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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: Element Tea’s Afternoon Pick-Me-Up Tea

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The Subject:  Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
Company:Element Tea. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:212° F
Steeping time:4-5 mins.
Tea type:Black
Dry leaves:  Big leaf pieces; light, basic black “tea” aroma

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —4 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Malty, sweet, floral
Taste, plain —Strong, floral, some bitterness
Color, plain —Brownish-red
Taste, enhanced —  Milk and sweetener bring out floral
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —5 mins.
Aroma, plain —Malty, sweet, floral
Taste, plain —Milder, floral, not bitter
Color, plain —Brownish-red
Taste, enhanced —  Smooth, slightly floral

We opened the foil-lined pack and once again saw a lovely sight: large tea leaf pieces, not dust in a bag. The vendor says that this is a Darjeeling tea from one of that area’s best known estates (they just told us it was the Margaret's Hope Estate). We didn’t know this before trying the tea. Quite frankly, after trying it we would have guessed more of a Keemun or other black tea, due to the floral character of the flavor, not a muscatel character. This does not mean this is a bad tea. We just want you to be prepared. The tea is not like a lot of Darjeelings we’ve had. In fact, it was a touch bitter on the first infusion, which we’ve not experienced from Darjeelings as far as I can remember.

The tea leaves were broken up a bit in the processing, but not ground to dust. After steeping, the stem and pieces show quite clearly.

We tried both the first and second infusions both plain and with a little milk and sweetener. Again, we had no inkling that this was a Darjeeling, but I think we would have tried it with milk anyway. The first infusion was stronger and slightly bitter, so at least some kind of sweetener was needed. The milk, though, added a very nice dimension and smoothed over the bitterness. It also seemed in both infusions to bring out the floral character of the tea.

Despite the non-Darjeeling character, we like this tea and are very impressed at getting two very good infusions from it. As for it living up to its name, we can say here, “Yes!” We definitely felt very picked up after the taste test.

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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