21 Tasting Notes
This is a surprisingly nice tea! From the good looks of the tin, it seems your typical run-of-the-mill black tea mix. Like those nice looking but bland guys. But thankfully, it delivers. (So there is hope I suppose for those other nice looking ones.)
The dry leaves are peppery smelling and are a mixture of small greenish, brownish and black leaves. The liquor is red – thanks to the Ceylon in the mix. It is not brown-red but a nice deep red which I really like.
The steeped tea is very well-rounded. Brisk and perky enough for the morning cup and smooth enough for an early afternoon cup.
I have been drinking this nearly every work day for a couple of weeks and I highly recommend it.
My heart filled with hope when I saw the post office guy brought a big tea package from Wendell. Tearing apart the package furiously (at the office by the way) I saw that I was sent a tea that I did not ask for as well- a vanilla flavoured tea.
Ok, perhaps I should put a disclaimer here that I absolutely positively hate flavoured teas, or rather smelling them. They smell artificial to me and overpower my – what I believe to be- overly sensitive smell buds. Moreover, I really really do not like vanilla flavours. So I might be biased here -just a little.
Nevertheless, I was determined to give it a try. At the very least it was Ceylon and Ceylon always deserves a try in my book.
I really do not want to base my review on the SMELL!, but I guess I am not that mature to see past the SMELL!. The dry leaves, for one thing, smell. A lot. If you can get past that smell (I could not) the steeped tea is smooth and the smell is somewhat placated.
Yet, after a day my infuser still smells like vanilla and that’s really cruel. Now I understand how some people might hate my beloved Lapsang Souchongs. If vanilla is your thing, though, you might like it. A lot.
The smell of steeped Hu Kwa reminds of childhood memories – smell of a small pile of tinder just before putting them in the heating stove at my grannies in good old times. Dry leaves, on the other hand, attack you with their heavy smoke – just like sniffing the remainders of the last night’s campfire and remembering all that fun.
Unlike some other LSs, you can actually taste the tea under all the smoke. It is easily over-steeped which can result in an astringent aftertaste.
Overall, this is a great find for those who appreciate LS.
This is good. The smokiness of the dry leaves carry into first steep. Behind the smoky facade, there is a nipping quality to this that I like -sort of a touch of iron in your palate. Not sure whether it is the Keemun or Darjeeling, but it’s definitely welcome.
IMHO, second best of the British Blend Sample. Not sure if I should get the full size though.
Sadly, not impressed. Perhaps it was my preconception – I had expected a noticeably smoky RC, a Lapsang-Lite so to speak.
To its defence, after the initial dissatisfaction with the gulp a buttery and a very slightly pepperish taste lingers on the mouth.
But I refuse to give up, next time I will try this with 1.5 teaspoons of dry leaf. Let’s see what happens then.
Not a big fan, really. I’m not sure that’s because I drank this in the morning while still half asleep and slightly moody but nevertheless, it tastes dull.
Vey slightly astringent, which I like. But that’s all. Perhaps a slice of lemon would add some character.
I am not a big fan of the in-your-face attitude of most breakfast teas, so this was a happy surprise for me. With its round tiny bits, the dry leaves look like pepper and smell heavenly – I guess the Ceylon is the reason.
When infused, it does not give you a jolt, but gently nudges you into awakening. I had this with a standart cheese/olives/bread breakfast and was quite satisfied that, while brisk, its taste did not interfere with them.
The sample earned a place in my morning rotation.
Having fallen in love with Upton’s other LS (Imperial), I had high hopes for this. Perhaps I haven’t perfected the steeping process, but I found that the lovely flavour of the raw tea leafs (which was better than the Imperial) did not translate to the steeped tea. It tasted rather unfinished and lacks depth, a little metallic and not quite smoky for my taste.
I agree that this is a great Intro to LS 101 tea and especially good if you want a light LS. But those who love the SMOKE! in their LS might be disappointed. Perhaps mixing this with other, more smoky LS varieties will do the trick.