354 Tasting Notes
This is from another sample Courtney sent me, thank you!
Weather is dreadful, dreadful, seems to have turned to the worst ever since the equinox and it being officially spring. I wanted a tea-ey tea. Something with presence. Body. No elusive, light, stuff. And this was an excellent selection for that mood.
It´s unmistakably a Ceylon tea, it has what I call the copper-y-ness of it. It´s slightly more astringent than I expected, though this seems to be an altitude grown tea, which might explain it. It´s not going to be a favorite orange pekoe ( the azores one is to me, just superior in everything) but it makes a nice cup of tea and is a good example of why this type of tea was so popular for so long.
This is one of those teas which has some sort of magic when it hits the water – I could just be smelling the water all while it steeps. It changes, it is a absolutely delicious caramelly gooey fantastic scent always changing a little. Fabulous.
But the tea itself when I drink it, it does not quite live up to all of that promise. Maybe I am not using enough leaf, thanks to both Ysaurella and Sil very kindly having sent me samples, I still got a bit more to experiment. Indeed a fantastic tea, but one which is being just a little bit mysterious to me.
I confess, I got this (and Safari Breakfast, and maybe I will get choco-nut as well) for the tin. Tins, ohh I had drooled about these tins ever since I first saw them and when i spotted these on sale at iherb, thought it a good excuse to test their cheap shipping ( not bad at all, around 3 weeks to Europe for 4 dollars up to a certain large weight).
And the tins, oh they are as nice as I hoped, and they look so wonderful in my kitchen. The teas, being teabags kind of fill a need, I have a lot of tea, kilos of tea, but I do not have a lot of teabags and sometimes it´s just more practical for when making tea away from home. Individually wrapped teabags would have been even nicer, but then I guess there would be no justification for packaging it in tins.
This is a earl grey with some jasmine. I am not a earl grey person, and I am very much not a earl grey made with my local tap water person (weird alchemy, my tap water and bergamot, I just do not like the mix). I got to try this with mineral water next.
No rating till then, but first impressions, not bad at all.
This was a surprise sample from a swap with Courtney – she very kindly sent me no less than two irish breakfast mixes and a couple other surprises. The tealux cream irish breakfast was a hit, and this one, while a much more classic breakfast mix it´s also a winner.
This is a much more classic breakfast mix and a really lovely one. I do not love it quite at the level of my current breakfast infatuation (Mariage Freres´s American Breakfast) which seems to be just a bit more everything including more chocolatey (without actually having any cocoa on it) but this would definetely be very welcome on my tea shelf.
Another taste note, just to add, that brewing this hot, it´s OK, interesting. Brewing this cold, with long steep times, it goes very very bitter. Cold steeping this for short (one hour) and then sweetening it, this is very very nice. Citrusy, herby and energizing (in a different way than regular caffeine).
Now this is a multiple personality tea! The rest of Anna´s sample and she had warned me she had been baffled by it. I tried this first cold, and cold brewed and sweetened and it was FABULOUS. But Anna had tried it hot and not liked it, but seriously if so good cold how bad could it get when made hot? I decided to try it hot.
And I really really do not like it when made with boiling water. A total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tea. It is sour somehow (how?!?), there is a very strong peach (it should be mango, mango is what they say but it tastes like peach to me!) flavour bordering on artificial and a orange rind taste (maybe this is the culprit). I truly did not like it
I am going to leave the rating as it was, because a tea should be judged by its optimal brewing method – but if I had to compare I would rate it about 85 when cold brewed and maybe 40 or 50 when brewed hot. Isn´t it weird?
A tea from the euro travelling box, and I think I am getting close to having tried all the samples – though for a couple I need a second tasting.
I am not a Darjeeling person. Though maybe that is because of lack of knowledge of those, due to only having tried not so good ones (Mariage Freres, can not quite forgive you for Arya Rose). Altitude tea, or at least tea from the himalayas seems to be quite a different beast to the black tea I am used to, even with all the variation encompassed by “black tea”. There is the astringency, for example, which is always there.
But recently just learnt to love a Nepal tea, and testing more Darjeelings is always interesting to me. This was a small sample I took out from the travelling box, and I might have ruined it with too long a steep, since I got distracted. Yep, astringent. But ignoring that (and rightfully so, because it is my fault) this is delightful and I can get the so-different character underneath. It´s floral and musky at the same time, like winegrapes. Nice even when tortured…
The astringency, ah, at normal levels maybe I can learn to like it. Maybe. Will test more Darjeelings.
Another of Anna´s surprise samples, and this is indeed a surprise and interesting. I love walnuts and can not remember ever tasting a tea with walnuts. I was doubtful if would work – walnut kernels go rancid fast, and the thin inner skin is bitter. This dried leaf showed little kernels of some nut (almond according to the site description) without skin and some other bits and pieces (after googling, must be the dried pineapple and coconut).
I was very cruel with this, by making it impulsively without googling it first , water too hot and too long. It survived it graciously, though if anything my problem with this tea is its base being a bit anonymous. There is a lovely walnut flavour, and something else in the background, a hint of strangeness which was not bad, just a bit surprising. I could not ID it on my own, but googling it, thereis dried pineapple and coconut here, and that is the tropical strangeness I was detecting. The flavours go together better than i would think, and quite well with the green tea, but they go against my expectations of what I would want in a a walnut tea (maybe something more pastry like: caramel, maple, pecan, cinnamon or just plain lovely walnut).
The tea base, sencha according to seller, is not unpleasant, but totally anonymous IMO. I guess the best way to describe this would be one of those german blends – in the surprising fillers and combinations and weak tea base, though a nice example of a certain kind of tea.