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Recent Tasting Notes
Pulled this old tea I was gifted from Meowster during a cupboard de-stash. Thank you!
Brewed 3.5g in 500ml 190F water for 3 minutes. I managed to get in a few wiffs before it was emptied into the work thermos for the day, and found it surprisingly flowery in aroma for such an old tea. The thermos is now drinkable, and the flavor definitely tastes a little stale/muted from age, but notes of malt, baked bread, raisins, honey, and flowers are still present. It’s also very smooth, with just a bit of a drying quality after the sip — at least with this preparation, I’m not getting the sort of astrigency I come to expect from broken leaf tea.
Flavors: Bread, Drying, Floral, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Smooth
I think I chose this one for a christmas gift tea due to the good reviews on the Upton site. My dad seems to like this one but it took a few times to get a good brew time and leaf ratio (less leaf and less time is best). This certainly does brew up strong and quick. It has a nice metallic and amber twang to it without bitterness. Of course I compare this Awesome tea to my favorite S&V CTC tea in my head and this comes up up short in the complexity department. I’d like to do a head to head taste test but I need to restock the Assam Beesakopie to compare. I would add this to an Upton order if I was low on Assam.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Metallic
A complex and tasty tea with different layers of fruityness, briskness, and metallic taste depending on steep time and tea temperature. I got mostly coppery notes on a first sip, with fruity and complex notes arriving as the cup cools. An interesting tea to experiment with or blend (Yunnan comes to mind). I might add it to an order, but its not something to seek out.
This is my second session with these same leaves. Steeped once in my favorite mug, which sadly didn’t reveal nearly as much flavor as I was hoping and so me thinks it’s time to give the mug a good scrub. This second round is being done gong fu style. The flavors are much more pronounced. The first sip revealed honeyed flavors and earthy wet wood notes. As the session progresses each becomes increasingly tainted with astringency and damp forest. Decomposing wood.
Started drinking this while eating my bacon-wrapped potato wedge and I realized I couldn’t really taste the tea. So I steeped it longer. This is a good tea for this type of breakfast. The bacon escalates some of the woody notes and tones down the tobacco. The banana doesn’t help. Its sweet flavor almost makes me want to stop drinking the tea. But maybe… Nope. It’s not the banana. I oversteeped it a bit. But what is this flavor? It is tannic. It is tanned leather. It is not something I enjoy in my mouth. Burnt… something.
This was included as a sample in my christmas gift order for my dad so I thought we might open it and drink a day early. Its very malty up front, smells amazing, but the aftertaste that lingers post-sip is astringent and bitter. This would stand up to milk and sugar, but since I drink my tea plain, I won’t be seeking this one out again.
Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Yeasty
This is one is highly rated by my dad, and while its not solely a souchon, it does have a slight smoky taste. It reminds me of a candy version of a smoked tea, as it has a sweet aftertaste. Probably why he likes it, he has a sweet tooth. The tea has a burnt creme brulee vibe, but for some reason, I never remember I like this tea until I brew another cup. I like it better than the Old South Meeting house blend that is an Upton ‘Boston tea party’ theme tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Smoke, Sweet
You know how, when you near the end of a tea tin or packet, there’s more than you really need for one cup, but not enough for two? Not wanting to be a wastrel, I put all of the last of my leaves in a DIY filter bag and grabbed my biggest work mug. Turned out very nicely. My first review highlighted the rye toast aspect, but this morning, maybe due to the added strength, it reminds me a little of a good keemun with apple peel as well.
Next time I can see my way clear to invest in an Upton order, this one needs to be on it.
Numerical ratings don’t work for me—one must be consistent to play the rating game and I am far too wishy-washy and moody. One of the few teas I ever bothered to rate, and 100 at that, was Fujian Congou by Nature’s Tea Leaf, now long gone. I wrote rambling rhapsodies about its toast-and-cocoa goodness.
However, after tasting my first cup of Old South Meeting House, I was deeply tempted to start messing with the “Drag Me” bar. The Congou part of this blend is strong enough to take me back to that old favorite, and I have had my nose in the mug all morning like a horse with a feedbag. It smells like Ry-Krisp crackers and tastes like toast made from homemade wheat bread.
Thanks to Michelle for the special treat!
