620 Tasting Notes
1.25 tsp for 250mL water @ 98C. Steeped 5 minutes. Drunk bare.
A very acceptable Assam. Tippy leaves. A leathery note if steeped too long. Some distant rose and bread notes. Not as malty as some. A sweet finish, something cheaper Assams lack. (I avoid Twinings Assam for that reason.) Liquor is reddish brown and a bit murky. No real depth or complexity, though. I won’t be buying this one again, not when I can have Kopili or Gingia instead.
1.5 tsp for 250mL water @ 98C. (Slightly obsessed with making black tea just off the boil lately.) Steeped four minutes. Drunk bare.
I love a good Assam. I also love a good Darjeeling and a good milk oolong and a good caravan and a good jasmine green … because these teas are unmistakable.
I’ve said before that I favour the Kopili and Gingia estates for Assams. Damn Fine’s Captain Assam also blissed me out, and I am dying to try their new Tiger Assam. George Orwell in his famous essay ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ talks about Indian black tea in particular making you feel stronger and braver. He must have meant Assam.
Gingia doesn’t have the raisin notes that some Assams do, but it does remind me a bit of bread and roses, as I’ve nattered about before. The liquor is dark but clear. Agreeably malty — could get assertively so is steeped over 5 minutes — with some molasses notes in the aroma. It finishes sweet, with a bit of Assam pucker. Medium to heavy body, with a creaminess in the mouthfeel that makes for a pretty damn sumptuous cup of tea. I rarely add milk to tea, but this Assam would handily stand up to milk. Dependable and superb.
1.5 tsp for 250mL water @93C. Steeped five minutes.
Because this blend contains green tea and jasmine, I decided to go a little gentler with the water than the recommended 98C.
Not sure what the “artificial flavouring” is, but this blend has a definite peachy taste to it. I don’t catch much jasmine, but I can smell roses, especially at the tea cools. Tea liquor looks like one from a dark green tea. A bitterness lurks at the edges; I think this one might get soapy is steeped too long. The blend of black and green teas in the base gives a slightly creamy mouthfeel. I’d hoped for more jasmine — and less peach — but this blend is quite agreeable
Made for me at a DavidsTea store. 3-minute steep.
I really need to stop trying flavoured teas. The older and grumpier I get, the more I want straight tea. And yet, I tell myself, somewhere that perfect blend awaits …
Well, this one’s fine and dandy, as flavoured teas dominated by their flavours go. Pleasant apple taste without being too sour. But, as usual with many of DavidsTea flavoured teas, I don’t taste any tea. Not enough white tea, at least. You can taste white tea in the DT Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, for example. Really, there’s nothing wrong with Big Apple, except that I want to taste tea when I drink tea.
1 bag for 250mL water @ 95C. Steeped 4 minutes.
From the moment the water hit the leaves,I knew i had a better (to me) Darjeeling on the way than th DavidsTea Darjeeling I just callously tossed down the drain. The first scent is a high but earthy spiciness. Even in the bag, the leaves look tippy, with lots og green bits. This is a second flush, so the liquor and body are medium rather than light. No woodiness. No bitterness. LOTS of muscatel, and a sweet finish. An excellent Darjeeling, especially for a bagged tea.
1.5 tsp for 250mL water @ 95C. Steeped 4 minutes. Drunk bare.
A bit dark for a Darjeeling, which tells me there’s likely second and even third flush leaves in this blend. Earthy, though not pu-ehr earthy. Not as much muscatel as I like. Threatens bitterness at a 4-minute steep. Not my favourite Darjeeling. I’d take Stash’s Darjeeling Summer over this one.
1.5 tsp for 250mL water @ 95C. Steeped 4 minutes. Drunk bare.
My travel mug got ignored this morning as I picked up a (gasp) cappuccino on the way to work and drank that while it was still warm. My tea has cooled to almost room temperature – and that brings out more creaminess from the oolong and a more potent and penetrating taste of peaches. I wonder what this one would be like iced.
1.5 tsp for 250mL water. 95C, 4-minute steep. Drunk bare.
Russian Caravan was the first ‘fancy’ tea I fell in love with, but my torrid affair with Darjeelings soon eclipsed that. Stash used to carry a very, very good Darjeeling, especially good for a bagged tea, just called ‘Darjeeling.’ It’s long been discontinued. Wah. Good muscatel and a sweet finish; I could drink 5 or 6 cups of it in rapid succession.
I could do that with Seeyok, too. I don’t know if it’s first or second flush, or a blend of both — I generally prefer second flush Darjeeling — but it’s got an agreeable astringency that never threatens to go sour, some earthiness from good soil (though certainly not pu-ehr earthiness), and that addictive muscatel note that makes me a bit weak in the knees, and in the head. I’ve made this cup strong on purpose to test for bitterness, but no: what develops in a strong cup is a wineyness. Nutty notes in the scent. The usual ratio of 1 tsp to the cup would better show off Seeyok’s charms.
I used 95C water (205/96 is closest I can get on the drag bar below) because I’ve found Darjeelings to be a bit delicate; too-hot water can bring out sharp bitterness.
1 sachet for 250 mL water, steeped 8 minutes, drunk bare.
Serious mint. Some sharpness that remind me of spearmint, but the only ingredient is organic nana mint. Well, Nana is welcome to come visit anytime. While, like man herbals, this needs a goodly long steep, it’s bold like peppermint, though not as dominating, with a slighly sharp, slightly herbal and mineral finish that positively sparkles. I find this one refreshing, and especially good after eating a lot.
1 rounded tsp per 250mL cup, steeped 5 minutes.
I got this as a gift, a great big half-pound box of it, and man, am I happy about that. A bright Ceylon, tasting of sunshine. No copper notes, as you’d get from the Lover’s Leap estate, but then this is a blend. A really, really good blend. Light in body but complex in flavour. Some heft, some classic Ceylon tea taste, a a very slight mineral note in the finish, that ‘clean’ taste. Refreshing.