247 Tasting Notes
“Thieves Tea”…yep, looks like they swept it up off of the trading floor, seriously. There are what look to be broken bits of leaves, stems, and maybe a bit of bark. Looking closer, I see bits of leaves from green to brown to predominately black.
That aside, its a great cup of tea. It’s very generic and I don’t pick up a clear Ceylon or India regional flavor. I brewed my first cup conservatively, as reflected below, but I suspect that this tea can take a lot of abuse, because of its generic flavor.
I am sure I’ve reviewed this tea before, but I tried something different this time. Long story short, our Keurig died after a long (5+years) life and my wife rushed out to replace it that evening (coffee addict that she is). I picked up one of the Keurig brand brewing baskets (that thing you use for your own coffee or loose tea) and a Keurig brand, 32oz carafe. I filled the basket with probably 2 tblspoons of HCS tea…about 2/3 full, and made a full pot of tea through the Keurig. OMG! way to much tea! I ended up with the most intense cinnamon tea you’ve ever seen, so cloudy with cinnamon. So sweet that you almost (almost!) couldn’t drink it. Liquid Red-Hots candies. I cut it 50% with plain water and drank the whole pot.
What?! I didn’t say it was bad, just liquid candy :)
Lessons learned: the Kuerig worked well, the carafe kept it hot all morning, HCS is still fantastic, start smaller with the experiments!
I am not a big fan of Assam and only so-so for Keemun. I normally find them harsh and a bit bitter. Keeping that in mind, I cut the steeping time to about 2 minutes…the time it takes me to fill my cup with hot water and amble back to my desk at work. The full name of this tea is “Malachi McCormick’s Decent Tea” and it lives up to its name. Brewed to a red/black deep in the mug, this tea is robust, with a woody flavor; as expected, it does not have the tannic, citrus notes of a Ceylon. It still has the body of an Assam, but it is being mellowed, significantly, by the Keemun. I am drinking this as a wake-up, early morning tea and it is serving its purpose well.
This listed on the package as a “double bergamot…very robust” tea and it doesn’t lie. I can usually get two steepings out of a portion of these leaves, it is strong enough and “in your face” with the bergamot that a quick first cup brew will leave you satisfied and enough left in the leaves for a second brew that is just a good, if a little less “in your face” about it.
Otherwise it’s based on a good, if not remarkable, base tea.
This tea has a toasty, fired flavor to it. Almost burnt if you let it steep too long. Not smokey though. More of a cocoa than dark chocolate flavor, has an edge that is nicely smoothed by a bit of honey.
Flavors: Cocoa, Roasted, Tannic, Toasty, Wood
I’ve been trying to save this tea – save it from the trash can. I think I’m going to fail. The flavoring of this tea is so off that I can’t come up with a good explanation. Think citrus oil and turpentine…something is horribly wrong. I’ve had this tea for several months and knew it was a problem from opening the can the first time. The wave of chemical smell was intense. I tried it anyway and got chemical taste. I have let it sit, open to the air, for two months now, All I can say is “at least my desk area doesn’t smell like solvents any more”. I’ve just shaken the can, moved the satchets around…its still there.
Pass on this one.
Edit: went back in history and found an old review of English Earl Grey (Blue Knight Special) by TeaFountain that I did a few years ago. This one reminded me of the Blue Knight Special.
This was a Christmas gift two years ago and I’m just about to the bottom of the can. Don’t read much into the timeframe though, it sat, sealed up, on my shelf for the first year. This is a good wet weather tea, hot and spicy. The primary spice flavor is the clove, but it is naturally sweetened by the cinnamon. Over all, a very good warm you up brew.
I have the satchet version
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove
I have this tea in my camping box…I bought it years ago on a trip to London and I’ve kept it nice and dry ever since. It is Intense, like a really good English Breakfast on steroids…A really good Intense. I take it camping because it can make any water palatable and it has the OMG wake up in the morning effect :)
Finished the bag off today…finally. Don’t read the negative into that statement; its more a testament to how many of those little pearls it actually takes to make a half pound of tea. I’m sure you can read about the woodsy cocoa flavors elsewhere, I’ll just say that this is a nice bold tea that you won’t confuse with a flower shop. Good stuff.
This Earl Grey is my benchmark by which I measure other Earl Greys. I’ve found a few different better, I’ve found worse (much worse). I “inherited” a 1 pound tin from a friend who had to swear off caffeine and its kept me going for the past year. Keep it sealed in an airtight container, that’s the secret.
So this tea is a straight-up basic Earl Grey, no fancy citrus bits, no colorful cornflowers, just tea and bergamot. It has a high quality tea base…probably a blend, as I don’t get specific regional notes like Ceylon or Assam.