Fortnum & Mason

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Recent Tasting Notes

There was a huuuuge tin of this in the tea box, and the smoky scent was much too strong. I put it back thinking that I definitely wouldn’t like it, but hey, what’s a tea box for if not expanding your horizons? I just put the tea in my cup and strained it instead of using a steeper because I didn’t want my steeper to be permanently scented. It’s that strong. I added lots of sugar and milk to try to tame the smokiness. It’s super smoky and meaty. I don’t dislike it as much as I expected, but I spent several days trying to finish my large mug and never could. There’s not much bergamot here, unfortunately. I really can’t picture someone enjoying this, but I guess there are plenty of people who do!

Martin Bednář

I do like smoky EG, but just a tiny bit :) This was too smoky for me as well.

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As I said in a tasting note a day or two ago for Fortnum’s Russian Caravan, last weekend I went to a teahouse with three friends. I didn’t order this tea, it was the selection of one of the friends I was with – however he kindly poured me the last teacup worth from his pot so that I could try it as well!

Smoky Earl Grey doesn’t appeal to me as a concept – I think that’s too busy/aggresive in terms of flavour profile. Lapsang is already a VERY intense/bold flavour, and Earl Grey also has the potential to be quite intense and aromatic. Combined? That’s a fine line you’re walking, good sir!

That said – my pot of selection tea, the Russian Caravan, had been VERY thin tasting and felt under leafed so switching from that somewhat disappointing infusion to this one was like drinking water after walking for miles in a hot dessert. What would normally have been borderline for me was rich flavour compared to a disappointing first pot of tea. I actually liked it a lot in this situation even if it wasn’t something that normally would have spoken to me.

Martin Bednář

I like smoky EG, but just a little. Not only smokiness and bergamot flavours. Apparently I have it before and thought it is too smoky for me as well.

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From a few weekends ago – I went out for afternoon tea with three friends and the little cafe/tea house we went at served and sold Fortnum and Mason teas! This is the one that I ordered for myself, just a little pot of it with an apple and cheddar scone!

I feel like the pot was under leafed, but I didn’t want to complain/be “that person” at the cafe. However, this was very thin tasting and not all that smokey/robust at all. I’ve had this tea before, and it just wasn’t what I remember Fortnum’s Russian Caravan tasting like at all. This was soft smoke, and gentle oolong and a Russian Caraven should slap you in the face with its briskness.

The scone was really good though – I liked the smoky apple combo!

tea-sipper

NO, be that person! You’re in a tea house having thin tea!

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drank Rose Pouchong by Fortnum & Mason
2462 tasting notes

I guess everyone has seen the post, either here or on Facebook, that Adagio is going to be running Steepster henceforth. I hope it doesn’t change too much! This is my 90% of my social life! Ha ha!

I can’t believe this was not already in my cupboard, as Superanna gave it to me a while back and I have drunk it many times.

This is a Keemun tea with rose flavor, slightly less rose-y than Rose Scented by Harney and Sons, and with deeper, darker tea notes due to the base being Keemun instead of Ceylon. Both are great, and this one is better for my husband who doesn’t like his tea too terribly floral.

It does not need milk and sugar to smooth or sweeten, but it is strong enough that I feel it would be really great that way if that is how you prefer your tea.

Any idea why they call it pouchong? Pouchong is Bao Zhong. This is Keemun and to all taste and appearance is black tea. I hope someone knows and will enlighten me!

It was a great pot of tea to start my day!

gmathis

Seriously? No, I had not seen anything about management change. (I am not completely weaned, but trying to spend progressively less time on FB—tends to drag my attitude in directions it doesn’t belong!)

ashmanra

There is an announcement here on the discussion page, too. and I agree. Spending less time on Facebook and feel like I have to look at it with one eye closed and the other peeping.

Shae

I saw it a little while ago and honestly I’m scared they are going to change everything to the point that it’s unrecognizable. I’m waiting until my emotions about the whole thing subside and I can comment with a level head. All of the other Adagio sites that Jason mentioned look exactly the same and I don’t want that to happen to Steepster. I love the community here (my social life is mostly here too!) and I don’t want to see everything replaced by something more aligned with Adagio’s corporate brand. I do appreciate Jason and Mike keeping up the costs of the site, but I also wish they would have considered asking us our thoughts as we are the ones using the site daily. That’s probably just me being selfish, but maybe someone here would have been interested in taking over. I know I would have been glad to help with cost and admin duties, personally. Anyway, I’ll leave some suggestions in the discussion post later, but this is me venting a bit. So sorry to take over your comments with my mood, lol.

