262 Tasting Notes


I must have picked up this teabag (nicely packed BTW) during my stay at one of the hotels of the Accor chain, as I know they provide them there (even if the tea is bulk only on Palais des Thés website). I had it the other day when visiting my father-in-law in the “village” (where he was born, and where he spends every Summer still), as that´s the easiest way to make myself a decent breakfast including a nice cuppa.
And indeed it is nice, although it stays quite discrete on the taste buds. I believe the teabag version of this Earl Grey – which seems much appreciated according to the reviews on PdT´s website – is an easy blend to please a maximum number of tea drinkers, but I tend to like my Earl Grey showing a bit more character ;-)

Flavors: Bergamot, Flowers, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 250 ML

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This is a darjeeling tea I received as a present from my sister-in-law. Although the pouch only mentions the tea garden of origin, I looked online and saw there they specify it´s an FTGFOP without mentioning year of #flush of harvest. By my own observation of colour, aroma´s and taste I guess it´s a 2nd flush, and not one of last harvest, I would say.
Viva Sara recommends steeping it at 90-95ºC for 2 minutes. I tried at recently boiled, and at 90ºC (I have a kettle for which the thermostat can be set 60-70-80-90-100ºC ), and the result is very similar; also a 2nd steep is still alright (I cannot taste or see a real degradation by doing so). Copper coloured, quite strong floral aroma´s and similar taste…a fine cuppa, but not exactly what I would describe as elegant (for 1st flush references of mine). My stomach reacts slightly as if it were a fermented tea (which I like, don´t get me wrong).

Flavors: Floral, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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After two more or less unconvincing tea bags I made the good decision to open the sample I was sent with my last Kent&Sussex tea order.

Online at K&S it is described as follows :
“Blue Lady Tea is similar to Earl Grey but bigger, bolder and, arguably, better. This loose leaf tea is a Flavoured Black Tea blended with ingredients such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, mallow flowers, rose petals and sunflower blossoms.
Such a combination is a match made in heaven. Every sip boasts delectable citrusy notes with floral undertones, a truly refreshing tearefreshing tearefreshing tea. We pack it fresh to order here at our Kent-based factory.”

Indeed it is similar to Earl Grey, indeed it is bolder…which makes it a fine tea to have hot on a hot day because of the citrusy boldness! However, I think I still prefer a (good) classical Earl Grey the rest of the year because the bergamot is usually more subtle, while the citrusy action is now mainly refreshing. Lemon tea lovers might think differently, of course ;-)

Flavors: Floral, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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This is another teabag I picked up somewhere during a hotel stay, and I only try now.
Once in a while I like to drink a rooibos infusion, and I do enjoy its typical taste…which I cannot find in this drink! Easy and light enough, without hibiscus or rosehip overwhelming in taste (definitely a good point), but unfortunately without the boost of red fruit or the strength of rooibos.

Flavors: Red Fruits

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec 250 OZ / 7393 ML

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When I´m in a hotel with a water kettle, I like to drink some tea before going to bed. I know it´s not always the best tea available, but it´s nice to have a cuppa to relax after a busy day. However, last time I was in UK (in other countries there is rarely a water kettle in the room), I was busy moving, and I just didn´t fancy having a cup of tea.
But I do fancy trying the tea later on, so I took the bags and tried them…now! Mmm, I think these tea bags might have come from another hotel stay in Spain, as the label is Spanish. Maybe from our stay in Toledo in May, when my brother came over? I think the hotel not only provided a water kettle, but also a nespresso machine, and whenever there is non instant coffee available in the room, I prefer to have a coffee.
This is certainly not the best pu erh tea I have had, but even lacking character this teabag makes a decent cup. I always associated Hornimans with herbal teas, but this sure makes a difference, a positive one as far as I am concerned.

Flavors: Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 250 ML

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As I have been travelling a lot recently, trying out teas wasn´t really on my list…but once home again, with these high temperatures, I needed to prepare my proper ice tea. I know I had ordered more of the blood orange tisane I used last year, but I don´t know where I have put it, so I decided to try this peach tisane instead.
I had a sip after steeping the tea hot, which was OK, but I really like it cold. Yes, the tisane includes hibiscus, rose hip and apple, which make up the bulk of a lot of all similarly tasting tisanes, but the peach comes through in a balanced way, making it really enjoyable to have over Summer.

