57 Tasting Notes
This is my third time brewing this tea. The first two times I tried it hot, and this time I made a flash-brewed iced tea in my Takeya pitcher.
I’m still not sure just what I think of this one. I do like that it’s not astringent, but I wish it were a little more heft. Perhaps that’s because most of the maltier teas I’ve had are much more robust than this one is, and I expect an explosion of oomph that doesn’t come. This just seems a bit mellow for a black tea.
I originally picked this tea because it was described as having a nutty undercurrent. I have yet to pick up a nutty flavor. Mostly I’m getting hay and malt. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s just not what I expected. The maltiness when it’s a tiny bit warm (before the ice cooled it fully) actually reminds me of the foam on a wheat ale (like Blue Moon), only gentler. I’m tasting less of that the cooler it gets.
I do like this tea, but it’s just not oomphy enough to become an everyday favorite, I don’t think.
I’m rather liking this, which is a good thing, since I ordered the 8 oz. tin and they accidently shipped me a whole pound. This strikes me as a great choice for those days when I stand in front of my tea mountain and I can’t for the life of me figure out what kind of tea profile I want to revel in. On first sip I’m getting the malty Assam, but then it breaks away into the subtle smoky, chocolaty keemun. I understand from other posters that this can go bitter in a hurry if it’s not watched, so I stuck with four minutes for the steep, and I’m glad I didn’t go over that. My initial impression is that this is a good, sturdy start-to-the day tea without being overly malty. This morning I’m drinking it hot. This afternoon I might make some iced in my Takeya pitcher, and perhaps stick a mason jar of cold brew in the fridge. Might as well try it all kinds of ways. It’s not like I’ve got a shortage!
I’ve been battling an exceptionally dry throat for the last four days, with my voice cutting out on me and going gravelly, so last night I decided that instead of wasting the good stuff, I’d pop in a cheapo bag of something or other. I even went all cavalier with the brewing method and brewed it in the mug, in the microwave, as the water heated.
(I know! SACRILEGE!)
But you know what? It turned out to be a rather splendid mug of tea, even after all the rule-breaking. I rather appreciate that Twinings Irish Breakfast is pretty forgiving. It’s not overly malty or astringent, and it doesn’t go bitter as easily as the English and Irish imports do (Here’s looking at you, Yorkshire Gold!).
This is actually my pick two days ago. Normally, it’s a go-to tea when I have a migraine that digs in and doesn’t want to die, for the caffeine and because it’s so consistent. I don’t like to waste better blacks when I don’t have a clear enough state of mind in order to actually enjoy and appreciate them. The beastie marauding in my skull was scoffing at any meds, so I grabbed PG Tips for good, strong comfort to get me through the school day.
Tuesday’s mug, though, was not delightful. It seemed to have an odd undercurrent of taste that was off-putting. I know it wasn’t some kind of carryover from my mug, because I just royally cleaned it to sparkling, and straight water had no carryover taste. After a few swallows, I pitched it.
This morning I’m starting to think the tea was fine, and it was me. I had an odd smell plaguing me yesterday all day, which I finally placed last night…eau de dead bird. I am starting to suspect I’ve got an infection brewing in my sinus, and not a migraine. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m sticking with non-malty blacks, because they taste truer than PG Tips is.
This is just what I need this morning. A nice, hearty black tea that is nice and smooth and without any maltiness. There’s a little whisper of smokiness to this mugful, but it doesn’t overwhelm the tea at all. There’s a little bit of cocoa undertone, and maybe a bit of woodiness in the flavor. I’m finding it comforting. I’m happy that it tastes like I expect it too, as well, since I think there’s something brewing in my sinuses.