Mastress Alita

I hadn’t heard the news either… I don’t use social media, and given all the spam/bugs, I haven’t even been on Steepster’s discussion boards in ages, as well. I hated that the site had been left to rot with bugs/no improvement, but I do not like a tea company being in charge, which feels fueled with bias and creates an environment that just feels… not as welcoming to other companies/etc. Too many moods right now…

Sil

hadn’t heard. I don’t bother with the boards here most days and adagio isn’t really a company i follow for the limited time i’m on FB.

ashmanra

I saw the post by Steepster on Facebook first and then came here and saw it on the discussion board. I almost never look at the discussion boards, but I was specifically checking for it. It is the same as the FB announcement, no difference. Here’s hoping we see improvements and not destruction of the community we have here.

ashmanra

Shae: I think a lot of us would have been willing to contribute to keeping Steepster up and running. I hope it all turns out okay. I hope adagio is paying attention to what the Steepsterites want.

ashmanra

The latest statement on the board from Michael at Adagio:

My Adagio Teas colleagues and I are honored by the opportunity to restore Steepster as the preeminent destination for tea discussion and knowledge, especially at a time when online communities are so important to our social wellbeing. In days to come, we will listen and note your ideas for the improvements that you’d like us to prioritize as we work to make Steepster a welcome place for all.

derk

Color me cynical :/

Martin Bednář

Haven’t heard; but noticed (and read) it after reading few tasting notes.
I am cynical as derk and many others. I don’t like the idea it is going to be owned by some tea company. It won’t be really independent. I don’t like the ownership of tea comapny, but on the other hand, I am happy to see that something will happen! That it won’t shut down just one day and nobody will know what have happened! What about collecting e-mail adresses of our group here (are we only one active, or there are more groups like us?); and if something goes “wrong”, we can be in contact somehow and for example start some new discussion board or something we can work out (for example Discord).

I know, it won’t have this nice feeling of Steepster, but I would love to stay in touch with all you!

Martin Bednář

By the way, as I can’t write to discussion board by myself, consider me, I want to save “as is” as long as possible and fix all the mishaps and after that just start adding new features, new design etc.

mrmopar

I like the connectivity as well. This site is a big part of my social media and the friends from here are priceless.

gmathis

I like you people. Don’t go anywhere.

tea-sipper

Hopefully adagio keeps it mostly the same Steepster, just taking care of the bugs, but I’m not sure how that might benefit adagio?

ashmanra

Maybe Adagio can just advertise here and keep it the same. I know money drives things, but surely supporting a site that encourages the love of and exploration of tea would be beneficial. Please be good to us, Adagio! This is our happy place!

Sil

Just sad as it seems that there wasn’t any thought given to asking the community first to see if someone here would like to take it over

CrowKettle

I’m cynical too but something traumatic would have to happen to this site for me to permanently abandon it. You all mean too much!

I see that Adiago asked for suggestions on the forums and I back everyone else who says the bugs need to be fixed first and foremost. Countless users, including myself, can’t even make posts on the forums!

teepland

I hadn’t heard this news either! Maybe that explains why I had such a hard time logging in today (admittedly, after two years of being away, but still).

White Antlers

Ashmanra, to answer the question in your review of this tea, the word ‘pouchong’ is a romanization of Bao Zhong.

CrowKettle

@White Antlers, but what does Maofeng Keemun have to do with Bao Zhong? This tea tin labels itself as both in different places.

White Antlers

@CrowKettle I just saw your query. Frankly I have no clue. I am not familiar with the tea tin and I am more of a wordsmith than a teasmith.

ashmanra

White Antlers – I had somehow missed your comment from ten days ago! Yes, that was what was perplexing to me. I love my Wenshan Baozhong and have had a jasmine pouchong that was just okay, but they call this Rose Pouchong and the ingredient list says it is keemun. If I remember correctly, pouchong means “the wrapped kind”, so I am wondering if this wrapping treatment can be performed,on Keemun tea also, and that is what this refers to? It is definitely black tea, definitely Keemun taste and that is how they say to prepare it, and the tin doesn’t elaborate on why the name is pouchong. I should contact the company and see if they can answer our query! There is always something new and exciting to learn.

