Monthly Archives: March 2010

Blind Tea Tasting Results – IdentiTEAS

FIRST PLACE!
Tea D

Twinings Afternoon Tea

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SECOND PLACE
Tea C
Whittard English Breakfast

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THIRD PLACE
Tea H
Attic Tippy Yunnan loose leaf

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FOURTH PLACE
Tea E
Clipper Organic Everyday

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FIFTH PLACE
Tea F
Twinings Second Flush Assam loose leaf

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SIXTH PLACE
Tea B
Betty’s Tea Room Blend

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SEVENTH PLACE
Tea G
Brooke Bond Choicest Blend loose leaf

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LAST PLACE!!!
Tea A
Yorkshire Tea

Any surprises? There were a few for me. Betty’s came out very badly in my tasting notes, despite it being glorious in the last blind tasting. I’m truly shocked to see Yorkshire so low – it has been the staple of my tea drinking for years now (and just about everyone I’ve ever lived with is now drinking predominantly Yorkshire). I’m not surprised to see the loose leaf teas splitting opinion and quite pleased to see Attic’s tea up there with the big boys of the tea world.

Comments box below is ready and waiting for your reaction….

TomA

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Blind Tea Tasting – Overall Results!

Empty mugs abound and 11 sets of scores and tasting notes have been received; it must be almost time to reveal the identiTEAS of our 8 brews… So thank you to everyone that participated and sent their musings and photographs (and tut tut to those that either lost your tea before you tasted them or never replied at all once you’d been sent the tea). Their may be one latecomer (hey, Hannie!), so these scores may yet be updated.

The Final Scores:
(average score out of ten)

Tea D:  6.68
Tea C:  6.55
Tea H:  5.86
Tea E:  5.82
Tea F:  5.64
Tea B:  5.10
Tea G:  5.00
Tea A:  4.82

Tea D is our resounding winner! The only other tea to average over 6 was Tea C.
Poor Tea A though – the only tea with an average under 5.

Of the loose teas (F-H). H scored well, coming third overall and the group’s favourite loose tea. This hides some large variance in opinion though – 4 people ranked this as their favourite tea while for 3 is was clearly their least favourite (two of these scored it 0!). G met with resounding disgust, 4 of us gave this our lowest marks. Tea C was most people’s favourite, but clearly it would be Tea D to keep in the cupboard for guests, as nearly everyone gave it a decent mark.

So which tea is which – did us Yorkshire tea lovers guess right? (Tom guessed A; James guessed C; Bee guessed D). In a previous blind tea tasting, James and I compared Yorkshire with Betty’s Tea Room Blend, with Betty’s coming out on top. Have we been consistent and did Betty’s triumph again? How did our other three bagged teas come out – Clipper Everyday Organic, Twinings Afternoon and Whittards English Breakfast? Which of our three loose teas were Brooke Bond Choicest Blend, Twinings Deli 2nd Flush Assam and Attic Tea’s Tippy Yunnan? Which tea is our ultimate favourite (D) and which tea won’t we be buying again (A)?

The identiTEAS of A-H will be revealed shortly….

TomA

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Blind Tea Tasting Results – Miss Believer

Tea A
Score
: 4
Tastes like unicorns and looks like a rainbow. It gave me magical powers which I used to fly round the world, saving bees and suicidal guinea pigs. Also, it told me the secret of eternal youth.
[Tamsin told me she’d lost her tasting notes for tea A, so provided me with the above, which sounds fairly spot on as far as tea reviews go – TomA]

Tea B
Score
: 6
Nice delicate, sweet tasting tea. The kind of tea you might enjoy drinking on a summer’s day, but not one to wake you up in the morning.

Tea C
Score
: 2
Totally nondescript, boring, standard tea with nothing to recommend it. Would not drink again!

Tea D
Score
: 8
Nice colour! Good, rounded tasting cup of tea. Alex thought it had a fruity/sweet taste, but I didn’t. I thought it tasted a tiny bit like almond cream tea but I did have a cold, so my sense of taste might have been skewed) (He was helping me on a few teas but we absolutely disagreed on everything).

Tea E
Score
: 7
I thought this one smelt nice! It had a good, bold flavour but it was lacking in the refreshing quality I usually enjoy in my teas. Had a very slightly bitter aftertaste. A nice cup of tea though, and probably a good breakfast one as it was nice and strong.

