looking for a black with low tannins and bitterness.
I am looking for a tea other than a darjeeling with low tannins and bitterness. I love darjeelings and I have some golden monkey that is not bad but I would like more options. Assams are way too strong and bitter for me without adding milk.
I find that teas from China’s Yunnan province are much milder and more enjoyable
ManTeas’ Beer Tea and Twinnings Prince of Whales. The Beer Tea is more economical because I can get 12 infusions from it.
I like Keemun a lot. Chinese blacks are typically more mellow.
To me, Ceylon isn’t bitter. Assam is good when I need a kick in the pants, but I do agree that it can be bitter.
I also suggest buying some vanilla or creme flavored black tea to have on hand in case of emergency. Mixing just a bit (20% or so vanilla/creme tea and 80% unflavored) in should get rid of or mask the bitterness. That way you don’t have to rehome bitter tea.
Another salvage technique (that I personally haven’t tried. People from The Tea Valley suggest adding “a little chrysanthemum to it and it takes away all the bitter flavor” when drinking shu pu erh, but it may work with blacks as well as, while not the same, shu and black teas are similar.
Golden Moon French Breakfast does not have bitterness or tannins. Good alone or with the addition of milk. Also it is just as good cold as hot.
I would second the French Breakfast :)
I would also agree with Spot52 in saying some Keemun’s can be quite mild and less astringent than typical Ceylon’s.
After reading this http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/48147#comments tasting note I think I’m safe “3rd-ing” it having not actually tried it myself. I’ve always wanted to though. I’ve seen French Breakfast offered by a few different companies.
I have a tea you might like: Dian Hong. It’s a cross-over pu erh/black. I drink it straight up myself because I don’t really find it bitter at all, but I know those that add a dollop of milk. Big bonus? I have some 20g sample packs left over from a dragon boat festival I went to this year for $6.50. http://www.cloudwalkerteas.com/product/PUR-003
I just thought of something else. Depending on how you’re brewing your tea, you may want to reduce your steep time. I know we’ve had lots of discussions about this for green/fresh oolong teas in other posts on here somewhere, but reducing your steep time on a black tea will actually reduce the bitterness I find. Varying the amount of leaf might help too, but I wouldn’t play with the temperature too much. Black teas like it hot.
Thank you for the compliment Buster. I do try to procure the best. I must admit I am partial to the high mountain oolongs, especially the light ones. I didn’t mention them because Jeremy seems to be looking for a darker tea, as opposed to the lighter tastes/aromas of the broad family of oolongs. I also have a wild pu erh that is more mild than most pu erh. It is the pu erh tea that I start most new pu erh drinkers on because it seems to have the most success, even for those who don’t usually like pu erh. It’s called “wild” or “yie sheng” pu erh in Mandarin. As Buster says, don’t oversteep: that’ll make it bitter for sure.