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Recent Tasting Notes
One of the best black teas I’ve come across. I usually love full bodied, malty Assam teas. But this Kenyan black tea is definitely in my top 3.
It is full bodied with a rich maltiness. Compared to strong Assams the color is a bit lighter. A nice wooden smell with a hint of “greenness” in it.
The taste is so full, rich and fresh! The Assam typical maltiness is complemented by a fresh, grassy taste with a note that reminds me of fresh shoots of wood in the spring. This makes the taste bright, brisk and pungent. In the aftertaste you feel only a slight hint of tannins, if you brew it strong and long. But opposed to Assams, where steeping it 1min too long can lead to a furry, feltlike feeling on the tongue, this tea can’t really be over steeped. So you don’t need exact timing, you can steep it a bit longer and you can even give it a second steep without problems.
As a scientist I drink a lot of tea during work. When I work I usually shut everything out, focus fully on what I am doing. But a sip of this tea makes me stop working, brings me back to earth, makes me sit back, savor the moment and relax. For me that’s the strongest indicator of a really great tea.
My second sample from this Kenyan tea this time in a chai version. Dry it looks very beautiful loads of color from the clove, the fennel seeds, and rose petals. This smells very great to, a very very spicy oder. U just want to try it when u open the package.
Because i really was surprised with the regular kenyan black tea i’m not going deeper into the base of this tea. If u want to read more about the base just go to the other tasting note i made.
Once brewed this Chai still smells good and the color is a bit different then the ruby red from the tea without the spices. Taste wise the malty flavors come true and then the warming spices kick in. This one does not go bitter even with a bit of over steeping and thats a wonderful aspect!
Overall a very warming malty tea with a smooth finish, its really soft in the mouth!
Only one left to try is the Earl Grey, this is coming soon in my tasting note’s.
I’m thinking that i really need to start looking to buy some big packs of this tea, its a surprise i didn’t expected it to be that good!
I was lucky enough to get 3 samples from JusTea and I can’t stop loving this tea! The first one I tried was the Kenyan Black tea and it’s been my favorite ever since. It’s full bodied, strong and everything I love in a black tea.
For the average tea drinker, I would suggest not steeping it as long as I did, I like my black teas strong so I tend to use a little extra tea and steep a bit longer.
This also re-steeps well! So don’t throw out those leaves, you’ll be missing out on a nice second cup.
Read my full review here – http://www.notimeliketeatime.com/justea-kenyan-black-tea-review/
So I skipped the Matchaccino although I really should get into the habit of drinking it regularly, but not today. I also switched the next two teas as they appeared in my cupboard, but close enough? I am calling this one #60.
I keep this one at home so I have a nice EG to drink on the weekends, but I rarely drink tea on the weekends. I am reminding myself to do so today so I can have these teas that live at home! I enjoy this tea a lot, but it does need a gentle hand to avoid getting bitter. I think I am remembering now that I used to use less leaf too (of course I didn’t check before brewing), but I gave it a short, cool steep so it seems to have worked out all right. Lots of bergamot (YUM), a nice malty base. Definitely need to remember to make this one more often (although I have a feeling it will age well).
I keep my (very large) tin of this tea at home for all of my weekend Earl Grey needs. I really should bust it open more often.
This was a very tasty Earl for the morning. It has enough heft to stand up to breakfast but still remains smooth and easy to drink without additions. It’s a nice, very bergamotty Earl that is pretty simple, but sometimes you just need a simple Earl. I’m sure I will be drinking this tin for years to come, but I have a feeling it will age well.
I totally did not look at my previous tasting notes for this one and I was convinced that I was going to have a bitter cup… I remembered to underleaf it (relative to what I normally would add) but I definitely brewed it hotter and I initially set my timer for longer. I pulled it a bit early, and it turned out great! Lots of crisp, citrusy bergamot and a substantial (but not too robust) tea base. A good cup to start my (late) morning off. :)
Sipdown, 140. I overleafed this one a tad, but it still turned out pretty well. If anything the bergamot was a bit overly strong (and if I’m saying that, you know it must be way strong), but it mellowed as it cooled. Not too sad because I ordered more of this through the crowd funding campaign. A nice, well balanced Earl.
Thanks again to Justea for this sample. I was excited to find out that one of the samples that they were including was an Earl Grey, since as many of you know I love Earl Greys and have tried many of them. I am a lover of a well-bergamotted Earl; no light scenting here, please.
