipton, Pickwick… I’m looking at you!) Not sure if we’re as high up as, say, Kusmi and such. But okay. It’s loose. They have a real shop as opposed to a supermarket shelf. That’s good for something
The tea itself has bits of vanilla pods in it and it does smell like vanilla. It’s not an overwhelming aroma, more like an added sweetness that definitely isn’t sugar. If I didn’t know it was vanilla, I can’t say for certain that I would be able to identify it as such, but then again, I don’t go around sniffing a lot of vanilla, so I’m afraid my idea of ‘vanilla aroma’ is a bit out of proportions with reality. Real vanilla aroma is not, after all, as strong as in vanilla essence…
So, yes. It smells like vanilla, and it tastes like it too. It actually has a surprisingly nice flavour of vanilla. Not too much but not too little. It’s easily identifiable with the aroma, so if you can recognise that as vanilla, then you’re good to go. (This is beginning to sound a little backwards and complicated, isn’t it?)
I’m not sure though if it lives up to the vanilla tea standards of for example JacquelineM, though. You seem to be the resident expert on how this particular flavour is best done, but until someone shows me otherwise, this is good enough for me. Good enough, anyway, that when I run out of this one, I’ll give Kusmi’s vanilla black a go. I’ve been eyeing that one for a while and wondering if I might like that, since I like their caramel so much.
Or a combination perhaps. I seem to recall having successfully tried something like that before. We shall see, we shall see…
But anyway, back to the tea at hand. The base blend is Ceylon and Keemun, which at first taste seemed to be a bit heavy for the flavour, but after I’d got a little further down in the cup I decided that it wasn’t really. Had the base been more delicate, I think the vanilla would either have completely overpowered it, or the whole thing would have flown away in a flavourless gust of wind.
I liked this. I can see myself getting very fond of it, actually.