There was a mix-up at Nothing But Tea’s suppliers and this note was on a brew made from tea mislabelled as China Oolong (o) (OC04), so I’ve cut and pasted the note to where it belongs.

I used a moderately-heaped teaspoon and allowed the water several minutes to go off the boil and steeped for two minutes. It was a quite pale, clear yellow-brown in the mug, with a slightly rusty aroma – possibly a little musty, too, like a second-hand book shop, plus the tiniest hints of chocolate or coffee and of the smell of beef roasting.

The flavour had reasonable basic tea taste and elements of chocolate and of the black, crusty bits on the surface of a good roast joint of beef.

I made a second infusion, the same way, with the same tea. I couldn’t detect any diminution in flavour and, if anything, it was more complex as now I detected a tiny hint in the flavour reminiscent of the smell of grass on a warm, humid day and this gave a tiny ‘edge’ to it. I’d actually class it as a slightly better brew than the first one.

I couldn’t resist a third infusion just for curiosity. This time the basic flavour elements are a little weaker (strangely enough, the tea doesn’t seem to smell any weaker) while that ‘smell of grass’ hint has strengthened towards a root-ginger ‘bite’. It’s now a somewhat different cup of tea and, to my taste, not quite so pleasant.

Quite a difficult tea, this one – I rather enjoyed it, yet I wouldn’t categorise it as anything special – quite robust elements to the flavour but no real complexity. I know this is not very meaningful, but I’d describe it as a ‘satisfying’ or, even, ‘comforting’ sort of brew.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Happily retired male.

Started exploring ‘proper’ tea in March, 2010 after decades of PG Tips teabags. I was initially looking for ‘the perfect tea’; now I don’t want to find one – I’m so much more enjoying exploring the variety.

A confession: I take my tea with four sweeteners to a half-pint mug.
28/05/2012 – I’ve decided to wean myself off the sweeteners, starting this morning, so, three per mug instead of four (I’m getting a growing feeling that I’m failing to get the best out of some of the oolongs and greens I try and I intend getting a gaiwan and the appropriate little cups, and sweeteners don’t seem to be appropriate, there). 16/02/2013 – since New Year’s Day I’ve only been using two sweeteners. I’m struggling to get used to it, to be honest – some teas are more difficult than others.

How I make tea: either in a traditional teapot which holds enough for three half-pint mugs and has a removable infuser (London Teapot Company); or in a half-pint mug with an Agatha’s Bester filter. Sometimes I vaguely think about getting some nice, genteel cups and saucers …

Important: I measure the tea with plastic kitchen measuring spoons – teaspoon and half-teaspoon sizes – so when I say a ‘heaped teaspoon’, as the correct measure is a levelled one, I should probably be calling it ‘two teaspoons’!


Derbyshire/Staffordshire, UK.

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