Archive for Tea Review
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.
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.’
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.
(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.
Upton TK25. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: BOP-size bits, see photo. Dry tea smells of citrus. Brewed tea scent is yeasty, spicy, brothy. Taste: Clear and bright, no brackishness, hints of peaches, mushrooms and toast. Mildly astringent.
I had never had an African tea before, but Kenya was recommended to me. This is a very pleasant tea, with some unique flavors I haven’t come across before in black tea. A nice switch from my usual round of Ceylons and Assams.
Mariage Freres T302. 2.5 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: OP-size bits, see photo. Dry tea smells like roses and apricots. Brewed tea scent yeasty, malty. Taste: woody, brackish, briary, hints of tobacco. Not much finish. Strongly astringent.
A solid Ceylon, without any unpleasant notes. Similar to blends often called ‘Scottish breakfast tea,’ though this is a varietal, not a blend.
Upton TC31. 2.2 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 212℉. Impression: Broken orange pekoe-size bits, see photo. Dry tea smells floral. Brewed tea scent is yeasty, malty. Taste: floral, stone fruit, old paper, tobacco, oregano, weeds, pond muck. Moderately astringent.
Ceylon black teas are quite variable in taste. Some are lovely; some have tastes that are jut not right for me. This is one of the latter.
2.1 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 212℉. Impression: bag tea, see photo. Brewed tea scent is faintly spicy and yeasty. Taste: flat, thin, brackish. Slight maltiness, mainly in the finish. Moderately astringent.
I wanted tea to take to Readercon, without the bother of bagging my own bulk tea, so I bought a Twinnings Black Tea Variety Pack. It contains English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and Irish Breakfast. The English Breakfast was disappointing. Twinnings is loved by many, but not, apparently, me. I suspect I’ve been spoiled by the bulk teas of good by-mail suppliers, like Upton and Yunnan. The package says this tea is a blend of Kenyan and Assam. I’ve never had Kenyan, though it was recommended to me recently. I will try a different source for Kenyan at some time.