Tea F
Score
: 7
Very tasty! Very clean and fresh tasting, with maybe a hint of lemon? I liked it , anyway. Interestingly I note that Ellie’s lot didn’t like it – I wonder if I brewed it for longer or something?

Tea G
Score
: 0
My initial reaction was that this tastes of mushrooms. It should be noted that I drank both H and G at work where we only have the boiler thing on the wall, which is never actually boiling and I always think it makes a difference to the taste of the tea. But yeah, I genuinely found this quite unpleasant. Maybe it would have tasted better without milk? It had a nasty aftertaste too. Like, bitter? I ended up not finishing it. I left loads. My least favorite of all.

Tea H
Score
: 8.5
I thought this smelled like it might be Earl Grey/Lady Grey or the like, so I decided not to put milk in it. On drinking it I was glad of this. Slightly lemony flavoured, very delicate – an afternoon tea sort of drink. I enjoyed it even if I do have a cleaning product that smells quite similar. Very refreshing brew.

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Blind Tea Tasting Results – Bee

Tea A
Comments: I suspect it’s a Tetleys! It definitely tastes that way. Mellow, Classic, Standard, Plain.. One of those cups that is usually pretty average and uninspired, but occasionally gives you *the* ultimate cup of tea that you wish would never end.
Score: 6

Tea B
Comments: Oh dear! The first word that springs to mind is sweaty. It tastes like this tea bag has sat in a sauna. Weak, muddy and common.
Score: 3

Tea C
Comments: Red bush I think. Not my usual cup of choice as I find it too strong without milk, but too wacky with. Heavy, colourful and fruity.
Score: 5

Tea D
Comments: I think this is my ultimate favourite, Yorkshire. It’s bright, strong, full and sorts you out like a brisk stroll on the moors.
Score: 10

Tea E
Comments: Soft, Bland, Unoffensive and Caramely. Perfectly enjoyable, a good biscuit-dunking scenario as not too rich.
Score: 7

Tea F
Comments: Smells smokey and tastes almost florally. I like this alot and don’t think it’s something I’ve ever had before. It makes me thing of tea you get abroad when there is something off kilter and enchanting about it.
Score: 8

Tea G
Comments: Strong, bright but weirdly tasteless. Maybe my tastebuds have been numbed by too many scorching sips of previous brews. I found this unfinishable with boredom.
Score: 3

Tea H
Comments: Spicey and musky, a bit like chai tea.  Uh oh I haven’t used enough fancy tea words yet so here goes: pungent, high fired and earthy!
Score: 6

Bee


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Blind Tea Tasting Results – Jen

Tea A
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – dull
Liquor – very dark amber, almost muddy, heavy. Reminds me of Lipton. The kind of tea I’d drink to be polite, but would choose to add cream and sugar if handy.
Overall score: 4

Tea B
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – minimal, but a hint of brightness.
Liquor – dark copper. Something’s missing to give it a fullness I’m looking for, but malty in a good way. Could definitely see myself waking up with this in the morning.
Overall score: 7

Tea C
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – almost none.
Liquor – medium dark amber. This one is a reflection of its aroma – almost none. Truly an empty flavor. And while it doesn’t hit all the points on my palate, there is nothing unpleasant about it. It feels only half there. However, the more I sip, the more it grows on me.
Overall score: 6

Tea D
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – pleasant, but so very light.
Liquor – Medium amber. Where’s the flavor? Not unpleasant, but not there at all. Thin, thin, thin.
Overall score: 3

Tea E
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – now, here’s some tea!
Liquor – Bright copper color (which makes me want to sing, “and warm woolen mittens” for some reason). This hits all the points on my palate without hitting any point too aggressively. Bright flavor. A fullness I’m enjoying.
Overall score: 8

Tea F
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – ahhhh.
Liquor – Clear copper liquid.  Full, beautiful, bright. Doesn’t need anything. Milk and sugar would be a shame.
Overall score: 9

Tea G
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – Yes!
Liquor – Deep copper. Full bodied with so much character. This is a tea I could have deep conversations over or concentrate deeply with. Strong without being overpowering. A companion for any journey.
Overall score: 10

Tea H
Steeped 3 minutes.
Aroma – Me likey!
Liquor – Golden amber. Light, yet full. A Darjeeling? A refined smoothness. Something for the afternoon to reward myself over a book or favorite movie. Overall score: 10


I was surprised at the difference in quality I perceived between the first 5 bagged teas and the last 3 loose leaf teas. I’ll be very curious to see if that was in some way a personal bias, or if the other tasters had the same experience. This was such an interesting exercise. Thank you for including me!

