Midday Flight Black Tea Blend from Tippy’s Tea

MiddayFlightTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

Tippy’s own unique afternoon blend. Drink it in the afternoon or it is really great as an everyday tea. Smooth and well balanced with malty undertones.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve tried a couple of Tippy’s Teas now, and I have to say that I’m very happy with what I’ve tried so far!  This Midday Flight is lovely!

When I think “black tea,” generally, I think “morning tea” because I usually enjoy the black teas early in the day and by ‘midday’ I’m usually switching to either green or Oolong tea.  But, every once in a while, I want the rich, rewarding flavor of a black tea in the afternoon.

Today is one such afternoon.  I need something to give me a little more of a boost (read:  caffeine) than I get from a green or Oolong tea, so it’s black tea to the rescue!  Specifically, this Midday Flight from Tippy’s Tea.

This is rich and flavorful and very smooth.  The combination of Ceylon, Keemun, Assam and Darjeeling is wonderful and I like that I can taste ‘components’ of each tea.  I taste the rich, malty flavor of the Assam.  I taste a slight smoky character from the Keemun.  I taste the smooth, even tone of the Ceylon.  And I taste the light, crisp note of the Darjeeling.

The sip starts out with notes of malt and smoke.  It starts out with a strong, earthy flavor.  There is no mistaking that I’m sipping on black tea the moment I start sipping.  It’s not aggressive though.  It’s approach is smooth.  By mid-sip, I pick up on wine-like notes with fruity notes of grape and citrus.  The earthy qualities remain throughout the sip.  Beneath these notes, I taste a light sweetness that is honey-esque with very subtle molasses notes.

The finish is dry but not overly astringent.  There is some astringency and it does build – the first few sips were barely astringent and now that i’m more than halfway through my cup, I am noting more astringency than I experienced at the start.  But it’s not a bitter or jarring astringency.  It is as though my taste buds grabbed a little towel and patted my tongue dry so that it could be ready for another sip.

Very satisfying.  I’m enjoying this tea immensely.  It’s rich and flavorful and very smooth.  One of the best Afternoon blends I’ve ever encountered!

24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 6 from Teanzo 1856

We are on Day six of this Holiday Countdown!  With each day that passes, I get to sample a different tea – I hope you’re also enjoying a cup of awesomeness too!

ornamentFor today’s holiday “inspiration”, I chose an ornament I made a few years ago for a 12 Days of Christmas Swap.   I had a huge stash of these oval “paperboard” coasters (I still have a bunch of them somewhere) that I had bought to practice making Zentangles on and one day, I sat there and feeling uninspired by Zentangles but very inspired by paisleys (I love paisley), I decided to start decoupaging on the coasters instead.  I first put down a layer of sheet music, (I may have layered it with newspaper too), and then I put a colorful paisley design napkin over that and after the glue was dry, I started painting in the paisley design with shimmering paint.  I added a few rhinestones on it and then I put eyelets on the top and bottom and added the hanging ribbon and the fringe (which I made too).  It was a fun project.

I think that going back through these pieces is starting to dust off the creativity again.  (I hope!)  In the meantime, let me tell you about the tea that Teanzo sent me for the sixth day in this Advent Calendar!


darjeelingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

With its muscatel finish, Darjeeling Tea is a pleasure to sip and savor. Grown in the picturesque tea gardens of the Himalayan Mountains, Darjeeling tea, also known as the “champagne” of teas is a highly sought after treasure from India. Darjeeling tea matures slowly at high altitude, producing the fine Darjeeling muscatel flavor exclusively found in this region.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:  

What a lovely tea to be sipping on this afternoon!  I was very happy to see that Darjeeling was the tea for today!

This Darjeeling has a very pleasant and crisp flavor.  It’s sweet and fruity.  Muscatel!  I taste that grape-y, wine-like note that starts off tasting a bit like black currant and then morphs into a stronger grape note.  The finish is sweet and dry, but it’s not overly dry.  It’s more like the light, dry sensation you might experience if you were drinking wine.

As I continue to sip, I pick up on notes of flower.  Subtle and sweet, it is a different sweetness that I taste from the fruit notes and I like the dimension that these floral notes bring to the cup.

I also find that as I continue to sip, the body of this tea changes somewhat.  It started out rather light, but as the tea cools – or as I sip? – not sure which!  But as I continue my journey with this tea, I find that the body seems to develop somewhat and there is a more substantial texture to the tea now than when I first started sipping it.

What that suggests to me is that this tea would make a stunning iced tea.  I don’t generally recommend a Darjeeling tea as an iced tea because I feel like most Darjeeling teas tend to lose *something* as the tea cools.  The flavor is just not as spectacular when the tea is cold versus hot when it comes to Darjeeling teas.  Most Darjeeling teas, that is!  This one, however, this I would be happy to drink either hot or iced and I’m intrigued that the tea becomes something different as it becomes cool.

A lovely Darjeeling – I would recommend this one highly to those who are new to Darjeeling.  It makes a nice starter Darjeeling because it’s nearly as astringent as some Darjeeling teas can be.  I’d also recommend this to Darjeeling enthusiasts who are looking for the ideal iced Darjeeling!

