Tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #19)

I don’t know why I have been waiting to try this one. I knew it was a special purchase for myself last holiday season, but I decided today was the day. The beauty of a fabulous tea is that it can turn any average day into a special day. I washed up my ceramic mug prior to this steep and made sure to dump out the once boiled water in the bottom of my kettle to start fresh. I don’t have enough of it to make a steeping mistake. My thanks to Harney for making this available as a sample. I love to try teas that I might possibly never be able to buy except in sample form.

Right off the bat, I am thinking I should have added more leaf. I do smell kind of a slight Yunnan type maltiness, but I can’t actually taste it. I definitely get honey. This is incredibly smooth. I also get something that is hard to describe. It is kind of like an energy surge. Really, I think it is just that I love this. It has a heavier mouthfeel than most black teas of this sort that I drink. Since I have a chemical backgound, I kind of feel like it is what heavy water would feel like. Liquid with substance. I am excited for the follow up cup with a bit more leaf.

I think there will be enough for a few cups in this sample, but I just had to try it. It is one of the more expensive samples at $4, but the tea itself sells for $50 for a 2 ounce tin, or $360 for a pound. I am guessing the price on this one went up for this year’s harvest since ashmanra noted that this and Golden Monkey were similarly priced. That is not really the case at this point in time (April 26, 2012). Golden Monkey is currently $96 a pound.

I can’t even imagine trying to keep up with similar quality from year to year with weather variations. Tea is organic (different from organically grown). Environment plays such a huge role in the end product. I know how strange the weather has been over the last few years where I live, and I can’t imagine what those variations must do to products that are so heavily reliant on growing conditions. I appreciate the Harney stance that if this year’s version of a tea is not up to standards, they wait until they can get some that is, even if it means a long period of time where a product is not available. Unfortunately, for us die hard tea fans, that means buying it when you can (mostly for teas with a long shelf life), because it may not be available at a later time. (Oh how I wish there was some Black Jasmine on site, but current offerings have not met with Michael Harney’s standards. I think Golden Snail suffers a similar fate.) Then, my next bit of advice…savor that tea when you have it, but still drink it in a reasonable amount of time! Tea is meant to be enjoyed.

Usual mug method. There are resteeps in the plans, probably with an increase in the leaf. Stay tuned.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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My motto: Drink the good tea!

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)



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