Based on some comments from K S I tried this one with a bit less leaf, 1.5 tsp for 12oz. Of course I don’t know whether due to that or if the bergamot is serving to cover up some of the astringency that I found in the base tea, but this tea was DELICIOUS. What a fantastic Earl Grey.
It reminds me a bit of my fave Earl, Lupicia’s. The bergamot is strong but never gets that citrus pith-y bitterness. Instead, it hits all the good-beramot notes: citrusy, slightly floral, bright and crisp. Here, the base is smooth and slightly sweet, which I love in an Earl. A rich, malty base pairs perfectly with bright citrusy bergamot. I didn’t find this astringent or bitter at all, just extremely tasty. This is a tea that I definitely want more of. Guess I better get in on their latest crowdsourcing campaign so I can get more of this tea: http://www.justea.com
I have no idea if this is good chai. I rarely drink it. I don’t hate chai. I just don’t get it. That being said, the leaf is interesting to look at. The dry leaf is clove and pepper scented. Hot and no additives this tasted like spicy apple cider to me. I like that. As the cup cooled I added a splash of milk and now it tastes like chai.
Not a very good review but you got to work with what you got. I loved the earl grey and the black tea so I assume the quality level is the same.
Thank you Justea for the sample. By now you all know of their campaign to build a processing kitchen in Kenya. If somehow you missed it check them out on Facebook.
thanks for sharing more of this with me Cavo! I’m still undecided as to whether i need this in my cupboard full time. it’s a lovely black tea that isn’t bitter, has a bit of a sweet note to it depending on how long you steep it and overall i really like drinking it. I also really like what the company is trying to do. On the other hand, there are a large number of blacks that i prefer over this one simply because i have had a great many types of black teas haha. I think, this will be a rotation in to my cupboard from time to time though, because i’d really like to continue supporting the work the company is doing. :)
i had this first thing in the morning which seems so long ago that i can’t even think. I was hoping to get some tea in to me today but it’s been one thing after another with work today. I did however get to enjoy this cup again courtesy of Cavocorax this morning with my bagel, the only thing i’ve managed to eat today! soo tasty! and i still have another cup to enjoy later :) thanks cavo!
sipdown! i really need to try the other teas from justea as i have enjoyed this one. It doesn’t top my list of blacks, but it is a solid cup of black. a little astringency but nothing that makes it undrinkable. mmmmm nice afternoon tea before dinner time. though i should probably stuop with the caffeine given that i need to go to sleep and then get up again at 3:30am for testing heh
Justea sent these samples out to help out with part of their crowdfunding. They’re doing great things, so take a moment to check out their website! I opted to try this one first, though they were kind enough to send 2 others to me. Before trying their flavoured teas, i wanted to take a moment to enjot the straight black that they sent, since i believe it’s the base of their teas.
This is not a malty tea like others i’ve tried, but there is a good deal of body here to hold my attention. There is some astringency to this, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a morning cup of tea.
I drink my teas straight, but i can see this being a great morning tea with a little milk and sugar. Overall, a great first impression from Justea!
http://www.justea.com/ has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support farmers in producing their own tea, thus sold farm direct for fair trade prices.
I found this Kenyan black to be very fresh tasting, yet full flavored, malty, robust with cedar wood and cocoa notes. There is a light to moderate level of astringency present which I wasn’t into personally. however I enjoyed the freshness!
BTW, this tea is very good with dry chocolate biscuits. It just complimented the tea and made the astringency go down.
Full review on my blog, the Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2013/09/17/kenyan-black-tea-justea-oolong-owl-tea-review/
This isn’t your granny’s earl grey, but she’d like it is you shared with her.
The whole experience is richer, darker and maltier than your average earl grey. The flavouring also sits differently than your average EG. The first flavour you get is the malty tea, followed closely by the citrus flavour, the real earl grey citrus, floral and sweet flavour come near the end of the sip and stay on your palate.
The whole experience is like the first days of fall, the sun and flowers are still around, but the coziness of fall sweaters and reading books by the fire is also present.
Here’s certified Tea Sommelier Brendan Waye talking about the Kathryn Earl Grey. Make sure to use less leaf when drinking the tea without milk.
When JusTea sent me this several weeks ago I was really excited by the prospect of trying an Earl Grey with a twist and it killed me not being able to review it yet. Earl Grey has been a favorite of mine absolutely forever, but because it is a favorite of mine I have very high standards.
