50 Tasting Notes
Here’s the thing you have to understand about Tetley: you are not buying this tea to get a gourmet experience. But, like PG Tips, Barry’s, or Red Rose, builder’s teas hold a special place in my heart. They are my comfort tea in the mornings, and a lovely staple basic in my tea’s closet. At the moment, Tetley’s Premium Blend is my go-to cuppa, and I drink it with half & half and sugar — I can’t imagine drinking it without, and imagine it’d otherwise be much too acidic for my tastes. What’s your morning cup?
Okay, so, I’m going to let you all in on a dirty little secret of mine: occasionally, I am a terrible, godawful tea nerd and don’t actually steep tea. Sometimes, as a matter of fact, I buy it in a damn carton. And this is the only exception I can allow myself.
Tazo’s chai concentrates, whichever one your heart desires, are generally very solid products. Much richer and spicier than the majority of chai concentrates, and, I find, much thicker. They really do taste like tea. Super duper easy for even the laziest of tea snobs, I prefer to have about 3/4 chai to 1/4 milk (usually 2%), over ice. It is equally fantastic to your taste buds heated up, and I find that when I do boil it, it tends to become much spicier (which I like, because my nose can use all the spice it can get). Do not add milk while heating it, however. (D’oh!)
One last secret: if you are feeling crazy, as I often am, it is also mind-bogglingly delicious to mix this with chocolate milk. It’s definitely not a dirty chai, but it will make you feel dirty all over. With pleasure.
Y’know, I hadn’t quite been feeling the holiday season this year. I’m separated from my family because of finals period, Dan is far away in California, and Ohio weather is pretty morose. (There is a reason why Ohio has produced more astronauts than any other state – my personal belief being that this state makes people want to flee the earth.)
However, Andrews & Dunham makes me feel home for the holidays, if only for the half hour it takes me to drink a giant mug-ful of this blend! The word repetitively used in reviewing this tea has been “bright,” and I couldn’t agree more. Brews to a beautiful dark rusty color, and I am so pleased to find a black tea I like without milk or sugar. It’s very light as far as black teas go, slightly bitter if left in even a touch too long, with some sweetness particularly noticeable when adding milk etc. The second brew did not hold up very well in my experience, so I’m probably a quarter of my way into the tin! (What can I say? It’s not my fault holiday jingles are in my head! Damn radio.)
Where Sampson tastes like bread, this blend tastes more fruity, or snappy. Kind of like a gay Santa doing tap dance in a sparkly spandex suit. With bells on his toes. Maybe.
Despite being quite sweet and smooth, I was actually a bit disappointed by this tea, and find its English sibling to be preferable. It tastes like a mildly better quality version of a fairly standard black tea, very simple and understated. Which is not to say simple is undesirable, but in order to make me buy a basic blend like this again, it should be notable in some way — let’s just say I prefer Purcell’s “Fantasy for 3 viols in D minor, Z. 732” to Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”?
It’s funny, because when I started drinking this, I didn’t necessarily think of it as an English Breakfast blend (?!) — possibly because of all of the different types of tea mixed in. Both steeps from my sampler were without sugar or milk, and quite delicious. It stands out as predominantly sweeter than most blends to me, fresh, with a few smoky undertones. Never got bitter, quite refreshing, and held up for the two steeps very well. That being said, I don’t know if this is heavy enough for me to drink in the morning; it may just be a little too flippant English dandy for my tastes!
This really isn’t tea, as far as I’m concerned. It’s bitter, astringent water, and really doesn’t hold flavor at all. Had I known that black tea could taste so much of nothing, I never would’ve steeped this. Unfortunately, my taste buds have become a little to discerning for their own good, and now I desperately await my mum’s package of tea. (Does that make me a bad person? Derp.)
This tea is an excellent example of what Escoffier discovered, regarding how scent impacts our sense of taste. He served all of his food piping hot because he knew his diners would smell the food. Since smell comprises most of our actual ability to taste, voilà! Hot, this tea smells delicious, and subsequently tastes accordingly — vanilla without the artificial flavoring, though I found no tropical notes. Take away the heat, however, and you are left with a thin vanilla taste that requires sweetening. Kind of like when you see a guy who you thought was attractive — until he takes off his shirt and you aren’t squinting at him anymore because he is less than 20 feet away.
(Not that this happened recently to me or anything. Nope. Although, there was a Scottish bagpiper tonight in the park, and it was the best part of my day.)
How fresh! Added a teensy bit of agave nectar for sweetness, and this makes me feel oddly… French? This tea is sophisticated and classy, almost amber in color, with a creamy soft complexion, but can easily wear four inch heels the entire day. And possibly slash your tire with the heel. (Elegantly. Without you noticing.)
This is the blonde wearing dashing red lipstick that your mother warned you about, who pouts her lips and goes, “Oops.” None of the flavors are overpowering, and even on the second steep, I find this tea holds up decently.
But methinks that the complexity of this tea may ultimately be its downfall and its strength — black tea and green tea and mint and vanilla and a little bit of this and that. After all, everyone likes a classy affair. A woman is like a tea bag — you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
Drank this last night, following the White Licorice sampler — for ginger is where I reign supreme! Alas, I found this much too weak for me, and barely tasted the spicy snap of ginger. It is perfectly serene, as they say in the description, but I wanted the ginger to see a little more action. Onwards!
(Might have been a combination of too much water and not a high enough steep temperature, but I find that rawther doubtful.)