7 Tasting Notes
I don’t usually drink or rate bagged teas, but I got his tea because they don’t sell loose tea in the beautiful elephant caddies I was lusting after. The tea is basically a CTC with good aroma in round, stringless paper pillows and, for a bag, actually tasted pretty good. It lacks the high notes I’m used to in an EB tea, but I think that is due to the style of EB blend intended, rather than the leaf quality. This was clearly blended to meet the tastes of English tea drinkers who these days prefer the brisker, stronger flavors of Indian and African teas rather than a breakfast tea with the high notes of Chinese teas.
Contrary to the prior headnote, this is not a blend containing Assam tea. According to the company all of Williamson’s teas come from or a are blended from their own tea estates in Kenya. Thus this is an all Kenyan tea.
Th8is tea definitely has taste and character. My feeling is if you normally drink bagged tea, you’d probably rate this higher than I did
Kind of a weird duck. Not tea, not hot cocoa, not creamy, but not totally watery, has some mouth coating/filling quality. Not traditionally chocolaty, but reminiscent of a chocolate cocoa-y flavor. Boardering, on but not quite medicinal.
And yet not bad. It grows on you. I think it would be good late at night when you don’t want caffeine and might otherwise have a cup of something by Celestial Seasonings, but want something fuller, more flavorful and mouthfilling. But without caffeine or calories. Best with sweetener and warmed milk added.
As a rule I don’t like or drink flavored teas, invariably they wind up having an artifical flavor or aftertaste. But something about all the descriptions of this tea made me put aside my normal reluctance aside and try it.
I’m glad I did.
Openning the pouch wasn’t auspicious. It smelled like one of those cloyingly sweet pipe tobaccos that have a picture of an old clipper ship and Captain or Rum in the name. But I put the kettle on in the galley anyway.
It brewed up dark and heavy, with a strong nose of cinnamon and fruit. The pipe tobacco aroma was still there but softened a bit and no longer cloying. Fortunately it was not in the taste of the tea.
I agree with others that this doesn’t taste to me much like or even remind me of Oatmeal Raisin cookies because of the cinnamon and butter. It’s more like a Hot Toddy. And the underlying black tea base underneath it all was not totally drowned out or lost.
It does need a sweetner to cut the cinnamon, but once sweetened it’s delicious and not a bit artificial tasting. I’d like to try it as a latte with a bit of milk foamed with my espresso machine wand. It would be perfect that way with a low calorie sweetener and foamed skim milk when I want a sweet treat but don’t want the calories.
On opening the tin the Assam leaves were mostly dark with few lighter tan leaves and small, broken and almost granular, similar to the type of Assam you might see in a Masala Chai. I couldn’t detect much Assam scent from the tin. After brewing the leaves still looked broken and granular, nothing like the open pieces of leaf you’d find in a pot of quality loose leaf Assam.
I used a teaspoon in a single cup pot and boiling water for 5 minutes as recommended on the tin. The liquor had a nice color and some tea scent and taste – but not an Assam scent or taste and had a somewhat bitter bottom taste.
Okay, I’m going to upgrade this tea a bit after a few more brewings. A bit more tea a bit less brewing time and it did produce a bit more Assam top note taste. It still lacks the malty bottom but it really is okay for a decaf.
I’ll probably finish the 4 oz tin I bought, just to see if I can get it to taste better, but I probably wouldn’t buy it again. If you’re looking for a decent decaf black tea, try the Harney’s Ceylon decaf instead.
I finally found a decaf that actually tastes like real tea.
On opening the tin, the Ceylon looked like real tea. Long decently well shaped leaves of dark brown and tan. It even smelled like tea. After brewing it became apparent that there were more stems than it appeared at first, but still with decent sized pieces of leaf attached.
It brews up a nice looking characteristic Ceylon colored liquor. The taste is quite nice (considering it’s a decaf of course) and is actually quite satisfying. I might even bring some to the office to drink during the afternoon when I want a cup but not the jangle. This is the closest I’ve ever come to a decaf that tasted and satisfied like real tea.