This tea arrived on my tea table in the form of a 7 gram sample that was kindly included in a recent purchase I made over at What-cha.
It’s an in-house creation, and is a blend of three black teas – Yunnan Black Gold, Vietnam Wild Boar, and Kenya FOP.
The neat thing about having a slightly larger sample size such as this is that you can eke out a couple of sessions with the leaves, to get a better understanding as to how you get on with them. In this case this meant that the second session included a minor tweak to one of the associated variables, namely tea/water ratio, specifically down from 4 dl for the 3.5 grams to 3dl.
As always, this is how I found the tea worked best for my own personal taste…
|Weight of dry leaf:||3.5 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||300 ml glass teapot|
|No. & duration:||a single infusion @ 3 minutes|
For the average tea drinker an encounter with something named “English Breakfast” might well mean CTC granules stuffed into some sort of small infuser that looks more like a medieval torture device designed to work on thumbs, or even a dust filled small paper envelope dangled in a cup. The resulting liquor could be so bitter as to be undrinkable without the addition of half a dairy’s worth of milk, and a handful of sugar.
If you think of that kind of tea as the sort of verse you might find printed on the inside of a cheap Christmas card, then you should think of this tea as a sonnet by Shakespeare in comparison. Conceptually they might be the same genre in the broadest of senses, but the latter is upgraded, improved, refined.
This blend manages to deliver a full body with a bit of a kick behind it without any bitterness at all, making it a perfect choice for those who take their tea sans cow juice. After a late night followed by an early start I was in real need of a pick-me-up, and believe you me, this tea certainly did the business. After my first encounter of the thirsty kind with this tea, I was refreshed and raring to go, despite the potentially mood crushing damp, grey, dreary weather.
This tea is English by name, and by Jove it delivered a truly British taste. The liquor had strong notes of malt and raisins, which pressed all the right cognitive buttons and brought forth memories of Soreen malt loaf, one of Blighty’s most delicious and yet internationally less well known culinary delights.
There was also a delightful dark chocolate aftertaste, as well as a peppery fizz somewhere in the background.
From the perspective of my own stash, I see this tea fulfilling a role as a weekend breakfast tea, or as an occasional “mid-afternoon break with something sticky and sweet” tea. I wouldn’t want to get overly familiar with it, as in my experience drinking any tea day in day out, no matter how good it is, will eventually leave me feeling a bit “meh” towards it, and that is certainly not how I want to feel about this tea.
And make no mistake, this is a very nice tea. Complex, full bodied and delicious, this is a blend that takes a tea type where it is not exactly a challenge to find not so nice versions, and elevates it to another level.
Well worth checking out. Highly recommended.