1965 Tasting Notes
(Upton carries several Mao Feng varieties. I’m rolling with this one…hope it’s correct.)
Beautiful long, twisty leaves. Reminds me of a quality Assam; cocoa and wheat toast.
Something this good deserves a lengthy and more luscious write-up, but my eyes will not open and this is the best I can muster :)
Many of us have discussed at length the difficulty of finding a cherry tea that doesn’t smell and taste like cough syrup. While this still has a cherry-candy rather than cherry-fruity personality, it does not have any chemical whang to it. Perfect cherry-to-cocoa ratio, and licorice (which I generally dislike) serves as a sweetener rather than an interference.
A work buddy graciously hooked me up with a couple sample bags. Wish I were closer to a TJ’s, because I would be snagging myself a tin of this sweet and dessert-y stuff!
When pondering what to write about this, my first thought was, “this is what happy tastes like.” I could probably apply that to a number of my favorite teas, but this nifty little blend has such a perky, fruity, sweet, sunshiny personality, it’s especially apt. Not too much kiwi so it tastes like an island; not too much apple; no bitterness in the green tea base.
So I’ll just allow myself a little whimsy and not try to quantify it further, and just enjoy the cup and the sunbeam I’m sitting in. (When was the last time a tea made you smile?)
Last time I reviewed this was—good grief—six years ago? How forgetful I am…didn’t think I’d ever tried it. Oh, well, I liked it then and I really like it now, although I’d use a different set of adjectives this time around. Such as crisp and bright and peppery and I need more than a sample size.
So, that’s what I get for forming an opinion before trying this: I expected a strong, deep, earthy texture and tone. Instead, This one steeped to the color of stained cherry wood and reminds me of dark grainy bread and molasses. Its bite increases a little as it cools, so I’m thinking it would play nicely with milk. Yummy as it is, though.
My notion of Scottish breakfast tea (highly influenced by period dramas and literature) is that it should be dark and strong enough to clean a corroded car battery.
Thank you, Upton friends, for helping me adjust that notion somewhat. This Assam-Ceylon-Yunnan blend is definitely a breakfast tea, but it does a nicely choreographed step dance that touches evenly on malty, sharp, and smooth. The leaves second-steeped nicely and tasted a little “sunnier and fresh hay-ier.” Too tasty to mess up with milk.
The catalog said The dark coppery cup has a lively peppery feel with a light vanilla hint in the aroma. The smooth flavor is rich with notes of dark spices and hints of brown sugar. What’s not to like…copper, pepper, spice, sugar?
This is my first attempt to steep this one, and if I were writing the catalog entry, it would read, “Keemun, only a scooch smoother and a smidge sweeter.” This is probably why I have not been hired to write descriptions for tea catalogs.