Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tea Review 102 - Teas Etc Black Tea (x3)


Golden Monkey
Ceylon OP1
Assam Reserve
Teas Etc

(Update)
When I originally wrote this review, I made the observation that the Assam tasted like a Ceylon and vice versa and speculated that maybe the samples had been mislabeled. Teas Etc responded by sending more samples of each.

I can say for sure now that the Assam I reviewed was actually an Assam and a rather good one at that. As for the Ceylon, I've finally found that most elusive of creatures, a Ceylon variety that I'd rank as truly outstanding. This one gets my highest recommendation.


(Original Post)
I'm fond of all types of tea but I have to confess to a particular weakness for outstanding black varieties. So I wasted no time tearing into the black tea samples Teas Etc recently passed along. Two of these get the thumbs up and one ranked a couple of notches above that.

Golden Monkey
I don't have a lot of experience with this Chinese black variety, but those few I've tasted have never disappointed. This one is no exception. The leaves and the steeped tea are both quite light and the flavor the same, with a very nice mouthfeel and a great finish.

Assam Reserve
If I had to pick one favorite type of tea, it would be Assam, hands down. Like most teas they run the gamut from bilge water suitable only for exterminating cockroaches to elixir of the gods. This one was very nice, though it didn't quite make to the elixir category.

Ceylon OP1
This was the real surprise. Ceylon is another category I don't have much experience with and one that's never left me very impressed. This one definitely falls into the elixir of the gods category, with a great aroma, rich flavor, and extremely smooth mouthfeel.

One thing I did find odd was that the Ceylon reminded me of a really great Assam, while the Assam mentioned above tasted more like a good Ceylon. Which makes me wonder if perhaps the samples were mislabeled. In any event, one of the these two teas comes very highly recommended. I should also note that the Assam and Ceylon are both 2009 World Tea Championship winners.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite

2 comments:

Alfred said...

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Just wanted to inform you that there's a new tea brand out there called Angels Tea. It has a focus on young hip sexy modernization of the image of loose leaf tea.

Anyways, think it tastes good and has a unique design. Hope you will like it!

www.angelstea.com is where u can check it out.

Jason Witt said...

This post is particularly relevant for me because I recently bought a few of these black teas from Teas etc to sample and learn more about them. I haven't opened them yet and this review helps me get some perspective. But I'm still discouraged about black tea because I recently learned that even those who taste many Darjeelings find that the true muscatel notes are elusive and rarely experienced. Thus I know that I'm unlikely to find them without endless searching, and I'm just not that interested in a purely sensual experience. --Spirituality of Tea