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Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Element Tea’s Scottish Highlands Tea

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The Subject:  Scottish Highlands
Company:Element Tea. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:212° F
Steeping time:4 mins.
Tea type:Indian black teas (not specified)
Aroma, dry leaves:  Very light

1st Infusion:  
Aroma, plain —  Subdued maltiness, almost regal
Taste, plain —Mild, slight tang as cools
Color, plain —Ruby
Taste, enhanced —  Smooth
2nd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Faint
Taste, plain —Weak – not recommended
Color, plain —Lighter ruby

Think of the Scottish Highlands: heather and mist, bagpipes wailing like the mythical Banshees, castles and lochs (lakes), and of course the men in their kilts! Got it? Great. Now, picture all of that with a cuppa this tea in your hand. Ah, a real tea moment!

The dry tea is good-sized pieces, which indicates this is more of an orthodox tea, not a CTC tea. The tea has a very faint aroma when dry. The sample came in one of those cute little packets that is foil lined. Unfortunately, they are not sealed, so air can get in. We don’t know if it affected this tea or not, but we think not. We suspect that the faint aroma is natural for this tea.

A frustration is that the company does not specify which teas were used. Hubby and I suspect an orthodox Assam and possibly a Nilgiri or some Autumn Flush Darjeeling.

One thing we always bear in mind is that the sample is a small portion of a larger batch and, as such, occasionally contains something — er — odd. In this case, it was a strange-looking stem with part of a leaf attached. We made sure this did not get into the teapot.

The aroma and flavor of this tea is about as mild as the Assam #1 we tried recently. Unlike that one, however, this one develops a faint tang as it cools, only a slight flaw since the tea tastes so good you’ll drink it all before it even has a chance to cool.

Like that other tea, this one has a flavor that doesn’t really need anything added. It is mild and pleasant. We tried it with stuff added anyway. Hubby likes it with just a touch of sweetener added. I like it with sweetener and milk. If you want to add either of these, remember “Easy does it!” The tea can easily get overwhelmed. If you like honey as a sweetener, use just a few drops.

I tried to get hubby to wear his kilt, complete with sporen and skeendoo, while we tried this tea but wasn’t successful. Sigh!

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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