by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author)
Time for the final 4 of those 10 tea samples from a local vendor. My humans and I have been, quite frankly, a bit astonished, which doesn’t happen much lately. Time to see if these last 4 teas will bring the same reaction. TOOOOOT!
The Third Batch – Four Teas
#1 – Classic English Breakfast – Orthodox black tea blend designed to be perfect as your cup of “bed tea” (should you be so lucky as to have a maid or a loving spouse who will serve it to you when you first wake in the morning) or (obviously) that breakfast go-with tea. Pleasant aroma in the package. Steeps up a nice dark amber in the cup. My humans each took tentative sips… ah, no puckering! A good sign. That means there’s no bitterness or astringency, even when steeped that full 5 minutes as yours truly did. They tried it with milk and sweetener and were again pleased, with the flavor of the tea being strong enough to come through in each sip. Time to start baking the scones!
#2 – Truly Citrus Earl Grey – My guess is you have all tried Earl Grey versions out there at some time or another. My humans tried quiet a few. They used to drink a particular one for years and then stopped, preferring unflavored teas instead. And many of the versions they’d tried didn’t seem to have a true citrus flavor. Well, this one, as the name implies, does! You detect it in the package and in the cup! My ‘he’ human also tried it with a bit of honey added, more as a lark than out of necessity since the tea was not bitter, sour, or astringent as others have been. They may try this one chilled at some time when the weather gets warmer.
#3 – Apple Spice Black Tea – Apples are certainly popular fruits with you humans. They are supposed to be healthy as well as good tasting. So I can understand them being added to teas. Combined with a little fresh cinnamon, and this flavored tea seems just right. Time to steep! Again, as mentioned in Part II, the cinnamon aroma is pretty strong in the dry mix, and my humans are a bit anxious that it will be too strong in the cup, making the tea a bit on the bitter side. As I pour out the tea, they eye it almost as one would eye a soufflé, expecting it to fall flat any second……tthhhhhhhhhhht! Well, they took a sip and all I can say is “The soufflé did not fall flat!” In other words, they liked it! Apparently, the apple flavor (from real apple bits) added a natural sweetness that countered any bitterness that might have come from the cinnamon. Another one that is also good with milk and sweetener, and I suspect that it would be good chilled as well.
#4 – Classic Irish Breakfast – The name says “Classic” but my humans actually found this to be an interesting twist on most Irish Breakfast teas, where they tend to be overly strong malty CTC Assam black teas. This one blends orthodox black teas from Sri Lanka and Assam to give a strong flavor that is as good straight as it is the way the Irish enjoy it: a dash of milk and a spoonful or two of sugar (or the equivalent sweetener of your choice).
There you have it – 10 teas and not one gave either yours truly or my humans cause for complaint. If you end up trying any of these, please share your tasting notes with us. We love to compare results.
Side note: You will have noticed that each of the 10 teas is very close in color to the others in the cup. Their flavors, though, are quite different. It just goes to show that how the tea looks is not an indicator of how it will taste.
Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text