423 Tasting Notes
Had a cup of this yesterday, brewed Western style. This is a sweet, malty tea, with surprisingly little astringency, and much lighter than your garden variety Assam blend. It requires no sweetening, in my opinion, and can be rebrewed 2-3 times easily.
Alas, in typical Fortnum’s fashion, it appears to be no longer available.
And of course, the caddy it came in is absolutely stunning.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Maple Syrup
I’ve been really sick for the past few days, down with what started as a simple cold, but is starting to feel a little bit too comfy, and lingering too long. Buh.
Anyway, I’ve been drinking loads of French Breakfast – with milk, without milk – as find the very gentle vanilla aroma that it has really soothing.
I have a box of these leaves both at work and at home. They are that good.
The wonderful and generous DigniTea sent me this tea as part of a swap, and the only label on the bag was “Golden Moon Tea Sinharaja”. I’ve never heard of Golden Moon Tea, or of Sinharaja before, so when I looked at the medium length, black tightly twisted leaves, I had no idea what I was up for.
But then I opened the bag.
Do you know the wonderful smell a really good Ceylon has? Of juicy plums, and sweet, sweet raisins? This tea has it, abundantly.
So, first for the Ceylon haters among you – yes, it is astringent. But it is a very, very mild astringency – something that you oftentimes get with Assams, Nilgiris, Kenyans or other non-Chinese black teas.
And now for the Ceylon lovers – how is it?
Silky smooth, with a juicy sweetness to it that has a slightly darker twist on the Ceylon flavour profile than more sparkling Ceylons and Ceylon blends have. This is like a Ceylon grown up – no longer playing the trumpet, but taking on a baritone saxophone instead. So there isn’t the bass of an Assam, or the super smoothness of the Nilgiri, but it is leaning in that direction.
An interesting and excellent Ceylon that is probably a must buy if you like Ceylons, and a “yes, you should certainly give this a go” for people who don’t normally go for the Ceylon flavour.
P.S. I wouldn’t couple this with milk, although if the astringency bothers you, sugar will take what little edge there is off.
P.S. 2 – Sipdown!
Flavors: Molasses, Plums, Raisins
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This are nifty little gems that DigniTea sent my way, and I love them! I put a few in a glass teapot, just to see them unfurl. They look lovely.
But these are not just some good looking leaves, they are great tasting too! Malty, rich, dark chocolatey and smooth, with no astringency, they are addictive to drink. I had two large mugs of this one after the other, and I blessed DigniTea and Teavivre with each sip :)
A little gem that is sure to put a smile on your face.
One of my tea loving coworkers had a birthday today, so as a treat, I asked him to pick the tea of the day. “White tea!” he exclaimed in glee. So this popped out of the cupboard and white tea was had by all. Hands down my favourite white tea, and a really lovely introduction to “bread flavoured” white teas.
Had a huge glass of this while writing today’s reviews. I love, love, love this infusion. I even asked someone (an angel!) to bring me another bag when he went on a trip to London recently, and I am shamelessly considering asking someone going next week to bring me another bag. I’ve gone through 125g of this in about 2 months, which is a breakneck pace for me. I have enough for another batch, and then that’s it for the first bag that I bought.
I can’t recommend this tea enough.
Sadly this tea does not come in one of Williamson’s gorgeous elephant caddies – only their teabags do. I snagged this in Selfridges’s Food Hall, where the didn’t have all of Williamson Tea’s selection of loose leaf teas, but they did have all the elephant caddies, for those interested.
I hadn’t tasted many Kenyan teas before this one (one or two, from The Tea House – Covent Garden and from Whittards), since they don’t seem as readily available as loose-leaf tea sold not as part of a blend. So I was really interested in tasting what seems to be Williamson Tea’s speciality – Kenyan Tea.
This is not as strong as I was expecting it to be, compared to my past experiences with Kenyan Tea, and it was more delicate, not just in flavour but in body too. If you don’t like Ceylon, but want something to fill in for the (unfortunate) Ceylon gap in your cupboard, give this a try. You can certainly brew it strong enough for milk, if you insist. It takes it rather well. But it’s best drunk plain, where it’s slightly woodsy taste has a chance to shine.
Is it as strong and malty as Assam? No.
Is it as sparklingly fresh as Ceylon? No.
Is it as delicate as fragrant Darjeeling? No.
But it seems to have combined the best qualities of all three, into something quite unique.
This tea makes me smile every time I drink it. Give it a try, if you get a chance.
Another lovely tea from the great selection that DigniTea sent over. Thank you!
This is a thumping good Dian Hong, with a smooth chocolatey that is addictive. I’ve been rushing to finish the last two papers for my MA, so I haven’t had time for a proper Gong fu session in ages, but I am definitely saving the last of this for a Gong fu brew. Which is hard. Because it is delicious. I’m starting to type silly things here because I’m not feeling well, and it’s evening, which means that my temperature has probably spiked. But I do stand behind my original assessment of this tea – a delicious, smooth, seductive, chocolatey companion. Recommend.
Sipdown! Thank you very much DigniTea for this sample – it was wonderful. I had the final sipdown side by side with Fortnum’s Dikom, and this tea is so much better. It’s maltier, sweeter, has more depth of flavour and is more smooth than F&M’s Dikom. Definitely a must buy from Butiki. Also, unlike Dikom, this tea takes milk well. I expect every good Assam to stand up to milk, for who else can, if not them? They are the boldest of teas, after all, are they not?
Bottom line: this lion is welcome to roar in my cup anytime, with milk or without.