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MaddHatter said

Where do I start? (Black Teas)

I usually stick to black teas that are flavoured in some way or another, usually with something citrus-y. (Cocomama Lime from DAVIDs or Spicy Mandarin from Silk Roads) I would like to branch out, or at maybe it’s called “evolve” and I am not sure where to start.

What was your first “unadulterated” black tea and would you suggest it to others to try?

29 Replies
SimplyJenW said

Golden Monkey…..

MaddHatter said

Oooh, and Mighty Leaf has some, this is on my shopping list for my trip in August!

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K S said

First? Prince of Wales. Still enjoy it. Smooth without aftertaste.

teawing said

me too, an all time favorite…

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MaddHatter said

These both sound great! I will have to hunt around to see where I can locate some.

I am considering purchasing some Margaret’s Hope from DAVIDs today when I head in to town.

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Cofftea said

I’d get all of Adagio’s black samplers- quality isn’t the best, but it’ll give you an idea of what kinds you like and then you can look for better quality ones. Also try UTI. I’m not big on unflavored blacks so the only one I normally drink (if that’s my only tea option) is cheap bagged black- that was probably my 1st as well. The first one (and only as of this point) I really enjoyed; however, was Twinings Prince of Whales.

K S said

Prince of Wales can easily be found in loose leaf and you can get a second steep out of it making about 0.08 cents a cup.

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Angrboda said

My first one? Oh, I can’t remember that! Probably an english breakfast blend of some cheap bagged brand. No, that’s not where I would recommend someone to start today.

If I were you, I would pick an area first and then explore that a little harder. Get samples. Get something Indian (Assam and Darjeeling being the most popular areas), something Ceylon, something Chinese (Panyong, Keemun and Yunnan. Lapsang Souchong only if you’re feeling brave) and probably something African, since Kenya is getting more and more popular it seems. These are all very different in flavour profile and you will probably discover a preference for some of them. If, like me, you find that the Chinese samples appeal more to you than the others, then start looking at what sort of black teas are produced in China. When you feel ready to move on, you can start on the area you liked next best out of your samples.

Or you could simply just pick and area at random and go through some samples from that area.

There isn’t a wrong or a right place to start, really. There’s a methodical way of going about it, like drinking your way through an area as above or just getting whichever black is offered and sounds interesting. Neither can be said to be more or less correct though. It’s one of those ‘whatever feels best for _you’_ things.

Dorothy said

I second this. You’ll get a good idea about the wide range of flavours in black tea if you try the ones Angrboda listed.

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You have to try some Yunnan Golds (black tea). They are the best black teas I’ve ever had.

Here are a couple I can highly recommend:

http://steepster.com/teas/life-in-teacup/15362-yunnan-golden-bud

http://steepster.com/teas/rishi-tea/328-yunnan-golden-buds-golden-needle

They are also known as ‘jin cha’, in case that is helpful.

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I have an idea… http://bit.ly/pHCDUg it is a way to try a few black tea varieties. Please ignore if not interested. Thx! :)

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I would have to agree with starting with sample packets to explore the varieties of black teas available. You will find it amazing when taking your cup traveling the black teas of India then perhaps exploring the yunnans and keemuns of China then of course you will want to venture to the tiny island of Sri Lanka when you think of the international blends like your English breakfast they will usually consist of a blend of Sri Lanka and China black teas or your Irish breakfast will blend Indian and China teas. A shameless plug here we offer samples of all of our teas for $1.00 for your steeping pleasure with each sample you will get 2-4 wonderful cups of tea. You are more than welcome to browse our web site at www.tealiciousllc.com. Enjoy your journey around the world with a cup of tea.

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MaddHatter said

Thank-you, I purchased another selection of black teas from DAVIDs yesterday, and again picked Earl’s Garden which is a rather fruity rendition of a Bergamont/Black. Either I am not brave enough or my sniffer is so poor functioning that I only smell mouldy grass when I sniff the leaves. My mother has ordered some black teas to be mailed to me from Mighty Leaf, so we shall see.

Ah but one day you’ll grow to love the smell of that moldy grass and even go as far as to tell people that it smells good. :) Yeah samples are always good, I’ve found the best way to start is run the gamut to see what appeals to your pallet (e.g. one Darjeeling, one Assam, one Fujian, one Yunnan, one Keemun, one Lapsang souchong, etc).

If I was a betting man I’d say try a Yunnan (Dian hong), most, especially newbies, tend to favor it as its smooth, honey like sweet and really hard to screw up. Ignore Indigoblooms comment about Yunnan’s, shes weird :P.

And remember if you get a black tea that you don’t like you can always add milk and sugar or honey to most of them, that’s what I did for quite awhile. Although I wouldn’t try it with a Darjeeling.

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I was in the same place as you not long ago…
and I thought purchasing the same teas from all the local vendors to do a direct comparison would be ideal but I’ve never gotten around to it!!
Anyhow, my fave are Ceylon and Assam. Not so much on most of the Darjeelings, and definitely not the Yunnan!! Not sure about Keemum yet. Lapsang Souchong is pretty good but it varies between the shops. That’s my take on it anyhow, I’m sure everyone has their own unique impression :)

MaddHatter said

Clearly they do, as noted by Seattle Tea Snob… ;o)

I am not sure what is used when making Earl Grey’s but DAVIDsTEA (as long as I do not smell before buying) has some palate pleasing Earl’s and I am actually enjoying their version of creamy earl grey, or cream of earl grey or whatever it is, but it as a lot of simulated flavours which tend to be a pit fall for me.

ahhhh I am a little jealous! sadly, my body has forbidden earl grey, and enjoys torturing me in all sorts of ways when I evade it’s warnings and partake in the joys of bergamot, jasmine, and certain other plans…
No matter, I’m content with my plain black and oolongs! :)
Davids certainly does have some tasty blends though. Brilliant marketing on their part.

teawing said

@indigobloom how sad… :(

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