Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a (generous) sample The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co sent me with a previous order. They write about it on their website :
Oolong Formosa is a Speciality Tea which originates from the mountains of Taiwan. After plucking the loose leaf teas are fermented to approximately 50% and then wilted in the sun. Frequent turning of the tea in bamboo baskets during the drying process allows the Oolong to develop a mild aroma and large wild curly leaves. This Loose Leaf Tea is a real treasure.
Brewing instructions: Brew for 2 – 3 minutes with water just off boiling ( 80 – 90 degrees ).
When brewed, it smells like a good “English” tea (i.e. how the typical black tea brewed and served in England – before adding milk to it, of course – smells) to me. Fortunately, in taste it doesn´t disappoint : it´s mild and easy to drink, while having a solid body and mouthfeel and little bitterness. I have tasted better oolong teas, but this is probably one that can please even the people who aren´t into tea.
From the Kent&Sussex Tea&Coffee Co website : Fantastic individually wrapped Chinese Tea Cake. Made from Pu erh Tea. This highly unusual tea cake is a compacted Black Tea. 5g of Black Tea enough to make a good large pot of tea. Very nice deep rich flavour.
Brewing instructions : For mini tea cake, brew for 1 min wth water of 80 degrees, these can have between 5-6 further infusions.
I bought these as my previous (and first overall) experience with mini pu erh tea cakes was very positive. I don´t know whether it´s the same tea as in my first experience (most likely not) but I encountered some differences : although the steeping is carried out with water at 80ºC for 1 minute (vs 100ºC for min. 2 minutes), the resulting tea is far darker; it´s easier to drink (smoother, less peaty), but in a way it seems more mainstream (or at least it gives that impression to me). I´ve already reused the tea cake twice (it broke completely down during the 2nd steeping session) but there´s still no need to change steeping time as the resulting brew is still very dark and hasn´t changed its intensity yet. Tomorrow I´ll be reusing the tea cake even more…
So, resuming this experience for now (for reasons of comparison, I´ve indicated the conditions of my previous experience as well) : I heated water to 100ºC and had it cool down to 80ºC, before pouring it on the mini tea cake (last time, I used the freshly boiled water to give the mini cake a quick rinse of 10s max. and immediately poured new boiling water on the mini cake which I then steeped for 2 minutes). I used a ceramic mug with a (ceramic) tea filter which can easily be taken out, so I just withdrew the filter and the loosened cake in the filter was immediately ready for a second brew. About an hour later I steeped the pu erh a second time, by pouring freshly boiled + cooled down to 80ºC water over the tea filter in the mug. I steeped it again for 1 minute (last time I used freshly boiled water and had it steep for 2.5 minutes) and the colour of the tea was similar to the first brew. Not a lot of change in taste and smell either. This applies equally for 3rd brew (last time I added 30s of steeping time with every reuse of the mini cake, but the colour went down from the 3rd brew onwards, and the 5th brew was clearly inferior, with almost no colour developping).
Flavors: Mushrooms, Peat
Flavors: Fruity, Spices, Sweet
Day four of the stupid flu, it shows no signs of going away, and the last couple of days have passed in a bit of a fugue. I had to break out the big guns of Day and Nyquil and I am not pleased about it since now I have flu medicine derp on top of flu derp. The derp is real and certainly not how I wanted to start off the new year or my return to blogging after a vacation. But, as they say, the show must go on…all I can hope is that the show makes sense when I read it again later!
Today I am looking at The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co’s Black Tower Tea, a fun blooming style tea usually made from Yunnan Hong Cha (ones I have had in the past were, this one specifically does not say, but it looks and tastes like a Dianhong) and it will be very hard to not call this tea Barad Dur, since you know, Black Tower. I also see this tea named Black Pagoda (which reminds me of the movie Dragon Tiger Gate) and Black Pyramid (which reminds me of Thundercats) seriously the various names for this tea remind me of so many bits of pop-culture that it is ridiculous. The aroma of the little towers is classic Dianhong with notes of yams, malt, toffee, roasted peanuts, and molasses. It is sweet and rich with just a touch of nuttiness to tie the sweet notes together.
I decided to brew one tower in my carved serpentinite 90ml gaiwan, the aroma of the slowly unfurling tower (it now looks like a sea monster) is quite sweet with strong notes of molasses, malt, sweet potatoes, a touch of dried cherries, and toffee. I love the toffee note, a lot of times I run into molasses and brown sugar, but not often in a way more reminiscent of straight up candy. The aroma of the first steep is a little creamy, like toffee and yams, reminding me a bit of a sweet potato pie and a sprinkling of dried cherries. It is quite a sweet aroma with a mild richness.
So, if you want a hongcha that focuses more on other notes usually present and not the strong chocolate burst many Dianhongs are famous for, this is a good pick. There is a hint of cocoa, but mostly the first steep is all about yam, malt, dried cherries, and toffee. The malt is fairly mild, mostly the tasting notes focus on the sweet starchy yams rather than the richness of the other notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and light, not too thick but also quite present. For the aftertaste you get a lingering note of candied yams, not too long lasting, but distinct.