Lady Londonderry from English Tea Store

LadyLondonDerryTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  English Tea Store

Tea Description:

Our Lady Londonderry Tea is a delightful afternoon tea with a malty floral flavor and hints of strawberry and lemon. This tea is made from black tea, dried orange, daisy white, and natural flavors. This tea is delicious hot or iced, and either way, your family and guests will feel like royalty!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Ah … this is nice!

The black tea base is so smooth and malty.  I like that I’m getting a rather rich, malty taste but it’s not an overly assertive tea.  It truly is a perfect afternoon tea.  Not a strong or hefty cup of tea that you need in the morning, but a pleasantly smooth cup – an ideal tea to brew for guests to make them feel welcome.

There are pleasant floral notes that are soft and add a touch of femininity to the cup.  The notes of strawberry and citrus are delicate.  I like it when I find flavored teas like this – where the flavoring is strong enough to be tasted but not so strong that they’re overwhelming the flavors of the tea.

To brew this tea, I had just enough of it in the sampling that I received from a friend to brew in my Kati Tumbler.  I put the loose leaf into the basket of the Kati and added boiling water to the tumbler and let it steep for 3 minutes.

The result is a really enjoyable cup that isn’t overly astringent.  I feel a slight dryness toward the end of the sip.  The sip starts out smooth and sweet with light floral notes.  Then I start to pick up on the strawberry and the strawberry is a whisper of a flavor but it lingers well into the aftertaste where I experience that berry tingle.  The lemon is a light “brightness” that weaves its way throughout the sip and it’s a very uplifting flavor.

Very nice, indeed!

Baker Street Afternoon Blend from Upton Tea Imports

BakerStreetBlendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

A bit of Lapsang Souchong is blended with Keemun and Darjeeling, yielding a mildly smoky tea. Perfect for an afternoon uplift. Another special (whole-leaf) blend from our London source of fine teas.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve confessed many times, I’m not a big fan of Lapsang Souchong so when I receive a blend with Lapsang Souchong in it, I’m a little timid.  I don’t hate Lapsang Souchong, but there are so many other teas that I’d rather be drinking.  The overwhelmingly smoky note is just … well, it’s overwhelming.

When I first opened the pouch, I noticed the smoky notes right away.  But I was happy to find that the smoke is not an overbearing presence in either the dry leaf or in the brewed tea.  It’s there – it’s definitely there! – but it doesn’t overpower the blend.

This Baker Street Afternoon Blend from Upton Tea Imports is actually quite nice.  The smoky notes are not overwhelming.  It is mildly smoky and I’m enjoying the mild level of smoke here.  It’s allowing me to enjoy the complexity of the tea.

And that’s important because there are three teas in this blend:  Lapsang Souchong, Darjeeling and Keemun.  I like that I can taste the fruity notes of the Darjeeling and Keemun.  I like the way these two teas create a lovely wine-like flavor and the smokiness of the Lapsang adds a really interesting dimension to that wine-like quality.

To brew this blend, I used my Kati Tumbler.  I heated the water to 205°F.  I added 1 bamboo scoop of the tea blend to my tumbler infuser basket and I poured the hot water over the leaves.  I let this tea steep for 15 seconds and then I strained off the leaves and discarded the liquid.  (Yes, I did a rinse.  There is Lapsang Souchong in this blend and I find that Lapsang Souchong – even when in blends – is much better tasting to my palate when I do a rinse.)  Then I replaced the basket and refilled the tumbler with 205°F water and steeped it for 3 minutes.

Overall, a very enjoyable cup of tea.  It’s called an “Afternoon” tea and it has a medium to full body to it, making it a nice choice for afternoon sipping, especially on a cooler afternoon like this.  (I’m so happy that autumn appears to have finally arrived!  I actually wore a sweater today!)  It’s warm and cozy and it has a certain comforting element to it too.  It’s a little more robust than a typical afternoon cup but that edge can be softened by the addition of milk and honey (if you like it in your tea), or you can save this for the afternoons when you need a little more than a gentle pick me up!

Organic Sungma Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush 2014 from Happy Earth Tea

SungmaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Happy Earth Tea

Tea Description:

An enchanting Darjeeling first flush with a highly refined floral bouquet and well rounded flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:  

I was so excited to receive a selection of the fresh, spring harvested teas from Happy Earth Tea!  This Organic Sungma Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush is the first that I’ve tried from their 2014 teas.

Ahh!  It is crisp and invigorating when it washes over the palate.  If your tea repertoire tends to be of the “usual” teas like blacks and greens, you really should incorporate a Darjeeling tea in there every once in a while.  It really wakes up the palate!

And the flavor is smooth and sweet with notes of flower and fruit.  I don’t get a strong “muscatel” from this Darjeeling, then again, it is a first flush and you can expect more muscatel from the second flush than the first.  But this does have some wine-like notes that are muscatel-ish and make this fan of Darjeeling happy.

It has a nicely round flavor and less astringency than I would have expected from a Darjeeling.  A really nice sweetness comes from the fruit notes.  A sweet aftertaste.  I find this to be more fruity and less woodsy than a typical Darjeeling.

Overall, this is one of the nicest first flush Darjeeling teas that I’ve tasted in a while.  I love that it’s so fresh, I love that it’s Organic, and I love that it’s a Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance tea.  I love Happy Earth’s dedication to our planet!  Everything about this tea – rocks!