Thursday, 3 May 2018

Teatourist - March 2018

March's Teatourist theme is 'Quintessentials: Full of traditional flavours and aromas, we're taking you back to basics for a little timeless indulgence'. And I was very pleased to see four black teas in this box, along with a green and an oolong. Just about a perfect balance for me!

Bright Afternoon by Brighteas
Chinese Keemun black tea, Chinese Mao Feng black tea, Chinese Yunnan black tea.
This is a mixture of three types of Chinese black tea, and there are a lot of subtleties going on here, not all of which I caught! Apparently this blend should have 'a traditional earthy flavour with subtle tones of smoky wood chips, dried autumn flowers, and tangy tinned peaches'. It  has a delicate overall flavour, and I caught the smoky notes - they stand out most strongly - and a slight floral taste. This is a medium leaf tea, and best drunk without milk to let the flavours come through. I would steep for a little longer than the recommended three minutes, but as with all teas it's a little bit of trial and error and finding what works for your own taste!

Ceylon Tea (Pekoe Fannings) by Cheeky Chai
Small leaf Ceylon tea (Pekoe Fannings).
Sometimes you just want a good basic Ceylon to put in your pot. In fact, I'm often asked, by people who would like to expand their tea game upwards from supermarket-brand dunked teabags, where they should start, and this is what I tell them: with some basic loose-leaf Ceylon. And this is it. This is a small leaf tea with something of a 'rough' taste to it, but light and delicious. Drink with or without milk, at any time of day.

Morgan's Brew Tea by Morgan's Brew Tea Company
East African black tea, including Kenyan, Ugandan, and Rwandan.
This is the company's flagship tea, hence its name. I picked this out of the box because Kenyan tea is usually pretty strong and I was flagging by 3pm after an early start and needed a bit of a buzz. It's actually far more delicate than I was expecting: just that right balance between light and strong that takes one back in the imagination to 1940s tea rooms with pretty china cups and saucers, and tea in proper pots. And this is one that just keeps going! I rebrewed it over and over, and it got weaker by stages, but it lasted for 4 or 5 pots! It's a small leaf tea that turns a very pretty orange colour on brewing. This is another good starter tea blend, really pleasant and a great all-rounder.

Safari Oolong by Nothing But Tea
100% Oolong tea from Tumoi Teas in Nandi Hills (Kenya).
This Oolong is 'crafted in small batches by a Kenyan cooperative in the Nandi Hills region of Kenya' where 'profits help local farmers build better communities'. I very much enjoy Oolong tea, and this one was a pleasant enough brew, but I missed the 'smooth floral flavour and honey notes' that it's supposed to have.

Green Tea with Jasmine by Pure Leaf
Chinese green tea, jasmine flowers.
This is a 'simple green tea made using the finest long-leaf Chinese green tea leaves' and is 'layered with real Jasmine flowers as they dry'. I'm a fan of an occasional floral brew of Jasmine petals steeped by themselves, but I'm also aware that usually when people talk about jasmine tea they mean green tea with jasmine, which can vary vastly in strength and flavour. This one makes a pleasant brew, although the jasmine flavour itself is subtler than I was expecting.

Earl Grey 1833 by Chash The Fine Tea Co
Finest Ceylon black tea, pure bergamot oil, cornflower petals.
The name of this tea is 'in salute to Earl Grey's 1833 charge to abolish slavery across the Empire', and it celebrates this with its mix of red, white, and blue cornflower petals. It's a pretty tea with a pungent scent. On brewing, the bergamot flavour is strong, but the tea itself tastes mild, with beautiful floral and citrus notes. It's a very smooth taste, and its high caffeine content is an excellent pick-me-up. This really is a top Earl Grey.

You can still order this box, or any past Teatourist box that you fancy, so check out my reviews of previous boxes and see if there's something that you like.

Teatourist have also given me a special discount code for 30% off your first box when you start a monthly subscription: just use the code FOXGLOVE30 at the checkout. I don't get commission for this, it's just a treat for you.

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