Flavors: Fruit Punch, Fruity, Peach

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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This is the 2nd first flush darjeeling of my last order at Kent&Sussex. Oh boy, what a treat! More intense in taste, if you can say it this way for an elegant tea like a first flush darjeeling. Even the dry leaf looks very nice, green and more homogeneous in size, and it opens up nicely as well during the steeping process.
I tried to steep it a 2nd time, and then it definitely is worse, less forgiving as well concerning the bitterness, but it still is a good tea, although not as great as the first steep ;-) I guess I might try steeping it less at first, and then the 2nd steep is possibly better, but then again, the first one might not be so nice…loads of options here!

A bit of extra info from K&S :
Established in 1871, the Chamong Tea Estate takes its name from the local Lepcha people, who once called a vocal bird living nearby “Chamoo.” Tea covers 132 hectares (330 acres) of the garden, located at altitudes between 1,150 to 1,850 metres (3,770-6,070 feet) above sea level.

Flavors: Floral, Muscatel, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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In my last tea order at Kent&Sussex I included two 2021 first flush darjeelings. This Balasun Tea Estate one is the first one to try.

From K&S website :
Darjeeling First Flush Balasun 2021 is a Loose Leaf Black Tea from the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India.
The Balasun Tea Estate was founded in 1871, its name deriving from the river that flows at the bottom ridge of the garden. It lies at altitudes between 1,600 and 4,600 feet above sea level, near the town of Sonada.
An estimated 100,000kg of Organic Darjeeling Tea is produced from 181.38 hectares (448.2 acres) of Tea-growing land annually. This particular Tea was plucked and processed in late March.
The Balasun Tea Garden has an excellent reputation for producing full-bodied infusions with grassy undertones.

Fortunately, these grassy undertones are quite subtle, at least in mouth as they are definitely there in nose (of dry tea leaves). The tea is indeed full-bodied, but I have the impression it´s slightly less complex than other first flush darjeelings. I steep it twice for 4 minutes each, with a similarly good result every time. Also it seems a forgiving tea, as I once forgot about it (and so it steeped for maybe 8 minutes) and the brew hadn´t turned bitter.

Flavors: Grassy, Muscatel, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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I found some individually wrapped teabags of this tea in a drawer, so why not use them now I´m more or less confined to heating up the water for the tea in the microwave? ;-)
I admit I needed to google the brandname, as I thought the name of the tea was “Cafédirect Hand-picked Tea”, the teabag doesn´t mention the everyday bit as the box of the loose teabags obviously does.
A mix of African origin tea tends to be strong and malty, but this isn´t what I notice when having it; no, a refreshing, citrusy taste comes through… different, not exactly my cuppa though.
What I do value : the mother company is obviously more into coffee, and offer interesting single origin coffees, and I long to check out their podcast as well…

Flavors: Citrusy, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 250 OZ / 7393 ML

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Just before Christmas, I went to Marks&Spencer´s and bought myself some nice tin lanterns in the shape of houses which can be lit by a small LED in the bottom. The bigger one contained a pack of shortbread biscuits, the smaller one a pack of this tea (just stating the name of the tea and containing 40 teabags, nothing else). When I was studying in UK almost 30 years ago, I would always have teabags in the house, very English and very easy to make oneself a cuppa, but I admit I now mostly buy loose leaf tea, so I needed to “force” myself to open the pack. As the fuse of my water kettle blew (and I still haven´t replaced it), I now have the occasion (heating the water in the microwave) to use the teabags ;-) .
First thing to notice is that the round teabags are fully packed with tea, so I guess they could be used for various steeps, which I won´t do but then again. The malty aroma is confirmed once steeped, but the tea when taken black (as I do) lacks complexity. It isn´t bad however, and it doesn´t seem to get bitter that soon when oversteeping it either, but I reckon this is primarily a great tea to have with milk.

Flavors: Malt, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

Ugh, it looks like my kettle is on its way out, too. I wonder if there’s some sort of kettle conspiracy here on Steepster!

Ilse Wouters

@Leafhopper : I finally managed to localize the spare fuses I put somewhere ;-) and I repaired the water kettle.

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Introduced to tea by my sister-in-law in my country of birth = Belgium more than 30 years ago, I still love tea, mainly black, which I enjoy without sugar or milk. Having lived in UK, near good tea shops (e.g. Betty´s all over Yorkshire), I tend to buy most of my tea in bulk from tea shops (as such, most of these are not represented in my on-line cupboard). Nowadays, I live in Spain where tea gives me another sensatory bliss (as wine or beer or coffee can give me too).


Madrid, Spain

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