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37 Tasting Notes

85
drank Irish Breakfast by Twinings
37 tasting notes

Had a cup of the loose leaf version of this today. Used a little more than a teaspoon and added some powdered creamer and sugar. (Out of milk so had to make do. ) Still one of my favorite blends… many, just a little tannic and astringent, but very recognizable, and very much a strong, reliable cup of Irish breakfast tea. In my opinion, almost as good as Barry’s Irish Tea or Punjana. The advantage here is that Hiller’s Market nearby always seems to carry this, whereas they only occasionally stock Punjana, and only have the “regular” Barry’s. I definitely like this better than the bagged version, although I will say that you don’t need a lot to make a single cup… a little goes a long way. Nice kick off caffeine, too… in fact, I think I’m going to have a second cup right now.

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66
drank Christmas Tea by Twinings
37 tasting notes

Given that it smells nice when brewing, I expected more flavor than what I got, even after steeping for 4-5 minutes. Not much in the way of flavor. However, I have an English friend/former colleague who swears by this stuff and says they can’t always find it in London. For me, it’s just so-so. I guess I would rather brew my own black tea and maybe add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg if I wanted Christmas-y tea. (By the way, the “artificial flavors” thing caught my eye as well… why would you add artificial flavors to something like this tea, and then not make them… well… flavorful? It is a mystery.)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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58
drank English Teatime by Bigelow
37 tasting notes

To paraphrase someone else’s review about this: Nothing special, but functional. I can’t imagine choosing this over another name-brand of English Breakfast, but it’s good in a pinch in a hotel room or waiting room where it is all they have. I usually bring any bags I pick up at a hotel home with me, just in case I there’s ever an… um… tea-mergency. ;)

Not bad. Just not great.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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51
drank Darjeeling by Twinings
37 tasting notes

Meh. Not sure what the fuss is about. It is fairly light, and I agree with some commenters who say it is better without milk or sweeteners. But I didn’t think it was anything special, and certainly wouldn’t spend money on this again in the store with other choices available. It has a nicer grade of material in the bag/sachet than some other Twinings teas, but it is unremarkable beyond that. I also noticed — and apparently this is common with Darjeelings — that it gets a bit bitter if oversteeped.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C

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60
drank Kenilworth Ceylon by Novus Tea
37 tasting notes

Tried this again, at 4 minutes, still with milk and sugar. I would say basically the same thing, except 4 minutes is barely enough time to get some flavor out of this single sachet… I think 5 minutes is a better amount of time for a single cup of this tea.

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60
drank Kenilworth Ceylon by Novus Tea
37 tasting notes

Got individual packets of this tea at a conference at a Hilton hotel. It uses the finer-quality mesh bags (pyramid shape) as The Mighty Leaf brand, and is a full-leaf tea in the sachets. I don’t believe I’ve had Kenilworth Ceylon before, or if I had, I didn’t know it. There were no English Breakfast options, so I went with this, which seemed to be the closest thing. It brewed up a bit mild, even when I let it steep for more than 4 minutes, and had a vaguely smoky flavor similar to a very mild lapsang souchong, and a honey-colored liquor. I tried mine the first couple of times with milk and sugar (and once with milk and a bit of honey) and found that it didn’t stand up to those additions very well compared to other black teas I have had. I suspect it would be much nicer without milk and sugar, or maybe with a bit of lemon and honey instead. It reminds me a little bit of Twinings Lady Grey, but without any of the floral notes or fruitiness… just the relatively mild flavor that you can’t seem to brew any stronger, no matter how long it steeps. I also noticed that as it steeped beyond 5 minutes, it started to have a more tannic feel on the tongue and a more wet-moss smell to it. Not unpleasant in either case, but I think if I drink this again in the near future I will stick to 4-5 minutes with water just off the boil, and maybe avoid milk and sugar. As for the packaging of the tea in the individual foil packets, it’s one of the nicer package designs I have seen, and indicates that the tea is not only gluten-free, but Kosher as well. The package says it is a “full bodied black tea” but I found it not nearly as full bodied as other teas I have had recently.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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49

This was the first cup of tea I had when I first visited England in 2011. It was the tea available in my hotel room service when I checked in at the Radisson Edwardian Vanderbilt in South Kensington. I didn’t expect much, given that it was available in the room next to a little electric tea kettle. It is not terrible — let’s say that. Far better than the Bigelow tea you find in the hotel room service at Hilton hotels these days. It stands up decently to milk and sugar, and is just a little tannic. However, unlike Bigelow teas, the pouch this comes in with the tagged tea is basically open to the elements rather than sealed, so I have a feeling that even though I brought some back with me and have kept it sealed in a Ziploc bag, it won’t retain its freshness or flavor for long. Made a cup again today with one of the bags I brought home — I am developing quite a collection of odds and ends — and thought it tasted about the same as it did when I had it in London. Maybe a bit less vibrant. So would I buy this if it were available at a local grocery store? Maybe, if all they had available besides this were Bigelow or Stash teas.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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86
drank Irish Breakfast by Barry's Tea
37 tasting notes

Robust, slightly more tannic than Twining’s. Good with milk and sugar. I think at 2.5 minutes this might be a little weak, but 4 minutes of stepping seems perfect! May have found my go-to cup of IB. I like Punjana too… but this one seems to have a bit more character and punch.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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62

I was hopeful but a bit skeptical when I bought this. I’ve enjoyed RoT teas before. But the design of the tin didn’t exactly say “English Breakfast” to me. And when I opened the tin, I noticed the tiny unbleached circular bags. That was my first impression: tiny! And so I wasn’t especially surprised that this brewed a pretty weak cup. They barely put any tea in the bags to begin with. Wasn’t especially impressed with the flavor either — I’d prefer a Twinings or PG Tips or TyPhoo or Tetley to this one every time. It wasn’t awful… I just felt like I would need 2-3 bags to make a decent cup, and even then it would never be an outstanding tea for me. (But don’t get me wrong, I’ll still probably use up my tin. It just will never be my favorite English Breakfast tea.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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