421 Tasting Notes
This has become my Pick Me Up tea, particularly when I don’t feel like getting up in the morning. A staple in my cupboard, I just restocked in Verdant’s last Tea Tour sale. Most definitely a must (unless you have an aversion to chocolatey teas), and well worth the price. Bonus points on being super-easy to clean after, since the leaves are so big.
When I came back from my latest trip to the US the Jet Lag was just horrendous, and coupled with a nasty respiratory infection. This tea is what kept me alive during that difficult time, and I am forever indebted to it for doing so. Also, although this tea is a strongish black tea, the thought of adding milk to it seems SACRILEGIOUS somehow :)
One of the few blends that F&M kept after they re-hauled their tea line. This is a non-offenssive, everybody-will-be-OK-with-it teas that they have, but it’s also one of their least spectacular ones. It’s a good tea, but not an amazing or very interesting one. I really wish that they hadn’t axed their Piccadilly Blend, which was much better, IMHO.
I bought this tea on my last trip to London in F&M’s shop in Piccadilly. They have rearranged all of their tea selections, redesigning the boxes (I preferred the old ones, in general. They were more subdued), and taking a lot of their old and good staples off the shelves. My favourite blend, Piccadilly Blend, is no longer, as are the Afternoon tea, Fountain blend and many others. They were replaced not by new and interesting blends, but by… nothing. They just cut down the number of tea blends that they offer.
Anyway, I got this tea from behind the counter, and they now allow you to buy only 100g or more in weight, which is infuriating, since they WEIGH the tea anyway, so why should they mind if I want only 50g? This only meant that I bought less kinds of tea.
On to the tea: the leaves are long and dark and twisted when dry, with a faint fruity scent to them. They vastly expand and turn a dark green in the pot. I brewed them Gongfu style in a relatively new Yixing teapot (which may have stolen some of the tea’s flavour) for three brewings: 20, 30, 40 seconds each.The soup is a very pale golden green, and the tea has tangy, only slightly floral notes. It had something of a lemon tart in it, and something elusive that I haven’t quite nailed down, but was quite pleasant. It’s a gentle tea, that looks unassuming, but unfolds charmingly once you take the time to get to know it.
Running rather low on this tea, which is dismaying, because Whittard’s have stopped making it (or so it seems). A big bold tea that was a welcome mid-morning pick-me-up today, especially since I’ve been coming down with something today. So vitamin C, tea, chicken soup and throat lozenges have been the order of the day.
Yes! This tea is wonderful when iced! All the fruity notes and the complexity survive to make a cup of iced tea the likes of which you can only get when brewing good quality tea at home. My dad, not a tea drinker at all, came in on Sunday to help me build a cabinet (for teapots, cups, gaiwans,etc if you are asking :) ), and he loved it. It doesn’t need any sweetening in my opinion, and adding mint, lemon and other “tea additives” will just take the edge off the wonderful depth of this tea. I’m so, so, sorry that Norbu no longer stocks it regularly (they are willing to special order it, but only in large amounts). Solidly one of my favourite teas.