1347 Tasting Notes
Once upon a time I lived in a place where there was a little tea shop. The little tea shop sold something they called ‘Krudtblanding’, which translates directly to Gunpowder Blend. The name referred to the Lapsang Souchong in it, rather than the gunpowder green tea. Anyway, it was a blend of English breakfast tea with Lapsang Souchong and an unknown green tea that didn’t look like Gunpowder. Just to hammer that home. It was not, as many people on this site reasonably assumed (and it was sometimes difficult to convince them otherwise even though the name was a translation and the original name wouldn’t work as a gunpowder tea reference in the first place).
This was an absolutely lovely tea, but LS is fairly obscure in this country. Unless someone is actually into tea, they’ll likely never have heard of it before and the term ‘smoked tea’ is likely to make them make this face. —> O.o
And this was more than ten years ago.
So in other words, one day I went in to stock up on this wonderful blend, they told me they were discontinuing it, but they’d let me buy up the remainder that they had. I think basically I was the only one ever buying it. So that’s how I came home with some 600g of one tea.
I have never been able to find a blend quite like it again.
This is a blend of Earl grey with LS, Ceylon and Nilgiri and some gunpowder green. Ceylon and Nilgiri together sounds like something on the road to a standard breakfast blend. And then there’s the LS and then there’s the green tea. Which slightly confusingly in this case is actually confirmed gunpowder. It basically sounded just like that old blend with added EG flavouring.
The Earl Grey aspect is quite subtle. It’s there, but it’s not overwhelming and if you didn’t know it was there, you’d be too focused on the LS element to pay it much attention. And the LS element isn’t even actually all that strong either. I mean, it’s clearly there, but it’s not like drinking a regular LS either. All together this becomes a fairly smooth blend with a strong umami element to it. It’s actually not entirely unlike the top notes of a mild pu-erh. It’s like everything sort of evens everything else out.
To be honest, I haven’t got a whisper of a chance of remembering how this holds up to that blend of old, but when I’m drinking this, I’m thinking it’s definitely close enough. It’s right up my alley.
Hey-ho, we’re embarking on a new batch of teas! I ordered these a while back, because we were getting low on breakfast tea, but I decided to make a rule that all the old flavoured stuff had to be used up first before we could start on the new stuff. This is because a couple of them were a bit meh, and I just know it would have lingered in the cupboard forever and been forgotten otherwise. So, them’s the rules. It’s been tough. I’ve been quite excited about trying this one.
This is a honey flavoured Keemun. I don’t recall if I’ve ever had a honey flavoured tea before other than honey and vanilla chamomiles (which are entirely different beasts), so I had little to nothing to go on. I do very much like honey, though, and preferably the stronger flavoured once. We tend to buy heather honey, because it’s the strongest one available, with the added advantage of being rather on the runny side so a little goes a long way and it really seeps into the bread in a delicious way.
But anyway, I’m not here to review honey.
When making this tea, it certainly smells like honey. The whole kitchen smelled of honey while this was steeping. It was very distinctive. Sniffing the cup more ‘up close’ though, it didn’t actually smell that honey-y, but rather more floral. I wasn’t aware that it was a Keemun base at the time, but I felt like there was something else in there that I could quite put my finger on. A bit woody, I wanted to say. Maybe slightly malty. Finding out about the Keemun afterwards surprised me not even a little bit. It was rather more of an ‘oh, of course’ sort of moment.
Flavourwise, it’s quite pleasant. The honey is subtle but present. It doesn’t so much taste like a tea flavoured with honey as it does a tea with a little honey added to the cup, only without sweetening it. The base does taste somewhat generic, but it’s got a good strength to it so it feels like a robust cup of tea. Which, in my opinion, a Keemun always should. I’m forever puzzled when Keemun black is described as ‘mild’. A Keemun black should absolutely be able to stand up for itself, kick bottom and take names. I think it’s the honey flavouring that makes it feel a little generic, though. I feel like there might be a pretty good Keemun at the base of this.
So yes, pretty good. On the other hand, I suspect I could probably reproduce a similar cup by adding a small amount of strong honey to a suitable black tea myself. Don’t much like sweetened tea, though, so this probably is the better choice for me.
I’m having a very old indeed bag of this, made up with twice boiled water because I forgot about it the first time, and then added a splash of cold to bring it down to temperature. It’s only a miracle that it’s not oversteeped to boot. And it’s fine.
I’m having tummy issues and I’m all out of minty. Don’t judge me.
I got a bag of this as a free sample with an order (quite) a while ago. I’m keeping it in the cup while drinking and I’ve added plenty of milk.
