91 Tasting Notes
I admit it. I am a brazen, unappoligetic rooibos fiend! Rooibos, I think, is especially good in the fall. Impatient for autumn, my favorite season to begin, I purchased this autumnal tea. The State Fair of Virginia happens in late September where luscious apples from the Shennadoah Valley can be had covered with rich, gooey caramel. Oh what a treat on a crisp fall night on the midway! Ahhh, autumn dreaming.
I happened upon this tea today at a local natural foods market and thought I’d give it a go in an attempt to feed my fall fantasy and my rooibos cravings. And you know what? This rooibos actually tastes of sweet juicy apples with a pretty decent note of caramel across the palate on the end. It’s like a caramelly candy apple in a cup. The rich rooibos supports the apple and caramel flavors quite nicely. I think the secret to getting the most flavor out of this tea is limiting the water to six ounces and going a bit over the seven minute steeping time. Eight minutes worked great. For a twelve ounce mug I believe I’d use two bags – There’s a generous 36 sachets to a tin.
I can’t wait to drink this on a brisk autumn evening. Come on September!
Flavors: Apple, Candy, Caramel, Sweet
Except for Margaret’s Hope second flush Darjeeling , Chamraj Estate Nilgiri and Kenilworth Ceylon, I have long considered myself a dyed in the wool drinker of Chinese tea. I had relegated Assam teas to use for medicinal purposes. You know, like when you’ve only had a couple of hours sleep and need a good jolt of caffeine to re establish your vital signs.
My new found curiosity for Assam tea was awakened recently after reading an article online about the central role of Assam in East Frisian tea culture. So, brimming with anticipation, I trotted myself over to Carytown Teas, a true jewel in the crown of Richmond’s tea scene, and purchased their Organic Assam. And today – Holy low barometric pressure, Batman! What a day to reacquaint myself with this tea. Lots of storms – heavy rain, wind, roaring thunder and lightning. Ideal weather for a brilliant Assam such as this! I’d almost swear that the stormy North Sea was right around the corner from my house today!
This tea is rich. Malty, of course, along with smooth caramel notes and pastry. Quite a bit of yummy pastry actually. There was a mild fruitiness in the aroma and flavor that for the world reminded me of cherry Danish. There was some very mild bitterness, but it actually complimented the unexpected fruitiness of this tea. With the addition of milk and a little sugar, I believe that I had a perfect Assam experience. Oh, and it definitely obliterated my fatigue!
Now, my next project is to attempt to drink it in true East Frisian fashion, or at least as close as this Virginia boy can reproduce it, by blending it with a little bit of Darjeeling and/or Ceylon. I’ll need some rock sugar candy and some heavy cream too. That’s for another day though, but I do believe that this beautiful Assam will be perfect for it.
Bottom line – Carytown Tea’s Organic Assam is a beautiful, richly flavored and sturdy Assam that is a joy to drink!
Now, another cup to enjoy the stormy day.
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Pastries, Stonefruit
Some mornings as I stand before the gaping maw of the seemingly endless cavern that is my tea pantry I am confounded at making a choice. What am I in the mood for today? On those indecisive days I go for my old faithful – Kenilworth Ceylon from Harney. The long, dark dry leaf is lovely. The heavenly Ceylon fragrance beckons me to be brewed. And this brew never fails. The ruby liquor is gorgeous to behold. The aroma is an oaky, loamy spice. The flavor is brisk yet ultimately mellow – Suitable for breakfast or afternoon tea. Kenilworth has a definite honey taste with notes of toasty oak and spice. There is a lovely delicate hint of cocoa too in this sweet melange. Stands up beautifully to milk and sugar. Kenilworth is a classic tea that I am always glad I decided to brew up. Especially on my indecisive days – Like today!
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Loam, Oak, Spicy, Toast