285 Tasting Notes
One of the things I really appreciate when buying teas from The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co is that trying out teas from lesser known tea regions doesn´t break the bank. This black tea from Nepal for instance.
From K&S ´s website : “Nepal Himshikhar Black Tea Organic consists of beautifully-worked, olive-coloured leaves with green inserts and a high proportion of silver tips. Its finer qualities transcend upon brewing, whereby it offers a flowery, fresh, complex taste rounded off with muscatel undertones.
Casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike are bound to fall in love with this infusion. We pack this leaf tea fresh to order here at our Kent-based factory.
It’s worth noting, too, that the caffeine content of Nepal Himshikhar Black Tea Organic is significant. This, of course, makes it a great choice for those needing an extra boost.”
And indeed, it´s a very robust tea. I tried steeping it twice, which can be done perfectly : the first brew is a bit more floral, even herbal in nose, the second one has subtle malty tones; in mouth the tea has body, the muscatel undertones gain strength in finish.
Not as elegant as a Darjeeling, but quite a bit cheaper as well, so very enjoyable overall.
Flavors: Floral, Muscatel, Tea
The hot weather has arrived, and then I like to make iced teas.
Normally, I brew a pot of a dried fruit based tea to cool it then overnight, which I have started to do again now. In the last couple of years I´ve been very pleased with the teas I use for this reason, so I ´ve just bought more of the same blends. But my last order at The Kent&Sussex Tea&Coffee Co also included a few specific iced tea blends, which I hadn´t tried before. This is one of them.
On its website K&S says “Pomegranate White Iced Tea is a delicate infusion. When used as a base ingredient for an Iced Tea blend, it creates a wonderfully fresh taste with tart, fruity notes. Aside from pomegranate, other ingredients include the finest quality Chinese Pai Mu Tan Tea, Rose Petals and Cranberry pieces. Combined, these flavours create a brew well-suited to days out in the garden.”
It also gives brewing instructions : “Using 2 tsp of Tea per person, pour over water of 80 degrees in temperature so that it just covers the loose leaf. Following this, brew for 2 minutes, strain the leaves, and top up with cold water and ice cubes with any personal additions and decoration.”
I use an individual tea glass with glass filter which makes the process easy. The first time I prepared the iced tea this way, I think I added a bit too much hot water, which strangely resulted in an overall weaker iced tea. The second time, I just barely covered the tea leaves and the result was much better. Cranberries and pomegranate make for a beautiful and fragrant dry leaf, once steeped the tea gains in finesse and the iced tea is elegant and less subtle than might be expected. I think there´s no need to use ice cubes as you don´t want to drink this too cold (you wouldn´t taste anything).
As an experiment, I used the strained tea leaves for a hot brew, and this works as well, although one must be careful not to steep them too long, as the tea tends to increase in astringency quickly.
Flavors: Floral, Pomegranate
Don´t ask me where I got this tea sample from, as I cannot remember.
I only recently had the courage ;-) to try it, and unfortunately I must say it confirmed my hesitation. I guess it´s really worthwhile to commercialize foods including turmeric these days, as it´s considered a “superfood” and people seem to think it´s all you need to feel wonderful (again)…well, I prefer to have a good pu erh anytime!!!
The wonderful thing of steepster is that it´s easy to compare with previous experiences of similar teas, and so I noticed I had the “cúrcuma” tea by Hornimans 3 years ago. That one was a rooibos based turmeric and peach tea, which I believe is a far better combination than this one with a matcha base. Although the spices add in strength, the body stays quite weak, while that was the rooibos based tea´s strong point imho.
Flavors: Carrot, Orange, Spices
My friends also showed me this “curiosity” : each " teabag" contains pieces of assorted sweets (this one includes eucalyptus, pine, mint and aniseed flavours), which one can dissolve in hot water and have as an infusion. According to the producer, you can also use it to inhale or to make an iced drink.
I tried it, but I cannot be convinced : the sweet itself is most likely strong and fresh, the infusion is a completely different story! Moreover, it´s very hard to dissolve the contents of the bag.
Another tea my French friends brought along.
