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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review: TeaGschwendner’s English 5 O’Clock Tea

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The Subject: English 5 O’Clock from TeaGschwendner.


Water temperature: 212˚ F
Steeping time: 5 minutes (see comments)

Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings, etc.: N/A
Aroma, dry: Fresh, fragrant, earthy, typically Assam
Aroma in the cup, plain: Earthy, tannin-ish
Taste in the cup, plain: Strong, astringent, pucker power, needs milk and sweetener
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: Toffee-ish aroma and flavor, smooth
Taste in the cup, enhanced: Toffee-ish aroma and flavor, smooth

2nd Infusion: Weak flavor and aroma, not recommended

This is a tea we bought during our second visit to the TeaGschwendner store in Raleigh, NC. This tea is another reason that the drive was well worth it.

As with the first of their teas we reviewed, we stayed true to the tea principles of the Little Yellow Teapot and followed the vendor’s label directions when preparing the hot version of this tea:

3g tea (1 heaping teaspoon) per 8oz. cup of filtered, boiling water. Allow to brew 5 min.

The dry tea has a mild and somewhat malty aroma, typical for CTC Assams. Hubby described it as “round-smelling tea,” meaning rich and robust with normal characteristics.

The 1st infusion was a rich ruby-brown color with a wonderful aroma that we have come to associate with this type of tea, sort of planty yet toffee-ish.

I took a whiff of the tea as it steeped and could tell from the aroma that this would be one with a flavor that was quite strong and bitter, with real “pucker power,” making this tea just right for adding milk and sweetener. I was right. In fact, when thusly enhanced, this tea is smooth, yet robust and very satisfying.

In the UK, the Brits like to take time out around 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon to refresh themselves with a strong cuppa tea and some appropriate treats. So, I took the opportunity here to grab the last scone and pile it up with Devon clotted cream and jam.

The 2nd infusion was lighter in color (more of an orangey brown) and but still had a good aroma and taste. The bitterness was gone, though. If you like your Assam with milk and you have someone in your household who likes his/hers plain, you could let them have the 2nd infusion. (A better option is to do a separate short steeping for them, about a minute.)

Our congratulations to Ryan Hinson, Store Manager, and his staff on an excellent tea.

Disclaimer: We purchased this tea from the company named during our second visit to the store. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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