And now, the final sample from Tea at Sea. And it’s a sipdown, too!
Dry leaf: Dark and crumbly. It had a very tannin-heavy, tea-y smell that took me back to the kind of black bagged teas I remember. I definitely smelled notes of raisins and caramel. Please note that I am NOT a drinker of black teas, so getting a sample from Tea at Sea seemed like a low-risk way to try and expand my tea horizons.
Steep parameters: I’m not a black tea drinker and didn’t want to split the sample up into two steeps in case I didn’t like it, so I dumped the whole sample into a single steep. So: about 5 tsp of leaf to 24 oz of boiling water. Steeped for 3.5 – 4 minutes for the first infusion.
Liquor: The liquor was a rich, deep, dark amber. The smell reminded me of molasses or raisins – thick and dark. However, the taste was very different. I was expecting it to taste fruity and juicy, but instead it was thin, earthy, and smoky – I could totally taste the cedar notes, as others have mentioned.
Verdict: I’m still not a black tea person, but this was an okay tea. However, it has been extremely interesting comparing all three of the Tea at Sea examples that I got, and figuring out how the different oxidation and roasting processes change the flavour profile of the same tea. The green was floral, the oolong was nutty and mineral, and the black was woody and earthy. Definitely an interesting progression.
Flavors: Cedar, Molasses, Raisins