Whisky Tea/Whittard of Chelsea -VariaTEA-

I have never been a fan of whisky. My step-dad likes it and so when a young me meandered up to the side of of my mom’s bed and looked at the glass of whisky on the night stand and then at my mom and then back at the glass and back at my mom, my mom had no qualms about giving me the okay to taste it. Why? Because I reacted in the very way she expected…I took the tiniest sip and then spat it out and yelled “EWWWWWW!!!” I did not like it then. I still do not like it now. So when a tea friend sent me a whole bunch of this Whisky tea by Whittard of Chelsea, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

That is until the other day when my family made pulled pork, which required 2L bottles of coke. My mom bought the off-brand coke figuring it was going in the food and wouldn’t really matter thus no sense spending the extra money on actual Coca Cola. So when there was a bit leftover, we were unsure of what to do with it. I felt inspired and decided to use it in a teapop. That left me with the question of which tea to use and it was this one that came to mind.

I brewed up both a plain hot cup of the tea and a teapop. Both were steeped for 3 minutes in 200F water.

The hot cup is malty. Malty but brisk. The underlying flavor is dry, like alcohol. It is like a breakfast tea but with alcohol. Definitely not the tea for me. I like softer and more dessert-like flavors. Astringency and briskness with a touch of alcohol is just not for me. However, for those that like breakfast teas and whisky, this could be right up your alley.

As for the teapop, it’s more of the same but with the off-brand coke, it has a pretty strong medicinal quality. It latches on to the dryness and gives this a bit of a cough syrup element. Like cherry cough syrup but without the cherry.

This tea smelled good in the bag but ended up being quite the bust. I think that is more due to my personal tastes than a reflection on the tea. Plus, it was not helped by the off-brand coke flavor since I am a Coca Cola girl through and through. So while this was not good for me, I do see that it has potential for those that enjoy these flavors.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Whittard of Chelsea

Description

Specially for those who love a tipple, we’ve concocted a rich black tea laced with flavours of fine Scotch whisky, adding a highland fling of heather petals in true Scottish spirit. With its warm, rounded flavours and malty sweetness, this tea is as good as any hot-toddy – so you won’t be needing that hip flask after all…

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mist Valley Estate TGBOP1/Upton Tea

I usually drink black tea from China, but today I am making a little excursion to Nepalese black tea! My expectation is that it will taste more similar to tea from India than from China, and I was correct. It even had a tiny darjeeling vibe!

This is a high-grown tea from an estate that has been in operation since 1989 and has been processing their own tea since 2004. They are currently converting their operations to all organic, so I am looking forward to trying it again in the future!

This is indeed a broken orange pekoe with shades ranging from golden tan to deep brown. In the photo online it shows a lot of green like a darjeeling but my own sample is more tan and almost a cream color mixed with the darker leaves.

I kept the steep on the short side (two minutes) in case this was more reminiscent of an Assam, a tea that is tasty but wreaks havoc on my tender tummy, but I must say it was very well-behaved and perfectly drinkable without additions.

Being high-grown, I thought it might be a bit on the astringent side, but it is only pleasantly brisk. It has a truly classic black tea aroma and taste, mild but not wimpy, lightly brisk but not tart and puckery, and I would call it all around a good basic black tea. It is not overly complex drinking it western style as I am, but at this price I do not expect complex tea. It was a very good accompaniment to my lunch.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea

Description

In hues ranging from light to dark brown, the small, neatly made leaves of this Nepal black tea offering are sprinkled with silver tips. The golden amber liquor is fragrant with a light, fresh aroma. The flavor is rich with floral notes and a sweet, lingering finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Muguru Ceylon/Lumbini Tea Valley

Take a large tea leaf, processes it, roll the leaf in twisted fashion length-wise, tie one end, and you end up with this unique looking large leaf ceylon tea. If Liu An Gua Pian had a brother, this would be him.

