Posts Tagged ‘Black tea’
Tea Company: Hampstead Tea (website)
Ingredients: Fairtrade black tea, natural oil of bergamot
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use one sachet or level teaspoon of tea leaves per person. Brew with freshly boiled water and infuse for up to three minutes
This tea has possibly one of the most well-described packages I have ever seen. The single teabag package reads: “Hamstead Tea, London. Organic Fairtrade Earl Grey with aromatic bergamot. 1 staple-free teabag.”
Wow, that is quite a mouthful. I personally do not know anyone who buys teabags who is also concerned about saving some metal, but by the look of the string attached to the teabag, it makes me wonder why more teabag-producers do not follow this. It seems that Hamstead has implemented an easy way to do away with stables entirely. But how about the tea itself?!
The packaging recommends 3-5 minutes for steeping. The last earl grey that I tried oversteeped even with low steep times, so I boil some water and decide to go for the lower end here with 3 minutes of infusion. While I will admit that I am not big on bagged tea, this tea smells quite good, dry in the bag. A hint of orange provides a nice aroma. The steeping tea gives off a pleasant bergamot aroma. The first sip confirms that 3 minutes was a perfect amount of steeping, unless you prefer your tea stronger. For a bagged tea, this is pretty smooth, but it lacks a bit in the flavor profile. This is definitely a quality bagged tea. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 65/100.
You can purchase the Biodynamic, Organic and Fairtrade Earl Grey directly from the Hampstead Tea website.
Tea Company: Golden Moon Tea (website)
Ingredients: Finest Black & Green Tea, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon, Spice Oil
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Brew at 212° F (boiling) Steep for 4 minutes Use 1 teaspoon per serving Can be re-steeped up to 2 times
Dry leaves are black, wiry, tightly rolled leaves
Smell is of cinnamon
Wet: the leaves completely unfurled revealing black and dark green torn leaves
Finest black and green tea, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and spice oil
I made this tea stovetop. Here is my recipe:
1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup 2% milk, entire sample packet
Simmer for 9 minutes, let stand 1 minute, strain and Enjoy.
As the tea simmered, I was reminded of the homemade cocoa my Mother used to make when I was little. The color was a milky, chocolaty inviting cocoish kind of color that invokes memories of gentler times.
Someone once said that this tea was a tea for all seasons. I agree with that statement, it is a gently spiced tea that is very satisfying. The absence of pepper + the presence of a green tea contribute to the overall mildness of this blend. I could see myself drinking this at night outside enjoying my fire pit.
I believe that you really need more leaf to make this tea really pop, leaving the question in my mind: how much to purchase a full tin or half a pound? It is really one of those teas that warrant a BIG bag purchase.
You can purchase the Kashmiri Chai directly from the Golden Moon Tea website.
Tea Company: The East India Company (website)
Ingredients: Black tea, “sensuous blossoms and tantalising spices”
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 4-5 minutes
This tastes purple. Very, very purple. Crayola Purple.
Other than that, I’m at a bit of a loss to describe this one. British East India isn’t particularly forthcoming with their ingredient list, so the ability to match what I’m tasting with what the label says I’m supposed to be tasting is limited. The only other hint given on the packet is a strength of “4″ on a rating scale of Zed to … well, they don’t tell us that, either.
Dry, this blend has short, thick, dark leaves–a good black tea base. Those are accompanied by long, gold leafy bits that I can’t identify and bits and shards of the “tantalising spices.” Almost sandalwoody in character. (Which, in keeping with the Kama Sutra frame of reference, would be appropriate.)
After a four minute steep, we get a cup of deep, velvety red-brown liquid that is thick and hefty on the tongue. Flavor…well, we’re back to purple, even a little bitter. (Probably best to stay a little light on the leaf–I did a teaspoon to an 8 ounce cup.) The sensuous blossoms have a deep, dark personality–not tart and bright like hibiscus, more like violets or periwinkle or pansies. This is by no means grape flavored, but you do catch yourself holding your tongue the same way you do after a shot of Welch’s unsweetened juice.
