I am trying to be good about trying my samples from swaps. You would think it wouldn’t be difficult, since I’ve gotten sent some very intriguing tea. However, one, I want to write about the tea I’ve gotten sent and I tend to spend a fair amount of time writing logs.
Two, I have enough that I tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to making choices. Really, I should just put all the samples in my cupboard and use the randomizer [find it here if you don’t know what that is – http://www.jaydeee.net/pickatea.php – thanks Jon [and teaplz, for the assist]], which I started doing but it makes my tea cupboard look absolutely insane and unwieldy to navigate. Can I just say that I find it hilarious that I have over a thousand searches on the randomizer even though I know that I personally haven’t used it that many times? You sneakersons! Maybe I should just make a dummy Steepster account so I have all my tea swap samples over there. Is it ridiculous that I’m thinking about doing that? Maybe, Overlords, we could have the option to make separate cupboards [like by tea type, or so that I could have a separate cupboard for swap tea]? Just thinking out loud. I would find that useful. I should also put that on the discussion board instead of just assuming the Overlords are going to read this…
Zeus, this post is a brain dump. Anyway, three, I just love Samovar so damn much it’s difficult to tear me away from them.
With all of that mess being said, I am going to be drinking swap tea near-exclusively so that I can start to pare down my not-so-mini-mountain of tea. As I’m sure you all are familiar, the vast quantities of already-owned tea has not stopped me from continuing to order more. Steepster Select is not helping.
So, here we have a tea that LENA sent me. [I like that little bolding thing y’all have been doing. To whoever started that: I think Angrboda did? thanks, Ricky! Clever.] LENA sent me enough that I had multiple brewing opportunities, all of which this log will be touching on.
When I see “Breakfast” in a tea name, my mind automatically assumes that this is going to be some kind of a blend. Reading the description on Steepster, though, it appears that this is straight Dian Hong, which was surprising. I haven’t had a lot of Dian Hong before, but I think I like it. It reads as a bit milder to me than other black teas.
This blend is smooth, which I appreciate. Rishi calls it robust, which it very well may be at longer steep times, but at 4 minutes and beyond the bitterness began to creep in for me and it makes it difficult for me to find other flavors when it’s there [in an elephant in the room kind of sense]. So, I retreated back a bit. I tried 2 minutes, which was way too mild for me. At 4 and 4:30 the bitterness wasn’t enough to make things undrinkable for me, but if I can get it to a place where that bitterness isn’t present it’s preferable. And so, 3 minutes was the magic number for me on this tea.
The scent of the liquid was rather lovely. It actually reminded me of coffee beans, mixed with scones. It brought forth many breakfast-like thoughts for me, which was appropriate. There was a definite sweetness to it that wasn’t terribly present in the taste.
The flavor was pleasant, but not remarkable. On the second steep of a particular run, I got this delicious, bite-a-ble, malty, almost salty, edging on savory flavor. It reminded me a lot of these belgian waffles I get from one of my favorite places to hit up for breakfast. Otherwise, I wasn’t getting a ton of flavor notes from it in general. Mainly, it tasted of that kind of default black tea flavor. There was a very, very slight, natural sweetness that waded in at towards the end of sips from time to time [more noticeably when the tea had cooled]. Reading the description after finishing my sample off, I didn’t notice any chocolate notes, but had I been looking for it, I might have been able to find it. [It would have been more of a dark chocolate/cocoa type of taste, I think.]
Lastly, I didn’t add anything to any of the cups, but I think that this could stand up to a splash of milk and a dash of sugar, for sure.
ETA: [because this log needs to be longer…] the third steep was very watery. I stopped at two on consequent runs.
All in all, this was a nice, unassuming, solid cup of black tea. Nothing mind-blowing, but if I were a black tea in the morning type of person, I could see this being an easy staple. As it is, I don’t think I’ll be ordering it, but it was nice to try. If I find myself gravitating more towards black tea in the future [as my tastes tend to shift over time], I’ll be keep this one in mind, though.