Even after steeping past the directed 30 seconds, which I thought was too light, I found that the flavor is incredibly subtle. Almost to the point that if you don’t swish it in your mouth a few times you miss some real unique honey and malt notes.

It must have taken some very sturdy, very careful hands in order to craft this tea. To tie each tip must be incredibly time consuming. As we come around to the second steeping the tea becomes somewhat floral with very sweet overtones. Almost like someone added sugar. The malt still remains. The sweetness continues into the third steeping. No astringency after steeping over 4 minutes.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Lumbini Tea Valley

Description

Natural malt with a hint of lingering sweetness

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jin Kong Que/Masters by Adagio Teas

Lately I’ve found myself skipping over the flavored teas and going straight to my straight teas.  Flavored teas just haven’t been hitting it for me and so this am while I was setting up my tea tray with my tea for the day, I grabbed this delight- Jin Kong Que from Masters by Adagio Teas.  Reading the description the mention of roasted sweet potato caught my eye and my tastebuds.

Brewed with freshly boild water and allowed to steep just for about 30 seconds or so, this tea delivers spot on flavors that keep you reaching for your cuppa.  Lovely soft roasted notes with a sweetness that does remind you of a sweet potato are definetly coming through strong.  In the background you are getting this beautiful malty touch that levels each sip out along with a roasted/toasted finish.  Smooth, simple, yet so on point and so delicoiusly addictive.  I did under steep the tea and the parameters on the site indicate 2-3 minutes but since I used a bit more leaf, I wanted to be conservative without overbrewing.

Next steeping, I did allow the tea to properly steep and I think I preferred doing a shorter steep.  The light delicate flavors I was really enjoying before are still enjoyable but there is a harsher after taste of astrigency that I’m not 100% loving.  I could have also over steeped by a moment or two so that harshness could be my bumbling of steeping.

Regardless, this tea shows how simply smooth, rich, and beautiful a black tea really can be.  I’m quite in love with this tea and sad that I no longer have this tea to enjoy but happy the tea is still available on the site so I have a feeling this tea will be a future buy quite soon.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Masters by Adagio Teas

Description

Jin Kong Que is a remarkable tea handmade in the Yunnan Province of China. It has a rare ability to balance bold flavor without giving off bitterness. Its name, which translates to Golden Peacock, is as flashy as its namesake with fairly large, very golden leaves and leaf buds. The liquor does not disappoint as it boasts intricate notes of honey, toastiness, cocoa, and roasted sweet potato.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Karakundah Black/Simple Loose Leaf

Some mornings are no-nonsense; this Monday is one of them. No time for blends. Time for serious faces, email, and caffeine.

This black tea, which I received this month in my Simple Loose Leaf box, is a yummer. (Nope, “yummer” is not a word — or is it NOW a word? Language evolves, guys. Start using “yummer.” Let’s see if we can get it to catch on).

I knew immediately that this tea was from India because of its slightly spicy and raisin-y tones. The name “Karakundah” also helped — the name didn’t ring as Asian. Turns out that this estate is the highest commercial tea estate in the world.

Make sure to share that fact at your next party. You’ll be swarmed with friends in no time.

This black tea’s powerful rich and malty flavor from a single teaspoon made it clear to me from the get-go that it was a high quality pick. And, lo and behold, it turns out that it’s an “orange pekoe,” which is the highest quality of leaf on the grading scale. (The lowest quality is “fannings and dust,” which I’ve heard is what they throw into commercially-available pre-bagged cheap tea.)

Overall, this pick has gusted me into Awake Land in a quality, unfettered way. It met and, I daresay, exceeded my expectations. Nice work, you high-elevation pals. I tip my cap to you.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Description

Karakundah tea estates, found in the Nilgiri region of India, produce some of the highest grade black teas in that region. Commonly known for the medium-bodied cup of tea, Karakundah black teas are highly sought after on the world stage making this tea a prize for international buyers. Serve with or without milk and add sugar to taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!