The twelve days of Christmas have passed and it does not feel like hot-tea weather in New York City. Temperatures have been rising and reached over 60 degrees F today! Despite all this, I've been drinking hot cups of LUPICIA plantation and original blends as well as flavored holiday teas all week. I am not enamored of blends but I enjoyed the one I drunk from the tea bag set. The box has a clever design feature: there is a pop-up of two rabbits when you open the box. Also, the individual tea packets from the Holiday Teas line are beautiful illustrated.
There were pure teas included in the tea bag set as well. The "Omaesama" sencha was quite good. The Darjeeling Second Flush, a blend of summer harvested leaves, was fantastic. The leaves in the tea bag were orthodox full leaf. I prepared this tea as directed in 5 ounces of boiling water and steeped it for 2 minutes then 3 minutes. The liquor was delicious! The tea was aromatic; it filled my nose and mouth with dark fruity, sweet, and baked flavors. It reminded me of an Oriental Beauty oolong. The liquor was robust yet smooth. I did not add milk and neither should you. There was minimal astringency. The 3 minute infusion reminded flavorful but with a lighter body and mouthfeel.
One of the three tins of whole leaf tea I received was Darjeeling The Second Flush. I assumed it was the same tea as was bagged in the pyramid sachet. I steeped this tea also as directed: 2.5 grams in 5 ounces of boiling water for 2 minutes then 3 minutes. In retrospect I should have used 3 grams, the higher end of the gram range. The light copper liquor had a similar profile to the liquor from the tea bag but the intensity of flavors and mouthfeel were noticeably lighter. The steam off the 3 minute infusion smelled like the taste of the 2 minute cup with the taste had a more herbal character.
The other two tins were La Belle Epoque, a "classic blended tea", and "Uji", a sencha. I did not record any of the occasions on which I prepared the black tea blend but I recall enjoying it and noting it would be a good daily morning tea. I have notes on the Uji sencha.
I prepared this sencha the way I did the fukamushicha from Art of Tea because the method was fresh in mind. I don't think this Lupicia sencha is a deep steamed tea. I infused 1 teaspoon of leaf in 3 ounces of 155F water for 4o seconds. I steeped the leaves three times. The first infusion was light, smooth, and creamy. The second was also smooth but the creaminess intensified. The liquor tasted creamy and displayed a creamy mouthfeel. An additional note of umami appeared. The third infusion was still smooth with an umami note but with a decrease in the creamy taste. The mouthfeel remained creamy but an astringent note emerged. I have not discarded the leaves and will steep them for a fourth time; I think I will get another flavorful cup.
Have you "rolled over" teas you were drinking late last year into these first two weeks of 2017?
The teas reviewed here were courtesy of LUPICIA.
P.S. Chill overnight your hot brew of the loose Darjeeling The Second Flush for a malty, slightly spicy drink.