Aren’t these leaves just the cutest?! Remind me of those sweet African curls on a baby’s head. The leaf color is dark when dry but is a mix of dark chocolate and milk chocolate when wet. The flavor is full of earthy notes. Woodsy, mahogany and a freshly sealed pine chest. Traces of cocoa but very few. Wet aroma is musty. Pick up wet leaves and stuff them in your nose.
Another of the teas I received back in 2018 from Meowster’s cupboard destash… thank you, Meowster! I think this tea is from 2016, so it’s quite old at this point, and I’m expecting flavor degradation as a result.
2.5g steeped in 350ml 195F water for 3 minutes. I am getting a very pleasant aroma from the steeped cup; a rosy floral, citrus, and a sort of honey graham biscuity note. On the mouth, I’m tasting a strong wet autumn leaf flavor first, with a hint of cucumber/melon, and subtle rose and lemon note, and a somewhat biscuity aftertaste. The flavors do feel a bit muted, but this is holding up much better than the Malabar Estate Java OP Clonal I sipped down recently. I’m actually surprised this many notes are still presenting in this tea after so much time.
This is quite nice, I can only imagine how great it is fresh!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Citrus, Cucumber, Floral, Graham, Honey, Lemon, Melon, Rose
I still have several super old tea packets from Meowster’s cupboard de-stash that I need to drink through! Thank you, Meowster!
So I steeped up this Indonesian tea to take to work with me this morning. The aroma of the tea is quite fruity… I’m getting the typical black-tea-malt-smell, but also a scent like stewed/warm cherries.
I can tell sipping this that the tea has gone a bit flat/is way past its prime (I received it in 2018 but have no idea how old it may have already been at that point). It’s hard to describe that flatness on the taste, but it’s there. If I look past it, I taste a pretty sharp malty black tea with a bit of astringency after the sip, edging a bit more bitter than I prefer for a black tea. There is an underlying fruitiness that I think would be more apparent with fresher leaves; as is, it is coming out a bit muted, but I do taste sort of a muscatel/raisin note and, more faintly, cherry and a non-descript florality.
Mostly, though, it’s just strong-and-dark black tea now.
I may play around with steeping parameters to see if I can smooth some of the edges out or revive some of the flavors. I think my next thermos will have a dollop of honey to see if that tames the bitterness and makes the fruit and floral pop more.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins
Not a sipdown since this was a sample, but definitely a black tea for chess day.
Wow I think I’ve met my CTC match for a strong morning brew. This makes an intense cuppa, and I am usually all for that in the morning, but this is just too much. I’m not sure how a brew this strong manages to be not bitter or astringent, in fact its quite nice tasting with malty, peppery, and metallic notes. I suppose I could add a bit of Yunnan or lemongrass to sip this blend, but this is just a sample and I’m not inclined to purchase a whole bag. There are much better ways to make a strong tasty morning brew (the ctc assam from S&V comes to mind).
Flavors: Malt, Metallic, Tannic
Happy National Chess Day! Today the prompt is to drink a black tea or a white tea!
This is my black tea, provided from a long ago cupboard de-stash by Meowster. Thanks Meowster! I received the tea in 2018 but am sure it is far older than that. Steeped the 4g sample in 500ml 195F water for 3 minutes.
For its age, I’m rather shocked how aromatic this tea is. There is a strong syrupy fruity muscatel/raisin aroma mixed with a florality that is veering on perfumy. I also smell malt, baked bread, and honey… I could be happy just sticking this teacup under my nose all day.
The flavor is a lot more brisk than I was expecting from the sweet aroma. The malt and baked bread characteristics are the strongest notes, with the muscatel/floral notes rather mellow and subdued. There is quite a bitter bite of astrigency after the sip which may be stopping me from tasting the more nuanced characteristics of the aftertaste.
Based on the aroma, I bet this tea was standout while fresh. The flavor now is more bitter than I prefer for blacks and doesn’t hold up to the wonderful aroma, but it is a fine breakfast tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Bread, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins
This is a Nahorhabi Estate 2020 FBOP sample I got in an order, but this seemed the closest tea for a tasting note. The first steep was malty and coppery and astringent with caramel notes in the finish. The second steep was disappointingly weak. A nice, one steep version of an Assam, but I don’t think I’d be tempted to add it to an order.
I got this tea because I liked the Colombian breakfast by Upton, and this seemed interesting. I tried to like this tea but it’s just meh. I’ve tried more leaf, longer steeping times to coax some flavor out of the steeps but its just a nondescript tea flavor that’s not bitter. Wish it was better, not purchasing again.