Quailty tea veiled in a bit of mystery.
You can purchase the Kama Sutra Revitalising Tea directly from the The East India Company website.
Tea Company: Teavivre (website)
Ingredients: black tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 1-2 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 185 degF (85 degC) for 2 to 3 minutes
Bai Lin Gong Fu – other than sounding like the name of a cheesy 70s martial arts flick – is a black tea hailing from Fujian province, China. The territory is best known for producing Wuyi oolongs and the ever-famous Bai Hao Yinzhen (or Silver Needle white tea). The only other black tea I know of made their is Golden Monkey, which is just AWESOME! Anyway…
This was an impressive enough looking black tea with brown-to-black, curled leaves in full effect. Tippy pieces also dotted the canvas, giving a spritely touch to the earthy presentation. Smelling it was also an experience, for I found it hard to pinpoint what to call the scent; I settled on “caramel musk” – even though that sounds like a male aftershave.
Teavivre recommended 1-2 tsps. per 8oz. of 185F water steeped for two-to-three minutes. I braved a quickie brew-up at 199F water for two minutes – 1 tbsn. and a 12oz. cup. I was on the go.
The liquor brewed a deep red-brown with a smoky-sweet aroma that reminded me of a Keemun. Further whiffing turned up notes of wood, leather and chocolate. Y’know…manly things. There seemed to also be a dryness to the scent, which turned up on the flavorful forefront. However, that was thankfully minor, and it was followed up by a bold, malty middle with shades of honey. Some bitterness showed up on finish, but I owed that to my near-boil brew-up, not the leaves. This was different from the other two Bai Lins I’ve tried – which both exhibited more earthy, Yunnan-like tendencies – but I still favored its robust roundhouse kick of a taste. It’s a morning cup, that’s for certain.
You can purchase the Bailin Gongfu directly from the Teavivre website.
Tea Company: Gorreana Tea (website)
Ingredients: Black Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
A couple of months back, when the time came for me to select my IAATL samples, I squealed with delight when I found a new growing region listed. Portugal. There was tea. Grown. In PORTUGAL! I was stoked and immediately requested it. Alas, I was a hair to slow for the loose leaf Orange Pekoe, but the teabag version was still available. Silver medal ain’t bad.
For those that don’t know, Gorreana Tea (yes, I know what the name sounds like – stop giggling) is the only tea plantation in mainland Europe. It was founded in 1883, and it was “green” before the environmental connotations even existed. And since the tea plants they grow are in the Azores region (i.e. high altitude), they are naturally pest and pesticide free. Yes, that means “organic” to you hippies out there.
It wasn’t easy judging the contents of the OP teabag. After all, they were mostly hidden from view. That and I didn’t feel like tearing it open to view the fannings. I knew they would be fannings just by the feel of the bag. So, I put nose to filter and whiffed…and was greeted by something sweet. Splendid start.
I guess I “could’ve” adhered to some formal brewing instruction for this…but I didn’t. It was a teabag; I treated it as such. 12oz. cup of near-boiling water and a three-minute steep. Seemed a reasonable approach.
The liquor brewed to something I can only describe as “soft cherrywood red”. It had a very gentle-seeming appearance – beguiling even. The aroma was slightly tannic, incredibly floral, and welcoming in its gentleness. The same was the case with the taste. It started off with a midly astringent intro but cascaded into something different. This was an orange pekoe through-and-through – lacking the Darjeeling spiciness but possessing the subtleties of a soft blanket in beverage form. This was the most perfect teabag that I’ve ever dunked. I wish I had more of ‘em for early afternoon tea fixes. Hopefully, an opportunity will come in my fantasyland future to try the loose leaf version…at the plantation itself. *Le sigh*
You can purchase the Orange Pekoe directly from the Gorreana Tea website.