CrowKettle

@White Antlers, That’s ok! Like ashmanra, I’m also perplexed about this tea label and wondered if there was a simple explanation rooted in etymology of tea names and labels, which is something I’m not super knowledgeable about.

@ashmanra, let me know if you do contact the company about this. Every now and then I fixate on this “mystery” and that probably won’t stop until my tin is gone. haha

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77
drank Royal Blend by Fortnum & Mason
3142 tasting notes

From Meowster a while back!  Thank you!  Very small leaf here — meaning very tough stuff.  Dark, deep, robust.  Not easy to pick out particular flavors. It is simply black tea, which begs the question why this one is named “Royal” — because it apparently was blended for a King.  I don’t think he would find this at all spectacular.  If anything, it definitely tastes like assam with occasional flavors of Ceylon peeking through, so it definitely is what it says it is!  Next time sipdown.
Steep #1  // 1 1/3 teaspoons for full mug // 18 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // just boiled //  3 min steep
2020 Sipdowns: 40 Whispering Pines – Golden Orchid

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86

Delicious and refreshing. I love having this in the morning. I have been seeking out different earl grey and none have hit the spot like this one. The bergamot is strong and the goes well with the mellow green tea. The green tea is not one of those astringent green teas. I honestly think I enjoy the green based earl greys more than the black tea based ones.

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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86

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87

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One of my all time favourites. Can’t stand this smoking aroma!

Flavors: Earth, Plums, Smoke, Smoked

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 45 sec 5 g 400 OZ / 11829 ML

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100

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Rose

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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72

Sipdown 2020! 29/365

Last cup of this! It was enjoyable – I hit the right infusion parameters for this last cup. Would definitely drink it again if offered.

gmathis

Are we talking strawberry life savers or strawberry-strawberry? I am about to expend the final bags of my favorite-ever and (I fear) discontinued strawberry black tea.

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72

More of this one – same opinion, that it’s good enough, especially considering the age. Should be a sipdown soon!

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72

A old, but still decent, sample from Sil – thanks! Not as flavourful as it once was, but still brewed up a nice cup of black tea with enough strawberry fruitiness to be enjoyable.

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62

A tea bag that I had in my drawer instead of huge bags, but comes from the latter.

It is overcast, with little rain, a bank holiday (patron of Bohemia, St. Wenceslas, was killed 1085 years ago by his brother), sad day… heading to work this afternoon.

Tomorrow a new semester starts. I was promising myself I will clean up my desk so I could work as needed, as we will stay at home and have distance learning. Nope.

Tea review down from this line
The tea is same as last time (tea bag version). Typical black tea with some bitterness, quite tannic and not much of malty. They say it is light and refreshing and well, I don’t much think so.
Tea review up from this line

I feel overall somehow quite down, like the little kid who realised that his vacation is over, my mother said me that I am kind of sponger of family, I am doing nothing to pay family bills and I am trading on that I am the youngest. I must say it hit me terrilbly and although I am sure she didn’t meant it necessary in a bad way, it is something you really don’t want to hear!

Flavors: Bitter, Tannic, Tea

White Antlers

Keep in mind that we are going into the 7th month of the pandemic. It feels like everyone’s patience with and tolerance of each other and life in general grows less and less as we wait for things to become ‘normal’ again. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and forgive your mother as well. None of us are at our best right now.

derk

White Antlers wisdom

White Antlers

Thanks derk. It’s a reminder to myself as much as it (if not more than) is a comment to Martin’s feeling badly.

Martin Bednář

White Antlers: You know you are right :-) I just was somehow tense yesterday and those things hurt me badly

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62

Had one tea bag in my cupboard (to drink it earlier than from huge bags section)

It was just same, boring, black tea. Shorter steeping time (2 minutes only) was a clever idea, but as I said, the tea was just boring. Just basic black tea flavours, especially the tannic and somehow bold flavour.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 300 OZ / 8872 ML

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62

Just had a cuppa, a tea bag though only. Huge bags section.

I completely agree with Roswell Strange, it is classical black tea, kind of malty and strong. There weren’t much other notes than tannic black tea notes. Simple, full-bodied tea; but not worth the price they are selling it for. It is just a black tea, nothing wow.

Flavors: Malt, Tannic, Tea

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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71
drank Afternoon by Fortnum & Mason
10255 tasting notes

So, I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening over at a friend/coworker’s house playing board game with her and her boyfriend – we also drank a ton of tea. Surprisingly she’s not a massive tea drinker (though she does drink some tea), but her boyfriend is VERY into tea – namely British tea, though he’s trying to branch out.

