Posts Tagged ‘Flavor Profile’
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: Boston Tea Company (website)
Ingredients: Chinese Black Tea, Ginger Pieces, Peach Pieces, Apricot Pieces, Natural Ginger-Peach Flavor
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Not Listed on the website
My first attempts at this tea left me wishing that Ginger had not left the teabag. I was greatly disappointed that a tea with ginger in the name would not taste like ginger. Ginger is a flavor profile that is hard to forget once you have a good ginger tea, the bite on your tongue, the spiciness that fills your mouth like fireworks if you could have fireworks in your mouth. Ah, I am digressing from this review.
A few days ago, I accidentally let this tea brew for four minutes! Yikes! Bitter is what awaits me with this cup. I sipped “gingerly” (wait for it, the pun is upon us) and WHOA, I was blown away by the ginger blast that hit my mouth. I drank this cup and quickly brewed a second. Waited FOUR minutes and my mouth danced in excitement. Ginger had not left the teabag! She just needed more time to arrive in my cup.
This is an excellent tea. When you smell the dry teabag, you smell peaches, nice ripe peaches. A 2-3 minute infusion will leave you with a nice black peach tea. This is very tasty over ice on a hot day. A four minute infusion will give you a ginger blast that will knock your socks off and can cure a sore throat in just one cup.
You can purchase the Ginger, Peach and Apricot Black Tea directly from the Boston Tea Company website.
Tea Company: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: Darjeeling Black Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 3-5 minutes, 208 deg. F
The Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India has produced some of the most nuanced teas for well over 150 years. Eighty-plus gardens in the district produce only 7% of India’s total tea. (Competing regions include Nilgiri and Assam.) The median flavor profile of Darjeeling teas has often been described as muscatel and light. Such a note earned these orange pekoes the designation, “The Champagne of Teas”. Not sure I agree with the title, but it is apt enough in signifying their importance.
Tea Forté is a vendor with an unusual design for their teas. Instead of a normal net sachet for the illustrious leaves, they implement a…well…there’s no other way to describe it, really. It’s a fort, an actual “tea fort”. The netting is a tall pyramid, which is individually packaged. The” tea fort” string is green with a cute li’l leaf on the end.
I’ve only ever had one other tea from Tea Forté, and the delivery mechanism got a giggle out of me. What can I say? It was satisfyingly silly. For their Estate Darjeeling, they didn’t quite specify which estate it hailed from. (Note to future tea vendors: Always list the estate.) However, it smelled lovely – albeit missing the requisite spice in the fragrant finish.
Brewing instructions sort of echoed my thoughts on Darjeeling prep. They recommended a three-to-five-minute steep in water heated to 208F (basically boiling). Personally, I found that Darjeelings worked best with “under-a-boil” water and no more than a three-minute steep. That was the approach I used when test-driving this.
Since the leaf allocation of the “tea fort” looked to be about a tablespoon worth, I filled a transparent pint glass with about 12oz of hot water. To my surprise, the leaves expanded to take up the ENTIRE sachet. I started to think I underestimated the water needed.
Thankfully, the liquor brewed to the usual amber of Darjeelings past, if a little darker. This made me think that I was dealing with an autumn flush OP. The aroma could only be described as “cocoa-grape” – muscatel with a chocolaty underpinning. The taste was boldly floral, slightly spicy, and very strong on the grapy give. I’d say it was even the most boldly muscatel of the Darjeelings I’ve tried in awhile, but part of that might also be due to the unexpected flowery profile. Quite enjoyable.
You can purchase the Estate Darjeeling directly from the Tea Forte website.
Tea Company: Hampstead Tea (website)
Ingredients: Black Tea
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. Add a dash of milk if you prefer.
I have two tea bags with which to form a review of this tea. So, I will be sharing my thoughts on this tea as I progressed through both tea tastings.
First tea bag:
The smell from the dry tea bag is minty. The teabags from Hampstead Tea are really full, not your typical tea bag. I brewed the bag for 2 minutes, added a splash of milk and sipped. “What does this remind me of? Dirt? No, mint.” For me the tea has a mint aftertaste. Is this bad? It depends, do you want your breakfast tea to remind you of mint? I decided on this first cup that I did not want mint with breakfast.
Second tea bag:
The smell from the dry tea bag is minty. No denying the mint flavor. As I brewed for two minutes, I braced myself for the previous flavor profile. I sipped my first sip and hum…it seems better to me. Is it a tea that I would pick for breakfast? Probably not. I did read another reviewers take on this tea and they compared it to a Darjeeling. I can see that comparison now that I have drank two full cups of this robust black tea.
Overall, I like Hampstead Tea tea bags, they are full and brew up nicely. This particular EB left me wanting something else. It is just not my cup of tea.
You can purchase the Organic Fairtrade English Breakfast directly from the Hampstead Tea website.
Tea Company: Golden Moon Tea (website)
Ingredients: Black Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
Dry appearance: leaves are large and coal black in color, smell is sweet like honey (hence the name)
Boiling water and 3:30 minute infusion yields a champagne colored tea. This is hard to believe that this is an unflavored black tea! The taste is more of oolong than black. The meatiness of an oolong comes to mind as I silently sip this delicate tea. This reminds me of my very first oolong…plum oolong to be exact. A woody flavor profile that lingers on your palette long after the tea has disappeared from your cup.
This tea does not need sweeteners added. The honey presence makes this perfect. I personally I am not detecting the orchid, which is fine by me. Flowers and tea is not always a tasty combination.
Overall, this tea is good. A second infusion is expected with this one since the leaves have not fully unfurled from the first infusion. If you are looking for a robust black tea, keep looking. Honey Orchid is a light tea with a dual personality: black or oolong? I will let you decide, that is if you are lucky enough or thoughtful enough to have joined the Single Leaf Club. If not, then you will just have to take my word that this is one impressive bloolackong tea!
You can purchase the Honey Orchid Black directly from the Golden Moon Tea website.