76 Tasting Notes
TeaGschwendner explains that this tea is grown in the mile-high Manjhee Valley of India. The first thing that I noticed about this tea was that I had absolutely no idea what sort of tea it was. The greenish leaves were fairly large and intact. They smelled fresh and earthy but weren’t really typical of any type of tea that I had previously tried. I was very surprised to learn that it is a black tea. I brewed this tea using my Zarafina tea maker set on strong black. The liquor was a deep golden color and had a sweet scent.
This tea was compelling but I struggle to describe exactly how it tastes. The description on TeaGschwendener’s website probably sums it up the best, “bright and vegtal with slightly sour notes of wet stone”. It was salty and gritty but in a way that actually made it enjoyable to drink. The saltiness wasn’t apparent while sipping but appeared as an oddly pleasant aftertaste. It was similar to a Darjeeling but was still very unique.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews you would know that I am a complete jasmine addict. I’ve heard very good things about this blend so I could not wait to try it when I won a coupon in one of Tavalon’s many Twitter contests. The leaves were a very dark green and the scent of the jasmine was so strong that I was able to smell it through the package. I brewed this tea at work so I don’t have the exact specs. It is relatively bomb proof though. I haven’t had a bad cup yet.
This tea is obviously of a high quality because it very heavily scented. The taste and scent lasts through at least three steepings and I am always left feeling like I could have gotten another brew out of it. This was the first jasmine tea I have tried that did not have visible blooms in it. It detracts a little from the visual aspect but did not seem to have affected the taste very much.
For a long time I wasn’t a fan of sencha. Now I realize that my first few attempts were with relatively low quality tea. Den’s has always seemed to be THE source for green tea so I ordered their green tea sampler and this tea was included. The leaves were a dark emerald color and smelled fresh but not quite the freshly mowed lawn smell I was expecting. I brewed this tea in a cast iron tea pot called a testubin with 170 degree water for two and a half minutes. This was longer than Den’s directions but my testubin is fairly large and I was worried about ending up with a weak brew.
The brewed tea had a slight roasted aroma but also retained the fresh smell of the dry leaves. This tea was naturally sweet and had a taste that lingered long after taking a sip. It was not bitter in the least. I compared a cooled cup and a still hot cup and they were both equally delicious. I think I would be hard pressed to find a green tea that was a refreshing as this selection. It was perfect for a warm northeastern day like today.
I’ve tried several selections from Boulder Tea, some I have loved and some I haven’t. I love that they offer some Korean teas, which are not common with most tea makers we get here in the US. This one was a bit of a toss up. The leaves looked mostly whole and fairly fresh. There wasn’t much of a detectable fragrance though. It was packaged in a silky satchet, very typical of higher end tea bags. I steeped this tea using 170 degree water. On finding the taste to be very mellow, I decided to keep the bag in the cup to see if it would strengthen the brew a bit.
This tea vaguely reminded me of Gyokuro but it was not quite as strong or sweet. I love a delicate green tea, as this one seems to be. Unfortunately, its downfall was that tea bags are not really the best way to prepare it. I was surprised at what a small amount of leaves was put in the tea sachet. Even after the leaves were fully expanded, there was plenty of empty space. I feel this really hurt the flavor because there wasn’t quite enough for even a modest cup of tea. It was an fairly decent tea, especially for a tea bag, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it.
I drink many different kinds of tea but tend to heavily favor oolong and green teas. Every once in a while a black tea comes along that changes all that, at least for one cup. Tavalon’s NYC Breakfast is one of those teas. My sample was a funky, do –it–yourself tea bag with a fair amount of dry leaves in it. They had a pleasant sweet and nutty aroma. It’s funny but after writing so many reviews, I can usually tell if I will like a tea by the way the leaves smell. I steeped it using 212 degree water for five minutes.
The resulting tea was robust without being overpowering. Their website describes it as energizing and it definitely is. It had a nice aftertaste and did not need any milk or sweeteners. Quite frankly I think to do so would ruin it. That says a lot for a black tea. This tea was a morning staple of mine when I was working in of all places, NYC. I would definitely recommend it. In fact, I will probably order some the next time I win one of their fun Twitter contests. I will definitely have to try this tea iced as well.