Posts Tagged ‘Personal Enjoyment’
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: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: organic Indian Assam black tea, natural orange flavor, natural bergamot flavor, organic cornflower blossoms
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 3-5 minutes, 208degF
From the moment at which I remove the pyramid infuser from its cardboard cover, I know there is something different about this Earl Grey. The smell of bergamot is not very strong. In fact, it is hardly present at all. Popping the infuser into my Tea Forte Cafe Cup, I fill the cup with just boiled water and let it steep for four minutes…a happy medium in the 3-5 minute range that was given by Tea Forte’s website!
The tea being now prepared, I take a whiff of the steeping, once again surprised by the smell. It is spicy with a bit of a fruity smell. Intrigued, I go on to try this cup of tea, sip by sip. My first sip is possibly the most astringent Earl Grey I have ever tasted! The bergamot is finally hinted at in the aftertaste, but the tea itself is so incredibly astringent that I wonder if I mistimed this tea. I ditch this cup and prepare to steep a new one.
This second cup I steep for only two and a half minutes. I know this is less than what was suggested, but I figure it is better to be safe. This second cup still smells exactly the first one, which worries me slightly, but I forge onward with this tasting! Still astringent, even after such a short steep time. But it is not as bad as the first cup was. The bergamot flavor is very fake and overdone, which is a bit of a turn-off, considering that this is supposed to be Earl Grey, not cologne.
If hunting for a cup of Earl Grey, this is not the tea to which to turn. I recommend trying a different brand. Sorry, Tea Forte, but this tea needs to go back to the mixing room. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 45/100.
You can purchase the Earl Grey directly from the Tea Forte website.
Category of Tea: Herbal
Tea Company: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: hibiscus, rosehip, apple, blackberry leaves, raspberries, orange peel, flavoring, citric acid
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 5 minutes, 208°F For stronger flavor, steep longer
Preparing to try out this herbal blend, the first thing that I notice in the smell of the dry leaves is “Hmmm, hibiscus.” After boiling some water, I steep one pyramid infuser in a cup of water for five minutes to prepare to taste the “nectar”! The steeping brew still smells a lot like hibiscus, but the raspberry and orange peel smells are noticeable as well.
The first sip of this herbal tisane is a massively juicy explosion of flavor. Tea Forte’s website had listed the ingredients as “rosehip, hibiscus, apple pieces, blackberry leaves, raspberries, orange peels, flavoring” and there is so much going on in the taste that I believe it has all those things and more. Thankfully, since this blend is called “Raspberry Nectar,” raspberry is one of the dominant flavors. The sweetness of the apple does come out quite nicely, albeit subtly. This would be a decent desert drink, especially if one is looking for something low in caffeine. On my personal enjoyment scale, I rate it a 72/100.
You can purchase Tea Forte Raspberry Nectar directly from their website.
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Puerh tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use the gongfu style. A small teapot (or small amount of water) with 3-4 g of tea and hot water: 95°C (203°F) infused for just 20 secs. Reinfuse at least 6 times
Descriptions of this pu’erh say it is to be sweet and mellow. The dry cake is very spicy and sweet with a touch of smokiness. Flaking off several pieces of the larger cake into a gaiwan and prepared to rinse the leaves. The now-wet leaves carry less of a smoky smell than before. My first steeping is for thirty seconds. This infusion is sweet, spicy, and only carries the slightest of smoke-tinged aroma. My first taste is mellow, bold, and has only the slightest of rough edges. The slight smokiness does not in any way detract from the flavour. That same flavour is not overly vegetal. This cooked pu’erh really has mellowed in the twelve years since it was harvested.
The second 30-second infusion is no less smooth and mellow. This pu’erh has been a pure joy to drink so far. The second infusion tastes just like the first, except the aftertaste is a bit woodier. Not a rough woodiness, but the woody flavour is just a bit more intense.
As the infusions continue, the flavours do become more bold as the water puts the tea through its paces. This tea is faintly reminiscent of a lapsang souchong at times, because of the smokiness. After a total of six infusions, the steepings starts to weaken. I am a big fan of this tea and give it an 87/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the 1999 Yi Wu Cooked Brick directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: white tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use 1-2 tsp per cup (200ml); water temperature around 75°C (167°F) and infuse for 2-3 mins; and infuse 2-3 times
The aromas of this white tea’s dry leaves are quite sweet and grassy. Fuzzy, short, white twists intermix with small green leaves for an enjoyable looking tea. Canton Tea Co’s packaging suggests using 2 teaspoons of leaf per cup of water and infusing the tea for 2-3 minutes. Accordingly, 2 teaspoons of the tiny leaves went into my cup for a little over 2 minutes. The resulting aroma of this tea was somewhat different than the dry leaves suggested.
My cup of tea still maintained its grassy aromas, yet felt deeper and stronger with a light, roasted smell. I was further surprised when, upon tasting it for the first time, the flavour burst in my mouth, both sweet and fruity and without a lot of the formerly smelled grassiness. Impressed by the full flavour, I continue drinking.
This is one complex white tea…the flavour is not, in any way, straightforward. Slightly reminiscent of half a dozen different white teas, this is a must-try for white tea lovers. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 91/100.
You can purchase the Ye Sheng Wild White Tea directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.