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61
drank Vanilla by MlesnA
35 tasting notes

In theory, black tea and vanilla should marry and compliment each other beautifully, provided that neither overwhelms the other. Some time ago, I bought a tin of Harney and Sons decaffeinated Vanilla Comorro and was enjoying a mug of this each night before bed. I started looking around for another vanilla tea due to the lack of retailers in Sydney that sell H&S tea – none of which sell the loose leaf refills – and I have always found decaffeinated teas to lack a real depth of flavour. First stop was Mlesna, if only for the little wooden box that it comes in.

Does natural vanilla actually have a scent? I can only detect the merest hint of a ‘vanilla’ smell but then the tea base is very strong. One whiff of the tea, I can immediately determine the tea base to be Ceylon tea from the Uva region. This is confirmed after steeping two teaspoons in about 400mls for four minutes (although I’m going to end up with egg on my face if I’m wrong).

With a splash of soy milk, this brews an enjoyable pale liquor with a nice spicy aftertaste and aroma. It takes several mouthfuls to really grasp the vanilla taste. The spiciness comes from both the vanilla and the tea itself. The flavouring doesn’t have an artificial or surface taste to it, and there is a real depth of flavour, so I’m guessing that the flavouring is wholly or predominantly natural and doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the tea.

Now the bad news. The remaining cups of tea from the teapot are consumed black. Unfortunately, the tea base is very poor quality and bitter and the vanilla taste and aroma are completely lost in the brew. My favourite cup at the moment is a Ceylon Pettiagalla so the issue is solely to do with the quality of the tea base. To enjoy black, it needs a more subtle and better quality tea base and a slightly stronger vanilla flavouring.

Still enjoyable with milk, but the search continues for the perfect vanilla tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I always find intros difficult to write. Where to start . . . Sydney-sider working in insurance who has lived in London for ten years but returned to Australia in 2012. Despite coffee being the drink of choice in Oz, I come from a family of dedicated tea drinkers. Although I enjoy all teas – both black and green teas, either flavoured/scented or pure single-estate teas – I have a special fondness for Earl Grey and Ceylon teas.

With a cup of tea in hand, I love settling down with a DVD. I love cult films, anything visceral and slightly surreal – Shaw Brothers Kung Fu, Giallos, Spaghetti Westerns, Eurohorror, Hammer Horror, etc. If I’m not watching a film, I’ll be watching classic British TV like 70s Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, The Avengers, Danger Man as well as Prisoner: Cell Block H and the occasional Showtime or HBO series.

As much as I enjoy reading or art, I just don’t have the time for either these days.

My current favourites:

The Tea Centre:
Ceylon Pattiagalla
Monk
Darljeeling Selimbong FTGFOP1 1st Flush
Japanese Lime
Orange Blossom Pai Mu Tan

T2:
Oolong Fresh

Others:
Earl Grey De Luxe – Madame Flavour
Gunpowder – Temple of Heaven

Location

Sydney

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