I always enjoy a jasmine tea whenever I’m out at a chinese restaurant with family or friends, and the floral aroma straight out of the packet took me straight back to some of those memories.

I tried one-and-a-half teaspoons of tea per cup (250ml), which produced a pale amber liquor with a strong floral aroma. The tea was light on the palate, with a subtle floral-and-grass note in the finish (to be honest, as a black tea drinker most green teas taste a little grassy to me, but I don’t mind that).

My wife’s verdict: “Tastes like soap”.

My verdict: I enjoyed every last drop of the first three steepings – I would have gone for at least one more steeping, but time got away from me and soon enough it was time to hit the hay.

I was intrigued by how the tea leaves appeared after the third steeping. Rather than a pot full of enormous green leaves (like the oolongs I’ve been trying these past few days), the leaves formed a “twiggy” tangle, almost a sort of birds nest. Each “twig” was a pair of baby leaves with a lengthy stalk, which I found to be quite interesting. I wondered if this type of tea is typically like that, and I wondered if the amount stalk contributed to the (not un-pleasant) grassy note in the finish.

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I inherited the tea-drinking gene from my mother and my grandparents. My sister inherited the coffee-drinking gene from my father – unfortunately I couldn’t save her!

In my teens, I thought that Twinings loose tea was the pinnacle of quality tea. It wasn’t until my wife stumbled across the Lupicia store in Melbourne and brought home some Lapsang Souchong (the Twinings loose tea variety seems hard to come by around here nowadays) that I realised there’s a whole world of quality tea out there.

I drink tea every day, although I’ve been trying to limit my intake of black tea – I recently realised that I was downing eight-to-ten cups of strong black tea a day! I love the rituals in tea-making as much as the tea itself, and I always look forward to sharing new teas with friends over a chat at the dining table.

My father was given a gift of some oolong tea in Hong Kong, which he hands out very sparingly, and I’ve just started to explore oolong teas myself.

Generally, however, my taste in tea leans towards black teas that are big and bold, such as Lapsang Souchong. I do also enjoy green tea, but I fear that Lapsang has ruined my tastebuds forever! Ah, Lapsang, you are a fickle friend…

I live in regional Victoria, Australia, with the missus and three little ‘uns. Coming from an Italian background, my wife prefers coffee to tea, but will occasionally try a new tea with me. My tea rituals seem to have captured the imagination of my two oldest children, and the highlight of 2011 (apart from the birth of our third child) was when my six-year-old was asked what he’d like to drink with his evening meal, and he replied “I’ll have Russian Caravan please!”


Victoria, Australia

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