So he got to try a bunch of tea from my collection, and in return he made sure I had a bottomless mug of tea from their collection throughout the entire night. This was the first thing he made for me, steeped extra strong with milk and sugar. I told him he could basically make me whatever he wanted, however he wanted to steep it and I would happily drink it. I think he had a lot of fun with that.

I thought this was pretty good – in all honesty it’s not a type of tea that I would probably purchase for myself, especially because I find Fortnum & Mason quite expensive for the quality of the tea, so if I’m going to buy something from F&M I want it to be one of their more unique offerings. This is his favourite tea company, though, and respectfully it’s a solid cup of black tea. Full bodied, malty, and not too sweet – as a classic cuppa I can see the appeal.

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74

A tea bag only.

Busy days recently. And I haven’t slept well too. So, after sleepless night (I slept few hours only in total) – I was craving for caffeine boost. I found in my tea bag stash this one. And it’s certainly from “huge bags section”.

Maybe it’s even sipdown, I am not really sure if I have another bag there. I don’t care to be honest.

Tea itself was steeped quite short, but I was afraid of getting too bitter drink. Brew is very dark, brown colour. Looks steeped even after two minutes. And they sugest three.

I took the bag out, went downstairs to enjoy it with my dad. He felt earlier this week and he have partly broken bone in the leg. So, I have to bring him food, drinks and so on. We had nice discussion together, although (and naturally) we don’t agree in all points.

Back to the tea. It is maybe too smoky for me. I don’t mind little smokiness, but this was too smoky and bergamot / citrus fruits were hard to find in taste. They were there, but smokiness was way stronger. Almost meaty.

Not a bad cuppa, but more citrus fruits would be great in this blend. Diary/tasting note over.

Flavors: Citrus, Meat, Smoked

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 14 OZ / 400 ML
tea-sipper

I hope your dad heals quickly

mrmopar

Prayers for your Poppa!

ashmanra

Oh no! I hope he has had it examined? Prayers for him!

Martin Bednář

Thank you all! Luckily it is just partially broken, so they hope it will heal quickly. Ashmanra – thank you! Yes, it has been examined and they decided to do not use the cast, as he is diabetic and the veins are quite bad there already. They are afraid they will damage more the veins than helping the bone. Next Friday he has got another check-up.

ashmanra

Even partially broken sounds just awful! I hope his pain is less now and it heals quickly and completely!

Martin Bednář

Certainly it is not something to wish for :)

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40

Another tea found in huge bags. And so far one of the worst from Fortnum and Mason? 2 and little steeping time.

It brews so quickly, so after that short time I have opaque, dark brown tea.

And it tastes generic, black tea., even with metallic aftertaste. What?

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGvrI_5qFXA
Song translation: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/nevidom%C3%A1-d%C3%ADvka-blind-girl.html
Warning: Sad song.

Flavors: Metallic, Tea

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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92

Hah! I found one more tea bag in huge bags!

I did little shorter steep this time; and it was same, maybe little better.
Very fresh citrus notes, which were refreshing and genuine, mellow bergamot.

The taste of base is very great too, well present, bit smoky and citursy as well. Not overpowring the taste of citrus fruits.

Hmm. Treat!

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 300 OZ / 8872 ML

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92

So great to drink this tea. I won’t repeat myself, previous note is just right.

I was thinking about placing order, but luckilly for my wallet their shipping is quite steep for me and prices aren’t one of the lowest as well. But their packages are looking great.

Flavors: Bergamot, Lemon Zest, Smoked

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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92

My “big bags section” brings now some real treat! Oh my, aroma is so amazing – lots of bergamot, little smokiness – that’s exactly how I like my Earl Grey. I can imagine that fresh tea is better, moreover if loose leaf, but well!

This tea is real treat. Bold black tea, mellow bergamot taste. Is there something more to wish for? Hmm, let me think… nope? Just fantastic. Maybe I am somehow bit affected, as this tea is exactly what I was looking for. Just a nice tasting Earl Grey with bold base. I rememeber few good in bergamot, second ones were good in boldness, but this one is both. Over.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus Zest, Smoked

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML
ashmanra

Nice! Sounds like an Earl I would like! I prefer a smoky base rather than lemony Ceylon, which is what I see most.

Martin Bednář

Well, I bet it is much better when fresh, this one was probably quite old.

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