My wife and I were browsing through the local Home Goods store recently when we spotted a huge 35.27-ounce cardboard “barrel” of Touch Organic loose leaf black organic tea for under $20. I was not familiar with Touch Organic’s products but the frugal part of my brain began to kick in and send me alerts. I thought, if this tea is even half-decent, I’ll have some emergency utility black tea to reach for whenever I run out of the “good stuff.” If the tea is terrible, I haven’t lost a lot of money and I can use it to fertilize my garden.
After purchase, I waited a week to try this tea. That is very unusual for me. Normally I can’t wait to try newly acquired items and do so no later than the next day. You can see that my expectations were not very high.
I finally opened the huge cardboard container, slit open the plastic inner bag, and pushed my nose inside to investigate the unbrewed aroma of the dark black tea leaves. The substantial smell was similar to that of the Keemun teas from the Yunnan province of China which I LOVE. The tell-tale leather quality was definitely there. After closer inspection of the very plain barrel label, I noticed that it also identified this product as Keemun English Breakfast tea, in small hard-to-read letters.
I steeped the dark leaves for five minutes at 212 degrees. The brewed color was a reddish amber. The odor was semi-powerful and slightly floral.
At first sip, I still was only hoping for a taste that I could live with when I had no better tea at my disposal. But…WOW…the flavor of this tea was (as Tony The Tiger used to say)…GREAT!!! I was blown away by the melodious effect of Yunnan taste partnered with subtle fruity and floral attributes. The balance of all flavors was exquisite. The sum of the parts was an extremely smooth, tasty, and satisfying tea. The aftertaste was light and airy. I encountered no astringency at any time.
I learned two valuable lessons with this tea:
1. You do not have to spend a fortune to enjoy a superior blend.
2. Good teas do come in plain wrappers.
This selection was immediately promoted from my emergency-when-nothing-good-is-available standby product to one of my favorite teas in my arsenal!
If you are lucky enough to stumble upon this tea at a Home Goods store or elsewhere, GRAB IT!!! You will be glad you did!
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Leather, Tea