14 Tasting Notes
What with a somewhat negative association with liquorice sweets and having my cheek pinched by various elderly relatives as a child, I was somewhat reticent about trying this tisane. Since it was a gift, and I dislike rudeness even more than facial molestation by the over 75s, I brewed some up this afternoon, fingers poised over the keyboard and thesaurus open at “unpleasant”.
And yet, I can’t actually say I hated this. The mint was a little too astringent, which is unavoidable in a teabag, and the liquorice leant it a strange sweetness which was almost overpowering (and certainly would have become so had I brewed it for any longer than the suggested three minutes), but overall it was a generally pleasant experience.
I was really looking forward to this, because everything I’ve had from Anteaques in the past has been amazing. Unfortunately, however, this Yunnan tasted of almost nothing. It was like drinking hot water, except for the progressively drying effect on my tongue.
The last time I had Eteaket’s peppermint infusion, it was whole peppermint leaves in boiling water, and it was beautiful. A few months later, I bought some as a gift because I enjoyed it so much. Unfortunately, instead of whole leaves, the packet contained very dark green fragments of twigs and leaves, which made a chemically, dark yellow infusion with a bitter taste that persisted however long I brewed it for. Horrible, and disappointing. I really hope Eteaket switch back to whole leaves soon.
The leaves looked beautiful, all rolled up and bobbing on the surface of the water. I have to say, though, this is not my favourite oolong. I find it not so much grassy as straw-like, and with a very dry aftertaste. It’s almost certainly my palette’s own shortcomings rather than the actual quality of the tea, but I’d not recommend it unless you like seriously robust flavours and possibly grew up on a farm.
This tea is really complex and fresh-tasting; very different from the Second Flush Darjeeling I usually get. It has notes of rose and citrus, as well as an almost green tea-like grassiness that develops more as the tea cools. The tannins are quite dry though; I would suggest a relatively short brewing time (maybe 15 seconds shorter than suggested in eteaket) and a small amount of sugar to balance it.
For an Assam, this tea is incredibly light and fragrant. It has a warm, malty, almost caramelly flavour to it and very little tannin, making it ideal to drink without milk.