From the queue. I think this must be the one.
Another from the EU TTB, round 2.
I’m not sure what makes this one ‘original’ as such. It’s CTC which I find a little off-putting because I have such varied experiences with it. Sometimes it’s just impossible to brew in a drinkable way. And when I say ‘drinkable’ I mean without having to use milk or sweetener or anything at all of any sort. A tea that requires repairing after brewing is just not a good tea.
I’ve ended up with something that is as black as coffee and smells strongly of honey and malt. Especially honey and also a bit like raisins. It’s that sort of slightly fuzzy feeling just around the edge of the smell that honey has. It’s quite a full-bodied scent but it also smells somewhat astringent.
This may require some experimentation, which is not something that I generally have much in the way of patience for. I’ve worked out at what leaf amount and steeping time the vast majority of black teas work for me, and anything that falls outside of that category just tends to be unnecessary work. You can’t really do that with CTC, though, because it’s so vastly different from the larger leaf sizes, and you never know how it’s going to behave. So I approach with caution.
I still always start out with the conservative approach of my accustomed parameters, though, because you have to start somewhere. And this is what has ended up with a rather astringent note to the aroma.
It isn’t actually that astringent, though. Barely at all, in fact. The flavour is very close to the aroma. It’s strongly honeyed and malty, and it leaves a honey-y aftertaste on the tongue from just one sip.
As I sip, the astringency shows up, but it’s still only very little and mostly on the aftertaste. I can, however, sense that honey-note all the way up in my sinuses, very much confirming that the sense of taste cannot exist without the sense of smell.
It’s quite a strong tea, and if you prefer to take your tea with milk, then this should carry it nicely. I prefer not to, though, so I should probably have used a wee bit less leaf, as the bitter notes build up as it cools. Not enough to be ruining the cup, mind, but enough to be noticed.
I very much enjoy all this honey. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was flavoured with the stuff.