The second steep brings a much more sea creature like a tower, it has fully unfurled at this point. The aroma is sweeter, somehow, definitely strong toffee and candied yams with a lingering hint of dried cherries. As expected the taste is more intense, sweeter notes of toffee and toasted peanut really reminding me of peanut brittle with a touch of dried cherry and strong lingering yams. The aftertaste is a lingering yam note that lasts longer than the previous steep.
The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth steep all really sing the same siren song of Dianhong goodness, strong yams and toffee, gentle malt, ghostly cocoa, mellow cherries, and a slight hint of black pepper and woodiness. I was glad that this tea lasts a while, I found the notes being sweet and almost dessert-like made these entertaining towers a great afternoon or evening tea over a breakfast tea (though you all know me, I drink whatever whenever) so yes, I have drank this tea both in the morning and right before bed.
I am having such a hard time focusing today, still stuck in giddy, giggly ‘just married’ mode, but since Ben had to go back to work, it is only fair that I do the same. It is great though, well except that my giddiness has taken my already limited attention span and made it even smaller, it is a small price to pay! I will say one thing, my luck with cracking Magic packs kinda sucks. As a belated birthday present to myself I used a bit of the money received to buy six packs of Eldritch Moon (my current favorite set) from Amazon at a really good price. Now I don’t think they were repacked, but man, the draws were awful, I only got one card I really have any use for (Cryptbreaker) and nothing but junk rares. For the most part though, my luck for pulling pricey rares is pretty awful, having only twice pulled ones worth more than $5, one was Grim Flayer which I traded for a lot of store credit at Card Kingdom which in turn paid for all the singles I needed for both my Zombie deck and my Control deck. Maybe I will use my new pile to make a deck in some other color than Black…maybe Black White or Black Blue! Can you tell I like playing Black?
Since I have no attention span, I am going to focus on a relaxing tea that doesn’t require many steepings to describe, a nice herbal blend! Lullaby Tea by The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffe Co, a blend of Apple Pieces, Linden Flowers, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Rose petals, Sweet Blackberry Leaves, Orange Blossoms, and Mallow Blossoms. Three things caught my eye when I saw this blend, there is no mint, chamomile, or hibiscus…all things that I am frankly quite sick of in herbal blends, and of course things that I am only moderately tolerant of taste-wise. I love herbal blends, not for any health reasons, but because herbs, flowers, and random plants are a great way to expand the taste palate and often taste really fascinating. When I was a kid I would rummage around in the garden selecting edible plants to blend into odd concoctions to drink, just because I wanted to explore more random tastes, since smell and taste are my favorite ways to interact with the world. The aroma is very much so a flower garden, notes of roses, lavender, orange blossom, pollen, hay, and a blend of herbaceous lemony goodness as the base, being an undertone to all the other notes. The herbaceous note gives a slightly savory quality which keeps the flowers from being too strong and cloying, it is well balanced, which is hard with such strong flowers as rose and lavender.
Into a steeping basket the blend goes, the aroma of the steeped herbs is flowery with notes of lavender and roses, but also peppery, citrusy, and herbaceous adding a green and savory quality. It is not at all too flowery, which is nice, the lavender is mild and not soapy, which is good. I love lavender but it can get too strong at times. The liquid is sweet and green, notes of lavender, roses, and orange blossoms with pollen, honey, and a peppery herbaceous finish. It is like flower nectar and leaves, like an entire plant!
The taste is lovely, exactly what I want from an herbal blend! Notes of gentle flowers, primarily roses and lavender with a hint of orange blossoms, sweet honey and pollen, a general wildflower taste, and a touch of ghostly mallow blossoms. After this initial burst of flowers is a midtaste of green blackberry leaves and a peppery and lemony herbal note that is unmistakably the linden flowers and lemon balm I am tasting. The lavender comes back in the finish and lingers into the aftertaste, and it, of course, sticks around quite a while since lavender is like that. The mouthfeel was surprisingly thick and almost viscous, which I found soothing since it is one of my favorite ways for a hot drink to feel. This could very easily become a favorite herbal blend, combining some of my favorite flowers and plants!
A slight almond aroma, mingled with strong spicy notes, invites a very Christmassy feel. The flavour is a mild black tea, robust notes of spices and a gentle undernote of orange. Unfortunately, the almond doesn’t transfer from smell to taste, making it very similar to many other spiced Christmas teas. Overall, still an nice warming cup.
For more: www.TastetheTea.co.uk
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Orange, Spices
Despite the fact I knew the smell was obviously artificial, I just wanted to live in it. I wanted to eat the entire contents. I wanted to satisfy my watering mouth, and trust me, it watered A LOT!
Strawberry is the predominant note, but is laid back in comparison to the aroma, enabling it to mingle with the buttery toasted flavours of genmaicha. There is a slight synthetic taste but this is easily disguised and ignored.
Traditionally, Genmaicha was served hot and used as a meal replacement for the poor or those who were fasting, so it’s fair to assume that this blend was developed with hot brews in mind.
