Tea Review

Early Spring Yunnan ‘Bao Hong’ Dragon Well

Yunnan Sourcing. 2.2 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 180℉. Impression: flattened leaves, typical of Lung Ching prep technique, see photo. Dry tea scent of baked biscuits. Brewed tea scent is brothy, fruity, slightly vegetal. Taste: very mild, nearly tasteless, hints of fruit and rubber or plastic. Not astringent.
Rating: ★
Not a successful tea. Pre-Ching Ming teas tend to be lighter and more subtle than later pickings, but this one is so light it barely exists. I tried a larger amount of leaves, still didn’t work.

Sandy Spring Friends School visit, April 2019

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of returning to my high school, Sandy Spring Friends School, meeting with several groups of middle-grade and high school students, talking about writing fiction, and taking questions.

For a cantankerous old hermit like me, it was quite an adventure. However, everyone treated me gently, and the experience was very enjoyable. I meant to take selfies with the students, but the moment never seemed quite right, and I thank Sharon Kathryn Yntema for providing this one, by someone else.

My thanks to Ariel Voorhees, Mimi Youmans, Kiki Vargas, Lisa Penkowsky, Sara Jameson and Lauren Mossman, who made this trip possible and held the fort together.

Tea Review

Pure Ceylon English Breakfast, Select Blend

Upton TB18. 2.2 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 212℉. Impression: dark BOP size bits, see photo. Dry tea scent: hints of mint and cedar. Brewed tea scent is yeasty, malty. Taste: Mild, brackish, woody. Moderately astringent.

Most ‘English Breakfast’ blends include some Assam for maltiness. This does not, and suffers a little for it.

Tea Review

Christmas Tea, blended in Germany

Upton TE90. 2.5 grams steeped for 4 minutes at 212℉. Impression: BOP-size tea with lighter bits of other material, see photo. Dry tea scent of lemon, clove, cardamom, potpourri-like. Brewed tea scent is dominated by clove, but there are hints of roses and perhaps cardamom? Taste: clove-y. Mildly astringent.

I am not a huge fan of flavored teas, but this one is okay. Sweetening and milk might improve it, if you drink tea that way, which I usually don’t. The ingredients list includes black tea, citrus peels, rose petals, chopped almonds, cloves, vanilla bits, cardamom, ‘artificial flavor.’

Tea Review

Idulgashinna Black Tea OP Organic, Ceylon Premium Tea

Upton TC60. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: long, dark twisted whole leaves, see photo. Dry tea scent resinous, floral, sweet, slightly grassy. Brewed tea scent is yeasty. Taste: malty, yeasty, like old leather, hint of spice. Very astringent.

A pretty tea, both in the dramatic appearance of the dry tea and the deep, clear amber of the brew. Unusual scents when dry for a black tea.

Tea Review

Uva Special BOP

(Ceylon) Upton TC51. 2.2 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 212℉. Dry tea scent: resin, fallen tree leaves. Taste: harsh, brackish, with notes of rotted wood. Moderately astringent. Unusual taste for black tea. Not for me.