Honestly, I didn’t like this tea at all in the beginning, it took quite a few cups for me to appreciate the differences the Kenya Black base brought to the table. There was a sweetness that I’m not accustomed to finding in an EG and the flavor was much more malty that I’m accustomed to. The familiar citrus flavors from the bergamot were there as was the slightly drying effect I generally associate with EG. What I loved was that this is no shy EG, it really packs a wallop, which may not appeal to everyone; however, I love a good strong cup of EG on a cold day like today.
My biggest disappointment with this tea, and one I had with the Kenyan Black as well, is that it just does not resteep well. I was only able to resteep it once and would love to see some improvement in that area.
One thing that I think is important to note is that the steeping instructions for this tea are slightly different than I am accustomed to using with a black tea and Earl Grey in general. It calls for a much lower temperature (195°F) and 2 teaspoons of leaf per 12oz. I double checked and all of the Earl Greys in my cabinet call for either boiling or near boiling water. For anyone who is having trouble with astringency, try dropping your steeping temperature and see if that makes a difference.
I would like to thank Tyrone at JusTea for sending me this sample. I hope you will all check out their crowdfunding campaign which launched on 16 September to raise the necessary capital to allow them to work with Kenyan farmers and provide quality “Direct Trade” tea to the masses and improve the quality of life of the farmers providing you your tea. You can find more information on their website http://www.justea.com/ you can also check out my full review of Kenya Black, which was used as a base for this tea on my blog
Sipdown, 126. I drank the last of my sample pouch of this today. I do still have two individual small samples of this, but those are the spread-the-world “gift” pouches that I am supposed to pass on to others, so I will save them for future swaps, and I am counting this as a sipdown.
I had it with a bit of maple syrup, which was divine. I still think I probably shouldn’t drink assams (Kenyan teas being the C. sinensis assamica varietal of the tea bush) on a nearly empty stomach (with just some cereal) because my stomach wasn’t too happy with me after a pot of this. Still, it was quite tasty. Thanks again to JusTea for this sample… I just saw that they have some neat Christmas gifts on their site now, if you missed the crowdsourcing campaign they had earlier!
It turns out that 1.5 tsp of tea for 12oz, versus the 2 tsp that I usually use, is really the magic amount for this tea. I found it tasty but slightly astringent the first couple of times I had it using the latter measurements, but today I tried it with 1.5 tsp and there is no astringency to be had. Perfect!
However, at this point I’m not bumping the rating because although this is nicely malty with light sweetness and no bitterness or astringency, there is also some other note in there that’s not really optimal for me. I do think it’s an assam-y note in general, although I haven’t tried a lot of straight up assams yet. It’s maybe a hint of fruit? Almost floral, really. It sounds like a note I would like, but for whatever reason I don’t. I’ve come across it before, but can’t ever quite put my finger on it. I think that with the Kathryne Earl Grey with this base the bergamot masks it, which is why I like that one so much. Glad to have tried this one, though, and I’m very grateful for the samples.
Thanks to Justea for providing this sample for review. I am pretty picky these days about teas and I no longer jump on every offer for free tea on the forums. But this company stuck out: working to bring a sustainable, whole-leaf tea processing company to Kenya, whose tea farmers grow most of the worlds’ tea (!) but see basically none of the profits as their product is chopped up into tea for bags. I have a soft spot for the fact that it’s Kenya, too, because I have spent some time in East Africa and the people there are so wonderful and really deserve a better option.
I tried this tea when I first got it because I couldn’t wait until the crowdfunding effort went live, now accessible at http://www.justea.com . At the time, I remember that it was malty and a bit sweet, but also with a decent hit of astringency. I think this astringency characterizes African teas in general, and more broadly it applies (for me) to most assams, which makes sense because the tea bushes in Africa are of var. assamica.
I steeped this one for a slightly shorter time than recommended (but at the recommended temp) and it has definitely toned down the astringency a bit. There’s pretty much no completely removing it, but it’s actually desirable for many people (usually described as “briskness”). The cup is a bit malty, with some cocoa notes in the nose but not really on the palate. There is definitely a slight fruitiness to this tea as well, perhaps a bit of stone fruit. Overall a very nice tea, and one I would highly recommend for lovers of a brisk morning cup. I can’t wait to try the Earl Grey that I also have from this company.