248 Tasting Notes
For my second journey into the land of The Republic of Tea, I chose their Vanilla Almond blend. I anxiously waited for this tea to finish steeping as the sweet vanilla aroma filled my nostrils. Finally, after five minutes (that seemed like five days), the tea was ready to taste. With my first sip, the full, sweet, vanilla, and nutty properties danced on my tongue. The robust quality of the vanilla joins expertly with the almond presence and the supporting tea flavor to create a delightful taste sensation. This tea instantly became one of my favorite selections. The Republic of Tea continues to create incredible blends that coddle my insatiable sweet tooth.
It is interesting that one of the most reasonably priced teas is also one of the most consistently best. I haven’t found a Twinings tea that I didn’t like…a lot…yet. The Twinings English Breakfast tea continues this tradition with a very robust and flavorful blend. The flavor bursts with a zesty and gallant zing. Visually, even the beaming amber color seems to shout out great taste. As always, I steeped this tea for a full five minutes. This is perfect for my tastebuds but it may be a little strong for some.
In my opinion, this tea is not quite as advertised. I did not find this tea to have a very strong or full bodied flavor. The taste is pleasant but subdued. It reminded me of a watered down English Breakfast tea. This blend is also said to have a high caffeine content. Maybe I am being greedy, but I would like the high-octane caffeine to be accompanied by super-charged flavor. Several years ago, some companies produced and tested a silent vacuum cleaner. The machine did not do well in consumer testing because people associated great suction and cleaning power with a loud noise. This is how I feel about the Wissotzky Classic Tea. I want my high caffeine morning cup to be accompanied by a loud noise.
I think bergamot is one of the best things that ever happened to tea. Unfortunately, not all of the tea manufacturers have figured out the best ratio between the bergamot and the tea to create a great tasting partnership. Twinings, however, has this relationship down to a science! Their Earl Grey uses bergamot to formulate a bright citrus flavor that is perfectly complemented by a bold, yet unobtrusive tea taste. Even after five minutes of steeping, the flavor is strong and steady without bitterness.
I’m a big fan of Earl Grey tea. The fruity bergamot flavor is a terrific complement to both black and green teas. This particular Earl Grey black tea by Wissotzky seems to be hiding both the tea and bergamot flavors under a bushel. I am doubtful that I would have pinpointed the presence of bergamot if I hadn’t first read the list of ingredients on the package. It isn’t just the low level of bergamot that is disappointing here. I also struggled to cull any identifiable tea flavor at all. The flavor that is present is not bad, there just isn’t enough of it.
The flavor of most of the English Breakfast varieties I have tried and reviewed are nice and pleasant but normally nothing to get over-excited about. English Breakfast tea figures prominently in my morning lineup as the first cup of the day. This is my “business cup” because it provides a high caffeine shock to my metabolism that gets me charged up and motivated to start my daily task list. My “pleasure cup” of tea is always reserved for the second cup of the morning. That is the more delightful, fruity, and bold cup that I anxiously anticipate to chase down the usually standard tea taste of English Breakfast. However, all of that changed this morning when I sampled Wissotzky English Breakfast Tea for the first time. I knew something different was afoot when I saw the bright amber color that this tea possessed. With my first curious sip, I immediately noticed a purity to the flavor that I hadn’t experienced with other English Breakfast formulas. Its bright robust quality sends the essence of great tea taste straight to your tastebuds. It is definitely English Breakfast tea flavor, but amplified to astounding heights. The best illustration I could make would be to compare this tea to the appearance of the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz after he was buffed, polished, and shined to meet the Wizard. He was still the Tin Man but he was now one cool and buff dude. After I finish all of the other English Breakfast teas in my stash, this Wissotzky tea will be my Numero Uno of this variety.
By now, you are beginning to surmise one thing about me based on my tea tasting notes: I am willing to try just about anything. I neither fear nor discriminate against any tea. This selection was another one of the flavors that came in my Wissotzky Tea gift box that was a surprise gift from me to me (I did try to act surprised but I saw through me immediately). The Nana Tea was another title that I greeted with skepticism. I wondered if this flavor was designed for sweet little grandmothers to sip from their rockers while knitting scarves and sweaters for the grandchildren. However, once again my first thoughts were far from the truth. This tea has a very light and refreshing spearmint flavor. For Southern teetotalers, it would be the perfect replacement for the mint julep. The Nana Tea is a tad too light and easy for my morning rotation. My first cups of the day need to jump-start me like a defibrillator. I will gladly call on this tea again in the afternoon or early evening, though, when I’m just looking for a nice refreshing break from my day.
This morning I was introduced to Wissotzky tea. I received eight flavors in a gift box that was a gift from me to me. For my first voyage, I chose the Cherry Tea. It is exactly as advertised, a bright rich flavor with the taste of fresh red cherries. This tea would also be great iced. There is no hint of bitterness whatsover. This selection would be enjoyable morning, noon, and night, hot or cold.