It’s safe to say my preference lay with the hot version of this tea, the toasted rice combining perfectly to create a cosy blend that’s well suited to ice cold, sunny winter days. Overall, a fun, fruity and very British twist on the traditional Genmaicha tea.
For more on Strawberry Genmaicha: https://tastethetea.co.uk/2016/09/23/strawberry-genmaicha/
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Rice, Strawberry, Toasted Rice
For full tasting notes see: http://www.tastethetea.co.uk/2016/03/24/pu-erh-vintage/
The smells surrounding this tea are heavy with earth. When brewed, this becomes reminiscent of a wet, warm day, emitting a humid exotic scent. Close your eyes, breathe deep and it’s easy to image yourself away in a rain forest.
This is one of those great teas that holds flavour through multiple steeps, the second and third brews releasing the deepest flavours. I found the more I drank, the more I appreciated the quality of the heavy bodied, earthy tone.
Flavors: Bark, Earth, Forest Floor, Rainforest, Wet Earth, Wet Moss
Ive Just been drinking this after the 2014 Thurbo, which has some really serious flavour & decent thick aroma, it didnt really stand a chance.
This doesnt have the same body, its lighter and thinner, more flowing. Deeper muscatel aroma (for a FF) but also woody and not as fruity, syrupy or floral tasting as I like.
Reminded me of Roobois a bit, end result was me trying to push the flavour, which is a recipe for disaster. When the astringency comes out the sweetness is still delicate, so there is no counterbalance & the sour just took over a bit too much.
Possibly nice if brewed for a delicate cup before bringing out something with punch.
Flavors: Citrus, Muscatel, Pleasantly Sour, Sour
I’m so excited about the 2016 spring flush its a bit silly. I cant wait to get some decent grade fresh Darjeeling.
I’m still learning about Darjeeling grade, leaf size, and other factors that make a good cup.
This Thurbo, to me, is nice. It has a sour peach fruitiness mixed with a green leaf & lemon freshness. It works really well, once you get the brewing right, as with most FF DJ. I hit it with 70-80c and just under 3 mins, 2.75g western stylee, 12oz glass.
A touch astringency, not any bad amount to shout about. Definitely not going to throw this out of bed, and Thurbo estate is on my radar for this upcoming flush.
I liked this one, nice if you want a bright cup of something citrus-y
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Grapes, Green, Honey, Melon, Pancake Syrup, Peach, Pleasantly Sour
You ever had a tea that you weren’t sure how to review? Yeah, this one. Most of you know I am addicted to Earl Grey. It’s way beyond passion. And not just any old EG. I want Viking Earl Grey. When I’m done with the cup I want to see the path the barbarian cup has cleared.
Jasmine, I have learned to love much more recently. As long as it is scented and not flavored, I am open minded.
This tea smells like a bergamot bomb when you open the package, but once brewed it becomes a gentle lamb of a cup. The bergamot is the lightest background note. I am not sure how that is even possible. The jasmine is slightly easier to detect and is quite natural.
What the cup really is about is the blending of Chinese black in the form of possibly a Keemun from the light smokiness, or a Yunnan based on the smoothness, and the controlled bite of an Indian tea, accompanied by a pleasant Chinese green that is especially present in the aftertaste. To this add a soft kiss of citrus and an equally gentle touch floral that emerge during the sip and you have this tea.
Non tea stuff – Went to see dad last night. It was the first time since his knee replacement that he looked and acted like himself. He was sitting in a chair, smiling and joking. He was also bragging on the 10 steps he took earlier in the day. The nurses say the doctor has been in his room but he never bothered waking dad to talk to him. We still don’t know what is causing the leg blisters. Still taking it one day at a time but cautiously optimistic that he is over the worst.
I received an unexpected shipment from Kent & Sussex, so Thanks! In the box was this one and an Earl Grey. Normally I would always rip open the EG first, but even through the packaging this one smells so good. It is the kind of good that you would pour into a bowl and set out on the counter. Mostly orange scented but with cardamom, cinnamon, and apple. I used a healthy scoop and steeped for 4 minutes. I recall having this before and liking the taste but thought it a little light, so more leaf and longer steep. Nicely sweet on its own but takes sweetening well. The taste is orange, clove, cinnamon and cardamom, followed by just a touch from pink peppercorn. The black tea base is present but stays in the background. It does add a little dryness but no bitterness or bite. The only problem with this tea is I picked up my mug and it was empty.
A new to me company even if they have been around for years. Their website (tea-and-coffee.com) has some 700! different blends. This one smells so calming. I could set this out in a dish and just enjoy the aroma… or I could drink it.
The taste is more subtle than the scent suggested. Based on the ingredients, I was a little concerned it would be a big chai like smack to the senses. Nope. Just like the aroma, this is mainly a pleasant orange tasting tea with the spices filling out the flavor rather than trying to steal the stage.
The flavor kind of goes orange, cinnamon and clove, cardamom, then drifts into the slightest heat from the pink peppercorn. So subtle but a nice touch. It has a sweet lingering aftertaste.
I added sweetener and though it wasn’t needed, it took sweetening in stride. This is a pleasantly cozy cup.