Rankings

1 – G
2 – H
3 – F
4 – E
5 – B
6 – C
7 – A
8 – D

Jen – An International Tea Moment

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Blind Tea Tasting Results – James

Tea A
Woody and foul. Tasted and smelt like it had come out of a pipe. Awful
Score: 0

Tea B
Odd, herbal smell. Tasted very pleasant however and was probably better without milk.
Score: 8

Tea C
Very good. Indeed. Was this Yorkshire?
Score: 9

Tea D
Good .
Score: 7

Tea E
Strong, very very good. Immense both pre milk and post milk – outstanding brew.
Score: 10

Tea F
Lightest brew, no distinguishing taste. Quite bad.
Score: 4

Tea G
Same dark colour as bagged teas (other two loose leaf were lighter). Awesome taste.
Score: 9

Tea H
Smelt awful – and antiseptic. Looked green in colour both with and without milk.
Score: 1

Rankings
1 – E
2 – G
3- C
4 – B
5 – D
6 – F
7 – H
8 – A

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Blind Tea Tasting Results – Ella & Lorna

Sunday evening, eight mismatched mugs and two tired girls. We start by smelling the tea bags. They definitely all smell like tea: this is good. Lorna overfills the kettle and spills water everywhere.

The notes suggest judging colour – we decide tea A is bright red, and B is a rich plum. The latter will prove to be a deciding factor in the final scores as B is awarded 0.1 bonus points because Lorna likes the colour. D is cloudy – we can’t see the bottom of the mug, and may not quite be sure whether to treat this as a scientific experiment. Tea H is the lightest in colour, although we couldn’t say what that means.

We try them all black first, comparing them in pairs to make it a little easier…

A: Lacks character. We are not thrilled.
B: Drinking black tea is hard so Ella judges A and B by how well they go with chocolate. B edges A out.
C: We like.
D: Tastes of grass, or something.
E: Ella: “too tangy” / Lorna: “mmm, i like”.
F: Smells stronger than it tastes.
G: After six tastings of black tea, Ella tries but fails to deliver a coherent response. It starts to get a bit much. G doesn’t leave a nice taste in the mouth, and more chocolate is consumed.
H: Lorna goes this alone and is distinctly unimpressed. After a period of recovery, and on Lorna’s insistence, Ella tries it. It tastes like a farmyard smells.

Next, milk is added. Ella is still struggling but milk might make things better.

A: Continues to underwhelm
B: Ditto
C: Turns out to be v. pleasant both black and white.
D: Still pretty grassy. Lorna is not quite sure where Ella is going with this.
E: The jury is still out.
F: Ella bows out again and Lorna forges on. Much to her disgust, F tastes WRONG with milk.
G: Still not good.
H: Lorna is appalled. ‘SHOULD NEVER HAVE MILK!” Let this be a warning to all.

It is Lorna’s turn to sit back and relax while Ella gives in to her sweet tooth. A handy brother brings the sugar pot and we commence stage 3 of the tasting, in which only a few extra comments need to be made…

B: Bad with sugar. This has never happened before.
C: Even better with sugar, and Ella takes a moment to appreciate the joy of a nice cup of tea.
D: Nicer with sugar, but still like grass.
F: Has found a new flowery taste.

Teas not mentioned were by this point so disappointing to both tasters that they were disregarded.

At last – with mug C drained of every drop and the others scattered forlornly around the table, it is time for the scores. Last words are said on each tea, most of which are scornful and/or cutting. The excessive consumption of black tea has caused mild hysterics in all involved. Teas are awarded points out of 10 as follows:

A: 3 (uninspiring)
B: 3.1 (ditto, +0.1 for colour)
C: 10 (joyful)
D: 5.5 (+0.5 for the pun of the weekend, uttered by Ella in a final comment: “the grass grows on you..”)
E: 2 (undecided)
F: 4 (could do worse)
G: 1 (not as bad as H)
H: 0 (sad face)

And with that, we vow to never drink another drop of tea as long as we leave (or, at least for 24 hours…). We clear everything away and wait in suspense for the reveal. Here’s to many more cups of Tea C.

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