1958 Tasting Notes
So, that’s what I get for forming an opinion before trying this: I expected a strong, deep, earthy texture and tone. Instead, This one steeped to the color of stained cherry wood and reminds me of dark grainy bread and molasses. Its bite increases a little as it cools, so I’m thinking it would play nicely with milk. Yummy as it is, though.
My notion of Scottish breakfast tea (highly influenced by period dramas and literature) is that it should be dark and strong enough to clean a corroded car battery.
Thank you, Upton friends, for helping me adjust that notion somewhat. This Assam-Ceylon-Yunnan blend is definitely a breakfast tea, but it does a nicely choreographed step dance that touches evenly on malty, sharp, and smooth. The leaves second-steeped nicely and tasted a little “sunnier and fresh hay-ier.” Too tasty to mess up with milk.
The catalog said The dark coppery cup has a lively peppery feel with a light vanilla hint in the aroma. The smooth flavor is rich with notes of dark spices and hints of brown sugar. What’s not to like…copper, pepper, spice, sugar?
This is my first attempt to steep this one, and if I were writing the catalog entry, it would read, “Keemun, only a scooch smoother and a smidge sweeter.” This is probably why I have not been hired to write descriptions for tea catalogs.
I’m not the tea person who weighs, labels, classifies, catalogs, or scientifically approaches any of my brews…I’m the one with an unlabeled baggie of something that sort of looks like green tea with lemongrass that I might have gotten from a work friend sometime last summer, but eh, it still looks viable, so let’s give it a go….
And I’m glad I go’ed. Whatever I’m drinking, it’s a happy golden color, and with a squeeze of lime, it tastes like spring sunshine.
A little “random” never hurts :)
The good part about ordering from Upton is the option to sample everything inexpensively—I treated myself to a box of goodies to combat the winter miz’ries. The other part about ordering from Upton is that their selection is so huge, I forget what I have and haven’t tried. So this one’s an accidental rerun.
Didn’t give it much love the first time around, some years back. Upon further reflection, you just gotta know what you’re getting into. This is an Assam/Ceylon blend; heavy (to me) on the Ceylon side. Stout and sharp with a little bitterness at the end. Clouts you awake instead of coddling you awake. We’ll give it a whirl with some milk tomorrow, but clouting is what I needed to get moving today.
It rained all night; I’m wondering if I need to start gathering animals two by two. Got the cats already, except they’re both male…
Anyway, it’s a wet, sullen, chilly morning and a stout wake-up was needed. Pure Leaf is filling that bill pretty decently. Has enough bite to it (and usually I need morning tea with fangs) that I prefer it with milk. Nice to find a good morning loose leaf on the shelves at Walmart. Hope it stays there.
The English Tea Shop teas I’ve seen and tried are generally part of a gifty-pack thing, the kind you find at TJ Maxx around Christmas time; teas that are generally enjoyable, but maybe slightly less in character than hardcore tea-ophiles like us prefer.
But I’m a sucker for a pretty package, and a dear friend set me up with a 12-pack of fun little cardboard pyramids containing various flavors of English Tea Shop offerings. (I’m keeping the pyramids. There’s got to be a game in there to play with my fifth graders.)
Of the ones I’ve sampled so far this is my favorite. It’s just a standard Ceylon that’s not bitter, not acidic, just right in the middly comfort zone. Took work microwave water abuse well. Prepared a little more carefully, I think it would be a nice afternooner with a little milk.
I try every so often to understand white tea. It bamboozles me. Not being a particularly intuitive person, I don’t want to have to chase down whatever flavor is in my cup. I want it to find me.
I didn’t have to run quite so hard for this one, a thoughtful sample tossed in with a Nature’s Tea Leaf order. Leaves were huge and virtually untouched; some stems in the bundle as well, but that isn’t a turn-off. Steeped as precisely to instructions as my sloppy methods allow, it was a honey-goldenrod color, satiny in texture, and a little sweet and soapy in taste. Soapy in a good way. And cornsilky. A nice little spring break in the middle of a very weary week.