Whittard of ChelseaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I received a full-sized bag of this from Alana as part of her Secret Santa gift – thank you! I love cinnamon, so the big whiff of spicy scent I got on opening the package put a smile on my face. The cinnamon is definitely foremost, though the orange is trying to hard to hold its own. I don’t notice big chunks of orange peel or cinnamon bark in the dry leaf, so either it’s finely ground and mixed in, or they used flavoring.
After 7 minutes of steeping, I’ve got a deep reddish-brown liquor with a warm and inviting aroma; now both cinnamon and orange are equally present. I’ll take the first few sips without additives, and note that the cinnamon is nice and strong – hot and slightly numbing to the tongue. The citrus note hits more at the back of the tongue and is a nice counterpoint. With half/half and sugar, this is a very yummy decaffeinated drink – great for the winter months.
On opening the package I am hit with the scent of the tea. It is overwhelmingly clove-y with a hint of chocolate.
As it steeps, it gets less and less clove-y and smells more like gingerbread. By the end of the steeping, the whole room smells as if I live in a gingerbread house. I’m not really picking up the chocolate.
It tastes how I would imagine a chocolate-covered gingerbread house to taste like. It’s really sweet. I can’t really taste the cloves as much as I expected (this is a good thing – the smell of the tea before steeping was actually making me not want to brew it) and they are sort of lurking in the background. Made this as a latte – very nice. I’ll try it without any additives next time.
Having another little pot of this, and am going to bump up the rating a little over last time, as I’m finding the flavor more balanced between the cherry and the tea than I did last time. There’s still something a little cough drop-like in the cherry part, but the tea background I found to be quite pleasant this time.
Another Alana/Secret Santa gift – thank you! The dry leaf is composed of long, light green leaves, and carries a light cherry bouquet. Not as fuzzy as some white tea leaves I’ve seen, but still very delicate looking. At three minutes I’ve got a light golden brown liquor with a mild cherry aroma. The taste is cherry, but this first try is reminding me a little of cherry cough drops more than the fruit. I may need to play around with this one a bit to see if I can bring that out more.
One of the samples I received from Secret Santa Alana – thank you! It has a very nice fresh and vegetal smell, hinting at sweet peas, and the leaves are light grey-green and twisty. In three minutes I have a golden-green liquor, faintly aromatic with buttered vegetables.
The taste is very mild, and includes a little vegetable/seaweed flavor, a tiny bit of toastiness, and some natural sweetness. The astringency is very low, coming across more as just a slight pucker than a real dryness. Not punchy, but a pleasant green nonetheless.
And the song – Al Green’s “Take Me To The River”:
One of the Secret Santa packets from Alana – and another winner! It smells very fresh coming out of the bag, with light fruit and toasty notes foremost. The leaves are long and fairly dark, and since I don’t have much experience with Formosa oolongs, I’m interested in how this turns out.
I’ll give it about 2.5 minutes for this first attempt, in 185 degrees. The liquor is a nice clear orange-brown and the smell of the tea continues to highlight the dried fruit, coming through now as a very juicy aroma. Taste-wise, it’s a great example of a classic oolong – very silky and smooth texture, just a little bit of toasted flavor, a good amount of natural sweetness, and virtually no astringency or bitterness. A real winner.
I rediscovered this tea in the back of my cupboard and although I don’t remember it being fantastic, I thought I would try it again.
The song I have paired this with…..
This tea smells very fruity but I can’t smell much rose. The taste is pleasant, but I still don’t get much rose. The box lists mango as one of the flavourings – in my opinion, there is too much mango.
However, although it doesn’t taste much like rose, it is certainly a tasty tea. Not a go-to tea, but one I might reach for if I wanted something a bit different.
Another sampler from the Secret Santa variety sent to me by Alana – thank you! This one has a great fresh strawberry smell to the dry leaf, which also features small bits of dried strawberries. It steeps up dark fairly quickly, so I stopped it at three minutes this first time around. The smell is clearly strawberry without being artificial or cloying – very promising!
Taste is excellent – the fruit flavor is clearly there, not at all fake, and blends nicely with the strong black tea base adding just enough astringency. With half/half and sugar, the astringency is evened out and the strawberry is turned creamier. This is a very nice fruit flavored tea – delivers just as expected.
Being a huge Beatles fan, how could I not think of this song when sipping a strawberry-flavored English tea?
The first of the teas I received from my (still anonymous until they step forward or I can decipher the worn away writing on the package) Secret Santa! The leaves are very fine and curly with a nice golden hue to them. They have a light malty aroma to them and a little bit of dried fruit.
They release their color quickly on steeping, so I’m going to limit the time to about a minute and a half for this first attempt, and start the tasting without any additives. Even with this short steep time it’s got a decent amount of astringency, so I’m glad I didn’t go too much longer. It also has a pronounced malty breadiness, almost moving into the realm of a light smokiness. I’m putting in just a little sugar and half/half to round it out and see what happens. Still quite strong, not terribly complex, but a good Monday morning cup to start the day with.
I have had this tea three times since that first disastrous brewing, and each time I’ve forgotten to put it on Steepster. So, finally…
It’s way better than the last time I had it. I have had a chance to experiment with the steeping times etc. It’s pleasant right around 1 and a half minutes of steeping with boiling water, which suprised me because I usually steep black teas for much longer. However, at this time, the taste was pleasant and ever-so-slightly malty. Still not getting much of an aroma though. I will raise the rating of this tea substantially – it’s a good cup, but not a go-to tea.
I steeped this tea for 3 and a half minutes with boiling water and used 2 teaspoons for a 6-cup pot.
The dry leaves were fruity-smelling and i was really looking forward to tasting it, but when the tea was brewed, I couldn’t smell anything the taste of my first cup was bland and boring, with a very bitter aftertaste.
For my next cup, I added a little cinnamon to sweeten it a little. This usually works for blacks, but in this case it didn’t really help and there was no difference in the taste – I was kind of hoping that the cinnamon would bring out the flavour of the tea, but no such luck.
On to the third cup, with milk and sugar added. A little better, but the milk doesn’t really do anything for the tea.
Fourth and final cup. Just sugar. Much better. Still not fabulous, but not awful. And I had such high hopes for this tea….
I will refrain from rating this tea now, but I will play around with the steeping parameters tomorrow and see if i can’t make this tea better.