I’ve been low on black tea choices at work recently. I think this is the only one I have with me currently, which is unlike me, but okay because this is my last full week of work before I get my long-awaited leave. These bags were actually given to me by a colleague, who professes that she has far too much tea at home (by which she means, more than one box of English Breakfast). Anyway, I’m always up for trying something new.
For this afternoon’s cup, I used 1 bag, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. This is a fairly standard black fannings base, so it darkened to a deep reddy-brown relatively quickly. The scent is of cinnamon and clove, quite strong.
This is more pleasant to taste than I thought it was going to be. It reminds me a little of Mariage Freres Mandalay, although this is sweeter and somehow more floral in the aftertaste. The initial flavour is quite dank, and very heavy on the clove, so it comes as a surprise when the almost sugary sweet cinnamon emerges in the mid-sip. It’s a nice counterpoint. I guess the vanilla accounts for the sweetness, which takes on a dark, almost molasses-like flavour towards the end of the sip. The black tea base is smooth and adds a light maltiness, but it’s very much second-fiddle to the flavouring. I’m just grateful it’s not bitter or astringent, because I have no milk to tame anything like that at the moment!
This is an intriguing tea. I was expecting a pretty straight-up cinnamon spiced black, but it’s actually a lot more than that. The cinnamon is there, definitely, but it works really well as a sweet counterpoint to the flatter, heavier taste of the clove. The vanilla is the real star of this cup, though. It changes what could be a fairly mundane cup into something that’s almost fudgey by the end of the sip. The only slightly odd note is the tiny hint of floral in the aftertaste, but that’s easily overlooked. I have a feeling this might have been stored near a floral tea (jasmine?) at some point, which would account for that.
I like this one much better than I thought I would, and I’m glad to have another couple of bags to finish off. This is an excellent cold weather tea, although it’s light enough that I’d try it in the summer too. Maybe even iced! A surprise hit.