I´m not too keen on any combination with orange (extract), but this tea was really refreshing and enjoyable. I guess good company makes everything taste better!
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Tea
I have had tea in company and found it delicious only to drink it alone and wonder where the magic went! Glad you enjoyed time with friends!
At Easter I met with French friends in Soria (Spain) and we stayed the night in the flat they had rented for the week. Whenever I´m with French people over breakfast, they get the box of mixed teabags (a few of each box they have at home, thrown together in one of the boxes they then carry along on holidays) out, and this time, there was a brand I didn´t know yet. They had discovered it during last year´s holidays in Ireland, liked it and afterwards ordered some more online.
This Earl grey is the only black tea of the Java Republic brand they had with them, so I tried it as I like to wake up with a black tea. A decent EG, with strong bergamot flavour and fragrance; the presentation on the other hands is refined, with individual pouches maintaining the hand-stitched bags fresh. Apparently, they call these bags “tea pillows” what I kind of like…
Flavors: Citrus, Tea
The teabags I used from the tea tray in my hotel room in Basingstoke last week. I cannot find any information about the brand or the tea other than its price (almost 12GBP for 250 teabags); when reading the tea´s envelope I discover it´s Bidfood (a UK wholesaler)´s own brand, but that´s about it.
It´s a standard English Breakfast tea, the tea leaf it contains quite broken down, but alright to take with milk and still provide a kick in the morning. As I have my tea w/o milk or sugar, this doesn´t really work for me though. Also, 3-4 minutes steeping time seems far too much for this tea which turns bitter easily.
Last week I stayed a couple of nights in a hotel in Basingstoke. While the teabags offered in the tea tray in the room seemed a supermarket´s house brand (I need to look it up, but the labelling is very discrete indeed), the tea at the breakfast buffet was Tetley´s. The only black tea was this EG.
On the individually wrapped teabag it says “delicate and refreshing with a citrus hint of bergamot flavour”. Although it´s certainly not offensive in any way, it´s surely “delicate” ;-) and the “hint” of bergamot is extremely subtle. A shame, as it seems to be tea for those who don´t like tea.
I´ve been spending time on and off away from home and my water heater which can be set to 60-70-80-90-100ºC), so I´ve been using quite a lot of teabags I normally rarely use. This teabag is one I must have picked up at a hotel somewhere, but its brand name I had already come across when having a tea after my meal in a Chinese restaurant.
The teabag comes as a pyramid which is nice for presentation purpose, as the tea inside seems not too finely cut. So far the positive side, then the rest : the pouch in which the tea pyrimid comes advises to use water at boiling temperature… for a green tea! I chose to cool down the water a bit before steeping the tea. The brew was quite tasteless, apart from the somewhat bitter finish (because of a too high a temperature still?), not something I am looking for in a green tea.
Quite surprised as well of the very long “shelf life” of this brand´s teabags : I am sure I picked this bag up more than a year ago, and BBD says 21/6/2024.
I cannot find any really useful information about this brand, but from commercial sites I see the tea sells at a very low price, an indication of the tea quality???
Flavors: Bitter, Green
I had this tea at my friend Katja´s last October. It was one of the very few black teas she could offer me, so I tried it.
It must have been the “first” time for me the tea comes in “a flow through infuser bag” (so it says on the little rectangular box a single dose comes in), and I´m actually surprised it´s a strange way to describe a … pyramid tea bag ;-) .
Anyhow, my experience with lavender teas is that they are often very powerful, which is not the case here : the lavender aroma´s come through from the dry tea, but once steeped, the earl grey notes take over. This is certainly not the best earl grey I´ve ever tried (I admit I´m quite picky concerning earl grey teas), maybe it´s the lavender addition (cannot quite understand the reason of combining bergamot and lavender), or just the awkward base tea (blend of ceylon and oolong) chosen for this earl grey. The resulting tea is indeed way stronger than what I expect from a good earl grey (more elegant and fragrant than powerful), which is fine for breakfast, not too great for afternoon. But then again, the presentation is original and stylish, which is a plus for a tea bag.
Flavors: Bergamot, Lavender, Tea