13 Tasting Notes
I bought a shrink-wrapped package of three teas from this company at Big Lots. I mostly bought it because I thought the tins were cute.
This is a black tea with bergamot and a couple other flavoring agents that I can’t quite identify. Maybe rose and peach? It’s a very fruity/flowery blend that would probably be more appealing if it used higher quality ingredients. I drank this black but may try it with soymilk at some point.
This tea reminds me of my experience with rosewater-flavored Turkish Delight. Despite knowing that it’s meant to be ingested, I keep getting twinges of “Why am I drinking perfume? Is this safe?” in the back of my mind. It’s not unpleasant enough that I won’t finish off the sample tin that I purchased, but I’m unlikely to buy any more of this. I guess I am too conditioned to think of lavender as a cosmetic rather than a foodstuff.
It’s pretty rare in my experience for a vanilla-flavored tea to taste as good as it smells. I’m glad I gave this tea a chance because I’m usually disappointed by vanilla-flavored teas. Maybe it’s the combination with bergamot that makes the vanilla flavor pop out. I got this as part of a sampler pack but I will most likely be ordering a full packet of it!
This was my first time brewing oolong at home and I am glad that I did not screw it up! I don’t have a thermometer that is suitable for testing water for tea brewing, so I had to guess with this tea, which is supposed to be brewed at about 190F instead of boiling.
I was not impressed with the appearance of the dry leaves, which included a lot of stems. The catalog photo looked nothing like what was in the pouch. Fortunately, this did not appear to have a negative effect on the tea when it was brewed.
Not excellent, but very good for the price and no sour aftertaste like some cheap teas.
The leaves have a light fruity smell. The closest I can get to describing the smell is the earthy smell that permeates the cardboard in which bananas have been shipped (without the “banana” part, just the leafy/earthy smell). The leaves also look rusty.
Strangely, the tea does not smell or taste fruity (although it does have a mildly earthy/peaty in flavor). The rusty color of the leaves didn’t transfer to the brewed tea, either, which paler in color and weaker in flavor than I expected. I think I might have to put in an extra teaspoon of leaves next time. With a splash of soymilk, it was a comfortingly mild early-afternoon cuppa. I’m not sure about the company’s assurance that it is a “powerful cup” because I took a 90-minute nap right after drinking it, but then I’m not very sensitive to caffeine.
I first tasted this tea as part of a sampler set (British Blend Sample SB11) that I purchased last year. This tea alone was good enough to convince me that I ought to try some other teas from Upton. I have a hard time explaining why I like this blend so much. I remember saying something uninspired along the lines of, “It tastes like tea!” So many mild afternoon blends are so bland that they end up tasting like slightly stagnant tap water. The Richmond Park Blend tastes like tea. It still tastes like tea if milk, honey, or sugar are added, but I usually drink it with a splash of soymilk and no sweetener.
As I suspected with the mug I brewed this morning, this tea needs far less time to steep than the sort of tea I’m used to drinking. Brewing for 3 minutes instead of 4 produced a much more satisfying cup of tea. The first couple of sips tasted a little on the sour side, but after that it was a smooth typical English Breakfast kind of tea. I’m going to keep this set aside for afternoon drinking rather than my first morning cup.