April 23, 2013
Ten years ago I was gifted a small purple box of Dimbula Ceylon black tea it was brought back from the region and was quite unremarkable in every way except that it offered a flavor that I still have not found again in a black tea. Any time I see a new/different brand or type of Ceylon tea I try it just in the off chance that it may be similar. I was at a small Middle Eastern market and saw this bright yellow box of Ceylon tea bags and decided to give it a shot since I tend to focus only on the teas of China, Japan, and India and in hopes that it might have that elusive quality from a decade ago. It didn’t.
The first brewing was extremely strong, heavy, and bitter with even just a 2 minute infusion. I realized this was meant to be high-powered and strong either to stand up to milk and sugar or other similar preparations. This would be a tea to rival a morning cup of coffee, certainly not a light and subtle drink. I then scaled way back to a 30 second infusion, this was still quite strong but more palatable. It had more of the taste of an American Lipton or Tetley tea bag. There were some malty notes peeking through as well. I backed off even more and went with a 15-20 second brew and this, for me, was the balance point. It yielded a lighter cup, but still medium to dark, and it was nicely malty and less heavy and almost no bitterness could be detected.
This is not an expensive or nuanced tea, it is a strong basic tea and it presents itself well enough in that regard. I can see how this lends itself to the more Middle Eastern style of brewing and enjoying tea and for that it definitely fits the bill.
April 21, 2013
After almost a year away I am going to try to make a go at continuing to share my journey with tea. I haven’t stopped drinking tea and my passion is still there, it is just that after over 12 years my tastes have refined and I don’t do as much experimentation as I once did. I still dabble and will try something new and different but it has slowed down. Each Spring does bring excitement and subtle variation in old favorites but that doesn’t always translate to exciting writing. I’m going to try to cover exactly what I am drinking, both the high-end and the low-end even if it is something I may have covered in the past. We’ll see how it goes!
December 18, 2009
I apologize for the short hiatus, I’ve had some family medical issues and a couple tea shipping snafus. But now I’m sitting on about 3 kilos of various Indian Darjeelings and Assams, and an awesome shipment of Japanese Matcha and Sencha. All of that will be coming in the near future. Today, however, I figured I’d cover what’s been in my cup here at work for the past week or so: Kikoman’s Instant Tofu Miso Soup.
Unlike many instant miso soups this one eschews the small packet of actual miso paste for a powdered soup base with dehydrated green onion, wakame seaweed, and small tofu squares. I was not expecting much since this kind of seemed like the low-rent way of making an already pretty simple instant soup, surprisingly I was completely wrong. Outside of the tofu never quite achieving a proper texture (but it comes out acceptably) it rivals a very good hand-prepared soup. 2/3 cup of hot water, empty the packet, stir a bit, and done. Easy and quick, and perfect for a quick lunch that is actually very satisfying. A small bowl of rice alongside becomes a great simple meal in the Oryoki tradition.
October 28, 2009
I will be participating in Lochan Tea’s upcoming tasting of an array of their teas. One tasting a day starting on Monday 2nd of November. I will be posting the results from each day here as well as submitting my notes for them. It covers a range of Indian teas with a concentration on Darjeelings. I’m particularly happy because one of the teas in the tasting just won the gold medal at the 2009 Chinese Tea Expo for the Black Tea category.