It just strikes me as a bit thin. I’m getting mostly hot water and milk and ginger. And I honestly don’t much care for ginger. It burns in the throat much the same way strong alcohol does, and while I do enjoy the occasional G&T I don’t generally make them very strong.
All I’m getting is ginger. It’s not very satisfactory. I think there’s a bit of cardamom somewhere in there, but it’s not very convincing. I think I’ll just have to give up on this one. I want a proper cup of tea.
Ah, real breakfast tea. This one is a mix of Ceylon and Assam and we have it milked.
It’s hard to really write a proper post on a milked tea, because for this sort of cup it’s mostly just a question of, “Is it good and strong, yes or no?”
The answer is yes, and unlike those emergency twinings bags, it can be resteeped.
So I got this as a free random sample with a previous order. (I still haven’t heard anything about my most recent one and have now tried to chase them in what I’m hoping is not an impatient sounding way)
It’s basically just a strawberry black with tiny sugar hearts in it. In which case I’d have rather just had a regular strawberry black to be honest. Those little coloured sugar additions whether their shaped like hearts or stars or unicorns have always felt rather gimmicky to me. They add nothing of value.
Luckily they don’t actually make it taste like it’s got sugar in it, because I don’t like sugar in my tea. Some people find that a little sugar in a flavoured tea enhances the flavouring. I find sugar in tea, any sugar, just adds a weird sort of nearly astringency and a kind of cloying syrupy mouthfeel.
When viewed as simply a strawberry tea, it’s not bad. Tastes rather strongly of strawberry and a bit of toning it down probably wouldn’t hurt it, but it’s not overwhelming either. It’s okay, but not something I would order. I would just go for the strawberry tea, plain and simple, and leave the unnecessary sugar and colouring agents for someone less curmudgeonly.
A week ago I ordered a new supply of breakfast tea, but it hasn’t been sent yet. Presumably this is to do with the pandemic and so I’m not going to pester them for the time being.
In the meantime, we bought a box of this. Emergency rations, guys. Our supermarket only carries Twinings in bagged form and Husband finds one bag for a pot of two large cups is fine. Whereas my instinct says one bag for a cup and two for a pot.
Probably as a consequence it’s rather thin. I feel like I’m drinking hot water with milk. It’s not good. I have asked him to try and make the next pot either with two bags, or with a significantly longer steep, just so we can at least find out if it really is that poor and lay the dosage discussion to rest. (I’m pretty confident in my two bag theory, though)
On a different note we are both healthy. Husband is working from home for the foreseeable, whereas I still have to go to work. (I work in a hospital lab. We are important for diagnostics, and so essential personnel.) The Outside, on my commute, is nearly deserted. Looks like I’m travelling in the middle of the night. Otherwise we are staying in and being careful. As an introvert, I feel like I’ve been training for this my whole life.
Hey, I never wrote about this when I got my latest lot of flavoured teas and made a return to the site. I must have forgotten. I’ve had it several times since then, I believe, and whenever I see the tin in the cupboard Kate Bush starts singing in my head.
This is a citrus-y one. Although it does contain bergamot oil, I would say there’s not really enough of it for this to qualify as a member of the EG family. It also has lemon, lime and orange blossom, and maaaaaybe a bit of orange flavouring as well? I’m not sure.
The result is sweet and citrus-y, with a creamy sort of texture to it. I feel like lime is the most dominant flavour here. I suspect the bergamot oil is actually working to temper the tartness of the lemon and lime. This is also why I think there might be some orange flavouring added to it apart from just the blossoms. It feels too sweet for there not to be anything to balance it out.
I’m quite happy with this one. It’s delicious as a post-lunch tea.
I also rather enjoy Kate Bush on occassion, but I could live without the earworm. :)
This one is hazelnut and chocolate. I’ve mentioned earlier that I’m always on the lookout for a hazelnut tea, but it’s difficult to find one that’s just hazelnut. This one is sort of close enough given that the chocolate isn’t really all that prominent. I’ve tried both with and without milk, which is carries well, but the chocolate remains very shy. Which… a name like that, I expect some sort of chocolate spread sort of flavour.
The hazelnut is on the forefront here, lending quite a bit of nutty, wood-y astringency. This is probably why it takes milk so well. So that’s great! It’s not precisely what I was searching for, but what I was searching for I seem to have got. How’s that for a bit of luck.
Now that this need has been satisfied, am I going to get it again? Maybe not next time I visit the shop, but in future probably yes. Provided of course that I remember all this the next time I find myself searching for hazelnut teas.